Bend of Islands: Mudbrick home part of elusive conservation co-op up for sale

16/149 Skyline Rd, Bend of Islands is located within the Round the Bend Conservation Co-Operative.

An opportunity to join the elusive Bend of Islands community has arisen, with a share in the Round the Bend Conservation Co-Operative hitting the market last week.

The three-bedroom mud brick home at 16/149 Skyline Rd is for sale for the first time in about 30 years, listed with a $480,000-$528,000 price guide.

But buyers won’t be able to purchase the pad through regular means.

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The mud brick home was built in about the 1990s.

It also comes with a slow combustion wood heater.

One of two bedrooms located upstairs, with a third bedroom found on the ground floor.

The co-op, founded in 1971, requires a sometimes lengthy vetting process for those wanting to join.

Lot 16 is one of 24 houses built across 132ha and a total of 32 shares, with eight shares located on vacant blocks.

The owners built the mud brick house in about the 1990s and have lived there ever since, said a Round the Bend Conservation Co-Operative representative.

“There has been strong interest (so far) because it’s quite unique and unusual,” he said.

“It’s not often a house in the co-op comes up for sale.”

The representative added that buyers would need to be accepted into the co-op first before purchasing the house.

“We’re looking for people who appreciate the value and will be active in environmental conservation, who are also highly regarded and very knowledgeable,” he said.

The welcome sign to Bend of Islands.

Plenty of native flora and fauna are found in the town. Picture: Nicole Cleary

Many residents have ‘kitchen gardens’ on their properties as there are no shops in town. Picture: Nicole Cleary

The home’s vendor, whose husband recently passed away, is leaving the community for the first time since they built the house about 30 years ago.

It’s described in the listing as an “environmentally friendly home” with an “endearing mud brick and timber construction”, found on about 1500sq m of land.

Although no domestic pets are allowed in the co-op, the surrounding land is home to plenty of native flora and fauna.

Inside the mud brick pad are vaulted timber ceilings, an open-plan living and dining area and a “slow combustion” wood heater.

The home offers complete privacy, but social activities are encouraged in the co-op, with members often involved in sub-organisations such as the Christmas Hills fire brigade, food co-op and playgroup.

It’s stated on the co-op website that all sites are provided with underground power and telecoms, with Wi-Fi and rubbish collection also available.

The website also highlights that membership doesn’t confer freehold title, as the co-op owns the land and provides a long-term lease to members.

Due to this leasehold tenure, it is also noted that financial institutions are generally reluctant to provide mortgage finance for homes on the co-op.

“Anyone wanting to buy a house (here) should understand the arrangements, as people generally have to arrange their own finances,” the co-op representative said.

The bathroom at the mud brick home.

Natural bushland surrounds the property.

There’s also a one-off $400 application fee to become an associate, which is then refunded once an associate becomes a co-op member.

Associates must undergo a structured membership process, which according to the website aims to “ensure the future sustainability of the co-op by selecting people who have a genuine interest in conserving the environment.”

“We expect incoming members to be active,” said the co-op representative.

RT Edgar Yarra Valley associate director Gerard Kennan and director Andrew Houghton have the listing.

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