2 Manor Grove, Caulfield North 3161.
- Constructed in 1889-91.
- Designed by J.A.B. Koch.
- Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (no. 603193).
Labassa, originally known as Ontario, is one of the most lavish and ornate 19th century residences in Melbourne, comparable to Medley Hall. Designed by German architect J.A.B. Koch, this is often considered to be his finest work.
Koch was employed by Alexander W. Robertson, who instructed Koch to build "the most magnificent house in Melbourne", which he did!
Robertson's property once extended to St Kilda beach. Between 1914 and 1917, subdivisions took place, reducing the site to four acres. In 1922 and 1923, Manor Grove was created and the conservatory and stables were converted into residences. In subsequent years, the house was boxed in by flats and at one point there was a series of units on the front garden.
The semi-circular bay and double-storey arcade form the principal features of this fine Victorian masterpiece.
Labassa was purchased by The National Trust in 1980, but is still in a shabby state. It is privately tenanted but open to the public periodically. The Victorian Heritage Council states that Labassa is probably "one of the few buildings of world significance in Australia".