THE future of Struan House is in limbo and the historic mansion could be closed - a dire situation in the eyes of locals.
One of these locals is retired agricultural scientist Jock McFarlane, who worked at Struan House for 35 years in a variety of roles from technical officer, senior researcher to senior consultation roles.
Mr McFarlane is among 12 staff who have left Struan House in the past year.
He said increased rent on the facility's office space had made it too expensive for the last remaining tenants to occupy the building and as a result the majestic mansion may face closure.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA leases Struan House through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
On top of office space, Struan House is a community resource and its closure would rob the region of one of its biggest landmarks.
"The primary thing is that it is a resource that should be available to the community," Mr McFarlane said. "It is a significant structure in the SE."
The house, which took two years to build from 1873 to 1875, is used as meeting venue that is centrally placed in the SE.
The house was built by John Robertson at that time for his retirement.
The Naracoorte National Trust branch raised approximately $4000 to display Robertson memorabilia in one of the rooms.
Struan House is regularly visited by tourists and groups interested in local history.
Mr McFarlane wrote a letter to Robert Brokenshire, Member for MacKillop Mitch Williams and MP Don Pegler alerting them of the closure.
"Currently, senior management personnel in Biosecurity SA have commissioned the manager of asset management Jennifer Heath, to commence a search for alternative office accommodation," he wrote.
"In addition the personnel employed by Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and Rural Solutions SA are also looking for alternative office accommodation away from Struan."
He continued, lamenting the lack of funding for the farm industry.
"This is a time when State Government agency support for farm industries and natural resource management (particularly relating to soils) have never been funded at a lower level," he said.
"Because of this lack of funding and therefore lack of personnel, it is imperative that the effort of the remaining personnel is consolidated."He elaborated that the spreading out of industries in the area was not helping that.
"The separation of Biosecurity, SE National Resource Management, Rural Solutions SA and the SA Research and Development Institute fragments any combined effort that results from interaction between the agencies when they are accommodated in a common location."
He said the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Paul Caica had recently spoken about a "unified approach to natural resource management.
"It's the opposite at Struan," Mr McFarlane said.But he did offer a solution in his letter to the ministers - solving the rental issue while at the same time opening contact channels between the agencies.
"It appears to defy commonsense logic to vacate a premise at unknown relocation costs and leave this building to rapidly depreciate," he said.
"An innovative proposal would be to relocate the Struan Research Centre (SARDI) personnel into Struan House. This would encourage more interaction between the scientists of SARDI and those personnel who are in contact with the farming community and will communicate the science."