Nobel winner Florey’s home is a smart buy
The childhood summer home of Nobel prize-winner Sir Howard Florey has hit the market for the first time in more than 30 years.
Jo and Craig Smith bought the home named Nunkerri – an aboriginal word for beautiful view or beautiful place – off-market 30 years ago and Mrs Smith said she instantly felt a connection to it.
“We bought it in about 15 minutes – the minute we saw it we loved it,” she said.
With the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home having not been updated since the early ‘90s, the couple, who specialise in buying and selling classic American cars, gave it a full renovation, installing a new Jag kitchen, modernising the home and adding a large rear veranda for outdoor entertainment.
“We have sympathetically restored it and kept true to the property and let it shine in a very natural way without trying to bring it into the modern age just for the sake of it,” Mrs Smith said.
“I feel like we’ve done a good job and we’ve really been custodians of this place – I don’t think you ever own a house like this, I think you are a caretaker and pass it on to the next caretaker because you can’t own the history, that belongs to the whole neighbourhood.”
It was only after they bought it that the Smiths learned it was once the childhood home of the creator of the world’s first antibiotic penicillin, 1945 Nobel prize-winner Howard Florey.
“The previous owners later shared with us that it was the summer residence of the Florey family and passed on these photos to us with the Florey family sitting in a car outside the front of the house, with a young Howard in a little sailor’s costume,” Mrs Smith said.
“They used to live in Springfield for a large part of the year in a home called Coreega … and then they would toodle up the hill to the cooler environs of Belair and spend the summer months here.
“In our time living here we’ve had a few doorknocks from the council saying that it’s been included in the historic walk, and sometimes when I’m out in the front garden people will come and share with us a bit of the history of the property also.
“It’s quite overwhelming and humbling, and given it’s got these big beautiful walls I often think ‘if only these walls could talk’.”
“It almost feels like a house of wellness – it’s got a lot of energy about it and the plants and the birdlife – everything seems to thrive in this environment. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence, but I don’t think it is.”
The couple are now moving to acreage in Tasmania, with Mrs Smith saying she will miss the home terribly.
“If this were on acreage we would never move,” she said.
The home is on the market without a price guide through Grant Giordano and Ross Smith of Sotheby’s International Realty Adelaide