Fire destroys historic Wellington Point house

RESIDENTS of Fernbourne Road, Wellington Point, are rallying around Peter and Mary Kamols after fire gutted their historic home, Fernbourne, this morning.

It is believed the Kamols were not at home when the fire ripped through the two-storey building built in 1889.

In less than two hours after the fire, local residents had found somewhere close-by for the Kamols to live while building assessments are conducted.

It is believed the family, one of only four to have owned the historic house, will remain in the area. But it is still unknown whether the building will be reconstructed.  

Five fire crews battled the blaze, believed to have broken out just after 9.40am and brought it under control just before 10am.

The roof of the mansion caved in but nobody was injured.

Neighbouring houses, in Wellington Point’s historic precinct, were evacuated.

Fernbourne Road resident Jan Haughton said she was devastated when she saw smoke rising from the house at around 9.40am.

“Everyone in this street is very, very close. We are always together and checking in with each other. We’ve very community minded,” she said.

“It’s awful that Mary and Peter have lost everything. They only have the clothes on their backs.”

Ms Haughton said if anyone would like to make a donation they can contact her on 3207 3742.

"Anything would be appreciated. Everything they had in the house is gone," she said.

Pioneer Gilbert Burnett built the house in 1889.

It was his third house called Fernbourne.

The first was the original, small house on the property where Whepstead Manor is now. 

Whepstead Manor was also once called Fernbourne. Its name was changed to Whepstead Manor when Mr Burnett was forced to sell it in the late 1880s to pay off debt.

According to former owners, there are two ghosts that haunt the mansion - a man whom no one has identified and an old lady believed to be  Matilda Burnett, Gilbert's wife.

Mr Gilbert moved to Ormiston around 1869 and took over Captain Louis Hope's sugar mill at Ormiston before buying a land at Wellington Point, where he erected a sugar mill and grew cane.

Fire has gutted the property before. After Mr Gilbert converted the sugar mill to a saw mill, misfortune hit and the entire mill and its contents burned down. 

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