Over another Hump

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Our House

Jerry Built. - fictional/non fiction.
Jerry arrived in Australia on the First Fleet. He left the convict ship, 'Supply', shackled to the notorious criminal and lifer, Joseph Tuso. An archetect in the old world, Jerry had lost an eye and one arm in the troubles in Ireland. On his arrival in Australia he was emancipated but never raised enough money to enable him to return home.
He'd heard of a colony opening up north so, with a string of brumbies, he made his way to a small settlement on the edge of a wide sandy creek. He'd lost his way a few times and had been guided by friendly tribes over the ranges, learning quite a bit of bush lore on the way.
His horses became a byword in the area and people vied for his trained stock, but it was his buildings that made Jerry famous.
We bought our house sight unseen. At that time we lived in Victoria where homes marched down orderly streets . We found our new home entirely different, complete with resident ghost of the original owner/builder, Jerry.
He built the house in stages, one room first, for shelter against the harsh elements but he spent most of his time outside training his horses or building houses for other settlers. Jerry used everything he could lay his hands on as building supplies were scarce in those early days. Soon he developed a reputation for getting the job done - regardless.
As he became more affluent he extended his home to accomodate his partner and growing family: another room, a verandah, a kitchen, cement and finally, a solid outhouse and bathroom built of galvanised iron scavanged from the rural properties he'd worked. When building our builder often robbed Peter to pay Paul, utilising something he thought the other owner didn't need.
Jerry's style is distinctive: no right angles, windows with interesting slants and shapes. Floors tend to follow the contour of the ground. Consequently I start my ironing in one corner of the room, only to end up diagonally opposite at the end of the job.
Despite idiosyncracies, the house has out-lasted others of the era built on site. All others have been demolished by termites or blown down by cyclones. Termites visited but left without damaging the structure. Probably fell over themselves as they left, laughing at the final result of the 'architect's' style.
We've visited many of Jerry's homes and the owners are amazed that we recognise his work.
"How do you know?" they wonder.
"Because our house is jerry-built too," we reply.