Location: Manning Valley
Date: November 2010

November 23, 2010. My last Journal entry posted on November 8 featured scans of my old house in Glebe, Sydney. The exercise inspired me to scan some more old stuff. This time it's my scrap book which goes back to the mid 1960s. I posted Page 1 today. Click here for the Scrapbook Index page. New pages will be added daily until the whole project is complete.

November 8, 2010. Well, it's only taken me 30 years to get around to it, but I finally scanned some old pics of my little terrace house in Glebe that I sold back in 1991. This post may be of interest to some people but I've mainly posted it to inform the current owners of the house of some of its history. Once this journal and album are posted, I'll write them and let them know the URL.

01a is how the house looked when I first bought it for $31,000 in January 1978. Old Frank Powell who lived next door in No.17 paid 400 quid ($800) back in the 40s or 50s for his identical house so I thought I was paying a fortune. The tree out front is still in its infancy.

01b shows the old outdoor dunny with it's timber seat, and the cistern perched on rafters high above. It was fitted with a chain for flushing. In those days you didn't flush the toilet, you "pulled the chain". But that arrangement was quite modern compared to the original pan or can which would have been collected by the "dunny man" from the rear lane once or twice a week. All old terraces had a rear lane for dunny collection. I never used the old loo because the house had an indoor loo and shower installed by the "renovation" company from whom I purchased it. It was installed at the back of the kitchen which reduced the size of the kitchen to the size of a cupboard.

01c shows the rear of the house looking from the loo up the side passage, before the old kitchen and external corrugated iron laundry were demolished in 1983. Note the corrugated iron fence on the right. All the rear fences dividing the properties were made of corrugated iron sheets.

01d is a shot of the backyard side passage looking from the side door of the kitchen down to the old loo with the corrugated iron fence to the left. At the rear, beyond the lane, is an abandoned brick broom factory. I used to get the local kids to fill hessian bags with old bits of timber once used for broom-making for my fireplace. They weren't scared of the rats like I was. The broom factory was eventually demolished and the site turned into a park.

01e shows my pride and joy, a Hoover twin tub washing machine in the old laundry. Behind it is a wash tub. To the right, not in view, was an old brick fireplace and chimney that would have been used to heat a copper wash tub, and probably water for the bath.

02a shows the demolition of the old kitchen and laundry. I also had the rear doorway moved further to one side to allow a bathroom, toilet and shower to be installed against the main wall.

02b shows the early construction stage of 52 townhouses opposite the house. The site was formerly a number of factories with the nearest one used for making Christmas decorations. No doubt in the old days those factories would have employed many locals.

02c shows the finished kitchen, and me treating my dog Kelly to a celebratory toast. Actually, the builders stuffed up the kitchen. I was away for 9 weeks and didn't discover the problem until too late. They built a double brick wall on MY side of the property (instead of sharing it with the house next door) which reduced the width of the kitchen. The original design, which I spent many, many hours measuring and refining allowed room for a dining area at the back.

03a to 03e show various stages of the construction of the new rear section. Later, I had both side fences replaced as well as the rear, and then had a landscape gardener pave the courtyard and create a little garden.

I believe the house (and row of terraces) was built in 1860. Mine was almost original when I bought it, except for the installation of a loo and shower at the back of the kitchen (indoors). It was the second house I saw that day. The first was a dump that fronted a rear lane in Balmain, and I said to the bloke, "If that's the best you can show me, then forget it." So he took me to the little house in Glebe. I fell in love with the old Victorian fireplaces in the front and second rooms and said, "I'll take it." By the way, they took my 1969 Valiant as the deposit and provided vendor finance until I managed to get a regular bank mortgage.

At the time, the house was surrounded by factories, the old broom factory at the rear and the double storey factory across the road. "Don't worry about those," the bloke said, "they'll all go pretty soon." He was right, and the property doubled in value within two years.

I knew little about Glebe back then, so just after I bought the house I took a walk around town. I went into a pub and saw a bunch of housewives, complete with rollers in their hair and thongs (flip flops) on their feet, shelling peas on sheets of newspaper and sipping beers as they chatted. It was like something straight out of the depression years. But that soon changed. Within a few years, the Yuppies arrived and the main drag, Glebe Point Road, boasted shoulder-to-shoulder restaurants and fancy boutiques. The old pubs were refurbished with modern amenities such as bistros and all the roller-haired, pea-shelling ladies disappeared. Click here for the photo album.

November 3, 2010. Yesterday, I drove over the Martin Bridge to the south bank of the Manning River to take a few pics of the jacaranda trees currently in bloom. Such beautiful trees... originally from Brazil, but have since become an Aussie icon. Not far to the north of here, Grafton has a Jacaranda Festival. Taree doesn't have as many trees as Grafton but enough to deliver some pretty pics. The contrast between the south side and north side of the Manning is quite stark. On this side it's all traffic lights, busy streets, cars, buildings, people in a hurry, etc, but on the south side, just a few hundred meters away it's slow, rural, unhurried and peaceful. Click here for the photo album.

← Older posts      Journal Index      Newer posts →
Return to Home Page