Heritage house gutted

A SUSPICIOUS fire has gutted one of Campbelltown's heritage-listed buildings.

The blaze ripped through Raith at Bradbury on the night of January 15 and caused extensive damage.

Campbelltown police said no one was inside the building when the fire broke out after 8pm. They are still investigating the incident.

Julie Crowley, who lives several houses down, said squatters frequented the run-down, fenced-off building.

"I saw the smoke billowing out and I felt my whole insides drop; I was really sad," Ms Crowley said.

"From the front it looks like not much has happened but from the back you can see the whole roof has caved in."

The Indian-style bungalow was built by the Merewhether family in 1903.

It was bought by the Child Welfare Department in 1964 to house young wards of the state.

By the early 1990s the last children had left and the 2.5-hectare property slipped into disrepair.

The property, still owned by the state government, was passed in at auction last year.

Ms Crowley said Raith captured the imagination of many nearby residents.

"To me it was always the place that if I ever won the Lotto, I'd buy it and do it up, she said.

"It's still such a sturdy house and you can see how it could still be beautiful.

"I could just see the vision of what it could have been.

"Standing in the street after the fire, talking to the neighbours, so many of them said the same thing. But I doubt it could be salvaged now.

"I think if there was somebody who really cared, perhaps it could be."

Those with information should go to police.nsw.gov.au or call Crime Stoppers, 1800 333 000.

Heritage lost: Raith at Bradbury was known for a sprawling roof, wide chimneys and a large verandah but has fallen victim to years of neglect and a recent fire. Picture: Julie Crowley

Heritage lost: Raith at Bradbury was known for a sprawling roof, wide chimneys and a large verandah but has fallen victim to years of neglect and a recent fire. Picture: Julie Crowley

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