Vandals trash Minnamurra mansion

The 2000 square metre mansion was about 70 per cent complete when work was brought to a halt due to financial difficulties. Vandalism inside the mansion at Dunmore. The property was to have included a pool, games room, gymnasium and an eight-car garage, along with opulent tiled walkways. Pictures courtesy JOHN KOSSERIS

This website image shows young skaters taking advantage of the now empty Kosseris mansion.

It was to be a home worthy of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

But what promised to be the Illawarra’s most opulent property has instead become a post-apocalyptic hangout for teenagers – and a popular illegal skate park to boot.

The palatial residence, part of the Kosseris family’s planned Dunmore Equestrian Centre, now has an internet profile as the “Abandoned Minnamurra Mansion”.

Clips on websites show skaters taking advantage of what would have been opulent tiled walkways, passing by graffiti-covered walls. Facebook sites are sharing directions.

The 2000 square metre mansion, controversially approved by Shellharbour City Council, was about 70 per cent complete when work ground to halt.

Overlooking the Minnamurra River, with views across the Jamberoo Valley, the dream property was to include a pool, games room, gymnasium and an eight-car garage.

Three years ago John Kosseris’s Belmorgan companies were placed in receivership owing tens of millions of dollars, but the Dunmore Equestrian Centre Pty Ltd had other issues.

In 2007 Shellharbour City Council began proceedings in the Land and Environment Court over unauthorised works on the site, including construction of a road through environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Plans to remediate the site were left unresolved when Dunmore Equestrian Centre Pty Ltd, later known as Riverview Developments (Aust) Pty Ltd, was wound up.

Despite the involvement of receivers, Mr Kosseris told the Mercury this week “we still hold possession of the property”.

Mr Kosseris said the family was still hopeful of completing the development.

However, negotiations are continuing with Shellharbour City Council over the environmental court orders.

Mr Kosseris said the family was “very hurt” by the teenagers’ treatment of the property, but said despite the theft of wires and the extensive vandalism, the mansion remained structurally sound.

He warned that visitors to the property were trespassing and would be prosecuted and that police were visiting on a regular basis.

“If parents could tell their kids to stop going there it would be appreciated by us and the neighbours.”

A Shellharbour City Council spokeswoman said the council had been made aware of trespassing on the property in July and had provided this information to relevant authorities.

“The occupation of the site by young adults is a trespassing issue and therefore a matter for the police,” she said.

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