PS reports on the latest gossip from Sydney

But not everything was smooth. When he first arrived in Australia, customs officers demanded he cover up the “dirty” badges sewn onto the denim jacket and jeans ensemble he wore as he walked through Sydney Airport.


These days, those badges are probably of the Gucci variety, as the luxury fashion house designed its costumes for the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, which is expected to gross more than $661 million and sell 4.5 million tickets.

mission destruction

It’s the $67 million design that was reduced to a heap in Rose Bay and left longtime locals baffled after a pre-Christmas wrecking ball was ripped through the Spanish Mission Villa Florida’s historic mansion, a landmark that’s graced the home for decades Deep plunged foreshore.

Along with one of Sydney’s most iconic homes, the bulldozers have also wiped out one of the city’s great social chapters. The now-ruined 1938 five-bedroom mansion, listed as an unlisted monument due to later renovations, had colonnaded courtyards, barley sugar columns, a sprawling ballroom, grand two-story vaulted ceilings and its own ‘minstrels’ gallery’. .

The Tivoli Avenue property has often been featured in the herald social sites, scene of many fabulous cocktail parties, wedding receptions, charity balls and elegant singles soirees in the 1940s and 1950s.

Rose Bay's Florida mansion no longer exists, having been reduced to a pile of rubble before Christmas.

Rose Bay’s Florida mansion no longer exists, having been reduced to a pile of rubble before Christmas.

As a former owner and satirist Barry Humphries The house, which was still largely intact at the time, was sold more than 30 years ago, he said herald: “You know, it was a reception building from the 1930s. If you’re slightly psychic, you might encounter a spooky reveler in a paper hat and black tie blowing a whistle and making his way out of the ballroom.

“And with binoculars you can see who is going to the opera from each of the three spacious terraces. The seaplane to Berowra Waters Restaurant is a short swim from the private beach. The art deco bathroom features a megastar-length mosaic bathtub. And I’m giving away the three friendly goldfish in the Spanish courtyard to the next lucky owner.”

This week former Woollahra councilor, architecture enthusiast and activist Anthony Marano described its demolition as a “tragedy”.

“It is really incredible. Spanish mission houses are so well adapted to Sydney’s climate, with their courtyards, archways and terraces, and it is a tragedy that we have lost another example. It’s clearly the place and its views that the recent owner is most interested in, not the incredible house – albeit altered over the years – that once stood here,” Marano told PS.

The demolition of Villa Florida in Rose Bay is underway on Thursday.

The demolition of Villa Florida in Rose Bay is underway on Thursday.Credit:Oscar Colman

This new owner is an insurance manager Jim Angelisthe founder of Australia’s largest privately held insurance broker, Coverforce, who bought the property for $45 million in late 2021, according to PS’s sister column Title Deeds.

A year later, on October 27, the Woollahra Council rejected Angelis’ development proposal to build an $18 million multi-story modernist home, effectively a series of flat rectangular boxes stacked on top of each other down the steep hillside . with underground parking and new swimming pool and lawn terraces.

The council cited encroachment on the harbour’s foreshore, excessive excavation, the visual impact of the proposed new eaves and lack of privacy mitigation as reasons for rejecting Angelis’s magnificent design. Angelis has not responded to PS’s inquiries this week.


The council also commissioned a heritage assessment of the Villa Florida, which on November 22 found, largely due to a renovation in the late 1990s, that “none of the criteria developed by the Heritage Council for assessing the importance of cultural heritage are adequately met.”

“The integrity of the building and its contribution to Tivoli Avenue and its surroundings have been compromised by significant changes to its original exterior and interior structure that have obscured its original design, planning and beautification.”

Within a few weeks the house was gone. PS understands the demolition work took place under the NSW Government’s Compliant Development Certificate (CDC) issued under the Demolition Code via a private certifier, effectively bypassing Woollahra Council while a revised development application for the site was still pending not submitted to the Council.

Rise of Musk

There’s an interesting footnote to these drones sculpting giant jellyfish and seahorses above the crowds at this year’s Elevate festival on the Cahill Expressway.

Increase the creative director Anton Bastic said PS that the 600+ drones shipped this year belong to none other than Kimbal Muskthe slightly poorer brother of billionaire global disruptor, space nut and twitter tragedian Elon Musk.

Musk drones at the Elevate festival over Sydney Harbor this week.

Musk drones at the Elevate festival over Sydney Harbor this week.Credit:James Brickwood

Last year, Kimbal Musk founded a lightweight drone company called Nova Sky Stories, which works with local creatives around the world to host drone shows. Musk was inspired to start the business after having an epiphany during Free Burn 2021 in the Nevada desert, when COVID-19 restrictions resulted in Burning Man’s annual wooden effigy being replaced with a drone show. Musk now owns more than 9,000 light drones.

Bastic sent two members of his team to Nova Sky Stories’ US base to learn from Musk’s specialists how to operate the drones, which he described as the most advanced in the world.

“They also float on water, which was a huge added benefit given our show is taking place over Sydney Harbour,” explained Bastic, although despite adverse weather conditions this year none of them appear to have ended up in the drink.

Elon Musk's brother Kimbal is also a billionaire.

Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal is also a billionaire.Credit:Bloomberg

In its second year, Elevate, which concludes tonight, has firmly established itself as part of Sydney’s January highlights, allowing Sydneysiders to reclaim the vast and much-maligned Autobahn.

Rocking Amadeus

Welsh actor Michael Schein received rave reviews for his performances on the Sydney Opera House stage for amadeusbut backstage, 53-year-old Sydney himself gave a standing ovation, and not for the obvious reasons.

Michael Sheen in Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House.

Michael Sheen in Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House.Credit:Stefan Siewert

Of course, when Sheen landed on his first trip to Sydney, he was joined by his partner, the Swedish actress Anna Lundbergand her two little daughters, three years old lyre and six months old Mablihe went straight to the Sydney Opera House, which he describes as “one of the most iconic buildings in the world”.

But it turns out he also raves about the Broadway Shopping Center and highly recommends the baby changing rooms, calling them “some of the best” he’s seen. who knew

He has also managed to visit Darling Harbour, which he described as ‘most darling harbour’, and has seen ‘a lot’ Bluishwhom he credits with familiarizing himself with the Australian accent, which he also loves.

He has taken family to the Australian Museum, avoiding Bondi Beach’s usual attraction to neighboring Bronte as his standout Sydney beach.

amadeus runs until January 21 in the newly designed concert hall of the opera house. Sheen will be joined on stage by the Mozarts, played by Sydney locals Rachel Romahn and Lily Balatincz.

This production features a 40-piece company taking the stage at the Concert Hall, including an 11-piece ensemble, six opera singers and an 18-piece orchestra from the Sydney Metropolitan Orchestra.

Goldie greeting

After spending half a century writing a “social” column capturing the colorful characters of the Gold Coast, the former showgirl turned gossip columnist Regina King and her partner peter flowershave withdrawn from their savory sides Gold Coast Bulletinand the world is all the poorer.

Regina King and Peter Flowers have retired after 50 years of coverage of the Gold Coast Glitterati.

Regina King and Peter Flowers have retired after 50 years of coverage of the Gold Coast Glitterati.

PS is a relative newcomer to King’s fascination, having crossed paths with the energetic redhead who once sang in a drag show at the Coolangatta Hotel at the shrimp buffet in the VIP tent at the Magic Millions races more than a decade ago.

Once a showgirl: Regina King in her years before the gossip column.

Once a showgirl: Regina King in her years before the gossip column.

As one observer noted of the garish Great Barrier Reef-inspired chiffon baby doll dress King twirled in at the time, “She’d better not go to Jupiter’s Casino … we’re going to lose her in the carpet.”

“Oh darling I’m a thousand years old and my back has given up, it’s time to call it quits,” she told PS this week, adding that “Goldie” is a unique place to write a social column.

“It’s such a colorful place full of extroverts that we have lunch with peter forest All along, of course, I know he’s an impostor, but he’s also a very good socialite, that’s how things are up here.”

Flowers agrees, suspecting that outsiders see the Gold Coast as just a town of “thugs, drugs, tits and tats”… but there’s actually a little more to it, and with that comes a lot of glitter. It was a dream run for us.”

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here. PS reports on the latest gossip from Sydney

Jaclyn Diaz

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