THE multi-million dollar cost to restore the Mortat Homestead is the reason the historic building is no longer standing, say the West Wimmera Shire.
The iconic homestead was demolished last week.
The West Wimmera Shire gave permission for the National Trust-listed building to be demolished in 2018.
Shire mayor Bruce Meyer said it would have required millions of dollars to restore the homestead.
"Looking at it myself, I know it was in a state almost beyond repair," he said.
"We are not talking one million, we are talking multi-millions to do the work that was required on it, plus roughly two years of labour.
"It was a massive job."
Cr Meyer said the building was not listed on the council's Heritage Overlay planning scheme, meaning it did not need to be tabled at council to receive a permit for demolition.
"The building would have had a heritage listing, but that is different to the council's heritage listing," he said.
"I know a lot of people are querying (the demolition) but I know the permits were all in order."
Cr Meyer said he was sympathetic to residents disappointed the building was no longer standing.
"As far as the historic aspect of that building, it is as historic as any building in the Wimmera," he said.
"It would have been very nice if the building was restored and maintained, but I also have to accept that we are talking about a large amount of money.
"People have to realise that there comes a time when the cost and condition of the building unfortunately outweighs the sentiment."
National Trust CEO Simon Ambrose said the organisation was "extremely disappointed" to see the building demolished.
He said the National Trust was not told that the owners of the property had received a permit for its demolition in 2018.
"The community would not have known that necessarily, either," he said.
"It's a shame that as a community we weren't able to provide the support and encouragement for the owner to look after the property.
"Even to the extent that they could perhaps think, 'Okay, I wasn't able to (repair the building). I'm going to shut the door and leave it for the next generation to look at.'
"Just keep the tin on the roof and shut the door, and someone in 20-30 years time can come along and think, 'What an opportunity.'
"It was just the easiest option to bulldoze it down. And I'm not denigrating the owner or council ... I just think it's a real shame."
Mr Ambrose said the legacy of owning a building of historical significance came with responsibility.
"Buildings that are nearly 150 years old require continuous upkeep to be kept safe and secure. Not just for the owners, but for generations into the future," he said
"When that hasn't been done in the past and the place gets into a state of disrepair, then it is entirely feasible that it gets to a point where it is not repairable, and it has to be significantly changed, or altered, or demolished.
"So the responsibility of upkeep is not something people should take lightly."
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