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Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea

Home > Melbourne > Exhibitions | Fashion | Gardens | Historic Houses | Television
by Carole Kelly (subscribe)
An avid reader,writer,traveller, sports enthusiast living in beachside Melbourne & working in the city. Always curious about what's around the corner.
Event: -
Find the pearl handled revolver at Rippon Lea Estate
Grand Rippon Lea

Glamorous Miss Phryne Fisher - photo courtesy of The National Trust

My interest in a visit to Ripponlea began when I took my car into VIP Carcare in Moorabbin last week and there, holding pride of place in the workshop, was the gleaming 1923 maroon Hispano Suiza that featured in the ABC series 1 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. The vehicle I was told, was being prepared for Series 2 which commenced last Friday.

Hispano -Suiza

The murder mystery series features the personal and professional life of a very glamorous, modern day female Private Detective. The series is set in Melbourne during the 1920s with the stylish and daring Miss Phyrne choosing to live alone, entertaining several lovers and tackling villains in Melbourne's Jazz Clubs with her pearl handled pistol. Phryne wears exotic costumes and sports a sleek bob hair style. Over 120 costumes were made for the first series which portrayed circuses, night clubs and the docks.

Side view Rippon Lea

Ornate Entrance

The grand estate of Rippon Lea at Elsternwick also features in the series as the home of Aunt Prudence and this National Trust heritage listed property is currently housing an exhibition with 30 costumes from both series on display during September and October. Take your camera along and be photographed at the entrance to the exhibition in some of Phryne Fisher's flowing robes .

The Stunning Conservatory

Blossoming Fruit Trees

A bit about Rippon Lea......
In 1868, the original owner (Fredrick Sargood) purchased 26 acres of crown land 8 kms from the city and built a two story, 15 room house. Extensive gardens were laid out around the house which featured glasshouses, vegetable gardens, orchards and a man-made lake to allow for water self sufficiency. The house was added to many times including an extension to the North which included a tower. The Polychromatic Romanesque architecture was inspired by that of the Lombardy region in northern Italy. Rippon Lea was the first house in Australia to be lit by electricity (powered by its own generators). It also had an electrically powered bell to communicate with the servants quarters and kitchen below the stairs.

Lillies on the Lake

On Fredrick's death in 1903, a group consortium of real estate developers lead by Sir Thomas Bent planned to demolish the house and carve up the land. The house sat empty for 6 years while the orchards and paddocks were sold off. On the death of Sir Thomas, the property was put on the market (1910) and purchased by the Nathans family (Maples furniture stores owners). On their death, their daughter Louisa (Jones) inherited the estate along with 1 million pounds.

Hollywood Style Pool

To allow her to entertain in lavish style, Louisa remodelled and renovated extensively, redecorating in the classical Hollywood film style of the 30s. Gold embossed wallpaper and marble columns were painted white and the original ornate, iron framed ballroom made way for a "Hollywood" swimming pool and a new ballroom. Fourteen acres of gardens were retained. A modern ground floor kitchen was added and the below stairs kitchen and service area was sealed off to preserve the 19C features which include a cool room, wine cellar and large fuel stove.

Rotunda on Central Lawn

For the 1956 Olympics, the Victorian Government took possession of a section of the property to house the new ABC TV studios. On her death, Louisa bequeathed the estate to the National Trust.

Extensive Fernery

As you wander around the estate, you'll come across the rotunda, archery hut, boat shed, iron bridges and the lake house. You can't miss the lookout tower, the windmill nor the tunnel under the waterfall. When you visit, remember to take note of the lake, iron-framed fernery, swimming pool and ballroom.

Lookout Tower gives great views

The Windmill

At the Gatehouse , the entrance to the estate you can purchase exhibition items as seen on TV during the series. There's an array of earrings, scissors, candlestick holders, vases and bowls, cards, feather pens and DVDs.

The Gift Shop

The exhibition runs until Sunday 27th October and is open from 10am -4:30pm every day.

Miss Fisher's Costume Exhibition
Rippon Lea Estate
192 Hotham St

Ph: 9523 6095

Open: 10am -4:30pm every day until Sunday 27th October

Adults $15
Conc $12
Child $ 9
Family $35

National Trust Members:
Adult $10
Conc $ 7
Child $ 4
Family $20

Exotic Palm

Arch under the waterfall (when it rains)
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Why? Exotic Fashion at stunning house & gardens
When: Sept & Oct Everyday 10am-4:30pm
Phone: 96569889
Where: Rippon Lea Estate Elsternwick
Cost: S15 Adult, $10 Conc, $9 Ch, $35 Family
Your Comment
Lovely photos gorgeous building. This is one of my favourite gardens in Melbourne.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|5675) 2231 days ago
Stunning building.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12470) 2231 days ago
Beautiful gardens and gorgeous costumes!
by march (score: 1|42) 2217 days ago
What a great exhibition.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|403) 2193 days ago
The exhibition has now been extended until 1 December.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|403) 2190 days ago
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