How well do you know YOUR property?
For most Australians, the idea of home ownership is akin to the “Great Australian Dream” It may be challenging to get onto the property ladder in the first place, but it can certainly reap rewards in terms of security and asset growth over the long term. Similarly with investment, Australians tend to favour property over other asset classes.
Our fascination with all things property, however, doesn’t end there. Theres’s also the history and background of the homes we buy. When was it built and whom by? What style and era was the influence? Who lived there previously? Has it changed over time? What was the neighbourhood like and how has it changed? So many questions and so little time to work it all out, or so it seems.
Here in NSW we have a treasure trove of records and access to information that can reveal much about the history of our homes. Resources that date back to the late 1700’s allow us not only to trace the history and background of the places we live and work, but also the influences of particular styles from abroad, and the architects and building designers who had the foresight and vision to think outside the square, when it came to adapting popular styles more suitable for our diverse Australian climate.
Personally, I’ve always had a genuine interest in the history of every property I’ve lived in, and especially the one I reside in now, which is more than 115 years old. Being able to access and research records has certainly revealed some fascinating facts, including the unearthing of information on the original owners and their early life in my suburb. I’ve discovered the original name of my home, delved into council and library records, pored over photos and digital files and certainly become more educated and appreciative of the community I live in, and the challenges and achievements of the original pioneers to the area.
Like me, if you have a penchant for history or a simple curiosity to find out more about your home, whether it be a federation cottage, a double fronted 1950’s gem, an Art Deco apartment block, a Boom style terrace or semi, or a 1960’s-1990’s project home then there’s plenty to research. Here in NSW, the best first place to start is your local council, as many have records of old street directories (including the old Sands Directories) and rates notices, which is a great starting point. Moving onto both the state library and the national library there is a wealth of information to pore over, and even if you don’t find specific information about your property, it’s an interesting dive into history and how the area was first established and progressed over time. We may have a young history of housing and permanent buildings, compared to Europe and other parts of the world, but it’s certainly far from dull. Happy researching!