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Orange heritage home on four acres listed for the first time in 28 years. But wait, there's more...

August 24, 2022


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By Peter Holmes


When Sandro Rossetto was a young boy growing up on his parents’ orchard on Ploughmans Lane in Orange in the 1960s, he would look up at the old house on the orchard next door. It was called Melyra.



“I used to think, ‘Geez I’d love to get under that one day’,” Rossetto told The Orange News Examiner. “What a beautiful old home.”




Decades later, in 1994, he was able to not only get under the house, but inside it, after Rossetto and his brother bought the land on which the heritage-listed Melyra homestead sat.



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The owner had been a man by the name of Paddy, Rossetto explained, and when he passed away he left it to the Catholic Church.


“When they put it up for sale we jumped on it,” Rossetto said.


The adjacent Rossetto family orchard originally grew apples, pears and stone fruit, and later transitioned to cherries. Rosetto worked for local media for some years, and then returned to the orchard, but after more than a decade in cherries, he became tired of being at the mercy of weather and fluctuating market prices.




After purchasing the land with his brother, Rossetto “cut off five acres for myself and [in 1997] started to build the units”. His brother’s land is now suburban housing.


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The units Rossetto refers to are six self-contained short-term studios and two two-bedroom apartments, known as Melview Gardens.


“I was sitting out on the verandah one day having a beer, looking out at the land, and I thought, ‘Yeah, I could probably do something here’,” he said.




“We were one of the first accommodation-type apartments on a short term basis. I thought there was certainly a market in the area, took the punt and went with it, and it’s been pretty good.”



Rossetto said that when he purchased it in 1994 Melyra was “structurally pretty good, but like all old homes there was a lot of work to be done”.


Orange Historical Society told The Orange News Examiner that although the construction date is not known, records show people were living in a property called Melyra in Orange in 1875.


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“It was a labour of love for 10 or 12 years - I worked on it most weekends and nights to get it back into shape. It’s come up pretty good.”


Rossetto and his wife Kerrie, in their 60s, have decided to sell up, travel and spend more time with the grandkids.

I ask if they both came to the realisation at the same time, or whether one had been holding out?


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“Absolutely mate - I’ve been holding out for years!

"Kerrie was ready to go years ago. I was the one that had that big fear of having nothing to do after being really active all my life.





“It’s a big thing when you've been here a lot of years, you certainly get attached to the place, but in saying that you've got to move on at some stage.”



Not that the Rossettos are planning to go very far.


While they are selling four of the five acres, they have kept an acre for themselves and will build a new home on it.


Melyra Historical Item


The Orange Leader

January 19, 1920.


“Mr Roy Bowman son of Mr W.C. Bowman, of Melyra, had a narrow escape from drowning last Tuesday. With a son of Mr Gifford, he was swimming in Summer Hill Creek, when suddenly the creek came down.


“Young Bowman was in the water, but Gifford had all his clothes on and noticing that his mate was in distress, plunged in fully dressed and succeeded in bringing him to the bank.

“Artificial means to restore respiration were resorted to and Roy was soon himself again, but it was a touch and go all the same.”



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