Council approves plans for historic Coolangatta cottage to become OLMC Burraneer wellbeing centre


An application to convert a heritage listed cottage into a wellbeing centre for students of Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer, has been approved.

Sutherland Shire Council approved the development application after amendments to the plans, including the restoration of heritage items.

The architect indicated an application had been made for a heritage grant to help fund the project.


Plans have been drawn up to convert a heritage listed cottage, dating back to the turn of the century, into a wellbeing centre for students of Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer.

Sydney Catholic Schools and Morson Group lodged a development application (DA) for changes to the property, named Coolangatta, in Dolans Road.

The move contrasts with the proposed demolition of another historic building, Hotham House, at Kirrawee as part of plans to expand President Private Hospital.


Coolangatta, adjoining the all-girls school, was acquired in 2015.

It was described in real estate ads at that time as "an enchanting residence", with five bedrooms, games room, open fireplace, large landscaped gardens, in-ground pool and water views.

Sutherland Shire Council approved a DA in 2017 for demolition of the brick garage and in-ground swimming pool, alterations and additions and change of use from heritage residential to educational establishment.

The proposed purpose in 2017 was an art classroom, comprising seven studio work spaces, pottery room and display space.

The design has since been amended to include additional landscaping and an outdoor retreat space.

While it will still be used for art, the project has taken on an expanded role "a wellbeing centre".

Under the proposal, the centre will be used by a single class of 20 students and one staff member per session and will not provide for any increase in the number of students or employees at the college

A heritage statement said Coolangatta was part of the large Dolan Estate, which was subdivided in 1889.

E R Abigail, a prominent criminal lawyer, owned Coolangatta until his death in 1931.

In 1921 he wrote into his will the cottage was to be used as a home for illegitimate children following the death of his widow if she survived him.

That intention was removed when his will was rewritten in 1928.

The heritage statement said, "Overall, the property is in good condition, with much of the original decorative features extant".

"There have been minor modifications carried out, which have had a minimal effect on the overall integrity of the property".