I walked every street in Woy Woy

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Walk #43 - Springwood

(Walked 10th of August 2005)

Walked another long straight old street today. It runs parallel to Ocean Beach Road and is about two thirds its length.

Terrace Style Units
Terrace style units at the Whatsit Street end of Springwood.

Around halfway along Springwood there’s a small housing estate with a sign saying “IOOF Centre Houses”. It looks rather like a retirement village but was clearly built in the forties or very early fifties. Maybe for maimed soldiers or something. Googled and found a potted history mixed in with a bit of a rant about them by some pollie.

Springwood has a lot in common with Ocean Beach Road. A similar pattern of settlement. Though Springwood has a lot less seventies houses. One of the few seventies houses I did see had a brush fence round it and a Federation style veranda added. It also had some leadlight repro windows. Couldn’t see the garden but I’m guessing it had lavender and other bushes popular around Federation. It was a great example of how even an ugly boxy seventies house can be redeemed. Can’t find exactly what I’m looking for on Google but this will give you an idea of the veranda. Ignore that rather extraordinary protruberance protruberating from the roof.

When I get my digital camera I’ll be off on an orgy of photography. I want to photograph as many of the oldest houses I can and have a good long leisurely look at them. So many of them are a jumble of additions and extensions. And make a record of them before they all get knocked down and replaced by bland clumps of units.

In a short street up the top end of Springwood there was a new house being built. One of those flashy, unnecessarily large houses that’ll be sold in five years when the owners finally sink under the weight of their mortgage.

Anyway, stopped and asked one of the neighbours what happened to the guy with the strange caravan who’d lived there. He’d always had bits and pieces of old furniture on the verge waiting for the Council collection truck to come and there was a handwritten sign attached to the front fence detailing some grievance against the Council or the State government or someone.

In the driveway he’d had the strange caravan. It was a homemade affair. Built over and around and on top of an old standard caravan I think. It was double-storey and the exterior was sheet metal. Interesting choices. The neighbour said he’d sold up and taken the caravan out to the bush (the countryside) to look for gold. I don’t imagine the poor dear got very far. That probably illegal, over-shiny, roasting hot caravan would’ve got him picked up by the wind or picked up by the cops.

Down near Whatsit Street there was a row of eighties units. The dormer windows were a bit lumpy but the general design and execution was not bad. They were in the style of single storey workmans’ terrace houses in Sydney. Very much the sort of thing, sans dormers, Doreen & Mar (The Sentimental Bloke) would’ve lived in.

When I started out there was a bit of a breeze and it built up steadily as I walked. By the time I finished at Whatsit Street, there was a wind howling along the powerlines and whipping newspapers out of people's hands. Above Maps & Exploration in the library a window was rattling like a poltergeist had hold of it.

Right now black cloud up from Sydney is creeping across the sky and the sound of the wind through the tiny sliver of window I’ve left open is the shriek of an angry ghost. God, I love the wind noises.

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