ONE of Mortlake’s highest profile historic buildings will be put on the market next month.
The town’s old flour mill will be put up for sale via expressions of interest in early in September, in the hope the 158-year-old building and its National Trust-listed chimney can be renovated and put to good use.
Mortlake Community and Development Committee (MCDC) bought the building in the 1990s and has restored sections that had fallen into disrepair, but secretary Kelvin Goodall said the cost of converting the building for public use and ongoing maintenance would be too much for the community organisation.
He said building codes meant a lift would have to be installed for disabled access to the second and third levels and toilets and car parking requirements would also be costly.
“There was a Heritage Victoria study done in 2004 which said the mill should be put into some form of use, be it public or private,” Mr Goodall said.
“We put out a discussion paper last year and asked for community feedback about what to do with it. One of the options was to put it on the market.
“There was no real feedback from the community, so the committee decided it would be best to put it on the market in the hope a renovator with some imagination could put it to good use as a residence.”
Mr Goodall said MCDC has engaged Nick Allen from Charles Stewart to sell the mill. Mr Goodall said it would be placed on the market by expressions of interest in early September, with a sale hopefully finalised by the end of the year. He said there was a possibility to extend the building within the footprint of former outbuildings, with a modern annexe out the back.
“Heritage Victoria have said that would be possible, but would have to be within their guidelines,” he said.
“We’ve decided to sell it by expressions of interest so we can have a little bit more control over who is buying it and what will happen to it. The sale isn’t about making money. It’s about making sure the mill is preserved and put to good use.”
The three-storey bluestone mill dates back to 1856 and originally operated under wind power, with canvas sails on the roof. Warrnambool builders Aikman, Hamilton and Geddes purchased the mill, installed a steam engine and erected the square stone chimney in 1857.