Reflections on a lifetime of memories at home at 36 Holt Street, Ardeer.
As I look back, reminisce, appreciate, and mourn. A Western suburbs home of Melbourne, Australia. Now For Sale.
My parents emigrated to Australia in 1951. Now it is too late to ask them to tell their story. I am so grateful that I invested the time to ask them while they were still here. Now I am in that “last” generation. I am feeling compelled to tell my story. Yet, now my home is so far away. I have moved back to Europe.
My mother was the last to go. Dad left us in 2004. His sister, Lida, who was much younger, died one year later in Prague. I went to her funeral as the Czech Republic had just joined the European Union and I no longer needed a visa. I felt like I was representing my whole family from Australia, even though I had only travelled from Austria. I thought of my Dad who had left a few days before I arrived to see him in Australia, just before his 77th birthday, which he never saw.
We never know how long we have.
Mum lived to be ninety-three and half years old. We thought she could live to be a hundred. Yet she was in pain and could hardly walk. She wanted to stay at home and was always telling us how grateful she was to be living in the house that Dad built. She loved her garden.
I’ve filmed her in the kitchen. Now I’ve got so many hours of film which I want to share. Yet maybe it really is still too early. Nobody wants to watch all those hours of footage.
I check what I have filmed and find yes indeed, she did tell us more about her home in Brno: https://youtu.be/3cs8SlsHZ1o.
This photo taken just a couple days before her passing, shows her loving the great grandson presented to her by her only granddaughter.
A fruitful life, five children, thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren during her 93 years. All in this home.
Holly, the House in Holt Street.
When Dad first came to Australia in 1951, his brother Vince was already here. He helped him find a cabin, what we called a bungalow, to put on the block of land he had found. Dad says, he put a deposit on the deposit of ten pounds and secured the block. He quickly set up some rainwater drums as we had no running water or electricity in those days.Mum arrived by ship, five months later. Ron came two years before me, and I was the only girl. There’s a wooden fence around 3 sides of the block.
Mum spent lots of time with us outside because there was hardly any “inside”.
On the next photo a corner of the house is on the right, as Dad was building it. I guess this could be our first apple tree in the background. At one stage I counted 20 of them.
I sit in front of the bungalow. Dad made lots of furniture from the wooden packing boxes which brought the machines to the factory where he worked. He made a baby high chair which doubled as a table and chair.
Mum must have spent a lot of time outside. No wonder she so loved the garden.
Here’s the bungalow again.
My Godparents came to visit. The visitors always brought presents. Here it is an Easter egg with an egg cup and plastic spoon.
The front of the house took shape. We kept growing. So did the family.
Uncle Vince came with his new wife, Judy. When we moved into the first room of the house, they took over the bungalow. You can see the first room, behind their car. The foundations of the second half of the house. We even had electricity by then!
Uncle Vince helps Dad in building the house.
We had two rooms and the bathroom which also served as a kitchen. This must be in 1957 when our younger brother Gary was born.
The rotary clothesline was already a standard feature in the back yard.
The foundations of the dining room, with Gary in the pram, the front bedroom and the foundations of the rest of the house.
The bungalow in the back and the first half of the house. We already had a wooden rocking horse. And a cat.
Mum and Dad in what became their bedroom. First it was the living room then the bedroom. Dad made built in wardrobes. My Godfather had a motor cycle and worked nearby.
Friends of the familyoften came to visit.
Now I wish I knew where we were going. I already mentioned the electric box.
Grandma came to visit from Prague. Dad had built the two extra rooms at the back of the house.
The aloe vera flowering in front of the house.
They’ve put an awning above their bedroom window.
Dad’s got hydroponics going in the courtyard.
The front porch is all green.
I return from Europe nostalgically ten years after my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Mum’s using a walker, but is still very much alive.
The church, just two doors down, plays a major part in our lives and accompanies Mum all the way.
I nostalgically film the garden which I miss so much.
The Norfolk Pine behind the house over the roof.
Let’s go to church. Now there are even trees on the nature strip.
Every time I go back home, I know, this may be the last time.
Mum walks to the church with her walker.
Hello number 36.
Take a good look.
And from the other side.
And now, what you can buy in four weeks time: Holly, the House in Holt Street. An empty shell.