A legal stoush within a wealthy family has taken a bitter turn as a mother takes her own daughter to court over a multimillion-dollar property.
It has been little over a month since Toorak millionaire Celia Burrell urged a judge to force her mother Janice Shelmerdine to allow her to cook Christmas lunch in their family holiday home.
Mrs Burrell, who has been feuding with the 84-year-old for at least a year, was granted access to the kitchen of the $11million Portsea mansion until February 26, but not the adjoining toilet.
In the latest set of legal proceedings filed on January 5, Ms Shelmerdine claimed her son Richard sold a second waterfront property in Sorrento, south of Melbourne, to her daughter for $3.4million in 2012.
Pictured: Celia Burrell with her family at Christmas. The business owner fought with her mother over whether she could use kitchen facilities at the family holiday home
Pictured: A $3.4million property in Sorrento, south of Melbourne. Janice Shelmerdine claimed her daughter had no right to buy it from her son, Richard Shelmerdine
The widow, who is related to the Myer retail clan, claimed the development – known as ‘The Sisters’ – was a joint venture between mother and son, and could not be sold without her consent, the Herald Sun reported.
According to court documents, Mrs Burrell knew her brother was breaching his legal obligations when he sold her the property.
The family matriarch has asked the court to recognise her equity or interest in the development.
Mrs Burrell first took her mother to court in July 2020, claiming she had tried to sell the Portsea sprawling clifftop estate despite promising it to her.
Celia Burrell (right, with husband Will and her eldest daughter) was engaged in a bitter feud with her mother over the use of a kitchen in a $11 million mansion on Christmas Day
The property on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula looks out over Shelly Beach in Portsea and boasts a main house, a three-level bungalow, grass tennis court and the use of a boat shed.
Ms Burrell was of the belief that the home would be hers upon Ms Shelmerdine’s death after she agreed to pay out a sibling $4.5million for his share and secured the right to buy out her other brother’s stake in the home.
But things took a nasty turn on November 21 when Mrs Shelmerdine locked her daughter out of the mansion dubbed ‘Positano’ and left her a passive-aggressive message – a copy of the book The Good Daughter’s Guide.
In the Victorian Supreme Court last Friday, an application was heard over whether the mother or daughter should have access to the main house – with the kitchen a key focus – on Christmas Day.
Ms Burrell, who owns the famed El Questro resort with her husband Will, first took her family matriarch to court after learning she had tried to sell the waterfront Portsea home
Mrs Burrell wanted access to the main kitchen to cook for her large family because the mansion’s separate multi-level bungalow lacks a ‘proper kitchen’.
Additionally, she requested access to the main house bedrooms and bathroom.
Mrs Shelmerdine said she ‘doesn’t want’ her daughter in the main house on December 25 – but will allow her to use the three-level bungalow.
The elderly woman recently bought a $2million home in the area, and according to Mrs Burrell’s affidavit, no longer lives in the Portsea home.
Mrs Burrell was adamant she had a longstanding agreement in place to use the entire property, and claimed to have spent close to $1million over the past two decades on repeated renovations.
Shelly Beach (pictured above) is a key attraction for many visitors to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula (stock image)
Justice Steven Moore granted Mrs Burrell’s request and ruled she will be allowed to use the main house for food preparation only (pictured are the views from the $11million home)
‘At the bungalow I have one small microwave, one small plug-in electric hotplate/cooker, one small plug-in oven (approximately 30cm and only big enough to heat a pie) and one outdoor BBQ,’ Mrs Burrell said in an affidavit.
Mrs Shelmerdine’s lawyer, Jack Rush QC, told the court it’s not hard to determine there has been an ‘absolute breakdown’ in the relationship between the mother and daughter over the course of the past year.
‘For the daughter to say she intends to use the bedrooms in the house and the kitchen “as my own”, we say is close to preposterous in the circumstances,’ he said.
He added that people should not be expected ‘to share’ the same house and facilities after such a breakdown, and claimed his client planned to use the property over summer.
But Justice Steven Moore granted Mrs Burrell’s request and ruled she would be allowed to use the main house for food preparation only, between the hours of 7am to 10pm daily until February 26.
Mrs Burrell and her husband Will are the owners of the famed El Questro Resort in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
Justice Moore did not grant Mrs Burrell access to the toilet in the main house.
‘In circumstances where the defendant has moved out of Positano, it is vacant, it is difficult in my assessment to justify why the plaintiff should be precluded from accessing the kitchen in the main house over the coming summer period while she and her family are staying in the bungalow,’ he said.
Mrs Burrell and her husband Will are the owners of the famed El Questro Resort in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The pair bought out the cattle station in 1991 and transformed it into a wilderness park destination.
They share four children together, with Mr Burrell regularly showing off the family’s luxury lifestyle on his personal Instagram account with snaps of overseas holidays, lavish yacht rides, horse riding and hunting trips.
This post was first published on DailyMail.