Former convent comes with 31 bedrooms and the blessing of a saintThe Convent at Glen Innes is up for sale, with plenty of potential for commercial redevelopment. Photo: Supplied

Former convent comes with 31 bedrooms and the blessing of a saint

A Glen Innes convent blessed and co-founded by Australia’s only patron saint, Mary MacKillop, has hit the market, being pitched with potential for use as office space or a bed and breakfast.

From the late 1800s it was used as a boarding school and convent by the Order of Saint Joseph’s.  Relinquished by the Church in 1995, it’s been used as a residential premises by the most recent owner with the northern wing already converted to guest accommodation – with provision for a total of 31 bedrooms.

The building is zoned residential, but has received special permission from the council allowing for limited commercial use.

The convent, which is about 600 kilometres north of Sydney, last changed hands in 2008 for an undisclosed sum and has been listed under an expressions of interest campaign since December 2015.

The building is in need of extensive cosmetic renovation, but retains numerous original features. Photo: Supplied The building is in need of extensive cosmetic renovation, but retains numerous original features. Photo: Supplied

It’s had three owners since the Church – the most recent choosing to live in the building’s chapel.

The new owner will face plenty of work converting the south wing, according to listing agent Jacqueline Francis, of LJ Hooker Glen Innes. However, this is largely down to the scale of the building, which is reportedly structurally sound.

“The south wing needs a lot of work, cosmetically,” Ms Francis says.

The property is in need of extensive cosmetic renovation. Photo: Supplied The property is in need of extensive cosmetic renovation. Photo: Supplied

The convent abuts the New England and Gwydir highways and is an easy walk to the town centre.

Original features include the staircase and stained-glass windows.

The convent consists of two wings framing a central courtyard. Photo: Supplied The convent consists of two wings framing a central courtyard. Photo: Supplied

Glen Innes is a small town in the New England region of NSW, famed for its celtic heritage and featuring a thriving tourist economy.

In 1988, to mark the bicentenary of Australia and commemorate the area’s celtic ties, the town was selected by the Celtic Council of Australia to establish the Australian Standing Stones – inspired by the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, Scotland.

Glen Innes' Australian Standing Stones have become one of its biggest tourism drawcards. Photo: Thinkstock Glen Innes’ Australian Standing Stones have become one of its biggest tourism drawcards. Photo: Thinkstock

Today the standing stones form the basis of Glen Innes’ tourism economy, according to Ms Francis, with the town playing host to a celtic festival each year.

This years festival was in honour of the Isle of Man.

“It’s a pretty town, there are people everywhere at the moment,” she says. “The atmosphere is amazing.”

Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop was an Australian nun famed for helping found the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart  – a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australia.

She was made Australia’s first – and, to date, only – saint in 2010.

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