The government is stepping in to protect Goulburn's heritage-listed Kenmore Hospital Precinct after the buildings suffered vandalism and disrepair earlier in the year.
Heritage NSW is undertaking a compliance investigation of the property, with co-operation from the owner, Xiao Liang Wen of Australia China International Holdings Pty, who bought the property in 2015.
Kenmore was the first purpose-built, whole complex for mental health care in rural NSW, designed by Walter Liberty Vernon, the first Government Architect, in the 1890s. The former hospital was added to the NSW State Heritage Register in 2005.
Mr Xiao purchased the property in 2015, intending to develop it for retirement accommodation, housing government services, or hosting educational facilities.
Although a master plan has been approved, residents reported that while the grounds have been maintained, the buildings have not been kept up.
Vandals ransacked the property in August and September. They smashed windows, including rare stained glass windows; ripped doors off their hinges; tore furniture apart; graffitied the walls; stole marble fireplace surrounds; pulled cedar skirtings and architraves from the walls; lit fires in the corridors; and left holes in the floors and ceilings.
Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman said she was "shocked, saddened, and angered" by the hospital's condition.
"The buildings have been subject to serious and continuing vandalism; maintenance has been ignored; and the poor state of the buildings is a dishonour to Goulburn's history," Mrs Tuckerman said.
The MP toured the property with the Minister for Heritage, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC, in September, and has discussed the hospital's plight with the Heritage Council of NSW and the Minister.
"I remain strongly committed to ensuring the preservation of Kenmore Hospital Precinct," Mrs Tuckerman said.
Heritage NSW officers inspected the site on October 21, and identified security issues, condition issues, and risks, a spokesman said.
Heritage NSW is preparing a Minimum Standards of Maintenance Plan for the property, and has written to Australia China International Pty to ensure they fulfil their obligations to minimize further deterioration and damage.