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49-54 Monkleys Road
Millers Forest, NSW 2324

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Sold on 27th November 2017
5
4
4
167400m²
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UNDER CONTRACT

PAST
The story of Millers Forest goes back quite a long way (even without dipping into its pre-colonial history). References to Saint Patrick's School start to appear around 1880 followed by Warrawee around 1900.

By 1818-1820, timber cutters had exhausted the supply of red cedar that defined the area, and is perhaps from where the name Millers Forest was derived. Cedar that was not shipped to Sydney or England can be found in most of the local buildings.

Large land grants and purchases saw the countryside along the Hunter River carved up for farming. Duckenfield, Woodberry, Berry Park, Osterley and Millers Forest all started this way. Specifically, Lieut Vickers Jacobs 2,000 acre purchase, recognised today as Millers Forest.

Rich alluvial soil meant thriving crops in the region became Sydneys food bowl. Fresh produce and grain was shipped down the river until successive floods took their toll.

Dairying took over as the dominant industry across the district with Millers Forest establishing its own co-operative creamery around the 1890s. Local farmers prospered and some very grand homes were built in the area, namely Duckenfield House and Berry House.

With a great number of farming families in and around Millers Forest, the demand for community infrastructure, such as schools and churches.

St. Patricks School c. 1887

The triangular piece of land, originally Lot 13 of the Vickers Jacob grant was donated by Mr. J.J. Kearney in 1880 to the Catholic Church.
The Sisters of Mercy opened Saint Patrick's Roman Catholic School in April 1887.

Research conducted in 2003 by Cynthia Hunter has confirmed that the humble school building holds substantial architectural significance.
Designed by the legendary architect Fredrick Menkens, it appears that St. Patrick's School shares an impressive pedigree. Iconic buildings around Newcastle such as the Tabernacle on Laman Street, the Fred Ash Warehouse on Hunter Street Newcastle and the ornate Woods Chambers on Scott Street are just a few examples of Menkens work.

The timber structure, raised upon brick pylons, originally comprised of a central hall divided by partitions into two classrooms. A 2.5 metre wide verandah extending along the northern and southern sides were enclosed at each end to provide a separate boys and girls hat room, a staff lunch room and a kitchen.

The school building was positioned toward the front and centre of the lot, with the old sulky and weather shed behind and play grounds each side serviced by separate girls and boys long drop toilets or Thunder Boxes.

A row of fig and pine trees were planted c. 1887 to define the boundaries.

More students were enrolled in Saint Patrick's than in the Raymond Terrace equivalent between 1860 through to the 1890s.

When the school closed in 1954, it was decided that the building be used as a place of worship until 1972 after which time it was used by Saint Vincent De Paul for storage until it was eventually sold.

The property exchanged hands one more time approximately a decade ago during which time a sympathetic restoration of the building resulted in what you see today.

Warrawee c. 1900

Historical references to the two storey colonial style house are generally made in conjunction with Saint Patricks School opposite and with the OBrien family.

Warrawees 40 acre allotment is one of the original 40 lots carved out of the initial Vickers Jacob Grant.

The first generation (Thomas and Johannah) OBriens bought Warrawee sometime before 1901, when their son Leo was recorded being born there. All seven OBrien children attended Saint Patricks school across the road, establishing the long relationship between the two buildings.

The two storey weatherboard house with an iron roof and concrete floors originally had 10 rooms and a wide verandah wrapping around both levels. Most rooms had an open fire whilst cooking was conducted out the back on a wooden stove.

PRESENT
Saint Patrick's School 49 Monkleys Road

Still occupying the same triangular piece of land 137 years on, the former school building by iconic architect Fredrick Menkens has gracefully stood the test of time with minimal augmentation.

The established gardens surrounding the structure require little maintenance. Strategically planted, they blur the hard edges whilst grounding the elevated building. Loose gravel infill bordered by timber sleepers neatly frame the building.

Mature fig and Norfolk Island pine trees, now over a century old, tower over the boundaries, clearly defining the property.

The traditional cedar timber structure is uncomplicated, both in appearance and arrangement. The symmetrical composition consists of a main, central hall, 8m x 20m with 2.5m wide verandahs extending along the north and south sides. Each end is enclosed, creating separate small rooms that bookend the verandah for added protection. The total available floor area is an impressive 195m2 not including the covered verandahs.

The expansive interior is naturally illuminated by multiple large double hung sash windows. The wide hard-wood floorboards are a rich, deep coffee colour whilst the rest of the timber clad interior is painted, including the pitched ceiling. Approximately four meters high, the lofty ceiling suggests a formal atmosphere.

Remaining in place from its period as a place of worship, the altar at the eastern end is raised up on a set of three wide steps forming an elevated stage. The elaborately finished original red cedar altar rail along the lower step creates an unusual point of conversation.

A basic kitchenette is within the enclosed verandah area opposite to a bathroom at the north end. The kitchen is functional with a sink installed on a timber bench, open shelving below and a free-standing electric oven. Completing the bathroom is a corner shower unit, single vanity and toilet.

There are two more rooms at the western end of the building of similar size. One is vacant whilst the other presents possibly one of the most impressive features waiting to be discovered. On the northern side away from the road for privacy and views over the unfolding countryside beyond, welcome to the formal bath room. A classic claw foot bath is centred, facing timber framed glass french doors flanked by floor to ceiling double hung sash windows on a tiled floor.

Just imagine its dusk, candles are lit and bubbles are spilling out of the warm water filling the bath. The fresh air carries in the scent of night flowers as birds and bats call out. There are no cars, there are no people, no hustle or bustle, its just you, relaxed, warm and content.

Warrawee 54 Monkleys Road

Elegantly Georgian, this classic two storey homestead has grand yet unpretentious charm. Verandahs wrap around both levels dressed by only a small amount of iron lace-work with a traditional fine patterned upper balustrade for decoration.

A conventional floor plan sees the original solid front door, adorned by textured sidelights open into a wide central hall where a staircase to the rear winds around to the upper level.

A versatile front bedroom and adjacent study is opposite to the formal lounge and bar. A double sided open fire place in the centre divides this large single room. On both sides, an ornate solid cedar surround and mantle frames a decoratively tiled cast iron grate - quite the centre piece.

Wide hardwood polished floorboards extend over the lower level. Multiple sets of french doors topped with transom windows for extra light open onto the verandah.

Upstairs, the master bedroom across the entire eastern side is painted white and has glass sliding doors framing picturesque countryside views creating a refreshing atmosphere.

Two generously sized bedrooms opposite have fireplaces and french doors opening onto the upper verandah. All the bedrooms have ceiling fans and two have built-in cupboards.

High ceilings for improved air circulation and their elevated nature would allow summer breezes to cool these bedrooms at night.

Extensions to the rear provide a modern bathroom and an air conditioned casual living room that connects to the generously sized kitchen. Finished with solid timber cabinetry and abundant benchtop space, there is plenty of storage and preparation area provided with the addition of a walk-in pantry. It's easy to imagine families congregating in this more relaxed, informal living space as meals are being prepared and the sounds from TV favourites fill the air.

A free standing 900mm Euromaid gas cook top and oven is topped with a stainless steel rangehood in the kitchen which will appeal to the family chef. Windows wrap right around the external walls framing long, wide views across the open countryside whilst letting in natural daylight.

A covered east facing alfresco and barbecue area outside the kitchen provides somewhere for outdoor entertaining against Millers Forest's lush and leafy backdrop.

Other improvements include an oversized colorbond double garage, a corrugated iron large machinery/hay shed and an old dairy. There are several gated paddocks divided by secure lanes, all in solid timber post and wire or timber railed fencing.

Millers Forest enjoys reasonably consistent rainfall that maintains generally lush pastures for any grazing animals. The rich alluvial soil here is also good news for farmers.

Raymond Terrace is within a five minute drive and as a growing regional centre, it offers everything from a selection of schools including primary and secondary, large shopping centres, sports fields and clubs plus all the great recreation that comes with being a riverside town.

The Pacific Highway intersects Raymond Terrace for improved regional connectivity. It is about 10 minutes to the M1 motorway linking to Sydney in approximately two hours. Or keep to the highways and reach Newcastle in under half an hour or in the opposite direction, East Maitland is about 15 minutes away and Maitland is about 20 minutes drive.

POTENTIAL

Saint Patricks School

There are several aspects that make the future for Saint Patrick's a bright one. Now officially recognised as a Fredrick Menkens building, Saint Patrick's has inherited substantial value in terms of historical significance and structural integrity.

The building itself is versatile and can be easily transformed depending on its intended use. A large light filled, open plan hall along with smaller intimate rooms, verandahs with views and a quiet, secluded setting, all the right building blocks are here, it's really up to the imagination of the purchaser.

Other benefits such as close proximity to every day conveniences in Raymond Terrace plus easy access to the regional highway network and to Newcastle airport, it shares with Warrawee these added extras.

Warrawee

As a family home, 'Warrawee' has the ability to accommodate a large or growing family comfortably.

The 40 acre property, sprawling over high quality, rich soil in a region of good rainfall and moderate climate is, in itself, a very appealing aspect. The added dairy, machinery shed, secure fencing and separate garage are further bonuses that mean farming and production in just about any capacity could begin immediately.

In fact, this homestead is one that is ready to be lived in right now. Upgrades and modernisations are discretionary, everything for comfortable living is right here and ready to go.

Together

If you thought there was an exciting future for Saint Patrick's and a productive one for Warrawee, just imagine if the two remained together.

They already share a long and strong historical and physical relationship, a story that could help shape what's to come.

Double the opportunity, the possibilities and the returns.

There is an abundance of commercial applications that would benefit from the two properties operating as one. The most obvious arrangement would be the function centre and guest house venture.

The Hunter Valley is already a popular destination for weddings and events; the Monkleys Road property has the potential to successfully operate in this market.

Warrawee is a perfect guesthouse and Saint Patricks School opposite can easily be dressed up for any occasion from a large formal wedding to a more intimate afternoon High Tea.

Locally, Ducks in the Field in Duckenfield is a versatile caf? accommodating a range of events and services. Tomago House, Wallalong House, Tocal House and Mindaribba House offer wedding venues, though not all can accommodate overnight guests. These are already booked out months in advance and for a spring wedding, its years on the waiting list. This long waiting time is an indication of just how high the demand is for semi-rural, historic homestead venues.

The beautiful open country side setting, lack of neighbours, easy regional access and close proximity to urban centres for supplies and convenience make this appealing prospect viable.

Alternatively, draw on the history of the area, when dairying and agriculture dominated, making use of the 40 fertile acres.

Re-invent Saint Patricks as a place of learning, host gourmet retreats focusing on making cheese and butter along with fresh food gardening.

Capitalise on the rising popularity of cooking and gardening retreats like River Cottage in Tasmania, Milkwood in Daylesford or more locally, Majors Lane Cooking School in Lovedale. The Hunter Valley is already a well-established destination on the gourmet trail attracting visitors from far and wide.

Or tap into the growing Farmstay and Air BnB market, offering families and travellers an authentic semi-rural experience thats not too far off the beaten track.

Close to the airport, major highways and within a comfortable drive from Sydney, this property ticks fundamental boxes necessary to achieve success.

There are so many ways the two properties can operate in conjunction with each other.

This is a rare and unique opportunity in so many ways. It's your invitation to make a satisfying lifestyle move right now. The future isn't just bright, its full of celebration, fresh food, new ideas and it's right here ready and waiting for you.

What will you add to the rich mix of heritage, agriculture, space and charm?

SMS Monkleys to 0428 166 755 for a link to the on-line property brochure.

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Property features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Built in Robes
  • Open Fireplace
  • Garage spaces: 4
Suburb Profile

Millers Forest

NSW 2324
Millers Forest NSW 2324 Learn More

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