The Beleura Story
Beleura’s story is a richly layered one. Now state listed, Beleura was home to successive generations of distinguished Australians over 160 years. Beleura is exceptional not only for its fine architecture and gardens but for the intimate and personal life it reveals of its last owner, the gentleman and composer, John Tallis.
Visitors will discover a personal story amidst the many household items, artefacts and collection of a life lived in residence at Beleura over 48 years. Now it has been left to future generations to enjoy..
The History of Beleura
Originally part of the hunting grounds of the Bunurong peoples, Beleura became a pastoral lease in the 1840s.
Goldfields merchant, James Butchart, originally leased Beleura before purchasing the land and building a fine marine villa to mark his success. He was the first of a succession of landowners who purchased Beleura after securing their fortune in colonial Melbourne.
In the twentieth century Beleura’s historical significance was revealed in its connection to the cultural world of the theatre. Sir George Tallis was an owner of J C Williamson Pty Ltd, a global theatrical empire.
Beleura is one of the few surviving exclusive summer retreats built for Melbourne merchants that ringed the Mornington Peninsula.
Beleura’s architecture is classical in a renaissance revival style. A grand colonnade creates a monumental sense of proportion. The original features of the house also include later twentieth-century frescoes by Wesley Penberthy, after Italian palace ceilings.
The Gardens surrounding Beleura are built for pleasure. They include a tree-lined drive, a formal Italian garden and fountain pool designed by Harold Desbrowe-Annear. Additional garden spaces including an Asian Garden and Hansel and Gretel garden were designed and installed by owner John Tallis over the course of his lifetime.
The Tallis Pavilion
Beleura is a place for music to be made. The Tallis family’s long association with theatre and musical performance created many stars of the stage. John Tallis was a successful composer and dedicated pianist. It was his vision to ensure Beleura encourage talented performers and celebrated musicians.
Beleura has an annual program of musical events and performances that can be enjoyed in an intimate recital centre that houses two Stuart & Sons pianos.
Beleura includes an original collection belonging to the house, reflecting the taste and interests of its successive owners. Countless homewares and household items in situ reveal how people lived in the past. These include the artworks and paintings chosen by Sir George Tallis as well as the collection of John Tallis.