A derelict property which was the site of a kidnapping over 40 years ago has sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The site of the ex-Wooreen Primary School in South Gippsland, Victoria, where a mass kidnapping occurred in the 1970s, has sold for $450,000.
Sitting on 8071sq metres, the property was sold to buyers as a chance to “own a piece of history”.
The school has sold for $450,000. Picture: realestate.com.au
Edwin John Eastwood approached the school in 1977 wearing a balaclava and brandishing a gun, before taking the teacher and nine students captive. He chained and padlocked the children and gagged their teacher, forcing them into a covered ute.
Eastwood ended up taking a further six people captive after crashing into a truck, using his gun to force the men inside and bystanders inside a separate van.
Holding his gun to their heads, he took the entire group of 16 people captive, driving them to a campsite, chaining the men to a tree.
Edwin John Eastwood was arrested after kidnapping the children and their teacher.
The ordeal ended when one truck driver loosened his chains and ran 10km to raise the alarm.
The building’s dark past did not have an impact on the sale, according to Ray White Leongatha director Michael Hanily.
“What happened in 1977, it had no relevance to people’s interest in the property now; everyone knew about it obviously because they Googled it before they got there,” he said.
“Mainly people asked when it had stopped being a school. They weren’t concerned with what was happening with the kidnapping. It was sort of irrelevant.
The buyer plans to restore the building to live in and may even extend their renovation beyond the existing property, according to Mr Hanily.
The teacher who was abducted had only spent nine days in the classroom when the event took place.The kidnapper held the captives in this car before crashing into a timber truck and stealing a Kombie van.
The site has become quite dilapidated after years of not being used, with the new owners having their work cut out for them.
“The school building is in need of repairs, but for someone who has the right skills, restore it back to its former glory, making the perfect weekender or a cute cottage home,” the listing read.
“This property presents as a fantastic opportunity for a weekender or alternatively, build your dream home on a site with beautifully established trees and gently undulating, easy to maintain land.”
The former school site is set on 8071sq metres. Picture: realestate.com.au
It was not the first time Eastwood had kidnapped schoolchildren and their teacher, having escaped from Geelong Training Prison where he was imprisoned over an abduction in 1972, when he held six young girls and their teacher captive.
After the 1977 kidnapping, Eastwood was sentenced to 21 years in prison with a minimum of 18 before being eligible for parole.
He was released from jail in 1993 after changing his name to David Jones, however was arrested again in 2001 after police found him in a stolen car with two sawn-off guns and “how to sail” books among other items, telling officers he planned to steal a yacht and sail to the Philippines.