Double brick, small rooms, wood oven and stove, plus a cooler sleepout room flywired for the hot Perth summer nights.. this was my first and only home in Perth where I was born and grew – aged 0 -17 years old. From here, I went to two Primary schools and two high schools. From here, I learnt to swim and worked in jobs across the river at the Ascot Racecourse.
Yes, the house is on the Swan River and doubled as a private practice with my Dad’s Accountancy shingle (CC Brown Esq, Public Accountant) out the front.
There was never any playful noise around the house because Dad was always working, and the ledgers and registers needed incredible concentration.
We couldn’t have friends around – because Dad was working. Birthday parties and grandparents were the exceptions.
The house was as solid as Dad liked it and typical of the craftsmanship of the time. Midland Brick was just up the road, which seemed to obligate every home in the suburb to use the terracotta tiles for the roof and the red clay bricks for the double walls.
The canary yellow paint job on the exterior made the house stand out from any angle. The red-painted cement path rimmed by rose bushes took you to the front door.
There was a shared access lane up one side of the house, and the Hancocks(no relation) lived on the other. A wild prairie of scrub, reeds, and low slung trees was out the back before you got to the river bank. The river wasn’t accessible from this direction, but it was visible.
Back to the house – carpeted throughout except the kitchen, which was lino-ed and an enclosed back area with wooden floorboards. The living/lounge room was for TV and formal meals (usually Sunday lunch) and scenes of long documentaries and posed indoor family photos.
The backyard provided some freedom so long as you didn’t hit the ball against the fibro-cement garage or over the fence into the neighbours’. Swinging on the clothesline was a no-no, but jumping for silent species was fine. So was digging holes to China in the sandpit.
We had a cubby that doubled as a woodshed. It was a tremendous little timeout space and a nice hidey-hole for any contraband that might have come our way. An LP of Rolling Stones’ ‘Goatshead Soup’ is an example (something we could take to parties as a show of coolness)