Chris Hensley has put the Monaltrie Homestead, one of the oldest houses in Lismore, on the market after living there for 38 years.
Chris Hensley has put the Monaltrie Homestead, one of the oldest houses in Lismore, on the market after living there for 38 years. Marc Stapelberg

One of Lismore's oldest homes is up for sale

WHEN William Wilson made his way to the area that would one day be called Lismore, it was on a raft from Ballina with his wife Jane.

The year was 1844 and he'd selected a plot he called Lismore Station that included stretches of the river which would one day be named after him.

Newspaper reports said his first home was called Lismore House, located where the tourist information centre in Molesworth St is today.

He eventually sold the house to Francis Garrard and moved to Monaltrie, where he chose an area of land on a hill out of reach of floods, with a spring and sweeping views over the Lismore plain.

There he had master builder William Clements use red cedar, white beech, hoop pine and hardwoods to build Monaltrie Homestead in about 1861.

Current resident Chris Hensley said his decision to sell the old home, which can be found on Wyrallah Rd, was a difficult one to make.

"I've lived here for 38 years and my grandfather Henry James 'Jim' Hensley bought the place in 1960 from members of the Wilson family," he said.

The house is a renovator's dream and features high ceilings, cedar floors, large windows and French doors opening up to a magnificent long veranda.

The original rooms of the homestead have pressed metal ceilings and later additions still hold the charm of days gone by.

"The bay window (in one room) was most likely an addition in the 1900s, as that's when they became popular," Mr Hensley said.

The original kitchen was burnt down in a fire in 1958 and the replacement was built at the end of a walkway/hallway.

"You can still see some of the charred floorboards in the hall that were from the fire," Mr Hensley said.

Many of the rooms have fireplaces and Mr Hensley tells the story of one old resident who had her fire stoked for her continuously for three years until the day she died.

A small family cemetery, managed by council, is located on the 40ha included in the house sale.

"There is something about this place that has a relaxing vibe," Mr Hensley said.

"It's more than it was flood-free and near water. Wilson understood that."

The property will be auctioned by Ian Weir & Son on April 14.



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