South West town still on the market after failing to sell at auction

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Tom ZaunmayrManjimup Bridgetown Times
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VideoTone River village near Manjimup did not attract the right price at auction. It is now going to private contract.

A village in the southern forests remains on the market after failing to attract a high enough bid at auction on Wednesday night.

The Tone River Wilderness Retreat 30 minutes’ east of Manjimup has been billed as akin to owning your own town. For sale is a 40-hectare riverside block with 22 homes, sports amenities, office and hall nestled in the forest.

An auction at LJ Hooker’s Victoria Park office attracted 11 registered bidders and about 40 interested onlookers, but when push came to shove only two bidders took part.

The cottages at Tone River Wilderness Cottages will need quite a bit of TLC.
Camera IconThe cottages at Tone River Wilderness Cottages will need quite a bit of TLC. Credit: Tari Jeffers.

With a final bid of $635,000, well short of the $1 million valuation, the property has now gone out to private contract.

LJ Hooker Pemberton Manjimup principal Colin Wallbank said he remained hopeful a deal would be struck over the coming weeks.

“We do have interested parties who were unable to bid under auction conditions, and we have the highest bidder who wants to talk as well,” he said.

“There’s some not-for-profit groups there, some investors there, some who haven’t revealed what they want to do.

The peaceful idyll is being billed as a potential tourism operation for prospective buyers.
Camera IconThe peaceful idyll is being billed as a potential tourism operation for prospective buyers. Credit: Tari Jeffers.

“The majority of them are local buyers, but we do have some overseas investors interested there as well.”

Mr Wallbank said the sale was still open to interested parties who could not attend the auction.

Tone River settlement began life as a timber mill in 1948 and housed 117 men at its peak. It closed in 1978 and operated as a wilderness retreat until 2008.

The property is zoned tourism enterprise, meaning only a caretaker and onsite manager can live there full time.

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