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Clearing & Building 7 Ethel St Condell Park 1951 - 1952
for Ted & Betty Owen

Ted and Betty first bought their land at Lot 4 (it was some years later numbered to 7) Ethel St Condell Park c.1951 for 95. It was a block with a frontage of approx. 60 ft and a depth of around 160 ft on each side and the bush on it was so dense that it was impossible to walk through it. The bush consisted mainly of ti-tree with the occasional wattle tree and gum tree. Some of the photos show bush still standing and they give a good indication of just how thick it was.

Ted, with a little assistance from Betty, John and Denise, cleared the whole block by hand, using just a mattock, an axe, a spade and a fork. It took about a year of hard, weekend work to achieve this. When it was finished there was a pile of scrub on the block which would have been about 55 ft long, 4 ft wide and 8 ft high. In those days Empire Day (24 May) was celebrated as Cracker Night and in 1952 Ted, Betty, the kids and many of the surrounding neighbours had one massive bonfire for cracker night while the pile of bush burnt for about four hours. The event lasted from about 7 o'clock to 11 o'clock with potatoes being cooked in their jackets as the final delicacy for the night.

This series of photos shows some of the land clearing and the progress of the house being built. There were more photos in the series but unfortunately they have disappeared and these are all that were left in Betty's photo album.

The house was built by a sub-contractor who no doubt wished he'd never taken on the job by the time Betty had finished with him. It was his own fault as he kept on building to the standard plan instead of the modified plan, even to the extent of putting the front door on the right-hand side of the house instead of in the middle of the house. He had to pull it all down and do it again. The garage was built some years later by Ted with assistance from John. Large areas of the backyard as well as the side driveway were hand concreted by Ted with occasional help from John.

The family spent its first night in the new house on Christmas Eve, 24 December, 1952.

 Click Thumbnail to Enlarge 
John with the mattock
John, Denise & Betty on the half cleared block
John with the shed foundation behind him
The block about two-thirds clear. See how dense the bush was
Betty coming out of the shed. The Morris J-Van used for the Dry Cleaning run is also present
Ted with the "big stump". Eventually it was burned so that it could be dug out
Betty clearing and levelling the ground
John & Denise celebrating the arrival of the water (at last)
John (aged about 9) outside the shed
Ted laying the start of the concrete path
The foundations complete before the steps were added
View of the foundations when standing near the shed
The foundations from the left of the block, with John "relaxing"
Messy building site with the front steps freshly constructed
The floor laid (yes before the walls went up) with John posing in a school concert outfit
Another floor shot.
Ted's parents (John & Rachel Owen) with Ted's youngest brother George inspecting progress
Progress and the house is to lockup stage
A bit wider view of the house at lockup stage
Wider still! View from the street
John & Ted finishing the roof on the garage
Denise while the roof on the garage was being finished
John drilling the flashing on the roof of the garage
John giving Denise the drill
John on the roof of the garage
Ted putting the locks on the garage doors
Betty checking the door bolts with Denise's help

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Updated : 4 Nov 2013