AFTER a lengthy campaign by the local community, Rochester’s Random House will finally be sold.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed negotiations have begun to allow the sale of the property.
Once standing as an icon in Rochester and a focal point of the town, the building was more recently described as a “disgraceful mess” by Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh.
Mr Walsh and Rochester residents spent months calling for the historic building on Bridge Rd to be restored to its former glory or sold to someone who would look after it.
The house sits on about 9ha and was most recently used to house victims of domestic violence, but now sits overgrown and empty.
A spokesperson for the DHHS said because of flood damage, the property was unsuitable for the original purpose of an indigenous family violence service.
“The local Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group and the Loddon Mallee Aboriginal Reference Group have been consulted in relation to the intended sale of the property,” the spokesperson said.
In June last year, the State Government assured Mr Walsh that it shared his concerns about the heritage-listed property.
‘‘The minister gave an assurance to see that the homestead was appropriately maintained,” Mr Walsh said.
But nothing happened at Random House since that time aside from a small amount of slashing, and nothing was heard from the government.
Mr Walsh said many Rochester residents were concerned about the deteriorating condition of the homestead and angry about the messy state of its once beautifully manicured grounds.
He said it was clear the government didn’t care about the building and it was time for a change.
“We’ve been pestering them for 18 months to do something about it without any luck,” he said.
“We received a commitment about maintenance but little has happened since then.
“It’s time for someone who cares about the building to take ownership and restore it to its former glory.”