Block's Block

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Breda Block

The possibility of owning our own home was uppermost in our minds. A couple of months after our wedding we began house hunting. We began to check the properties for sale in the Sydney Morning Herald and local real estate offices. We made the decision to settle in the lower north shore as Murray had lived there and been involved in real estate both in London and Sydney. So began our search through many properties, both free standing and semi-detached, that were for sale. The real estate agents, always hopeful for a sale, took us to many areas until we finally saw a house we liked. It was in the suburb of Mosman and after viewing the house a few times our decision was made. We had our deposit and the manager of the Commonwealth Bank in Crow’s Nest granted us a loan after being assured of our financial position.

It was six weeks before we moved in as the vendor, Mrs Seaton, was moving into a new apartment which was not quite ready. She was a charming woman in her sixties whose husband was not very well and as we got to know her better she offered us the use of her garage to store whatever was needed for our future home. Over the years we kept in touch with Mrs Seaton who moved from a townhouse in Roseville to a new apartment in Chatswood after her husband’s death. We were sometimes invited to Sunday lunch and we enjoyed the interesting conversations, as she was very well read and enjoyed having young people around her.

Finally in early July, the day came when contract were signed and deeds exchanged. No more solicitors or banks to contend with – we were now the owners of 133 Awaba Street, Mosman.

Our new home was a free standing 1920s cottage with front and back garden, built around what was once a stone quarry. It was a delightful part of Mosman with most of the neighbouring houses still occupied by their original owners who were friendly. The area was secluded with tree lined streets, a playground nearby and harbour glimpses. A five minute drive down Awaba Street took you to Balmoral Beach where there was not much traffic and no parking worries.

A block away was a small group of shops – a green grocer, a butcher who cut the meat to order in front of you, and a hairdresser. Around the corner was the Mosman Tennis Club and a few streets away was a kindergarten. It was just like a village where you were awakened by the birds singing. This was my first real home since leaving Dublin in March 1958. I was so proud and Murray and I were happy and pleased with life!

The house, which needed a lot of work, consisted of two bedrooms and a living room (whose walls and ceilings were painted in blue and pink), two sunrooms, an eat-in kitchen, laundry and bathroom with a gas geyser which supplied the hot water. The lock-up garage backed on to Everview Avenue, a short, dead end street parallel to Awaba Street which we could access via the back gate.

We arranged a loan with the gas company and had the hot water connected. The bathroom was tiled and wallpapered and the laundry had to have the old timber floor replaced by a cement slab. We added an extra toilet and shower in the laundry while the work was being done. We arranged for a carpenter to replace the timber joists, and under the kitchen floor, build extra cupboards and a counter to replace the able. The front sunroom was opened onto the living room and became the dining room and the back sunroom served for many purposes. In time, it would be remodelled with full length glass doors giving access to the garden. The repairs and alterations were completed in a short space of time without too much bother to us. New wallpaper and paint helped a lot, as did scrubbing and polishing.

For Murray’s birthday in August we invited friends to a housewarming. This was the beginning of many parties and happy times at 133 Awaba Street.

Breda Block · 26 May 2006

Your comment

I was a [postman in Spit Junction for five years and have memories of some wonderful people on my mail run, Mr Steel, Whiting Beach Road, Charmane Clift, her hubby the writer, who wrote my brother Jack, the nicest of folk, George i think, Raglan Street, Mrs Raper, number 100. Rickard Ave, What a struggle up the steps at the end, but what a lovely job. thanks for the lovely site. Terry, now in England.

— terry brown · 1 July 2006, 14:03 · #

I too have warm memories of my welcome to 133 Awaba St when i stayed with Breda & Murray at the beginning and end of a 3 month journey to Australia! I look forward to reading more of the history of your life there over the past 40 years (before i was born!) as it gives me real substance to connect with…...keep up the good work Aunty Breda xxxx Brenda

— brenda harrington · 18 July 2006, 10:37 · #

ps Forgot to mention that this site is being enjoyed by all the Harrington/Moylan family in Dublin, Ireland!!

— brenda harrington · 18 July 2006, 10:42 · #

It was lovely to read the history of your home, Breda. I have to say, it is a gorgeous house in an equally beautiful neighbourhood.

Best wishes, Elizabeth (formerly of Dublin) now in Luxembourg

— Elizabeth Harrington · 17 September 2006, 19:47 · #

hi,,i dont suppose you would have known ernest and lucy swindells who lived at 113 awaba street in 1973??

— peter flanagan · 6 December 2008, 02:06 · #

I remember Everview Ave well. Lived in Bond Street from 1941 until `968. My best friend – Judy Stanton lived in Awaba St – opposite Bond St and her home backed onto Everview Ave where we use to go down into the bush opposite and had a cubby amongst the rocks. The Little family lived next door and on the other side was the Hoy family then the Duggans. Would love to hear from anyone who knew the Stantons and knows of Judy’s whereabouts today – she had a younger brother.

— Heather · 25 January 2010, 05:53 · #

Hi there
My Great-Grandparents also lived at 68 Awaba St from around the 1930’s through to at least the mid 1950’s. Their names were William Henry Sykes and Alma Lillian Sykes nee Sly. Their children were Vera, Patricia, William, June, Betty, Elsie and my Grandmother, Ellen. Would love to hear from anyone who may have known the family. Wendy, NSW, Australia

— Wendy Osborne · 7 September 2010, 18:50 · #

Hello Breda, Just came across this wonderful site on Mosman and your account of living at Awaba Street. I am trying to locate relatives of mine who emigrated from County Leitrim to Sydney in 1927. I met up with one member Eileen Clancy in 1999 in Sydney but have lost contact – unable to locate her in 2003 when I last visited Sydney. She lived with her sister May Clancy at 2 Awaba Street, Balmoral Beach in the 1980s. Another sister Rita was a St. Joseph nun and there were four brothers who all married – Jim, Tom, Vincent and John. I would love to keep contact with these distant relatives. WE ARE NOT CONNECTED TO ESTELLE CLANCY who very kindly located Eileen for me in 1999. We lated discovered that she was a Wootten who married a Clancy and I was a Clancy who married a Wootton!!
I hope you will forgive this intrusion but would welcome any knowledge you might have of the whereabouts of this family.
Maria Clancy Wootton, Dublin, Ireland.

— Maria Clancy Wootton · 24 October 2010, 23:16 · #

Heather, you mentioned the Hoy family. What street were they on exactly?

Thank you!

Tina :)

— tina · 16 March 2016, 23:35 · #