Incorporating a formal garden and historic house, Brighton’s Billilla Mansion is undoubtedly one of Bayside’s most iconic buildings.
It is a historically significant site which is listed on the National Trust Register, and has been a local landmark for more than one hundred years.
Billilla is also significant to Brighton because of its distinctive Edwardian rather than Victorian appearance.
Nicholas Were originally owned the block of land bound by Hampton, Halifax and Dendy streets in Brighton in 1872.
The land was subdivided and records show that successful miner Robert Wright built, owned and occupied the thirteen-room residence from 1878.
The property passed through a number of hands over the next ten years, but in 1888 it was purchased by pastoralist William Weatherly who named the property Billilla.
Mr Weatherly remodelled the house and made alterations and extensions to the building in the typical Art Noveau style.
Mr Weatherly died in 1914 and was survived by his wife, Jeanne, who lived in the house until her death in 1933. Violet, their daughter, maintained the property with the help of staff until she passed away in 1972.
Brighton City Council (now known as Bayside City Council) acquired the property on April 4, 1973 on behalf of the local citizens and reserved it for “public purposes”.
Although the property is now leased by Xavier College, it is open to the general public who have access to the gardens year round.
According to the City of Bayside Heritage Review, the single-storey mansion was designed in an “unusual Art Noveau manner with classical references”.
“The house has a box-like form with rendered walls and roofs concealed behind an undulating pierced gridded parapet,” the report reads.
The garden has retained much of its original layout, with the two entrance points lined by a gravel driveway. A wooden picket fence along the front of the property is believed to be a more recent addition.
A large concrete fountain sits in the centre of the garden, as well as a small bird bath, both of which are deemed to be significant to the site.
The garden is an example of a late nineteenth century style garden and retains several mature trees including the Canary Island Pine, recorded on the National Trust (Victoria) Register of Significant Trees.
In recent years, the property has become popular as a wedding venue with numerous ceremonies held at Billilla Mansion every year.
The site’s Art Nouveau building and manicured gardens, which incorporates native and exotic plants and a rose garden display, provides a stunning backdrop for weddings.
Discover Billilla Mansion For Yourself
Where: Billilla Gardens, 26 Halifax Street, Brighton