reports Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust has entered into an exclusive due-diligence agreement with Fernhill Estate at Mulgoa.

The plan is to have a heritage cemetery for all denominations on 40 per cent of the 384ha being considered for purchase.

The saleable property is the Central Precinct, and Fernhill’s historic eight-bedroom mansion and outbuildings, constructed over four years, are on this portion of the property.

CEO George Simpson said that discussions were happening with the community and various consultants to assess the viability of the venture.

“Fernhill is one of the earliest examples of English landscape design in Australia and we are very much committed to the care of the Fernhill homestead by making it a site for the whole community,” he said.

The heritage listed mansion has 12 sandstone fireplaces, a 16-seat dining room, a 2,400 metre horse racing track and stables.

It has also been home to two Melbourne Cup winning horses, 1877 winner Chester and 1880 winner Grand Flaneur.

Mr Simpson said the location of the Fernhill Estate makes it a suitable location for expansion of Rookwood, while the creation of a heritage cemetery — giving it protection under a heritage listing — will allow for further conservation of the site.

The full News.Com story is here.

Meanwhile, over at the Daily Telegraph, we are told the Mulgoa Progress Association has voiced strong opposition to an attempt to turn the historic Fernhill Estate into a general cemetery.

The association’s president Wally Cox said having a lawn cemetery on a State Heritage significant site would be destructive.

Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust, the potential buyers of the sandstone mansion Fernhill, say a Mulgoa cemetery would help meet a demand for burial spaces in Sydney in coming decades.

“We’re experts at managing heritage buildings and conservation areas,” trust CEO George Simpson said.