- By Olivia Radford
Nestled in the Brookby Valley is a charming 19th century colonial villa with an extraordinary story to tell.
It was once owned by an English captain; used as a casino by World War II American servicemen; and a film set for a fantasy Netflix show.
The graciously appointed five-bedroom home at 75 Sutton Road sits in majestic, established grounds that make for a gardener’s dream and the location of this 13-hectare piece of exquisite rural lifestyle is an equestrian’s paradise.
The house was originally built in the 1880s on St Heliers Estate (later known as Tuhimata Street).
It was owned by renowned sea captain Joseph Lucas Clark who had emigrated from England with his family. So, the rumour goes, ships that Clark captained seemed prone to shipwreck.
The most notable was the SS Jedah sailing for Malaysia with around 1000 pilgrims on-board.
The ship took on water and Clark, with his family and senior crew members, abandoned ship, leaving passengers to perish. But the Jeddah didn’t sink. In fact, it arrived at the nearest port not long after the captain himself to much astonishment.
It was to be more than 100 years before another captain would desert his sinking ship and passengers while at sea. Captain Francesco Schettino abandoned the Concordia cruise liner off the Italian island of Giglio in 2012.
From 1902, the pretty St Heliers villa came to be known as one of Auckland’s most elegant mansions famed for sophisticated entertaining on a grand scale and had various owners.
Amongst others, they included a doctor, a mayor and, for a time during World War II, even became a casino.
In 1996 the house was moved to Brookby, with its high stud ceilings, veranda overlooking a large lily pond with private jetty, formal dining and living rooms and an impressive ballroom with crystal chandeliers.
In 2020 the house and grounds were the setting for a scene of American Netflix show Sweet Tooth that also featured New Zealand musician Marlon Williams.
“The house has made a remarkable transition from historic homestead to a contemporary residence retaining its old-world charm throughout,” says local resident Sarah Richardson of NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Auckland Southeast, who is marketing the property for sale.
“The location and setting are second-to-none, it really is country living at its best.”
A horse lovers’ paradise, the borders of the Papatoetoe Pony Club providing members access to some of the very best equestrian facilities in New Zealand, right at the back door.
The barn on the property was previously used as a rustic event space and has the capacity to accommodate 10 loose boxes for horses.
“This stunning property is perfectly suited for equestrians or families looking for larger lifestyle land around Brookby, Clevedon or Whitford,” says Richardson.
“It is a rare opportunity to purchase a grand home of this magnitude and acreage.”