One of New South Wales’s most historic mansions, Fernhill Estate, has been bought by the NSW government for $27.25 million following an outcry over its future.
Located on the outskirts of Sydney at Mulgoa, the 383-hectare estate was sold by an arm of finance company Angas Securities to the NSW Office of Strategic Lands, which follows an earlier possible sale that would have seen much of the estate become a lawn-style cemetery.
Sydney’s Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust had plans to buy the estate and retain the mansion, but redevelop the remainder of the land into cemetery grounds.
NSW cabinet ministers mounted strong opposition to the proposed sale of the heritage-listed estate which they were not prepared to approve. Local resident groups had been active in their opposition to the plans.
The NSW branch of the National Trust had said the proposal was "totally incompatible" and "in fundamental conflict with and destructive of the use of the site as an historic landscape of state significance".
In addition to imposing grounds, Fernhill consist of an eight-bedroom mansion and outbuildings. The 1830s homestead is complete with a 16-seat dining room, ballroom, 12 sandstone fireplaces and a horse racing track and stables that have been home to two Melbourne Cup winners.
The sale by Angas was brokered by Christie’s managing director Ken Jacobs.
Fernhill was once the home of former bankrupt property identity Warren Anderson. The grounds were also used in the finale of the hit reality television series The Bachelor in 2015.
Sydney is facing a possible shortage of burial space as the pressure for new sites intensifies.