Although he left many a mark on the face of Melbourne, almost none of the marks wound up being what their maker, Vladimir Czatzdo, had intended them to be. His assorted property developments inevitably failed, albeit for excitingly new and different reasons each time. But Czatzdo was determined to leave a legacy on Melbourne, and in time – and in spite of himself – he succeeded.

As Czatzdo entered his ninth decade, he felt the weight of his years and that of his failures as well. Knowing that he probably would not live to see it come to fruition, he risked what remained of his fortune on one last throw of the dice. And what a throw it was! Unlike his friendly rival William Ross, Czatzdo would not settle for a mere railway line. He would have a mansion – a palace!

For the site, he chose a hill overlooking Gardiner’s Vale, with a lovely view towards the city (whence, on a clear day, the spires of the cathedrals and the clock towers of government and business could be seen). And betwixt Warrigal and Poath roads, near to Dandenong road, construction began.

Characteristically, the money ran out, but not before Czatzdo’s heartbeats did. Presumably he died happy, thinking of the grand future of his palace. One rather wonders what he would think of the enormous retail palace bearing his family’s name it became.

Suburbs near Chadstone:

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