Carlingford Coach Tour

Map highlights by Nino Sydney
As part of the Sydney Architecture Festival, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Carlingford Homes Fair, in October 2012 Stephen Batey* hosted a luxury coach and walking tour of the Carlingford Homes Fair.

Twenty four architect designed homes were originally on display at the fair. In the approximately six weeks that the homes were open to the public in 1962, an estimated 200,000 people came to see them. In addition to the Homes Fair Homes (of which a Beachcomber Mk1 was one) the tour took in the three Lend Lease demonstration villages which were built nearby. At each of these villages, a Beachcomber was featured, though one has since been demolished. The tour visited each of the three Carlingford Beachcombers in the Gallery.

Stephen writes:

“It was a perfect day for an outing on the 27th of October 2012. Cool and bright. About 40 people from Architects and Interior Designers to Archaeologists and Historians, Artists and interested local residents all gathered to make the pilgrimage. The bus started at Tusculum and made its way to Carlingford via Epping to pick up more people. When we arrived at Carlingford we first stopped at the Original Lend Lease Demonstration Village and viewed four out of the original five Lend Lease Demonstration Homes that were opened 51 years earlier in October 1961 including the very first Beachcomber. MkI no.1! We had a sumptuous Morning Tea before gathering back onto the bus and heading to the location of the Carlingford Homes Fair a few hundred metres away.

Twelve of the 24 homes were set around a grassed reserve in the centre of their street, and on this we gathered and discussed the many homes still extant before dividing into three groups and viewing inside three of the original homes. The owners of the two Don Gazzard Homes and of one of the Ken Woolley/Michael Dysart Homes graciously permitted us access to view inside their homes. The owners were fully aware of what they owned and were particular about keeping things as original or at least as in-keeping with original as they could.

After viewing these homes, Nino Sydney paid us a visit and enthralled the gathered group with his recollections, and answers to our questions of the Carlingford Homes Fair and of working in the Lend Lease Homes division in the 1960’s. We then gathered on the bus and travelled to the Lake Parramatta Reserve, an idyllic and well kept secret in the North Parramatta area, for a gourmet lunch and chat.

After lunch we travelled back to Carlingford to view the last few homes. The owners of two of the Neville Gruzman homes very generously allowed us access to view inside their homes. One home was beautifully prepped for sale, and the other a full period restoration in process. Both were exquisite to behold.

To conclude the day, we walked past the Second and Third Demonstration Villages of Lend Lease Homes, taking in the original MkII and MkIV Beachcombers, and saw how the original Lend Lease Homes operation developed over the next decade as it encountered new markets.

It was very rewarding to guide a group of people through the place where it all happened 50 years ago. October was a little after the actual anniversary date of May/June, however by sheer coincidence our tour was 50 years to the day after an advertisement for Lend Lease Homes Second Demonstration Village appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, and 50 years after the same collection of Lend Lease homes was opened in Doncaster East in Melbourne.”

Nino and Stephen

Nino and Stephen

*Stephen Batey lived for over thirty years in the Epping/ Carlingford area and discovered the Carlingford Homes Fair (and Lend Lease Homes) while completing a Bachelor of Architecture degree at The University of Technology Sydney. These homes which he had unknowingly grown up amongst took on significant new meaning and became the subject of his final year dissertation.