Fortuna Villa is one of those very few properties in Australia which is fit for a king.
Because this historic mansion was indeed built for a king.
In a city strewn with remarkable gold rush buildings, Fortuna Villa is truly a central Victorian landmark and it's back on the market again.
Built to overlook Bendigo from Victoria Hill, the building is an immediate reminder of that period when Bendigo was the richest place on the planet.
But Bendigo's wealth would likely not have been revealed without the drive of people like "quartz king" George Lansell.
And yes, Fortuna Villa was the mansion he created to display many of those riches.
The first fossickers collected nuggets like fat plums from the Bendigo Creek but when all the alluvial gold was picked clean, and all the gravel washed, the miners had to follow the quartz seams deep underground, and that's where Lansell came in.
George was born in England in 1823 and arrived in Bendigo with his brother in 1853 and opened a successful butchery, soap and candle factory - his family's trade.
He later became interested in deep reef mining through the introduction of diamond drills and, despite many setbacks, with his eventual success he was in hot demand.
He struck fortune with his purchase of the 180 mine, part of the New Chum Reef when he dug even deeper to discover lode after lode.
He became director of 38 mines and at one stage had links to almost every mine in Bendigo.
It was once estimated gold worth about $10 billion in today's values was pulled from the Victoria Hill diggings by people like Lansell.
Fortuna was built in the shadow of that fabulous mine in the 1850s by Christopher Ballerstedt, and was in 1871 bought by Lansell for 20,000 pounds.
Over the rest of his life, Lansell set about turning the place into legend.
Lansell returned to England in 1880 but seven years later, in response to a letter signed by 2628 citizens he returned to the then struggling goldfields.
He died in 1906, the same year grateful citizens erected a larger than life statue to the man adjacent to the historic Bendigo post office building.
The king's home is a mash-up of several architectural styles - Victorian Italianate and Victorian Free Classical, with Federation influences.
Lansell remodelled the mansion in the late 1880s which was lavishly furnished with pieces collected from around the globe.
He designed the spacious gardens with walks, lakes and imported plants.
Fortuna Villa was compulsorily acquired by the Federal government during World War II when it was headquarters for the military's map-makers until 2008.
Of recent times it has been restored, refurbished and converted into a luxury hotel and wedding venue.
It still has almost four hectares of gardens, roman baths and a lake.
Fortuna Villa is being offered for sale via expressions of interest closing April 14.
No suggested price has been offered for the sale but before all the renovations current owner Paul Banks bought it for between $2-$3 million in 2013.
JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group has been appointed to handle the sale. For more information contact Will Connolly on 0432 116287 or Nick MacFie on 0415 673197.
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