INTERIOR DESIGN + DECORATING + STYLE BY VIVIAN PANAGOS

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Monday, June 24, 2013

My neighbourhood

This post is brought to you by Stockland.

A few months ago I wrote about not really knowing who my neighbours are. Since having purchased new outdoor furniture I have been relaxing outdoors on the front balcony and this simple act has seen me starting to get to know the people who live on our street. I took the opportunity recently to find out more about my local neighbourhood.

The old general store in Lugarno which still has a faded Bushell's sign on the side wall.
There's a great article on its history here.

I live in a small suburb called Lugarno. It is about 23km from the city with a population of about 5,550. I have lived here since 2009 and grew up in a suburb nearby so I’m very familiar with the area. There are local shops and cafes, a florist, hairdresser and other small stores. There are parks and bushwalks and water views. I feel quite lucky to live here with David and Robbie – a place where we can leave behind the city and relax amongst the peace and (sometimes) quiet of the neighbouring bush land. We have kookaburras that visit us in the morning! Oh yeah, but we get spiders and other creepy crawlies too. I won’t tell you about the time we came across a snake…


The wharf near Lugarno's seafood restaurant. The area is a favourite for people who enjoy fishing.

David lived near the city before moving in with us. At first he was apprehensive about the commute to work (1 – 1.5 hours) and he was moving further away from friends. He had relocated from the UK a year earlier and was still finding his feet in the country but he says he “quickly realised that despite the distance, we’re still not really far from anywhere”. Plus he gets to live with us, so that’s a bonus??
Lugarno has a mix of old and new properties. The brand new developments tend to stand in stark contrast to the smaller mid-century  homes. I love the brightly painted garage of this property. 

David and I visited a few of our neighbours the other day. Jim and Lynette and their young family moved to the neighbourhood two years ago. They invited us into their newly and beautifully renovated home and we chatted about their move to the suburb. “We were initially looking to buy in Oatley but Lugarno prices were more attractive”. They love that Lugarno isn’t a ‘drive-through suburb’ (i.e. you will only really visit if you live here or know someone that does) and we shared their wish for more local restaurants and for a boardwalk to be built to the water. Apparently there is a path to the water but I haven’t been able to find it yet. It was nice to get to know them both and to find out the couple are both architects so we share a love for design as well.
Friends joke that I live in 'the sticks'. It's no surprise why.

Another resident we spoke with has lived in the area since 1994. He too moved to the area because the prices are more competitive and he likes the village lifestyle. He was attracted to the leafiness of the suburb but over the years he has seen the landscape change.

The lady that previously owned the house we live in studied native plants. Our garden still bears the hallmarks of her native collection and another neighbour told me she worked with the council to specify native trees to line our street. I wish I knew more about her.
Built in 1962 the Lugarno Scout Hall still stands at Taylor's Reserve named after Mr Taylor who donated most of the land to the Council.

Researching Lugarno and its history has become a personal interest.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s that it became primarily residential so it is still a relatively new suburb. Named after Lake Lugano in Switzerland (but with an extra letter added to the name) convicts built the first main road in 1841 and there used to be a ferry service in operation but it closed in 1974 after years of poor maintenance and the opening of a main bridge. There were calls to re-open the ferry service in the 90’s but the applications didn’t pass through council.
Evatt Park is the main park in Lugarno with a large pond that attracts ducks and other wildlife.

In saying all of this, David and I have had honest conversations about whether we would consider moving one day. We’ve no immediate plans but I do wonder how hard that decision might be to make. I think I’m attached!

Do you have a close tie to your suburb or community? Do you have an interest in learning about the history of your town too? 


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