The new owners of the Dunmore Equestrian Centre believe the abandoned mansion still has the potential to be one of the grandest properties on the NSW South Coast.
Wollongong lawyer Christopher Adams has partnered with some fellow Illawarra businessmen to take possession of the property and work has now begun on cleaning up the site.
He admits there are challenges, the first of which is to keep the vandals out.
The second is to come to an arrangement with Shellharbour City Council over the environmental damage caused on the property by the previous owner.
‘‘Initially my partners envisaged it could make a big family home ... but after a couple of inspections it was decided it was far too big and decadent to be a reasonable home,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘However we decided it was a shame to see what could be a magnificent building fall into ruin.’’
Mr Adams said the group took possession of the property following negotiations with the St George Bank which held the mortgage.
‘‘It was slightly discounted because of the state of the building,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘The building was supposed to be 70percent complete but there has been significant damage done over the past couple of years, internally and externally.
‘‘It needs a thousand new tiles just to make the roof waterproof again, but structurally it is completely sound.’’
The group’s main aim is to turn the building into a clean shell that can then be finished off to suit different tastes or purposes.
‘‘It could be a magnificent private home, probably one of the biggest between Sydney and Melbourne. It could also be finished to something of a commercial nature, like a guesthouse, even a boutique motel,’’ Mr Adams said.
Any change of use would be subject to council approval - and support from neighbours who have suffered over the years from the volume of trespassers making their way to the derelict site, he said.
‘‘We now have security guards here and last weekend they had to deal with six different groups,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘Some are kids just here to take photos, others are out to cause damage just for the sake of it.’’
Mr Adams said the new owners had engaged an environmental scientist to look into the damage caused near the Minnamurra River.
‘‘The damage was done seven years ago now and we have to sit down with council and look at a way forward,’’ Mr Adams said.
He said while there was a need for significant weed removal, there had been some natural revegetation take place and there was a suggestion that digging up the old road could cause more damage without environmental gain.