Historic house with explosive past for sale on northern beaches

Richard and Kate Cale with their son Hunter, the current owners of the historic house in Ingleside.

When the Cale family purchased Ingleside House they quickly realised they were less the owners and more like stewards.

“There is a sense of responsibility that comes with owning a place like this, you are stewards until you pass it on,” Rick Cale explained.

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Gunpowder Storage House

Richard and Kate Cale with their teenage son Hunter, note the parquet floor and French provincial decor.

Ingleside House at 1 Manor Rd, Ingleside is a late Victorian sandstone mansion on grounds of more than 3000sqm. The original house was built in 1884, this version was built in 1939 but still has walls of more than a foot thick, a romantic stone hearth and impressive stone gateposts.

It was the home of the Von Bierens who arrived in the Colony in 1882 from America. Mr Carl Von Bieren claimed to have experience in gunpowder and explosives and persuaded the authorities it would be helpful to establish a local factory for explosives rather than relying on imports from England.

The gunpowder house at 1 Manor Rd, Ingleside. .

The rear of the house, a lovely spot for entertaining.

Notwithstanding two men being concussed and injured when Mr Von Bieren demonstrated his powder in nearby rocks he was allowed to established a powder mill factory in the Narrabeen area and built himself Ingleside House for himself and his growing family.

More recently the imposing property was also owned by renowned sailor and Wild Oats X1 skipper Mark Richards and his wife.

French doors are used to great effect in the house.

Casual television room opening to the gardens, notice the sandstone feature wall.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in semi-rural Ingleside was extensively rebuilt using original and locally quarried sandstone and presents as a luxury renovation in a garden setting. It has the feel of Bowral in the beaches with an added layer of sophistication. There is bespoke cabinetry throughout, Perrin & Rowe tapware and heated Travertine flooring.

The gracious building is surrounded by sculptured gardens, a carriageway and level lawns, an additional hectare of crown land is currently leased by the owners and useful for the family’s horse.

Inside the house has a distinctly French flavour and a love of deep red, there is a gourmet marble kitchen with a maroon-coloured wallpaper, formal living and dining room, casual living and dining rooms plus a family room that opens to the garden.

The main bedroom is on the ground floor.

The formal dining room, again very light with modern comforts.

The main bedroom has its own bathroom and walls of built ins while upstairs there are two more bedrooms, a home office and copious storage.

A separate and very large home office is within the grounds.

Rick and Kate have spent 17 years at Ingleside House, in fact they married at the front of the home and had their reception at the back in a beautiful marquee.

“The gardens are like an artwork and it always feels very rewarding to put time into them,” Mr Cale said.

The airy kitchen with skylight and copious storage.

A decadent bathroom.

They have also appreciated the sense of space and glimpses of the ocean from the home.

Guests coming to the home are shown framed historical pictures of the property and regaled with the story that the house was central to the 1980 novel by Jean Dixon, called The Riddle of Powderworks Rd.


The estate is on the State heritage register as a place of local historic significance. The surviving stonework demonstrates a high degree of technical accomplishment and is a good example of late Victorian garden stonemasonry. The mature plantings are of historic and social significance as they enhance the setting and are an important local landmark, is the government citation.

This slice of northern beaches history is being marketed by Belle Property with expressions of interest closing on April 7. The price guide is $4.1 million to $4.5 million.

And whoever buys Ingleside House will be presented with the historic pictures of the property detailing its explosive past, a reminder to care for the home and pass on its legacy.

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