THE historic Maldon Uniting Church has been sold.
Local couple Kareen Anchen and Jeff Gardner bought the building - which dates back to 1853 - for $440,000, a price Ms Anchen described as "very damn good value".
The auction took place at 4pm on Saturday afternoon and was attended by almost 100 people.
There was one other bidder: Melbourne man Zubair Mian.
Ms Anchen and Mr Gardner were ecstatic about the buy and said they planned to use the main building as a business and artist's studio and to live in the adjoining building, previously a Sunday school.
"We've always been romantic about old, red brick buildings," Ms Anchen said.
"We want to conserve it.
"We'll probably go straight in and do what we can to renovate it.
"There are many creative possibilities."
Ms Anchen said it was fitting the pair were artistic souls, as they could realise the building's potential by using their imaginations.
Mr Gardner is a professional artist, whose talents include print-making and painting, and Ms Anchen's professional background is in co-ordinating alternative and mainstream arts education programs.
In 2011 the pair opened Cascade Print Room & Gallery, a shop that sells a variety of paintings by Victorian artists, and offers framing and printing services.
The business is located in an old warehouse in Maldon's Main Street, but the couple will now sell this building and relocate their business to the church.
Ms Anchen said she was was well aware of the church's sentimental value within the community.
She said there would be future opportunities for the public to come inside the building, such as if the pair were to host an exhibition opening.
The Uniting Church decided to sell the building to pay off its debts.
Reverend Michele Lees told the Bendigo Advertiser last month that the church couldn't afford to maintain the building and there had not been a "strong" congregation attending it for quite some time.