Ripponlea is a residential locality 7 km. south-east of Melbourne, immediately east of Elwood. The name comes form the large home and estate formed by Sir Frederick Sargood (1834-1903) businessman and Parliamentarian in 1868-9. The home was designed by Joseph Reed. Sargood chose the name Ripponlea as it was the maiden name of his mother.

Ripponlea is positioned between the larger suburbs of Balaclava ad Elsternwick, and to some extent is contained by then, Much of the land is sandy, and Sargood took special steps to plant gardens around his home which were watered by an elaborate reservoir and reticulation scheme.

Residential development occurred in the 1880s and1890s, although the Sargood estate occupied much of the area. When Sir Thomas Bent acquired the property in 1904, the year after Sargood’s death, he disposed of 35 allotments from the estate.

In 1911, Benjamin Nathan, owner of the Maples chain of furniture stores, acquired the property and it was kept as a family home until his daughter willed it to the National Trust in 1963. By then the Australian Broadcasting Commission had purchased 0.8 of a hectare (1954) for its televisions studio and other land had been sold in the 1940s. In 1972 the Trust took over the property with its well preserved residence and undertook refurbishment of the gardens, fernery and other horticultural outbuildings.

In 1922 the Ripponlea primary school was opened,a short distance from the Caulfield Grammar School (1881).

Ripponlea has a railway station (on the Brighton line) and a small shopping centre in Glen Eira Road east of the station.There is a synagogue nearby.

Further Reading:

  • Clark, Mary Ryllis and Sagazio, Celestina, TheStory of Ripponlea, National Trust of Australia (Vic.), 1995.

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