Twenty years ago, Maureen Nathan was told by a friend “you’re the only person we know who can make this fly”, a comment which led to Maureen purchasing what was then known as Old Mogo Town, a replica Gold Rush Colony, built on an existing gold-bearing reef.
Now Maureen, a pharmacist from Long Beach, Batemans Bay, is ready to hand on the business she’s built on 4.57 hectares of bushland, which hosts events and school groups and has theme park tours and accommodation for 148 guests.
“This kind of set-up is usually not privately owned,” according to Maureen. “We have 24 employees on the annual payroll and welcome 6000 overnight students every year.”
Listing agent Graeme Sutherland of Tourism Property says that Maureen’s story, coupled with the huge potential of the property’s location, makes this sale truly unique.
“Mogo’s proximity to Canberra and Sydney make it a natural growth area for short, medium and long-term tourism investment,” Graeme says, “and the really exciting part is the option to buy the adjoining 12-acre property, allowing for significant expansion.”
The site is one of just five tourist-zoned properties in the Eurobodalla.
In her 70s and with a recent diagnosis of ovarian cancer, Maureen has clear reasons for selling but it doesn’t make the decision any easier.
“Oh, as long as I’m alive I’m very happy keeping on with things as they are,” she says dryly. “I have an excellent staff.”
The staff include adored manager Georgina Jackson, whose great grandfather was the first person to find gold on the site and senior tour guide Cory Peterson who has another life as a firefighter.
“I can’t believe this man comes back from being out on a fire all night to lead a school tour. He is a real doer,” Maureen says in admiration.
There are three mine shafts on the property but for Maureen, the real value is not in gems but in the property’s social value, as host to Indigenous employment schemes and a collection of community services, including a huge Men’s Shed.
“We’ve been nominated for the prime minister’s employer of the year award in the past for having some of the best rates for rehabilitation and getting people back into the workplace.”
With the property zoned as SP3 tourism, Maureen sees future potential for nature-based tourism and mountain bike riding in particular.
“We have two trails leading straight out the back of the property into beautiful bush,” she says. “I’d love someone who has skills and knowledge in building recreation and nature tourism to take over.”
The property’s 3.5-star accommodation options total 26 bedrooms and bathrooms and nine living areas, made up of eight cabins which sleep nine people each and can be let in different configurations to sleep 3-4 people, one cabin which is ASA-approved disability access and four bunkhouses which sleep eight.
The property also has a manager’s residence, pool and caretakers cottage and comes with all the trimmings – tractor, ute, ride-on mower, steam train and track, collectables, gift shop and inventory, as well as livestock.
“If someone wanted to take it on and keep the model, keep the staff, that’s exactly what I want, I’d like my baby to go to a good home and I’m happy to wait for the right buyer,” Maureen concludes.