Old Australian mansion demolished by new Chinese owners

World Today

Picture: Mark Stewart

Residents from a suburb of Melbourne, Australia are angry after a local heritage site was torn down by its new Chinese owners only two years after they bought it.

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Named Idylwilde, the $18.58 million Australian dollars ($13.4 million) mansion built in 1913 in Stonnington’s Toorak, covers 4,000 square meters (4,3055 square feet) of land and was listed as “a rare and beautiful piece of Australian real estate.” That was before it was ripped open by bulldozers on Thursday morning, according to News Corp Australia.

The property was sold to Chinese tycoons Wang Hua and his wife Xiaoyan “Kylie” Bao via real estate agency Kay & Burton in September 2013. In December 2013, Wang applied to the Stonnington city government for a permit to tear down the mansion.

The request was refused by the local council, which insisted that the mansion was part of the city’s cultural heritage. The council tried to seek help from then-planning minister Matthew Guy to initiate permanent heritage protection for the mansion along with 18 neighboring properties, but the request was declined in May 2014, according to the Herald Sun. The council was forced to issue a demolition permit in October.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning said the refusal was based on advice from Heritage Victoria that “the building was not of sufficient architectural significance to warrant ministerial intervention”, News Corp reported.

Despite the authorities’ decision, local residents were angered by the hasty demolition. Some are calling the demolition a sacrilege, while others are more worried about the future of their community, as they don’t know what kind of building will replace the once beautiful landmark on St. Georges Road.

Story by CCTV News