Villa Floridiana 1855-1990

Villa Floridiana, 1 Sea Street, Hunters Hillvilla floridiana National Trust Australia1968

Despite public outcry and costly legal action, the Hunters Hill Trust, National Trust and Hunters Hill Council were unable to save Villa Floridiana from demolition in 1990.

Didier Joubert, the first Mayor of Hunters Hill bought this property in 1854. His younger brother Jules built the house for his wife Adelaide in 1855.  It was a row of rooms opening on to a verandah, with Georgian detailing in some of the interior.

Historian Beverley Sherry says that Jules Joubbert named the house Gros-Caillou, perhaps after the quarter of Gros-Caillou in Paris.  Jules wrote to Adelaide Levi, his wife-to-be:

“You have no idea what a pretty little nook our house will be. The painters have nearly finished. The rooms are all papered with some very pretty French paper, such as you seldom see in South Australia – the drawing and dining rooms may be opened into one by folding doors, and are papered alike so that when opened they have a very good effect – a very broad verandah in the front adds greatly to the size and comfort of the place, and the view is such a delightful one: the house front is only a few yards from the sea, therefore the whole of the large bay may be seen from every corner of the rooms.”  Sydney January 4, 1855.

Archibald Campell bought the house in 1857 and sold it to the Italian nobleman Chevalier Charles D’Apice in 1861.  D’Apice, professor of music had a family of eight children.  After his death in 1888 Madame d’Apice conducted a small French school at the house which she called Villa Floridiana from 1893.  The house remained in the D’Apice family for over 60 years.

Villa Floridiana interior, 1980s: Photo Douglass Baglin

Villa Floridiana interior, 1980s: Photo Douglass Baglin

Douglass Baglin, photographer and filmmaker lived in Villa Floridiana with his wife Elaine from 1956-88.

You can read more about Villa Floridiana in Beverley Sherry’s article in HHT Journal Volume XIX No 1. February 1990

or watch this TV news program made prior to its demolition.