The Rose Street Gardens are a lush sanctuary nestled in the heart of Wee Waa and the stunning property is up for sale.
It’s a decision filled with mixed emotions for owners Tim and Sue Fragar who have shed plenty of blood, sweat and tears over the last 15 years while transforming the old Catholic Hall into the magnificent venue it is today.
“It’s time to pass the baton on to someone who can take it to the next level,” said Tim Fragar.
“It’s harder for Sue than it is for me,” he added.
Sue designed and developed the gardens that have been well-maintained by the talented green thumbs of Paul and Gwen Webber.
“There’s been a lot of people who have helped us along the way especially with the upkeep of the garden and that’s down to the Webbers,” said Sue.
“They’ve been tremendous, you can see just how pristine they keep it.”
When Tim and Sue purchased the old Catholic Hall from the Catholic Church in 2004 they were excited by the possibilities that it promised for Wee Waa but horrified by the suggestions that it should be knocked down and turned into a car park.
So the couple “took the plunge and bought it”.
“Our goal was to make it a place where lots of people would come to in town,” said Sue.
However there was a lot of work to do.
“We were wishfully optimistic at the time of how long the journey would be to get the result we were after.”
The Fragars said the hall had become quite a sad place when they first bought it – surrounded by an old school fence, most of the yard was topped with road base and used as a parking area.
“The hall itself, although still being used for the occasional function, was in need of some TLC to bring it back to life,” said Tim.
The very first job was the reinstatement of the bore to supply water to the planned garden.
And then with the news of a potential tenant, the Fragars moved the old Telstra weatherboard building from behind the post office.
Months were spent sanding and painting, and a veranda was added to compliment the weatherboard hall.
The Fragars and their team of workers paved an area at the rear, put in place a large pergola and covered it with an exquisite, ornamental grape vine.
The space was let to Shawn and Steve Wales who ran The Little House on Rose shop there for over a decade.
The garden then became the Fragar’s primary focus and is undoubtedly what makes the property such a standout especially during the drought.
But it was a challenge.
The road base that was covering most of the site needed to be removed in order to grow a healthy garden.
It was dug out with a backhoe and replaced with good black soil that was then levelled to form the blank canvas on which the Fragars would create their masterpiece.
Quite a few of the older trees were removed to make way for Sue’s vision and the old fence was replaced with the current black steel spear top fence, that the Fragars designed and built themselves.
Truckloads of nicely composted cotton trash were trucked in to form garden beds, an irrigation system was installed and the planting began.
Deciduous trees, roses, shrubs and perennials have made the cool and shady garden the perfect escape from the dust and heat.
A soft leaf buffalo lawn was laid and Japanese box hedging surrounds the garden beds.
Garden structures were fabricated by the Fragar’s son Ben and placed to provide seating areas and a grand entrance to the garden.
One of the venue’s most striking features is the fountain complete with water lilies, iris and fish.
It wasn’t until the garden was fully complete that the Fragars turned their attention to the main hall.
Floors were replaced, toilets refurbished, a baby change room added and the kitchen revamped.
The main area of the hall required significant work – renovating timberwork, repainting, new electrics, new flooring and some grand light fixtures that were designed and made by Tim and Sue.
The property has five individual commercial units. One building on the block has been fitted out for use by a family counsellor. Another space is currently being used as a popular hair studio.
And a meal prep and personal training studio has just opened in the hall.
Of course, the generosity of the Fragars also means that Wee Waa’s most beautiful property has been offered to many community groups for use including the Wee Waa Community Band’s weekly practice.
It’s also the home of Wee Waa’s Art Hub.
“I see the function side of it as the greatest earning opportunity,” said Tim.
The venue has hosted a variety of events from weddings to fundraisers and even a funeral.
“The opportunity to use the garden as a side to functions is great, I mean for weddings you can use the hall area as well as outside for photographs – it’s a great fit.”
“It’s unique in the fact that the garden is the anchor of the development,” added Landmark Harcourts agent James Thomas.
“There’s not many commercial precincts like it in regional towns and I think it would suit a local business person, or a local or regional based investor.
“It’s a good multi-facet investment – there’s a good return there at the moment through the existing tenancies.
“It’d be a great place for someone to run their own business out of and then have the other tendencies in there as well.
“It could be a farmer looking for some off-farm income.
“In the low interest rate environment we’re in, commercial investments are quite attractive and this one’s been developed to quite a high standard.
“We hope someone local takes it on and takes it to the next level.”
The Rose Street Gardens have been a labour of love for the Fragars and they think it’s a project that can bring the next owner just as much joy.
“Our ideal buyer would be a young person who is committed to Wee Waa and could make it work for Wee Waa and the North West region,” said Sue.
“It needs the enthusiasm of somebody that’s a bit visionary,” added Tim .
“You do feel a sense of pride in the fact that this was what Sue envisioned when she had a pencil and paper and started drawing out the garden.
“We do really enjoy seeing people sitting in the garden, we love it especially when they bring their little kids and have a picnic on the lawn.”To order photos from this page click here