The White House
Built in 1854 and originally known as Berkeley Hall, this Classical beauty was custom built as the residence for Victoria’s then-Crown Solicitor, Henry Field Gurner. It is believed to be the third-oldest significant building in St Kilda and is renowned for being one of the earlier works of prominent architect Albert Purchas.
As of the 1890s, Berkeley Hall was the only house built between Dalgety and Burnett streets, with two large courtyards and gardens facing Dalgety Street. Gurner resided at the home until his death in 1883, and was buried nearby at St Kilda Cemetery. His wife Augusta remained there until she passed in 1917, when the property was sold for the first time and the land divided into smaller blocks. Throughout its 160-year history, the house has been expanded, renovated and used for multiple purposes believed to span from personal residence to boys’ home to office. It now shares the street and surrounding blocks with several prominent historic homes that helped shape the early identity of The City of Port Philip.
In 2008, under the care of Small Giants, the home received an overhaul of love and affection, including a full restoration and the planting of a productive, edible garden. She’s now known to us as The White House, and is where we work, eat, laugh, debate, learn, listen, live and play table tennis with great people.
The White House is home to Small Giants and a few of our portfolio businesses - Impact Investment Group, TOM Organic, Dumbo Feather, The Sociable Weaver and Small Giants Developments - as well as B Lab Australia & New Zealand and Beatrix Rowe Interior Design, two values-aligned businesses we love. It also serves as the backdrop for numerous events throughout the year, designed to inspire, enlighten, nourish, feed, provoke discussion and entertain.
We care about the environment and do what we can for our home to be as gentle on the planet as it can be. We have 25kW of photovoltaic cells which cover a good part of our energy use. The rest comes from certified green power. We use solar to heat our hot water. We compost our organic waste on site and use it in the garden. We do our best to stock our kitchen, bathroom and supply rooms with planet-friendly soaps, cleaning products, organic fruit baskets, recycled paper, hygiene products and more, and preference products made locally in Melbourne wherever possible.