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The former police station, in the heart of Thames, is up for sale. Photo: SUPPLIED

Iconic former police station up for sale

After making her home in the former Thames Police Station and enjoying the property for the past nine years, Michele Farnham is now selling this historic two-storey landmark.
Designed by renowned New Zealand architect John Campbell and built in 1909, the property covers 953m2 with entrances on Queen Street and Kirkwood Street.
“Out the back gate and I’m in Grahamstown – the heart of this vibrant community,” Michele said.
After the final police investigation for the missing Swedish tourists was conducted here in 1989, the station was decommissioned then sold to private owners to convert to a residence in 1991, Michele said.
It has since been a Wellness Centre, a successful B&B and even had a small cinema upstairs at one point.
The building reveals echoes of its past in every room. As you enter through the double doors, Inspector Kiely’s office was on the left. It had a split door as a counter, which still exists today. This was where you would pay your fines or licence fees. A box in the wall between the rooms was used for the inspector to pass money and documents through to the clerks’ room on the other side.

Over the hall was the Sergeant’s room. Next was the watchouse where prisoners were received, searched and processed. At the end of the hall stood the detective’s room which was also used for fingerprinting.
At the far end of the building is the dining room with a working fireplace, kitchen and pantry.
Michele has heard many stories of raucous parties held here allegedly fuelled by confiscated alcohol. A winding staircase leads to the second storey, which was originally built with five small bedrooms and a bathroom.
Adjoining the main building is the cell block, formerly the jail and now a unique living space with a double and single room, full bathroom and kitchenette.

Fast forward to today and the four downstairs offices in the main building are used as bedrooms/study and a library, which has bespoke bookshelves made from carefully salvaged Kauri from the old Thames nurses’ home when it was pulled down. Also downstairs the dining room stands in its original location, the kitchen has expanded and the detective’s room is now a family bathroom.
Upstairs has been sympathetically modified to create a large living room, a master bedroom and another full bathroom.
Michele and her daughter have enjoyed the police station as a real “family and friends” home having hosted many convivial gatherings from high teas to ‘Fashion in the Field’ for the Melbourne Cup.
The property lends itself to entertaining. Michele always imagined setting up a beer garden called The Constables Arms.
The in-ground pool is very popular in summer. Michele has planted gardens, a mini-orchard and created outdoor seating areas around the property.
Of course a property like this must come with its own ghost, and of course it does – a mischievous one at that.
Despite completely replacing the doorbell three times, it rings at odd hours. Michele once put the replaced doorbell away in the storeroom but it still rang once “out of the blue.”
The Old Police Station is being sold privately for $1,590,000.
For an appointment to view, phone Michele Farnham 0272 334408 or Damon Shelly 0274 333 151.