Geelong Legacy prepares to move as support for veterans’ families changes
THE organisation supporting widows and dependants of deceased and incapacitated ex-service men and women in Geelong is searching for a new home.
Geelong Legacy Club has put its Ryrie Street home on the market, the first stage of a scheme to downsize in the city.
Murray House, at 180-182 Ryrie Street, has been Geelong Legacy’s home since 1946.
The property was donated by Miss Florence Craig in tribute to her nephew, Australian commando Norman Murray who died in service in 1942.
Darcy Jarman agent Tim Darcy said the property offers 822sq m of floorspace over two levels, with a ground floor shop leased to a beauty salon.
“The first floor area is totally vacant at the moment,” he said.
Mr Darcy is quoting a price range of $2.25m to $2.5m.
“It’s been offered under an expressions of interest process so we can identify a party who we can work with hand-in-glove,” he said.
“They’re proposing to take a two-year lease back, giving them two years to transition into another property, which provides a buyer with a short-term income stream of $70,000 a year net while they work on a vision or scheme to reposition this asset.”
The 711sq m property includes the main two-storey building plus a hall, meeting rooms and car parks with a separate frontage to Market Street.
The Activity Zoning provides a raft of possibilities for future use, Mr Darcy said.
“Someone is going to have to roll up their sleeves to reposition the building.
“It’s got many of its old and original character features which give a blank canvas to work with but plenty of scope to reposition the asset.”
Geelong Legacy board member Des Downey said the property was too big for the organisation.
“In the 1950s and ’60s, when we were caring for up to 600 children as well as 3500 widows, it got a fair bit of use,” he said.
“Kids, particularly on Saturday mornings, had everything from remedial school work with teachers from Geelong High and there was a lot that used to happen then.”
Today, Legacy’s support includes paying students’ school fees and provides computers, he said.
Mr Downey said the charity supports about 700 widows in the region, but the number of children is rising.
“Our problem is to find something that is suitable,” he said.
“There is still a need for us, even though it’s different to what it was 50 years ago.”
Geelong Legacy, formed in 1925, is the second oldest Legacy clubs in Australia.
“Our big thing in the 20s and 30s was for our members to go out wood cutting to chop wood for widows because no-one had electric heaters or electric stoves, they were all wood stoves, so we used to provide as much firewood as we could. But times have changed,” he said.