Friday, 3 November 2006

In the backyard (not mine!)

I've shown a fair few front-of-house pics recently, so I thought we'd take a peek round the back. Here's a fairly typical suburban Sydney backyard - a swathe of buffalo grass lawn, a shed or garage at the side, an old outside toilet (probably converted into a garden shed now), a veggie patch, a traditional wooden paling fence on one side, and a Colourbond (metal) one on the other, and a Hills Hoist rotary clothes line - a miracle of Australian invention. When I was a kid, I had a toy one. Now there's one in the Museum of Melbourne, the National Museum in Canberra and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

What 's your favourite memory of a childhood toy?

There's also another Aussie phenomenon happening in this pic - the house renovation at the back - the back deck, probably with the kitchen or family room opening on to the deck. Many of my neighbours are from Southern Europe or the Middle East, and they tend to spend a lot of their leisure hours at the FRONT of the house, sitting on porches or verandahs entertaining, sipping tea or coffee, and watching the world go by. Many have moved old chairs and sofas out the front for this purpose. Older Australians, in contrast, have traditionally spent their leisure hours in the backyard - gardening, pottering in the shed, having a barbecue, and so now often the first part of a house to receive a makeover is the back. It accounts for the enormous popularity of one TV show called "Backyard Blitz" where a team makes over a backyard in 48 hours.


  1. When my children were little I had a Hills Hoist, only I just called it a clothesline. The article said that it's an icon?! I've been looking for one for this house because I actually enjoy hanging clothes out in the yard in the summer. Haven't seen one of these in years, tho. I'll have to special order from the internet. Favorite childhood memory? I used to live in a house on the shores of Lake Michigan. Favorite memory was the sound of the foghorn and the waves at night.

  2. That back yard loks very similar to my brother's who lives in Heckenburg. As to a favourite childhood toy, I guess it would be my collection of Lego bricks.

  3. Interesting about the front v backyard focus. We only have a porch, and it's very different from sitting in a backyard. I think I prefer it.

  4. My back garden is posted today, perhaps not so traditional... more modern I guess, but still with down to earth elements.