Turning churches and unique buildings into homes a popular trend

This converted Miner's Rest church, circa 1859, recently sold for $520,000.

This converted Miner's Rest church, circa 1859, recently sold for $520,000.

A modern kitchen and carefully selected fittings blend with church doors and other original features to combine past and present.

A modern kitchen and carefully selected fittings blend with church doors and other original features to combine past and present.

Churches and unique buildings being bought and converted into residential homes is an increasingly popular trend in the Ballarat area.

​Josh Todd from Ballarat Ray White has sold quite a few churches and other buildings and says there is an increased interest in the properties because of their unique nature.

This circa 1863 Holy Trinity Anglican Church and Sunday school hall at Waubra was carefully converted into a stunning private home.

This circa 1863 Holy Trinity Anglican Church and Sunday school hall at Waubra was carefully converted into a stunning private home.

The historic Holy Trinity Anglican Church on the Sunraysia Highway at Waubra was carefully renovated into a two-bedroom home by Melbourne woman, Diane Hare 16 years ago.

The circa 1863 Anglican church and traditional Sunday school hall was located on a 3429sq m block and was scheduled for auction in April this year.

Ms Hare had converted the church into a unique home and successfully negotiated the architectural and cultural sensitivities while retaining the original lancet windows and soaring cathedral ceilings.

She said the church was still “fully operational” when she bought it, but said it needed rewiring and replumbing and a new kitchen, laundry and toilet had to be installed.

A converted gothic church at 10 Creswick Street, Miners Rest, was recently sold for $520,000. The former St James’ Presbyterian Church is the only church building remaining in Miners Rest, and the earliest-known example from mid-19th century Ballarat architect, J.A. Doane. Now renovated into a modern home, it preserves many of the original features of the chapel.

A historic bluestone miner’s cottage on the market between listed between $350,000 and $380,000 also proved a unique conversion opportunity and a glimpse into the area’s past.

The cottage at 373 Albert St, Sebastopol, attracted a lot of interest, with almost 50 groups of people inspecting the property in the first few weeks, Dominic Morrison from Ballarat Real Estate said.

The house is one of several built in the 19th century in what is now known as the Cornish Row precinct, and has a heritage overlay, Mr Morrison said.

“A City of Ballarat heritage study states the homes in the row date from 1860-1900, and were significant due to their association with the area’s development after the discovery of gold, and the fact that Cornish miners immigrated there to work,” he said.

Another unusual property is the 1886-built Manchester Unity Hall at 9 Grenville Street South, Ballarat, which also has an unusual interior.

The converted kithen in the former Anglican Church at Waubra.

The converted kithen in the former Anglican Church at Waubra.

The unconventional semi-circle shaped ceiling with a skylight cutting through the centre, was reportedly described in its heritage listing as “illogical”.

The 1977 heritage statement said, “The building is an interesting essay in neo-Renaissance Revival hall facade composition.”

The converted bedroom in the former Miner's Rest church. Photo: Supplied.

The converted bedroom in the former Miner's Rest church. Photo: Supplied.

The Manchester Unity Hall in Grenville St, Ballarat, built in 1886. Photo: Supplied

The Manchester Unity Hall in Grenville St, Ballarat, built in 1886. Photo: Supplied

The unusual interior and semi-circle shaped ceiling of the Manchester Unity building.

The unusual interior and semi-circle shaped ceiling of the Manchester Unity building.

This 19th-century bluestone cottage has links to Ballarat's mining era. Photo: Supplied

This 19th-century bluestone cottage has links to Ballarat's mining era. Photo: Supplied

This Ballarat east miners’ cottage won a 2018 Ballarat Heritage award for best conservation of a heritage place (residential project).

This Ballarat east miners’ cottage won a 2018 Ballarat Heritage award for best conservation of a heritage place (residential project).

Exposed bluestone walls are a feature of the transformed lounge area in the converted bluestone miner's cottage. Photo: Supplied

Exposed bluestone walls are a feature of the transformed lounge area in the converted bluestone miner's cottage. Photo: Supplied