One of Bendigo's grandest properties is set to reopen for business next year, having been sold for what is believed to be a record price.
White Hills' Langley Hall, built in 1904 for Bendigo's first Anglican bishop, has been purchased for $2.5 million by Melbourne couple Thomas and Simone Heywood.
The couple are in music - Mr Heywood being an internationally renowned concert organist - and hope to make Langley Hall a performing arts venue.
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The Heywoods will live at the Napier Street property and continue its operations as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue, but plan to host musical events and the like at the estate.
Mr Heywood said he and his wife were committed to introducing children to the joy of music, and down the track hoped to explore the possibility of founding a music academy at Langley Hall.
"We want as many people as possible to come and enjoy it," he said.
The pair had been searching for a place to call home and start a performing arts program, he said, and could not believe the "magnificent and unique" Langley Hall when they saw it.
Mr Heywood said the current owners, Anthony and Jenny Gurry, had "done the most outstanding job with that place".
"Really, I'm in awe," he said.
Mr Gurry said they were "absolutely delighted" with the sale, and its new owners had a "great vision" for its future.
"I think it will be another asset to the arts and culture [of Bendigo], which is just wonderful," he said.
Mr Gurry said he and his wife had greatly enjoyed their time running Langley Hall as a bed and breakfast and events venue, having had wonderful clients and guests.
They now plan to move back to Melbourne where their family lives, and spend more time with their grandchildren.
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Mr Heywood said he expected he and Simone would move to Bendigo mid-next year and Langley Hall would be back up and running around July.
The pair had always loved Bendigo, he said, and both had family ties to the area - Mr Heywood's great-great-grandfather, William Daniel Heywood, served on the Bendigo council more than a century ago.
Mr Heywood said they were excited to get involved in the Bendigo community.
Real estate agent John Castran said Langley Hall's sale price was believed to be a record for Bendigo.
"They're two very significant historic mansions in Bendigo and that's the reason why they received the highest price in Bendigo in living memory," Mr Castran said.
A brief history of Langley Hall
Langley Hall was built about 1903 and 1904 as the residence of Henry Langley, the city's first Anglican bishop.
It was designed by famed architects William Charles Vahland and John Beebe, but it remained the Bishop of Bendigo's residence for just two tenures.
The second bishop, Henry Langley's brother John, was the last to live in it, as the third bishop made his home in Forest Street.
Since then, Langley Hall has served a variety of purposes, including as a Red Cross hostel, a theological college, a home for unwed mothers, St Luke's Toddlers Home, and a restaurant and reception centre.
The estate includes two residential buildings - the Edwardian Langley Hall, plus Langley Manor, which was built in the 1930s - a chapel and other outbuildings, set on about 2.5 acres.