Step in­side an­other world

A sprawl­ing Hope Is­land es­tate, in­spired by the ar­chi­tec­ture of the an­cient Ro­man world, has hit the mar­ket for the first time

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - Property - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS ALEISHA DAW­SON

IT’S dot­ted with hand­painted fres­coes and pays homage to the an­cient Ro­man world.

Wel­come to phi­lan­thropist Neil Bal­naves’ Gold Coast man­sion, which will take you back to what time was like hun­dreds of years ago.

The for­mer chair of Dream­world op­er­a­tor Ar­dent Leisure has put his sprawl­ing Hope Is­land es­tate, which is in­spired by the worl­drenowned J. Paul Getty Mu­seum, on the mar­ket.

The mu­seum, based at both the Getty Cen­tre in Los An­ge­les and Getty Villa in Mal­ibu, is ded­i­cated to the arts and cul­tures of an­cient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

Bal­naves’ 2834sq m Killymoon Drive es­tate comes with a raft of lux­ury fea­tures in­clud­ing an out­door court­yard cen­tred around an 18m pool, foun­tains, 30ft walls adorned with hand­painted fres­coes by artist Michael Place ref­er­enc­ing Ro­man mythol­ogy and a ten­nis court.

Bal­naves’s son Hamish said the house, which was built by the fam­ily in the mid-90s, had only been used as a hol­i­day home for the Bal­naves fam­ily. “He’s (his fa­ther Neil) al­ways had an in­ter­est in Ro­man ar­chi­tec­ture,” he said. “The idea be­hind the prop­erty was in the cen­tre of Ro­man vil­las there was a well and wa­ter would run off all the roofs and into the well,” he said. “Wa­ter pours down and ob­vi­ously we have drains there but when it rains that pool area is re­ally beau­ti­ful. It cre­ates a fo­cus around the pool.”

In­side, a grand atrium acts at the cen­tral hub for the home with high ceil­ings and com­mis­sioned paint­ings.

Large win­dows al­low plenty of light to flood in while also pro­vid­ing post­card wa­ter views of the pool on one side and the canal on the other. On this level there is also a large kitchen fea­tur­ing mar­ble benches and Miele ap­pli­ances — it in­te­grates with an in­for­mal lounge and din­ing area that leads to a tiled water­front ter­race.

The prop­erty is also per­fect for en­ter­tain­ing. “When you walk through the front door and look down at the pool it’s very im­pres­sive,” he said. “Every year for 20 years my fa­ther has hosted a mas­sive party in that area for up to 80 peo­ple.”

All bed­rooms are en­suited while the main bed­room has a mar­ble en­suite, walk-in wardrobe, sep­a­rate re­treat and wa­ter vis­tas.

Mr Bal­naves said the fam­ily chose Hope Is­land for their hol­i­day home be­cause of the golf­ing and boat­ing it of­fered. “It was about be­ing sur­rounded by golf course and also be­ing in the Hope Is­land Re­sort,” he said.

Syd­ney-based Neil Bal­naves worked in the me­dia in­dus­try for more than 45 years — he was be­hind drama shows in­clud­ing Wa­ter Rats, Po­lice Res­cue and then Big Brother.

He founded the South­ern Star Group, was chan­cel­lor of Charles Dar­win Uni­ver­sity, a trus­tee mem­ber of Bond Uni­ver­sity and is a di­rec­tor of the Syd­ney Orthopaedic Re­search In­sti­tute. He es­tab­lished The Bal­naves Foun­da­tion in 2006.

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