Historic Heathcote Hall, once a setting for a Munsters film shoot, may become retirement village

PLANS to restore the dilapidated, historic mansion Heathcote Hall as part of a retirement village development may soon be revealed.

It is understood a 2012 option for the sale of the large estate in Boronia Grove, Heathcote East, allowed the buyer two years to draw up plans and determine viability.

While the deal is due to be finalised in October, the contract may allow for an extension of time under certain circumstances.

Under the proposal, the heritage-listed, two-storey, Italianate mansion — built in 1887 — would be be restored to its former glory, becoming the centrepiece of the development.

FPA Architects International, which has been working on the project, was not willing to discuss progress, and the Farrelly family, which owns the property, also declined to comment.

A source close to the sale said "everything seems to be going to plan, but it's in the hands of the lawyers".

Neighbours, who have seen regular visits by "architect types", are also keen to know what is happening.

The building, which is believed to be in disrepair, has become increasingly hidden by overgrown vegetation.

However, the tall tower, with its glazed turret and balcony, can still be seen above the trees.

Nothing substantial has been done to the building since a 2009 report to Sutherland Shire Council by its heritage sub-committee stated: "the dwelling and its grounds are currently in a poor state of repair and require urgent maintenance and restoration work".

The report recommended "the best strategy" to get the building restored was "to raise public awareness" and seek government assistance.

Maxine Farrelly, who grew up in Heathcote Hall and is well known in the local community, continues to live there and does not tolerate intrusion. Her brother, who lives elsewhere, is a joint owner.

The extensive grounds around the building contain rusted old sheds and vehicle bodies.

Children have turned part of the site into BMX tracks and jumps.

"Maxine doesn't mind us being here, but she gets mad if we go near the house," one young rider said.

COLOURFUL HISTORY

Heathcote Hall was built in 1887 by Isaac Harber, a wealthy Sydney brickmaker, following the opening of the Illawarra railway line to Waterfall.

It has had several owners, one of whom won the property as first prize in a Tattersall Lottery in 1896.

During World War I, rumours abounded it was used by spies, and there were reports of lights flashing from the tower.

In 1996, it was the setting for the movie The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas.

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