The historic Sorrento guesthouse Whitehall


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'WHITEHALL' (circa 1904). is one of the iconic symbols of Sorrento's past.
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"112 years old but the old bones are basically sound. Whitehall retains her air of Edwardian elegance and like old doyens of the old moneyed set of Sorrento, Whitehall presides over an exceptional slice of territory, specifically 3039 square metres of what realtor RT Edgar is spruiking as “the last privately held property before the ocean beach reserve”.
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  • Limestone-built Whitehall, is a privately held property before the ocean beach reserve and rockpools and just a pleasant walk to the vibrant village and front beach,
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  • Whitehall has for more than a century been a favourite with travellers and holiday makers and is also believed by current co-owner Kevin Greenhatch to be the largest and oldest still operating guest house in Victoria.
  • Today, with 31 bedrooms, two large guest lounges with roaring open fire places, sunny courtyard, dining and function capacity for more than 100 and a commercial kitchen, it continues to play a key role in meeting the needs of tourists, schools and business groups and wedding parties.
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  • There is also the flexibility of redeveloping the property into luxury townhouses (STCA) within the limestone and brick facade. Please note as the property is being offered as a going-concern F.I.R.B approval is not required. Land: 3039 sqm.
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  • Whitehall is back on the market after being almost sold last year for a price that Lloyd Robinson of Edgar’s Portsea Office says was about $5 million.
    Just before settlement, the intending buyer passed away so Whitehall, which operates as “Oceanic” and still hosts holiday makers, conferences and events, opened a new expression of interest campaign over the Peninsula’s summer selling season.
    Unless sold prior, the campaign concludes at 5pm on February 10. (Expressions of Interest Closing Wednesday 10th February 2016 @ 5.00pm.)

History of Whitehall and Oceanic

Address: 231-237 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento

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  • The Back Beach Palace was built for George Coppin in 1890, and It was considered a comfortable commodious home for visitors.
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  • Whitehall was built opposite in 1903. While the balconied verandahs of the Back Beach Palace harked back to the Victorian style of building, Whitehall with is redbrick detailing was more so progressive and took its style from the local Sorrento federation "style”.
  • These two magnificent buildings are representative of the grander guesthouses constructed during Sorrento’s halcyon days.external image 70454481.jpg
  • The Oceanic operated until the 1960s, when it was demolished.
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  • A motel and apartment style accommodation complex has been built on its site. In contrast, Whitehall’s website states that it “stands proud as the largest and the longest operating guesthouse of this fabulous era”.
Whitehall in 2013 The foreground buildings demonstrate subsequent motel and apartment style development
Whitehall in 2013 The foreground buildings demonstrate subsequent motel and apartment style development
It was the vision of the 1890’s parliament and entrepreneur George Coppin that augmented the superb natural enjoyment of the Sorrento area with grand buildings, parks, theatres, a steam train and a network of coastal walks. Thankfully most of his enlightened legacy remains today and identifies Sorrento as a very special historic township and wonderful place to visit.
  • At the end of Ocean Beach Road on the boundry of the National Park, George Coppin instigated the construction of Whitehall Guesthouse.
  • Whitehall was built in 1903-1904 and was one of the ‘grand’ guesthouses constructed during Sorrento’s halcyon days, and Whitehall stands proud as the largest and the longest operating guesthouse of this fabulous era.
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  • Built as a guest house for James D Allen, Whitehall is distinguished by its use of local rubble limestone (now painted) with red brick dressings.
  • The guest house is also notable for its elegantly proportioned double-storey timber verandah reminiscent in its detailing of the work of Melbourne architects Ussher and Kemp.
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Sorrento can claim to be the site of the first white settlement, over 200 years ago.
  • Aboriginals were the very first settlers and had the beauty of the peninsula to themselves for more than 40,000 years, living off the bounty of the sea, the native flora and fauna.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins, 300 convicts and a few settlers landed at Sullivan Bay in October 1803 (near what became Sorrento).
  • Whitehall is a leading guest house in one of Victoria's most popular and important tourist and resort centres. Classified: 01/10/1990 -
  • See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/66331#sthash.F8RlYhdr.dpuf

Read more: Exclusive Sorrento property Whitehall listed for sale ( Jan 20, 2016) Jenny Brown

References