The Australian Ambassador's Residence in Washington D.C.
The Australian Ambassador's Residence in Washington D.C.

Joe Hockey's Washington DC mansion revealed

IF YOU'VE been wondering where Australia's politicians go to live after a fall from political power look no further - apparently it's in the lap of luxury in heritage-listed mansions, no less.

At least that's the case for former federal treasurer Joe Hockey, who took on the role of Australian Ambassador in Washington D.C. in December 2015, after his resignation from Cabinet after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's ousting of Tony Abbott.

As part of his new role, Hockey gets to call the stately Ambassador's Residence - better known as 'White Oaks' - in Washington D.C. home.

Making a stay in the plush mansion all the more impressive is the fact that the building has just been added to the Commonwealth Heritage List, which is an Australian Government register of properties owned by the Crown that have natural, indigenous and/or historical importance in relation to the country's heritage.

Other protected properties included on the Commonwealth Heritage List include federally-owned telegraph stations, defence sites, migration centres, customs houses, lighthouses, memorials, islands, marine areas and national institutions such as parliament and high court buildings.

HISTORY OF WHITE OAKS

Founded in 1923, White Oaks has significant heritage value because it housed the first Australian diplomatic mission to a foreign country outside of the Commonwealth, symbolising the start of an autonomous Australian foreign policy.

Appointed by the Menzies Government, RG Casey was the first ambassador to move in to White Oaks to establish a diplomatic presence for Australia in 1940, and initiate the Australia-US contemporary relationship.

Prior to that, Australia conducted much of its diplomatic representations through the British Government, and London's High Commissioner was the sole senior representative of Australia's interests overseas.

The American colonial style house was the primary base of Australian diplomacy in Washington until the first embassy building was bought in 1946.

As Australia's current ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey lives at the residence. Previous occupants have included Kim Beazley, Dennis Richardson, Michael Thawley and Andrew Peacock.

On September 12, 2001, former prime minister John Howard held a press conference on White Oaks' lawn to invoke the ANZUS Treaty following the 9/11 attacks on America.

In 2006, former president George W Bush and Mr Howard planted two trees in the grounds to symbolise the continued Australia-US friendship, and in 2015 a reception was hosted at White Oaks marking the 75th anniversary of Australia-US diplomatic relations.


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