‘Trincomalee’ is truly one of the most special properties we’ve ever seen. Accessible only by boat in northern Sydney’s Lovett Bay, the 1896 house initially belonged to a Scottish opera singer, then the family of famed businessman Mark Foy.
The property eventually passed hands in 1979 to the family of Justine Johnston, who grew up in the home.
Garden designer and owner of Garden Life Richard Unsworth was first introduced to Trincomalee as Justine’s guest 25 years ago. ‘I’d spend the festive period in the boat shed and I’d never visited a house quite like it. I fell instantly in love,’ he says.
Six years ago, when Justine’s mother required a more accessible home, Richard, Justine, and their respective partners jointly bought the house to keep it in the family.
The house was renovated in the 1970s in a modernist style, but remains untouched by Richard and Justine who spend weekends here holidaying.
‘It’s so wonderfully eccentric with all its Australian timbers that haven’t ever been painted in over 120 years,’ says Richard.
What Richard and Justine have done is spend endless hours tending to the previously overgrown garden using mostly Indigenous plants, grasses, and salvaged stone. Even as a garden designer who’s established numerous outdoor spaces, Richard says ‘It’s like I’ve learned to garden again being here.’
‘This place is about celebrating the natural, the surrounding gum trees, and the wildlife (with wallabies constantly coming in and eating plants!),’ he says.
In describing what he loves most about this home, Richard paints a perfect picture of this magical place. ‘The natural landscape and bush around Pittwater is simply stunning, and it’s right on our doorstep…It’s a place to melt and forget about the hustle and bustle of the big smoke,’ he says. ‘Lazing in the window seat reading a favourite book, feeling the warm breeze through the windows – it’s so dreamy.’
If you would like to visit this home yourself, you can! Richard runs a monthly charity bush walk raising funds for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which concludes at Trincomalee for lunch.
Book your tickets to Richard’s upcoming bush walk and Trincomalee charity events here!