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Located in North Caulfield, Labassa is an unusually elaborate 19th-century mansion which has some of the richest surviving interior building decoration in the State. Architect J.A.B. Koch enlarged an earlier house to create the 35-room mansion in 1890 named Ontario by the then owner, Canadian Alexander Robertson. The typical Italianate mansion form features a Germanic character of bold volumes contrasted with lush mainly French Renaissance elaboration. Despite being used as flats for many years, the interior, featuring mainly 1890 decoration including painted scenes, stencilled decoration, embossed wallpapers, carved timber, parquetry and tiles, remains largely intact. Bequeathed to the National Trust in 1981, it is one of their flagship properties.

Rohan Storey