Twelve Tribes sect in $6 million property sell-off in Picton

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Almost 20 years after the fundamentalist Christian sect known as the Twelve Tribes started a commune south-west of Sydney, members are moving out and their local property holdings are being put up for sale.

The sell-off of more than $6 million worth of property near Picton comes at a tumultuous time for the global movement, not least because of financial pressures from rising interest rates on mortgages attached to a slew of recent real estate acquisitions and a police investigation into claims of illegally buried human remains.

Scrutiny of the reclusive sect has further been ramped up thanks to a recently released true-crime podcast called Inside the Tribe – by journalists Tim Elliott, a writer at The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine, and Camille Bianchi – that has heard from dozens of former members claiming incidences of child abuse, labour violations and even illegally buried stillborn babies.

In 2020, NSW Police launched Strike Force Nanegai which uncovered the remains of at least one baby on the Twelve Tribes property at Bigga, near Crookwell. The police search included Peppercorn Creek Farm, but no remains were found there.

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