Rippon Lea is a mansion built in the gold era (late 1800’s), like most everything else in Melbourne. The owner, a rich softgoods businessman, wanted to raise his family out away from the pollution of the city. Now, of course, the city has expanded and Rippon Lea is not as isolated as it once was. Under the care of the National Trust, Rippon Lea has been restored to its former glory.
The outside is made of bricks in a rich garnet and almost gold with gold and dark marble accents and the facade is impressive.
The inside is just as impressive and ornate. Even though the house was built in the late 1800’s, the most recent owner (before the National Trust) was an actress in the 1930’s who brought Old Hollywood glamour to the house. Most of the rooms are kept restored in that style, rather than the original style. A large, open ballroom (which was hosting a wedding at the time we were there) and a patio/pool were the most recent architectural additions.
The grounds were also gorgeous. The fernery there is the largest covered fernery in the world, with hundreds of variety. As well as the fernery, the acres of land include a boathouse, lake bridged by an old wooden bridge, a lookout tower, a waterfall, a hidden grotto (which had to be waded through), an archery hut, and a labyrinth path. Summer is definitely the time to go, when everything is super green and lush.