Michael Clarke pads up for Berrima, Southern Highlands, cricket academy venture
Round Hill, the 93-hectare Southern Highlands lifestyle farm with picket fenced oval with cricket pitch, has been bought by the Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke and his wife, Kyly.
The property was advertised for August auction with $3.65 million hopes, and the couple are understood to have secured it after private negotiations for about $3.25 million.
The property last traded for $4,125,000 in 2006 when the neighbouring winemaker Louise Horsley bought it from a company owned by businessman Bill Ireland, the founder of Challenger Financial.
The then Challenger chief Bill Ireland had the pitch on its irrigated oval installed and utilised it for corporate business and charity events after he bought the property for $2.05 million in 2000.
Designed by architect Richard Rowe, the four-bedroom house stands in mature gardens. It comes with a tennis court and equestrian arena, and Title Tattle recalls from a prior inspection, an impressive lake with boathouse and fountain.
Five of the nine paddocks have dams.
The Clarke purchase fulfills his dream of opening a cricket academy. It's a very private forested property accessed only by gravel road.
He told News Ltd papers his wife of four months, Kyly, was instrumental in purchasing the property.
"I have dreamed about doing something like this all my life but I didn't know how to do it," Clarke told News reporter Malcolm Conn.
He said the academy, which he would love to open within two years, would educate youngsters in all facets of the game including diet."I have dreamed about doing something like this all my life but because of my playing schedule I never had the time to act on it," Clarke said.
"Kyly has played a big part in turning this dream into a reality. Her experience in design and property management will help make this academy happen, and I couldn't be happier about it.
"I'm at a stage of my career where I'm getting older and one day I'll retire or be dropped. This gives me a great opportunity for a job after my playing career is over, doing something I can be proud of."
Berrima's proximity to Bowral, the boyhood home of Don Bradman, was reportedly a major attraction, with excursions to the recently refurbished International Cricket Hall of Fame being part of the holistic curriculum offered by his intended academy.
"I remember going down to Bowral when I was a kid and walking in Don Bradman's footsteps," Clarke said."It's a big part of the reason why we chose this area.
"Berrima is also close enough to the city that it is easy to get to, but far enough away to feel like you're away from it all. And it will give me the opportunity to spend time away from the mobile, the computer and all the busy aspects of life and focus solely on my training," said Clarke, who lives in the Sutherland Shire.
Clarke also plans to use the property to engage in pre-season boot camps, such as the one he undertook in Coffs Harbour before last summer's 4-0 Test series win over India.
Clarke expects the academy to be open for business within 12 to 24 months and will cater to local and overseas juniors. He has yet to discuss the project at length with Cricket Australia but insists he has no intention to compete against their Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
It was listed through Cameron McKillop of McKillop Property and Michael Maloney of Richardson & Wrench Bowral.
Berrima is one of the prettiest towns in the Southern Highlands, a rare example of a largely preserved Australian Georgian colonial town.
Established during the 1830s as a government settlement, Berrima is popular with Sydneysiders seeking weekenders or a quiet place to retire.
The Horsleys' wine label was the cool climate Blue Metal Vineyard.
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Meanwhile, Mike Quigley, boss of the federal government's National Broadband Network, has also sold his Mosman mansion recently at $3,555,000. It represented a loss on the $3.6 million paid in 2007.
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