Sydney, 20th October – Colliers has been appointed to sell an unrivalled piece of Australian convict history with the former Berrima Correctional Centre coming to market.
Located in the heart of the Southern Highlands near the town of Bowral, the Argyle Street property sits on an enormous 1.9 hectare plot of land and provides a truly unique offering.
Listed as a NSW State Heritage Item, the gaol consists of 60 cells, a watch tower, guard offices and commercial space, while there are also two historic cottages, a tennis court, industrial shed and commercial kitchen on the site.
"Being the first time ever offered and presenting one of the rarest opportunities in the history of the commercial property market, we expect interest from parties across the commercial, retail, hotel, lifestyle and recreation sectors, seeking to repurpose this spectacular property to deliver social, economic and cultural outcomes and benefits for the local community,” Mr Estephen said.
The property is currently zoned for SP1 Special Activities (Correctional Centre) and any alternative use or re-purposing of the site will need to be approved via planning proposal or rezoning development application.
Interest in this unique site is likely to be signficant given the ongoing migration of Sydney residents to the Southern Highlands escalating local property demand. In addition to the strong residential market, tourism activity is expected to return with a vengeance as Sydney and the broader New South Wales region emerges from lockdown.
“Berrima is widely recognised today as the best-preserved example of a Georgian Village on the Australian mainland. The town was established in the 1830s during a time of great exploration and expansion in New South Wales,” Mr Mosca added.
The Old Berrima Gaol was built between 1835 and 1839 of local sandstone at the cost of £5,400. Convicted London joiner and carpenter James Gough, who gained a conditional pardon in 1821, was awarded the construction of the gaol in partnership with John Richards in 1834, with much of the construction done by convicts in irons.
During World War I it was used as a prisoner internment camp by the Australian Army. Between 1944 and 1949 the building was reconstructed by prison labour using the original sandstone at a cost of £18,000, with only the entrance and outer walls of the old gaol left standing.
The centre was operational between 1839 and 2011 with several breaks in between and was reopened in 2016 to support the NSW prison population, housing 75 minimum security prisoners. It was decommissioned in 2020 and is no longer required for use, hence the sale.
Around 80 minutes south of Sydney, it is located close to cafes, parks, rivers and Australia’s oldest continually licensed Inn, The Surveyor General Inn.
Berrima Correctional Centre is being offered for sale by Expression of Interest, closing Friday, 26th November 2021 at 3:00pm (AEDT).