GALLERY: Margaret Olley's terrace sold

THE last remaining Newcastle property of late Australian artist Margaret Olley sold at auction Saturday for $730,000.

Staff from Walkom Real Estate wore berets during the event at 70a Church Street, The Hill, and auctioneer Greg Handsaker sealed the sale with the fall of a brush, not a hammer.

Real estate agent Sonia Walkom, who was a friend of Olley's, introduced the property at the auction, spoke of its history and of its former owner's love for Newcastle.

Bidding at the on-site auction started at $685,000 and there were about eight registered bidders, Ms Walkom said.

Ms Walkom said that four or five bidders took part in the auction and the $730,000 price was a "fair bit" above the reserve.

The historic terrace with harbour views was sold to people from the Maitland area, Ms Walkom said.

Olley was based largely in Sydney but a who's who of the Australian art world enjoyed the celebrated painter's hospitality in her basement flat of The Hill terrace

Her visits to Newcastle became less frequent during her advancing years and she died in 2011, aged 88, from emphysema.

Olley opted to return proceeds of the property's sale to Newcastle through a bequest to Newcastle Art Gallery.

The terrace was divided into two flats, a four-bedroom house at 70a Church Street, and the basement flat Olley lived in at 70b, which has since been renovated. 

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