The suburbs, the ’60s

What use a scrap of bush?

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  • Published 20190203
  • ISBN: 9781925773408
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT’S 1961, AND the kids of the baby boom are rapidly outgrowing old nests. On the eastern edge of Melbourne’s suburbs, orchards and dirt roads are giving way to brick veneer and asphalt, with new houses going up fast on quarter-acre blocks bulldozed down to the bare smooth clay. At 6 Irving Court, Vermont, the window frames have just been put in: my mother, standing in what will be the marital bedroom, leans her hands against the sill and smiles out towards my father taking yet another photo with his Kodak Brownie. A big, eye-crinkling smile, with a hint of triumph. For the first time, my parents will be living in a house they actually own, and both have convinced themselves it’ll heal the rifts in their thirteen-year marriage.

I’m beside her, grinning like I’ve built the place myself. Six years old, with solid, summer-browned limbs and black hair home-cut in a lopsided fringe. Next year my brothers and I will be going to brand-new schools. I’ll learn to swim in the magnificent Nunawading Memorial Swimming Pool – Olympic size, fancy! In its first month, 80,000 people passed through the turnstiles. Oh, we’re all keen as mustard to move out of the cramped rental and into this: our new home.

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