This week doesn’t concentrate on one particular home – instead, I present to you a (dizzying, quite frankly) array (or smattering, if you like) of houses lining the streets of Sydney’s Harris Park. Yes, Harris Park. The wild, wild west. No, it isn’t lame to say that.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the west, Harris Park, as I have learnt, has two primary features of significance: it is towered over by Parramatta’s growing CBD (and is walking distance to all that it holds), and it has an amazing collection of heritage homes. It is a sexy colonial paradise. If such a thing exists. It is kind of a colonial housing/subcontinent mash-up (in 2006, 23.4% of its population had been born in India – to put this in context, 25.9% of its population was Australian-born).
For every house kept in beautiful ornamental condition in the suburb, there are probably three that have been left to deteriorate. Notably, these tend to still be lived in – sad in some respects, but I’m intrigued imagining the stories, and I have an eternal appreciation for the character presented by an old house that’s been left untouched.
Harris Park is different from other suburbs. It is not trendy (yet – it might get there). But if you’re genuinely keen on interesting houses and our architectural heritage, it pays to spread your wings and venture outside of Balmain, Neutral Bay and Surry Hills – Harris Park is an untapped goldmine of architectural goodness. There is also a historic walk that covers a number of preserved heritage properties – including the Historic Houses Trust’s Elizabeth Farm, which I have blogged about previously. So go there. Be surprised. Appreciate an untouched gem. And afterwards you can walk to Max Brenner and hit the yum cha at Parramatta’s Sky Phoenix. Wins all ’round.