This impressive mansion was built for the merchant James Jackson and like Como, further down river, was situated in its large estate running down to the Yarra River. The name of the estate and house, which may have been Aboriginal, was later adopted by the suburb of Toorak. Jackson died in 1851 and the house was leased by the Government of the Colony of Victoria to serve as a residence for the colonial governor. The government of the day spent a large amount of money upgrading the building for the arrival of Governor Hotham whose tenure was short and tumultuous, covering as it did the events of the Eureka Stockade. It served as Victoria's Government House from 1854 until 1876 when the current purpose-built Government House took over that role. A sketch of the building by S.T.Gill presents us with a reminder of Toorak House in its days in its days as Government House
The mansion reverted to being a family home until it was pressed into service during World War II as the Women's Australian Air Force hostel. The property was bought in 1956 by the The Swedish Church who undertook further renovations. In particular an impressive chapel was created on the ground floor.
The estate has long since disappeared and is now occupied by some of the most expensive homes in Melbourne, and the Victorian Italianate mansion now stands in a much smaller but delightful setting. It is regularly used for church services and cultural activities, and has a small shop selling Scandinavian crafts and Scandanavian food.
Some links related to historic homes on this site
7 Melbourne Mansions
Government House, Melbourne
La Trobe's Cottage
Le Page Homestead
Myer Mural Hall
Point Cook Homestead
Portabe Iron Houses
The Wheeler Centre