Piece of Ballina history up for sale
By NERIDA BLOK
WITH great reluctance Jeff Champion is auctioning off his beloved Ballina Manor.
After purchasing the Edwardian style, heritage-listed building in 1999 and spending $2 million on refurbishments, the former Lismore mayor has it back on the market.
"We're reluctant to auction it but we've got other things happening in our family," Mr Champion said. The auction will be held in Sydney on September 1 by Manenti Quinlan.
"It will be walk in-walk out. They get the lot," he said.
"Down to the Model-T Ford."
Mr Champion said September was chosen for the auction because that was the month it was officially opened in 1925 by Don Page's grandmother, Mrs Earle Page.
He said interest had already been shown by people in Sydney and New Zealand.
"It's one of the most unique accommodations in New South Wales," he said.
"We won the best unique accommodation in NSW in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and we were the first property to be inducted into the hall of fame through HMAA (Hotel Motel Accommodation Association of Australia)."
Mr Champion said land value and insurance for the manor added up to $4.7 million.
"But we think it will go between $3-$4 million," he said. "It's a wonderful piece of history."
Managing the manor for the past four years, Michael and Anke Fellner said they were sad to see it go to auction.
"But we've had a great time here and you never know what will happen after the auction," Mr Fellner said.
"We'd like to see it remain as a hotel. We've put in a lot of hard work so it would be nice to see it still operate as a guest house and build on the reputation it's got."
He said famous guests have included former deputy prime minister John Anderson, Olivia Newton-John and Peter Garrett.