The dramas of a prominent northern Illawarra family have been laid bare as one brother took another to court for the spoils of the family land.
Helensburgh's Blackwell family has been split, with Adam Blackwell calling in the lawyers against his brother Nathan over a property on the town's main street, and the dispute ended up in the Supreme Court.
In a hearing last Friday, Nathan Blackwell did not attend and his partner, who said Nathan had shown possible coronavirus symptoms, was invited to show but did not appear before the court in Sydney.
Adam Blackwell wanted to sell the 2.8 ha block he owned with brother Nathan, but Nathan had declined. Eventually Adam sued.
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While the address was not divulged in the court's judgment, Justice Guy Parker said the Walker St property had "a house on it ... there are also demountable buildings, sheds or cottages, and stables. The land also includes paddocks which have been used for horse agistment".
Nathan Blackwell had lived on the property since about 2008, the judge said.
"In 2015 the relationship between [Adam and Nathan] began to break down," Justice Parker said. "[Their] joint account went into overdraft in May 2015. [Nathan] has not contributed any further funds to the payment of expenses associated with the property through the joint account since that time."
Nathan Blackwell's cause was not helped by him not filing a defence.
The property was bought in 2001 by Adam Blackwell and his brother Heath in equal shares. In April 2007 Adam and Nathan bought Heath out.
The judge supported Adam Blackwell's claim he had contributed more to the upkeep and improvement than had Nathan.
The judge said from about four years ago disputes arose over how the land was being used - serious enough that solicitor's letters started to be sent.
"According to [Adam Blackwell], building materials and waste products were being stored there, in violation of the development approval governing the property," Justice Preston found.
"This led to difficulties with the local council."
Justice Preston ordered the property be vested in the control of insolvency trustees Liam Bailey and Christopher Palmer, who would also be appointed trustees over the sale of the land. Nathan Blackwell was ordered to pay costs.
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