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Dark past of $450,000 Aussie farm property

The Wooreen School property was the site of a harrowing 21-hour ordeal in 1977.

A composite image of the dwelling located on the Wooreen School property and the class of 1977 with their teacher who were kidnapped.
In 1977 a teacher and his nine students were kidnapped from the Wooreen School property in Victoria. (Source: (Source: Ray White Leongatha / Victorian Police)

This quaint rural property located in Wooreen Victoria was recently sold for $450,000, but behind the magnificent trees and park-like setting lies a dark history.

In 1977, the Woorreen school was attacked by a gunman, who held a teacher and his nine students at gunpoint through a 21-hour ordeal.

Ray White Leongatha director Michael Hanily told 7 News the property actually garnered more than one prospective buyer.

“Pretty much 100 per cent of people knew the history before they even [came] there. They would bring it up and we would discuss it, but no one thought it was a big deal,” Hanily said.

The purchasers told Hanily they planned to restore the building, and “they liked the potential of the structure, even though it does need a lot of work”.

Dwellings on the Wooreen School property.
A few structures already exist on the property. (Source: Ray White Leongatha)

The property is 8,071 square metres, with two structures already built, but in need of significant work.

“The school building is in need of repairs, but for someone who has the right skills, restore it back to its former glory, making the perfect weekender or a cute cottage home,” the listing said.

“This property presents as a fantastic opportunity for a weekender or alternatively to build your dream home on a site with beautifully established trees and gently undulating, easy-to-maintain land.”

An aerial view of the property in Wooreen.
The property is a staggering 8,071 suare metres. (Source: Ray White Leongatha)

What happened at Wooreen school?

Notorious criminal Edward John Eastwood entered the school armed with a revolver, where he bound the teacher and students together and threw them in the back of Eastwood’s utility van.

They were driven for hours towards a planned campsite at Mullungdung State Forest, with some of the students vomiting throughout the journey from car sickness.

After a couple of unplanned run-ins with unsuspecting passers-by, the hostage count grew to 16. A ransom letter delivered to the Sunday Observer in Richmond listed Eastwood’s demands.

His demands included the release of 17 inmates, $7 million, 100kg of pure Latin-American cocaine, and 100kg of pure heroin.

“If my demands and conditions are not acceded to, the hostages will be killed,” the letter read.

Eventually, a male hostage managed to slip free and travelled 8km to alert police, who captured Eastwood after a high-speed chase came to an end.

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