Uninhabited NSW dairy farm island listed after 90 years of Sketchley family ownership
Sketchleys Island, a tightly held 24-hectare island near Newcastle, has been listed for sale at $495,000.
Set in the Karuah River, the island was once a thriving dairy operation, with the rich soil producing award-winning cream.
After the farm was in the Sketchley family for three generations, Robert and his wife, Lenore, have decided to sell the island, which is just 100 metres from the town of Allworth, where the family had another property.
It was known as Flying Fox Island before 1922 and gazetted Kitchener Island by the Geographical Names Board in 1986, but the council rates comes through as Sketchleys Island. It is fully navigable to Nelson Bay.
The main island comprises around 60 acres (24 hectres), with its two much smaller sister islands of around three to five acres each.
The family ran the tidal salt river island as a going concern – harvesting oysters during winter and operating a boat hire business from the mainland. As the island's only house was demolished by the 1920s, the family rowed out several times a day to manage the farm.
The first family member owner was Thomas Sketchley, who was for three decades with the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company.
The agent John Miles from Webb Bros noted its pastures are mainly kikuyu.
"Unfortunately nothing remains from the original homestead, although one can clearly see remnants of the old timber dairy and its adjacent yards," he adds.
The island is home to pelicans and black cockatoos.
"Construct your family home on your own island, which would certainly present an astute buyer with the lifestyle that most can only dream about," Webb says.
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