Nuns collect $5m-plus in western Sydney priory sale
Urban sprawl in Sydney’s northwest has led to the sale of a priory – complete with its own chapel and 32-bedroom homestead – in a deal believed to be worth more than $5 million.
The 2ha property at 325 Garfield Rd, East Riverstone, is owned by the Tyburn Nuns, an order known for maintaining long periods of silence.
They purchased the land 34 years ago when it was once part of a semirural village, but now the site is located in the middle of rezoning precinct and opposite the Box Hill Town Centre.
Kate Lumby, from Lumby Hampson Real Estate, says the nuns decided to relocate to a larger estate in a quieter pocket of the Hawkesbury and put their priory up for sale.
She could not confirm the sale price or identify the purchasers of the property, but revealed it had proven a popular listing attracting 158 inquiries including a ‘plethora’ of religious orders as well as land bankers, investors and developers.
“It is a highly visible site and we just had every single denomination wanting to come and have a look at it including the History Church, the Catholics, the Anglicans and Evangelistic,” Lumby says.
“Box Hill is an up and coming growth centre and they want to position themselves there plus it is also located in Stage Three release of the Riverstone East precinct rezoning.”
It was Lumby’s father, Barry, also a real estate agent, who sold the property to the nuns back in 1986.
It is believed to have sold for around $245,000 – substantially less than the $5 million-plus price figure it is believed to have fetched today.
“They came into the office at Kellyville and told him they had been sent by their Mother General to buy a property from him that day,” Lumby says.
“They were just very adamant that he was going to have the right property for them – it gives me shivers when I think about it.”
As it turned out, Mr Lumby did have the right property – a small acreage with a nine-bedroom residence, 48km northwest of Sydney.
It has since been transformed by the nuns into a picturesque retreat featuring a chapel with stained glass windows, an office building and expansive accommodation. There are also two dams and pretty gardens with vine covered walkways.
The Tyburn Nuns, also known as the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre, live a balanced life of work, adoration and prayer.
Conversation is kept to a minimum between the nuns during the day to maintain inner-peace and ongoing prayer.
Their day starts at 4.30am and also includes reading, recreation and maintaining the priory – including looking after three alpacas and chickens who also live at the property.
“They are angelic and just full of love, when you visit there you really feel like your soul has been uplifted – it is such a special and sacred place,” Lumby says.
The property, which has frontage onto Windsor Rd, is zoned RU4 and has a number of potential uses including as an exhibition village, garden centre, group home or childcare facilities, subject to council approval.
This article from the Hills Shire Times originally appeared as “East Riverstone priory sells in hush-hush deal believed to be worth more than $5m”.