RANDOM HOUSE FALLING INTO RUIN
KEVIN Wills can do nothing but shake his head in disgust when he visits Rochester’s Random House.
The 66-year-old has fond memories of the old homestead and smiles when he remembers what was the perfect location for his daughter to tie the knot.
But he said an “absolute disgrace” was the only way to describe what has become of the historic structure that was built in 1860.
Kevin, like many in Rochester, was pleased to learn earlier this year Random House will be sold.
But he hoped the sale would actually come to fruition, unlike many other promises made about the property.
Federal Social Services Minister Dan Tehan was recently asked by the Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh to step in and expedite the sale of the heritage-listed building.
Mr Walsh said he had been on a bureaucratic red tape trail for more than two years fighting to save the historic homestead.
“It was purchased by the Victorian Department of Human Services in May 2008 and sadly has been allowed to go to rack and ruin,” he said.
“The community was pleased when the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that negotiations had begun to allow the sale of the property.
“However in April Victorian Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos advised the property was originally purchased by the Commonwealth for the State of Victoria under a capital works deed and that her department had written to the Commonwealth Government regarding options for selling the property.
“We are now into June and I don’t see or hear of anything happening.”
Kevin walks his dogs past the property each day and said it was sad to see it get worse every year.
“There is so much potential here,” he said.
“If the rubbish is cleaned up and it’s given some attention, this could be a great venue for weddings and other functions.
“The building and the surrounding property have a great atmosphere, but it’s all going to waste.
“The vandalism is already showing and that’s only going to get worse while it sits vacant. At the moment it’s only good for attracting snakes in summer.”
Mr Walsh said he frequently heard from locals who were fed up with watching the deterioration of Random House.
“It is a magnificent property which was, and should still be, the jewel in the crown for Rochester,” he said.
“I have now formally written to the Federal Minister on behalf of the Rochester community to ask that the Commonwealth expedite whatever action it needs to ensure the Victorian Government can offer this property for sale.
“It’s been a long and tedious process – but I have no intention of giving up until Random House is given the opportunity to be restored to its former glory.”
DISGUSTED — Kevin Wills is disappointed with the state of Rochester's Random House.