Famous 19th century newspaper proprietor Hamilton home and contents for auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 14th February, 2020

Kilora, the homestead belonging to one of Australia’s best known 19th century newspaper editors and proprietors, George Henry Mott (1831-1906), will be auctioned in Hamilton, Victoria, from 11am Sunday February 23 by Christian McCann Auctions.

The house sale, at 45 Kennedy Street, will be followed at 12pm by its contents. Considered one of the most important houses in Hamilton it was built for Mott – who at that stage was editor of the Hamilton Spectator – in 1871 on the best site in town.

On 0.4 hectares and with five bedrooms, sitting rooms and a billiard room, Kilora (which was once a restaurant) has many possibilities including as a potential B&B.

Migrating in 1853 with his wife Allegra from London, Mott was employed first by the Argus and then the Melbourne Morning Herald before buying an interest in a Beechworth newspaper and in 1856 establishing the Border Post in Albury.

An aborted attempt to move to Fiji (deterred by the massacre of settlers in that country) led to the acquisition of the Hamilton Spectator around 1869 and the building of Kilora.

By 1885, Mott was back in Melbourne as managing director of Gordon & Gotch and three years later started the Kew Mercury in which in 1895 he published his Reminiscences of a Victorian Journalist.

A lively speaker and active politically, Mott was prominent in several political campaigns including a move for the Riverina district to become a separate colony.

One of his sons Hamilton established Albury’s Border Morning Mail.

The following antique and fine arts auction will be significant for a selection of original Australian paintings by prominent artists such as Jans Hendrik Scheltema, Pro Hart, Hugh Sawrey, David Boyd, Andris Jansons, Darcy Doyle and Taylor Ghee.

English and French 18th and 19th century furniture includes a four-door mahogany carved sideboard, a reeded leg extension table, carved chiffonier, signed library bookcase and carved walnut salon suite.

Another attraction is a full-size mahogany billiard table by Aldcocks, complete with cues and other accessories, along with 19th century French cabinets, commodes and salon mirrors.

Timepieces include ormolu and porcelain salon clocks and clock sets, English bracket and carriage clocks and tube striking longcase examples. 

Antique porcelain from Royal Worcester, Sevres, Royal Vienna, Coulport, Dresden and Meissen are a great bonus for collectors.

One of the more unusual items is a rare antique telescope – along with hand woven Persian carpets.

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