History

MansionSalesian College Sunbury is the oldest Salesian educational foundation in Australia, having become a registered Victorian school in 1929.

In the early 1990s, it was transformed from a secondary boarding and day school for boys to a modern Years 7-12 co-educational college for children from Sunbury and the surrounding area.

It takes its name, ‘Rupertswood’, from the spacious grounds which include the superb Victorian mansion built by Sir William Clarke.

 

In 1874 Sir William Clarke, a wealthy landowner, commissioned George Brown, a respected architect, to design a residence of quality consistent with the standing and wealth of the Clarke family. In August of that year, second wife Lady Janet laid the foundation stone of William’s new mansion amid great celebration. Rupert, the eldest son
from William’s first marriage, named the mansion Rupertswood when he broke a bottle of champagne over the foundation stone.

Rupertswood Mansion was built in the Victorian Byzantine style and took two years to complete at a cost of 25,000 pounds. There are 50 rooms, a tower that stands 100 feet high, and a magnificent ballroom. At the time, Rupertswood was considered to be one of the most modern houses in Victoria.

The bluestone gatekeeper’s lodge, completed in 1875 and located at the entrance to the estate, is regarded as
the finest of its type in Australia. The William Sangster-designed gardens covered 60 acres, and took years to complete. The ornamental lake covering an area of three acres was laid out in the shape of Australia, complete with a gondola from Venice and white swans from England.

The Salesians moved into the mansion in 1927 and have been owners of the property ever since.

Open House Melbourne

The Mansion is now part of the Salesian College Sunbury grounds and acts as a reception and administration hub for the College. It is opened however once a year to the public as part of Open House Melbourne. This year, it will be open to the public on Sunday 30 July between 1pm and 4pm.