Former Bairnsdale Pumping Station on the market with plans for residential conversion

Three lots at the former Bairnsdale Pumping Station are on the market. Picture: Supplied
Three lots at the former Bairnsdale Pumping Station are on the market. Picture: Supplied

A massive water tank in the regional Victoria town of Bairnsdale could be transformed into a stunning home featuring a dramatic circular pool in a project aimed squarely at those looking to live out their own 'Grand Designs' fantasy.

It's one of three lots on offer - either individually or in one line - in the decommissioned Bairnsdale Pumping Station complex, each being offered with permits in place for residential transformations of their existing structures.

Others include the 'Underground Tank', listed for $250,000, and the 'Engine Drivers House', listed for $190,000. A fourth property, the 'Workshop', was sold earlier this year, sight unseen, to a Queensland-based buyer.

Inside the Round Tank. Picture: Supplied

Inside the Round Tank. Picture: Supplied

Vendor Grant Maddern and partner Tony Martin purchased the properties four years ago and spent more than two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars getting permits in place for the project.

"I lived in that area for a long time when my kids were little and I always used to drive past and say I'm going to live in that tank one day and they thought I was an idiot ... and now I'm still not living in it and they think I'm an idiot" Mr Maddern said.

The properties had been carved off from a 15 acre holding sold by the waterboard, Mr Maddern explained.

"They left these four heritage-listed buildings on an acre of land and they sold that off separately," he said.

The pair had been planning to tackle the residential conversions themselves, but a change in circumstances meant that they had decided to sell.

An artist's impression of the Round House conversion. Picture: Supplied

An artist's impression of the Round House conversion. Picture: Supplied

The Round Tank, which held 1.3 million litres when in use, is marketed with a price tag of $340,000. It's being sold with a relocated pumping house.

The combined site is believed to be one of the most intact examples of an early municipal pumping station in Australia.

Designs for the water tank with swimming pool. Picture: Supplied

Designs for the water tank with swimming pool. Picture: Supplied

All of the buildings, at various stages, served an important role in securing Bairnsdale's water supply.

The Underground Tank and Engine Drivers House were constructed around 1888, while the Round Tank was built around 1906 to designs by Sir John Monash's Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Company.

The Underground Tank is also for sale. Picture: Supplied

The Underground Tank is also for sale. Picture: Supplied

The last of the buildings was decommissioned at least 30 years ago, according to listing agent Sue Gratton of Circa Heritage and Lifestyle.

Designs for the Round Tank site include the construction of a circular swimming pool inside the external walls of the tank, wrapped around an open plan living area and master suite.

"When I was working with the designers I said I wanted a round swimming pool and they kept coming in with why it couldn't happen until we finally figured out a way to make it work," Mr Maddern said.

"The plans we ended up with exceeded my expectations," he added.

Ms Gratton said that the project was in need of someone with a 'vision', and referenced the popular TV show Grand Designs as indicative of the scale of any build.

"It's a very Grand Designs-style sort of situation, where you need that vision," she said.

The Engine Drivers House. Picture: Supplied

The Engine Drivers House. Picture: Supplied

Although each structure would make an ideal, and unique, home, the three buildings could also be used for a hospitality venture.

"It's hard to find something with that many buildings in one space with that unusual style," she said.

The buildings have been listed for sale since 2020, but Victoria's protracted lockdowns meant many interested parties hadn't been able to inspect them, Ms Gratton said.

He might not be living out his dream of living in the water tank yet, but Mr Maddern said that he would still love to tackle the Round Tank project himself if the other two properties sold.

"If the stars and moons align and we sell the other two we'd do it ourselves," he said.

This story Heritage water tank could become Australia's ultimate pool house first appeared on The Courier.