A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.

31 Euroka Street, Waverton

 

This is a sweet little semi dating from around the 1860s in a fairly private little corner of the lower north shore, Waverton. The suburb, along with Wollstonecraft, is a good buy as the properties tend to be a bit cheaper than the surrounding neighbourhoods, such as McMahons Point. What it lacks in mansions it makes up for in history, views and, to quote The Castle, serenity.  Reason enough to visit, in my book, but the main drawcard was the fact that one of Australia’s most celebrated (and perhaps the most celebrated, when it comes to prose, sharing the poetry stage with Banjo Paterson) authors lived here, Henry Lawson.

 

The living room

 

Lawson, who was born in a goldfields town, lived in several houses on Euroka Street, and settled in North Sydney. A Campfire Yarn and A Fantasy of Man, which I read as a child when my grandad loaned me the volumes,  capture Australian life, and particularly the reality of outback living, more honestly than any other source – and I really recommend picking anything of his up.

 

The house has a combined kitchen and dining area – quite a modern, open plan feature!

 

One of the house’s most welcome features is its clear thread to the past – renovations have been completed over the years, but the home’s layout betrays its nineteenth century construction. The new buyer (it’s up for auction, and with a price guide around $800,000 I’d suggest that it’s a good deal) would most likely prefer to change the house’s quirky design, building a unified second storey to replace the separated upstairs rooms at the front and back of the house, inaccessible to each other, and probably add another bathroom. But as it stands, it’s a charming house that straight away transports you to Lawson’s era, which is what sets it apart from similar period homes.

 

As in many terraces/semis, the stairs were narrow, tall and slightly intimidating.

 

The house is, unsurprisingly, heritage listed, and bears all the conventions of a Victorian home – attractive floorboards, well-kept fireplaces, high ceilings. The owners have added pretty accents to the home with their design choices, with the children’s room and eat-in kitchen boasting some nice artefacts. The front yard is long and narrow, there’s a courtyard with a sitting area at the side of the house and the backyard is layered. While there isn’t much grass in the back, the courtyards make for a great entertaining space, and the height of the land gives you a peaceful view to the trees over the roofs of the street’s other historic houses.

 

Knick knacks around the fireplace

 

The main bedroom is a loft-style space at the front of the house

 

The bathroom/laundry has an exposed stone wall feature – very cool, and quite a surprise

 

Love the 2GB sticker on the bunk bed!

 

 

 

 

 

Various, The Rocks

So, unfortunately I missed blogging on a particular house this week – but don’t panic, because I have scheduled that (sure to be amazing) house feature for next weekend. What we have here, then, is the only thing I had the presence of mind to record this weekend – images of houses seen while on a ghost tour at The Rocks. I had the opportunity to take snaps of some amazing places at Wollstonecraft, but apparently this didn’t occur to me at the time. What is cool, though, is that I can take you through some of the eerie ghost stories associated with some of these places.

 

 

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Cadman's Cottage

 

Cadman’s Cottage is a place you have most likely walked past if you have ever been in Sydney. It’s located right in the sweet spot of The Rocks. I don’t really recall the ghost story associated with it (no murders occurred so less memorable). It’s a notable place as it’s one of the last original smaller buildings constructed in the colonial period. It is a very pretty sandstone building with yellow accents that was built in 1815-1816 (and you don’t get much older than that in Sydney).

 

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Terraces

 

 

 

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Playfair Terrace Shops

 

The above photo is a shot of the site of Foundation Park, which is a fairly little-known park in the centre of The Rocks that holds the remnants – replete with furniture – of eight 1870s terraces that were once there. The street numbers are marked on the ground still, which is a nice touch. Most of the buildings were bulldozed in the 1940s (shocker). Apparently, the park only reveals itself “by word of mouth or chance”, so I’m glad I’ve now seen it – I never happened upon it before. The ghost tour guide told us a sad story about a nine year old boy who lived in one of the terraces being killed by gang members here as he’d witnessed a murder, and the mother starving herself to death in one of the terraces out of grief. Glum times.

 

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Foundation Park terrace remnant

 

Public housing block

 

As you’re probably the aware, The Rocks/Millers Point/Dawes Point have significant tracts of public housing. It is said to be the birthplace of public housing by some. And Sirius, the above apartment block, is probably The Rock’s most striking example of it, if only because terraces are far less obvious than large, Modernist public housing designs. You can check out an interesting take on the block here. I’ve always opposed the block (and found it ugly), but I have been inspired to photograph it more extensively and post up some images here – maybe there’s some value in its Modernist lines after all? The building is stranded in 1979 (as you can see by the groovy red carpeting used on the stairs), and the outside of the building is covered with grime.

 

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Playfair Terraces

 

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