Berrima Gaol, a former correctional facility in the Southern Highlands of NSW, is to be redeveloped into a hotel and entertainment precinct following a $7 million sale to Blue Sox Group.

As part of a “rigorous” Expressions of Interest (EOI) process, Blue Sox’s winning proposal carefully considered the heritage-listed buildings on site and their historical significance to the local community.

“The proposal incorporates a boutique hotel whilst retaining the beautiful grounds of the estate, and will include café, restaurant, bar, community and event areas, and spaces which will cater for small business opportunities such as antique and book shops, personal services, art galleries, library and museum,” said Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes, Anthony Roberts.

Blue Sox Group will collaborate with the community, local Indigenous groups and the Local Aboriginal Land Council on ideas to “preserve and celebrate the wider site’s heritage”.

Colliers’ Nick Estephen, Thomas Mosca and Frank Oliveri brokered the sale and the EOI process was conducted by Property and Development NSW (PDNSW).

“I am confident the EOI criteria was structured to ensure the successful proponent delivered a strong proposal that provided a broad range of social, economic and cultural benefits for Berrima and the Southern Highlands and that the community will embrace the vision the proponent has for this significant property,” said Member for Goulburn, Wendy Tuckerman.  

Colliers Associate Director, Thomas Mosca, said there was a lot of interest in this property.

“We received enormous amounts of enquiry from around Australia with a record number of inspections and interest from every sector,” he said.

“There is huge attraction and appeal associated with the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.”

Estephen said the facility has “endless” potential.

“We are thrilled to see it be transformed into an iconic vision that will incorporate accommodation, hospitality and entertainment,” he said.  

“We are excited to see how this will attract more tourism to a town that is already highly regarded in the Southern Highlands.”

Since opening in 1839, the Berrima Correctional Centre had a variety of different purposes – acting as a German prisoner camp during World War I, a training centre, and a minimum-security prison for men that was later converted to also accommodate women, explained Minister for Corrections Geoff Lee.

“The NSW Government retired the correctional centre in 2020 and I’m excited to see how the site will be transformed,” Lee said.