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Craig Pontey’s Blog – The Lodge

By Craig Pontey

The Lodge, The White House, 10 Downing Street and The Palace

September 25, 2013 by Craig Pontey

Tony Abbot has delayed moving into The Lodge in Canberra because it is having some urgent repairs done. Nothing too fancy though, more to do with essential maintenance like a leaking roof and while The Prime Minister and his family still have access to Kirribilli House the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia, but are we short changing our new ‘first family’.

How does The Lodge and Kirribilli compare to The White House in Washington, 10 Downing Street, London and even Buckingham Palace, for a bit of post election interest lets take a look.

Clearly these properties may never come onto the market but it has been suggest that 10 Downing Street might be valued at what looks like a very conservative £6-7 million.

The White House

If you were in Washington and interested in a new home the White House is estimated to have a selling price of US$320 million, according to the real estate website It is a 132-room mansion on 18 acres with a pool, greenhouse, bowling alley and a dentist’s office. And if The White House were for rent it would cost US$1.8 million a month.

Buckingham Palace

According to estimates by the Nationwide Building Society, published about 12 months ago, Buckingham Palace has gone up in value by 9000% since 1952 when the Queen came to the throne.

They estimated that Buckingham Palace was worth £11m when the Queen came to the throne and has now risen to around the £1bn mark. In comparison the average UK house in 1952 was valued at £1,891 and is now £162,722.

A New Lodge?

While there are no plans at this time for a new residence in Canberra as part of the current celebrations for the Centenary of Canberra the University of Canberra and the Gallery of Australian Design invited design ideas for a possible new official residence for the Prime Minister of Australia on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra 242 entries were received.

The winning designs of The Lodge on the Lake design ideas competition provide inspired concepts of how our future Prime Ministers could live in an exemplary building located on one of Canberra’s finest sites. The First Prize of $80,000 was awarded to Jack Davies and team members Nicholas Roberts and Henry Stephens and the designs of the finalists will be on exhibition at the Gallery of Australian Design from 15 August to 19 October 2013.


Kirribilli House was built in 1854 by Adolphus Frederick Feez, the property passed through many private hands until William Hughes the Prime Minister of the day, acquired the property for the Commonwealth Government in 1920, but it was not until 1956 that Kirribilli House was set aside for overseas guests of the Commonwealth and for use by the Prime Minister as an official Sydney residence.

The Lodge

The Lodge in Canberra is situated within 1.8 hectares of grounds and is traditionally the principal residence of the Prime Minister of Australia. The Federal Capital Commission first used the name ‘The Lodge’ in the mid 1920s. The Lodge was built during 1926/27 at a total cost of £28,319. Prime Minister Stanley Bruce and his wife Ethel Bruce were the first occupants of The Lodge, moving in on 4 May 1927.

While The Lodge is being renovated and repaired while in Canberra like some former PMs Tony Abbott will live with Australian Federal Police recruits at a cost of $120 a night.

It looks like it may still be some years before the value of The Lodge has to be tested in the Canberra residential market, and as to its value well It think something less than either the White House, or 10 Downing Street and way less then ‘The Palace.’

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