A vintage collection to die for

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th July, 2013

For David Bailie and his wife Ellen the landmark property Kaweka on 1.6 hectares at 184 Hargraves Street, Castlemaine was the perfect setting for his veteran, vintage and classic collection of Rolls Royces and Bentleys.

Kaweka was built in 1896 for former Wellington Lord Mayor John Thompson, who had moved to Castlemaine to manage the local foundry (which occupies a prominent place in the town’s history). After he died in 1910, the home was acquired by a local solicitor and then 18 years later by store owner Harry McIntosh, who sold it to the Bailies in 1986. A keen car enthusiast, David Bailie has four Rolls Royces and a 1951 4.5-litre drop head Bentley, which has been restyled with a late 1930s Van de Plas body. The Rolls Royces include 1920 and 1923 Silver Ghosts, a 1937 25/30 and a 1963 Silver Cloud 3.

Kaweka was furnished in a style befitting the period the home was built with classic antiques, grandfather clock, pianola, Australian and Aboriginal paintings, rugs, lamps, china, crystal, silverware and – because David Bailie was pharmacist – a collection of apothecary items. Adjoining the house are two workshops full of metal and woodworking lathes, tools and other machinery, along with a ride on mower and a cage trailer with canopy. The Bailies, who are now retired, recently sold Kaweka and have moved to a smaller Castlemaine property. Auctioneer Steve Graham is auctioning much of the furniture and collectibles, workshop machinery and tools on site from 10am July 14 along with two of the cars – the 1920 Silver Ghost and the Bentley. The Silver Ghost (named Harriett) is David Bailie’s pride and joy and one he spent many years restoring to Concoursd’Elegancecondition.

In its 93-year history, the car has only had five owners and is one of the few Australian Ghosts with its British original body and perhaps the only one to have a detachable cabriolet hard top. The car was originally built for Edmund Paul, then managing director of Schweppes Australia, and toured France before being shipped to Sydney in November 1921 on the SS Orsova. David Bailie purchased the vehicle in 2001 and his full body restoration included the fitting of a cocktail bar ideal for vintage rally picnics.

Harriett was awarded best car overall in the RACV Fly the Flag Rally and is a classic winner in the Victorian RROC Concours.

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