ONE of the oldest historic homes in the Hunter region is on the market for the first time in 23 years.
The Georgian mansion known as Dunmore at 557 Paterson Road in Bolwarra Heights is listed for sale by expressions of interest with Cain Beckett at Jurds Real Estate.
Mr Beckett is guiding $4.5 million for the five-bedroom, five-bathroom estate which spans a two-storey main house and two separate wings on almost 180 acres.
The property itself dates back 200 years and the heritage-listed house was built by convicts between 1830 and 1833.
It is considered a classic example of Australian Georgian architecture and predates other historic properties Aberglasslyn House and Tocal Homestead by seven years.
For the past 23 years, the estate had been held by its current owners who spent six years restoring the property's three buildings.
"We have both always lived in old houses and my grandfather had a heritage house which was very much like this but this one needed a lot of work," the owner said.
The laborious restoration took around six years, including the mammoth task of adding foundations in the two separate wings which required the removal of the original sandstone walls.
Each stone was removed and then numbered before it was put back into place.
"My husband is a marine engineer, he used to build ships, and somehow that seemed to translate quite well into building which was extraordinary," she said.
"He oversaw it all but at one stage we had the local bikies here who lifted all the stones down one by one, numbered them and then we stacked them all and replaced them exactly back to where they were.
"It was a huge project I must say."
In addition, the main house was restored and updated with two bathrooms on the top floor and a new kitchen with a walk-in pantry downstairs.
The house has three large bedrooms, three bathrooms, a library and study, and large formal living and dining rooms.
One of the separate wings has guest accommodation with ensuites, bedrooms and living areas.
The second building has a family room with an open log fireplace and another large space that was once the old carriage house.
The owners have hosted many gatherings on the property over the years.
"We have had a lot of family and friends' weddings here and we have used that [carriage house] as a bar when we have weddings and parties," she said.
"The courtyard can take a marquee that can seat 200 people so it's quite big."
The property holds great historical significance in the area.
It was originally owned by the Lang family who were early settlers in the region and ordered the construction of Dunmore House.
"It was a huge property and there were 350 people working on it for many years," the owner said.
"There is a lot of history with this property and I am finding out more and more.
"I recently found out that the family were held up by bushrangers in the dining room so there are all sorts of things that have happened here."
In addition to the main house and two wings, there is a large barn, an in-ground swimming pool and established oak and jacaranda trees frame the house.
Prior to the current owners, the property was held by the Graham family for 90 years.
"We are only the fifth family to own it," she said.
One of the owner's favourite parts of the property is the courtyard with its climbing roses, bougainvillea and old grapevines.
"I love all of it but we do spend a lot of time under these two very, very old vines in the courtyard over a trellis," she said.
"The stems are almost hollow but they are still fruiting. We sit under that a lot and it's lovely in the summer because it's 10 degrees cooler."
The owners are selling up in order to downsize but will stay living in the Bolwarra Heights area.
"It won't be easy to leave but I think it needs an injection of youth and I hope a family buys it," she said.
"A lot of people have also said it would be a marvellous wedding venue."
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