Fraternal Twins

Hello from the Safari!

It was a welcome surprise to hear from Martina Roos, owner of an immaculately conserved Lend Lease in Sydney’s Killarney Heights. With its concrete pillars, the Lend Lease Safari was of more substantial construction than the Beachcomber, and in 1963 the base price for a Safari was £6 200, compared with £4 995 for a Beachcomber Mark II.

Built in 1964 by Martina’s parents, five decades later it retains its mid-century style, complemented by striking furnishings and artworks. In April 2019 Martina hosted a delightful afternoon tea, sharing brochures and floor plans from the time the house was first built. Lucky guests included architect Nino Sydney and his wife Vera, Maya and Danny Sydney, fellow Safari owner Mary Christeck, and Beachcomber owners Billy Gruner and Sarah Keighery. 

Martina writes: The Safari is the only home I have known, and it has been the perfect for my family at any age (for me from the age of two to my parents in their nineties). The internal layout has a wonderful flow about it with a wonderful sense of light and a positive energy that nurtures the creative spirit. It has allowed me to have an ‘art-filled’ life.

My parents met in Sydney after my father emigrated from The Netherlands. My mother had received a Scholarship to attend Sydney University, and she helped him with the language and life in this new country. He in turn introduced her to real coffee, continental cakes and foreign films. They lived a very cosmopolitan life in the 1950s, frequenting European coffee shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

After they married in 1957, weekends were spent looking at European designer furniture and visiting all the home display villages. Upon seeing the Safari at the Carlingford Homes Fair, my mother exclaimed “That’s my dream house!” As it turned out, deciding on the house design was easy compared with making the dream a reality. The next hurdle was getting a loan. My father very proudly put the plans under his arm and went to see the Bank Manager only to be told “A house! A house! Man that’s not a house!” This was the same reaction he received from all of the Banks and in the end, the loan came from a Building Society. Although Lend Lease would oversee the construction of the house, Dad also needed to find a builder. Most builders turned down the invitation with the same reaction “I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve never built anything like it!” Finally one builder responded with “I’ve never seen anything like it, I’ve never built anything like it, but I’ll give it a go!” 

I think the design of the Safari is bold, contemporary, strong and individual, all qualities that my parents had.

More about the Lend Lease Safari here.