Face of the Day

Fairfax "Money isn't everything," says an 82-year-old woman offered a fortune to sell her home. Screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

“Money isn’t everything,” says an 82-year-old woman offered a fortune to sell her home.

Like a scene out of the classic Australian comedy, The Castle, one home owner has turned down all offers to buy her out of her property.

An 82-year-old grandmother from the Sydney suburb of Castle Hill has turned down an AU$26 million (NZ$27 million) offer to sell her home.

Retired schoolteacher Ruth, who requested her surname not be used, was approached by developers looking to transform her 2500-square-metre corner block, Domain.com.au reported.

Castle Hill resident Ruth is determined to stay, even as her neighbours sell up around her.
Castle Hill resident Ruth is determined to stay, even as her neighbours sell up around her.

“But I told them no,” Ruth said. “Then they kept coming back. You’ll never believe what they ended up offering me – $26 million!”
Domain reports that Castle Hill was once full of large detached dwellings on sizeable blocks. But now, they’re being replaced with medium and high-density housing – “row after row of tower blocks” – in the sought-after area.

In late 2014, a block of five properties opposite Ruth’s house sold to developers for $20.5 million.

However, the grandmother of six said she had “no intention” of selling up.

“I don’t care if they offer me $50 million,” she told Domain.

“Of course it’s a lot of money, and my children would love me to sell, but it’s irrelevant to me. Things are changing, I can see that happening, and I think I will be lonely here in a way when the neighbours move out and they pull their houses down.

“But money isn’t everything.”

Ruth purchased the land with her late shopkeeper husband Elli 55 years ago, and designed the house herself.

She still tends to her garden, and collects eggs from her chickens on the property.

Ruth told Domain she was happy her neighbours had done well, but Castle Hill was her home.

“I went to the Girl Guides at the end of the road, we set up a soccer club here, there was the pony club and the yearly shows, and all the neighbours used to get together for lunch,” she said.

“It was about working together to help each other out and I couldn’t walk down the street without seeing people I knew. It always had a lovely atmosphere. It used to be paddocks and people rode their horses along the street.”

– Stuff




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  • hookerphil

    Love her values.

  • Keyser Soze

    Crazy old biddy… I’d have grabbed the photos off the mantelpiece and been off on the next flight to the Caribbean!

    • kayaker

      Me too! I know a couple in their 80s who’ve been on 179 cruises. They’re looking forward to their 140th!

  • intelligentes candida diva

    Im all for maintaining the memory and good traditions although I do wonder if she is cutting off her nose to spite her face because that is serious money and with six grandchildren, she could buy land chickens and house them all on it …imagine the new memories that could be made……

    • BigDogTalking

      This is where the suits have missed a trick, currently she is thinking about what she is losing, they need to show her / give her a new vision.
      Rather than offer $26m perhaps they can find her a new home with the type of community that she values, because I suspect her girl guides and soccer club will be only in her memory in her current location but they still exist elsewhere.
      As the brexit remain campaign can tell you, you can’t sell a negative.

    • Crowgirl

      She could even transport the old house to a new property for that. I don’t think it’s the wisest move.

  • Doc45

    It doesn’t seem to be a question of the “money or the bag” – she could have both.

  • oldmanNZ

    ahh, the sentiment value.
    while most would sell and have a big holiday, even build a new house….

    but at 82 years old, she is smart, she has not long to go and can’t really go sunbathing nude in the carribians or start building another house, and it just wont be the same.

    Hence, money is nothing, but the memories of her home and the days she spent with her family is all she have left, and will remain till she die. Something that money cannot buy.

    • Keyser Soze

      Or she could spend the money creating some amazing new memories for her family of amazing stuff they went and did with granny…

  • peterwn

    I thought her rates bill would be crippling, but it seems that eligible pensioners can get rates rebates up to 100%. Perhaps the next revaluation and small print may catch her out.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    I love the vision of the suits turning up to ‘sell’ the old lady.
    Money is not the only motivation in life as the MSM and naysayers have discovered this week. People of her ilk are the ones who voted yes to Brexit. Most people do actually value their heritage, culture and traditions.
    She probably already has sufficient money. Good on her.

  • Garry

    Her kid’s will sell it when the time comes and it can only go up in value so they’re not going to miss out.

  • Nessie

    Back in 2000 there was a story about an elderly couple in their 80’s who some 60 years before, had bought a beach front section a couple of hours north of Sydney and built a cottage – it was the only place they could afford to buy. Over the years the city crept north and their beachfront section was surrounded by new homes while they continued to live in their cottage. It became news when they were taken to court by a developer and the local council who wanted the land to develop a subdivision, but they refused to sell. The offer was for A$6 million. At a certain stage of life money isn’t important.