Abandoned old town waiting for buyer to breathe life back into it

Abandoned old town waiting for buyer to breathe life back into it

A dusty and deserted ghost town with a dirt cheap price tag in northwest Victoria is looking for a buyer to revive it.

An abandoned post office, butchers, bakery and house in the once bustling shopping strip of Watchem, population 114, is up for grabs — for the princely sum of $49,000.

The set of shut-up shops at 6-8 Hoban St have reduced to rubble since closing for business more than 30 years ago, leaving the old town all but deserted.

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President of the Watchem Development Association Peter Walder said he had childhood memories from the once-thriving old town.

“Residents around here would like to see it occupied and tidied up, so it doesn’t stay such an eyesore,” Mr Walder said.

“A lot of land turns into skip yards for broken down cars, which we don’t want to see any more of.”

The old town’s abandonment has seen activity moved around the corner where a pub, general store, swimming pool and church still operate.

North West Real Estate’s Rob Lehmann said somebody could “buy the town”, located 315km from Melbourne, for a tiny sum.

“It’s 3200sq m, which is quite a large parcel of land in the old town of Watchem,” Mr Lehmann said.

“The existing house is a renovate or detonate situation, and honestly it would be touch-and-go if you could actually do it up.”

More than 300 tourists visit the town’s lake every summer and somebody could build accommodation on the land, perfectly positioned between the swim spot and the pub, Mr Lehmann added.

“It’s all in the eyes of the beholder, but small country towns like these have a scarce number of rentals, and somebody could develop this as a country retreat,” he said.

The historic site, which is owned by an elderly Melbourne woman, also includes remains of the bakery ovens, believed to be more than 100 years old.

Mr Lehmann said the unusual package, where you could “sort of buy the town” was attracting plenty of attention.

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