PS can only presume that included on the pool party guest list will be Gilchrist’s F45 investor, Hollywood hunk Mark Wahlberg, whom Gilchrist revealed he would be catching up with next month on a trip to Las Vegas.
Gilchrist’s pool plans mean he is set to put a wrecking ball through the recently revamped, contemporary, three-storey designer house he has dropped $14 million on.
That price is almost three times the $5.4 million he paid for his Californian bungalow next door in the heady days of the property boom in 2017. Even that sale raised eyebrows around “Freshie”, coming in at $1.3 million over the reserve, and reportedly bought sight unseen.
Soon after buying the bungalow – marketed as a “near original beach house” – Gilchrist lodged plans to demolish it and build a two-storey house designed by celebrated northern beaches architect, Walter Barda, and featuring a rooftop pool.
However, those grand plans prompted objections from a few neighbours.
More than a year later, Gilchrist had hoped to keep his recent off-market deal out of the limelight, but it was revealed for all to see this week when it was filed on official title records.
However, Gilchrist rejected claims he bought the neighbour’s house because they had objected to his DA, telling Macken: “If we went to court to fight for it, we would have won and crushed everyone.”
Instead, he said he withdrew his DA because he had exchanged to buy next door and he planned to keep the original Californian bungalow to “renovate in a style that’s true to the heritage of the whole beach”.
Indeed, his affection for NSW’s beaches runs deep given he smashed all Byron Bay records this year when he bought the Wategos Beach residence of contemporary art collector and Dakota Capital head Danny Goldberg for $18.8 million.
HEMMES OUT OF THIS WORLD
For Justin Hemmes, it’s good to be king, especially when your subjects treat you like a rock star.
In the wake of the George Calombaris scandal over his company underpaying staff and the celebrity chef’s subsequent mea culpa, the way Sydney’s billionaire bar baron is worshipped by his Merivale staff is truly remarkable.
“I love my staff, they are my business. I can build beautiful venues but they are the ones that make us stand out from the rest,” Hemmes told PS.
On Tuesday night Hemmes shared the love by hosting his annual staff awards, with 2500 of his 3500 staff treated to a lavish knees-up inside a giant sound stage at Fox Studios.
The theme was Out Of This World, and Hemmes arrived in a spacesuit, descending from the heavens looking a bit like David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
“It was completely safe, the insurance company had nothing to worry about,” he assured PS.
Hemmes says his business has had a “pretty good” year, and while he agreed trading conditions were tough he said that would not deter him from “continuing to do what we do”.
Between now and the end of the year Merivale plans to open and relaunch 10 new venues across Sydney. And yes, he is always on the lookout for new sites, though hosed down rumours he could soon swoop on Surry Hills’ Hollywood Hotel.
“It’s a beautiful looking pub though,” he confided to PS.
As for Hemmes’ much scrutinised private life, the father of two who broke up with the mother of his daughters, Kate Fowler, just over a year ago, says there are only two ladies in his life at present.
“And that’s my daughters, Alexa and Saachi … that’s more than enough for me right now,” he laughed.
‘A LIST’ GAY WEDDING ON COCKATOO ISLAND
While the venue’s name managed to generate a few cheap laughs during the speeches, there was no expense spared last Saturday when what must rank as Sydney’s biggest same-sex wedding took place on Cockatoo Island.
Some 600 “nearest and dearest” boarded a flotilla of ferries to the island to celebrate the union of art collectors, philanthropists and all round Sydney “A list” gays, investment banker Peter Wilson and his partner, barrister James Emmett (grandson of Sir Laurence Street and son of Justices Sylvia and Arthur Emmett).
Indeed it was a veritable who’s who of Sydney’s big money, legal and art worlds, which Wilson later explained: “I guess we are just so lucky that we have that many people we care about and that we love, who we wanted to be part of the day.”
The wedding took place exactly 20 years after the pair were set up on a blind date at Chifley Plaza. Tattinger flowed throughout the day as guests were served a three-course luncheon in the huge Turbine Hall.
The couple’s 16 godchildren made up the rest of the wedding party, the boys and girls decked out in cute sailors’ outfits for the occasion, while actor Virginia Gay was master of ceremonies.
“We were very supportive of the Yes campaign despite the unnecessarily painful plebiscite … a lot of our friends and family suffered through that period, a few relationships were tested. This was a way to celebrate fraternity, to have a happy, more positive event and we wanted to do it with everyone we love,” Wilson said from London, where the couple have embarked on their honeymoon.
Waiting for them back in Sydney at their extraordinary Woolloomooloo warehouse is their pair of Italian greyhounds, Mac and Ali, which were not allowed on Cockatoo Island but were able to witness the ceremony from their own boat.
“Of course they had to be there,” Wilson enthused.
ABBOTT’S MILK RUN
Former prime minister Tony Abbott told a Herald photographer early on Thursday morning he was “visiting a friend” when he was spotted far from his Forestville home around 7am on Woolloomooloo Wharf.
And being such a good friend, Abbott even ducked out to pick up a carton of milk to take back to the one-bedroom apartment in the swanky Finger Wharf apartment complex.
PS did a bit of further digging, only to discover the property was purchased in May by one Michael Siddle, who has recently been in the news as being one of the big beneficiaries from his late friend, billionaire healthcare baron Paul Ramsay’s estate.
Siddle, one of Ramsay’s oldest friends and colleagues, and his family landed a $200 million bequest.
Siddle is intimately involved in Ramsay’s larger legacy through the Paul Ramsay Foundation, and in turn the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, the controversial organisation that has sparked a raging culture war in his name.
Abbott is a regular at the Ramsay Centre’s regular gabfests, and he and his wife Margie were there again a fortnight ago to hear social psychologist and New York University professor of ethical leadership Jonathan Haidt.
STAR’S UNUSUAL DIRECTION
According to Max Markson – who is still managing the socialite formerly known as Kate Fischer’s media career – James Packer’s former fiancee who now goes by Tziporah Malkah “has absolutely not lost her mind”.
Well, a few of her Instagram followers may beg to differ, given the alarming image of a black eye and claims she was assaulted, only to be ignored by the police, which she posted on Wednesday morning.
PS tried to reach Tziporah to no avail, while Markson, who has earned a pretty penny out of parading her through the weekly trash mags and got her a gig on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, assured PS “everything is fine”.
NSW Police were unable to shed any light either, given there were no reports filed about her claims, though from her post it was not clear when the alleged incident was supposed to have taken place.
Regardless, it was a most distressing image to post on social media, despite Tziporah’s somewhat hollow pleas for people to remain calm and not to worry. Seriously?
But a trawl through her Insta posts over the past few weeks is certainly not for the faint-hearted, from her bed sheet fashion parade to a series of “art” shots featuring her lacy knickers hanging between her ankles.
It would appear her career as a social media influencer needs a little more consideration, and a lot better art direction.
LEGAL SETBACK FOR HADLEY OVER DEFAMATION
Ray Hadley already has one legal drama brewing with his former best friend and colleague Chris Bowen launching proceedings over bullying claims, and on Friday another of his foes, sports journalist Josh Massoud, had a victory in the District Court which dismissed an attempted to have his claims for aggravated damages in his defamation proceedings dismissed.
Massoud is suing Hadley’s employer, 2GB, along with KIIS 106.5FM, The Daily
Telegraph, Nine Network, and Fox Sports over reports published in May 2018 which resulted from a blistering attack by Hadley on Massoud which featured on his radio show.
The defendants unsuccessfully argued Massoud’s claim was an abuse of process in that the resources expended to determine the claims were out of proportion to the interest at stake and that even if
successful, Massoud’s damages would be nominal.
Judge Mahony SC found that it was “clearly arguable that the publications are defamatory”. He went on to find that “On the basis of the evidence before me, I am not persuaded that the plaintiff’s damages, in the event he is successful, will necessarily be nominal…nor am I persuaded that the costs of the proceedings are out of all proportion to the interest at stake”.
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.