Grab Yourself a ‘Medieval’ Castle… in Australia!
An English couple in Australia are selling a home. But this is not your typical suburban semi-detached house, it’s a full-blown English-style medieval castle , complete with a moat… the last thing you’d expect to find Down Under!
If you live in Australia and LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) is your thing, and you want to be a queen or a king, you can now make your dreams a reality in an ‘almost’ real medieval castle. The famous building is located in a residential cul-de-sac in Dowling Street, Leumeah, in Western Sydney. The castle was the ostentatious creation of Ron Farmer in the 1970s, an Englishman from Kent who spent a decade building this monument to ancient English architectural styles.
A spacious lounge with a brick fireplace, a throne style toilet, a dining room with doors to a patio are all surrounded by stained glass like a medieval cathedral. Also reminiscent of an 800-year-old stone building are the gargoyles encrusting its 10 turrets. The castle came up for sale in 2014 for the first time since it was built. News.com says Sonita Ganda had urged partner Gopal to buy the castle for $480,000 to prove she really was “his queen”.
It Certainly Looks Medieval. But Those Walls?
This highly unique three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is ‘defended’ by its own moat. If anyone suspicious gets too close, there are arrow slits in the walls. And to enhance the medieval Englishness of his building, Ron moulded lions and shields, created stained glass and topped it all with gargoyles. However, there exists in this castle one key difference which sets it apart from all medieval English structures - this one is moulded in cement.
While medieval masons used pulleys and A-Frames to swing huge squared ashlars into place at cathedral and castle building sites, Ron built his with a trusty cement mixer. Even though this converted cottage can stand the climate in Sydney, its walls would evaporate under attack from a medieval Ballista. Ballistae were essentially giant crossbows that fired large heavy, iron tipped, wooden arrows. They were the medieval equivalent of armor piercing bullets, but these devices tore through castle walls and their defending knights like they were butter.
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The Medieval-Style living room in Leumeah Castle. Photo credit: Jeremy Piper
Australia Sees A Surge Of Castles Up For Sale
In 2014, Ms Ganda, wife of the so-called “old romantic” Mr Ganda, had urged her partner to purchase the property “to prove his love for her.” However, rather than it being a peaceful countryside castle home, like those in England, when they first bought the house it became a circus of people wanting to have a nosey at the spectacle. This is why the couple are tightly controlling viewings of their property, so as to avoid those wanting to see inside what has become something of a tourist landmark.
But just because the castle is a center of attraction locally, it’s far from unique in Australia. In fact, so many of these types of houses are hitting the market that in 2019, The Telegraph headlined an article with: “Multiple Aussie homes turned into medieval castles with moats and dungeons are up for sale.” A surge of medieval-style homes, often with drawbridges, moats and stained glass windows, “streamed onto the market for sale around Australia over the past year  after being held by the same families for decades,” according to The Telegraph. Why so?
The ’king’ and ‘queen’ of Leumeah Castle, Mr and Mrs Ganda. Photo credit: Jeremy Piper
Popping The Sugar Fairy’s Bubble
What’s happening in Australia is a classic example of what occurs when novelty is repeated until it is no longer novel. Over 10 fairy-tale castles have appeared on the market in recent years. While they were all initially bought by smart-thinking developers as ‘character homes,’ for renting as short-term getaways on apps like Airbnb for higher-than-average rental fees, in a contracting property market these same diligent owners shift them quickly.
The cement castle in Leumeah sold for $480,000 in 2014 and the current price for similar houses is around $750,000. However, the market is falling, so the King and Queen of Leumeah are selling their English-themed asset. The questions are many – who will be the next owners of this eccentric and unique property, and will the Fairy Queen of Leumeah get a new castle to call her own?
Top image: Leumeah Castle. Photo credit: Jeremy Piper
By Ashley Cowie