Buyer has special plans for historic Ceres church with views over Geelong

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The former Ceres Uniting Church has sold for $695,000.

BUYERS have faith they can turn an old Barrabool Hills stone church into a special residence with incredible views over Geelong.

They have paid $695,000 for the former Ceres Uniting Church, ending an extended campaign to secure a buyer for the property holding the heritage-listed place of worship.

The 1266sq m property was offered with approved plans to convert the circa-1855 Barrabool freestone building at 17 McCann St into a residence, though many buyers were keen to start over.

The hamlet’s church is opposite Ceres’ Temperance Hall where it has sweeping views above Geelong and Corio Bay.

The last service was conducted in 2015.

It previously sold for $500,000 in 2016.

Whitford, Newtown agent Tony Young said a local buyer that is looking to work with the original fabric of the church building to create something fairly special, had purchased the property.

It created a lot of interest during the campaign, he said.

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The church occupies a grand position in the town with sweeping views over Geelong.

When it was offered at auction, many local residents turned out to watch the proceedings.

“It’s been quite a while on the market,” Mr Young said.

“We’ve had well over 150 inquiries in the time and I reckon I probably had maybe 20 out of that 150 go pretty close to buying it — showing very strong interest,” he said.

The church has been an important part of the Ceres community since 1855.

Mr Young said working with the heritage-listed freestone building required a buyer with special knowledge.

“But you have to know what you’re going with this one. It’s not for the faint hearted.

“The particular buyer that’s bought it has done these sort of things before and will create something special.”

Whitford agents Tony Young and Dale Whitford call for bids on the former Ceres Uniting Church when it was auctioned in 2018.

The church was built in 1855 and was originally the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

The last service was held at the Ceres Uniting Church in December, 2015 as the congregation had fallen to as few as three.

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