A Mosman house left to the University of Sydney by alumnus Kathleen Laurence has been listed for AUD $8.5 million, ahead of its auction in early April. Laurence bequeathed the home along with $700,000 to the university in 1972, when she died of a heart attack, under the condition that her sister Angela ‘Joy’ Laurence be granted a life interest in the property. The double-block, four-bedroom house across the road from Sirius Cove Beach is now on the market after Joy’s passing last year.
The property will likely sell for “vastly more” than it would have half a century ago when it goes to auction on 13 April, according to Domain. While the average house price in Mosman in 1977 was $57,500, that figure now sits at $4.75 million, having risen 11.1 per cent last year alone.
The house is “like a living museum to life in the early 1970s,” according to selling agent Cameron Scott, of McGrath. Records show Ms Laurence purchased the house in 1957 for £9750, adding the adjoining block of bushland to the property two years later for 10 shillings.
Laurence has made several other contributions to the University since she graduated with a Master of Arts in the late 1930s, including the establishment of the Theresa G Makinson Prize in Horticulture. At the time of her death, the University established the G. A. M Heydon Memorial fund in accordance with her wishes to honour her cousin Dr George Heydon, Australia’s first parasitologist.
Laurence was a teacher at Mudgee High School and a librarian at Sydney Boys High School before she died in August 1972.
In 2019, the University of Sydney received $79.9 million in philanthropic contributions, of its total $457.7 million in private-source income. Figures for 2020 and 2021 are yet to be released.