The Flat Roofed Home In Waratah Road



Coming to live in Berowra in the late 1940’s the Cavanough Family, Fred and Lila and their 3 boys (Victor, Noel and Gary) moved into a “Nissen” hut on their block, 43 Waratah Road. This was a one roomed dwelling with a stove in the middle, beds towards the back and kitchen near the north front door. The nearby laundry tubs and copper were in the open, which didn’t matter as you’d never wash on a wet day!

Fred Cavanough after his day’s work made concrete bricks, in a press, one at a time and dried them before laying them into their new home.


Back of house/Brick press, New laundry, Concrete mixer

Finally the walls grew and the great day came when, with framework in place, the concrete flat roof was to be poured. “Sheer legs” (3 long bush poles with block and tackle attached) were set up beside the house.


Roof pour day “sheer legs” and block and tackle

Willing neighbours such as the Lambs, Olsons, Bullocks, Pearsons, Butlers and more, came to help do the “Big Pour”. Some mixed concrete which was then put into a wheelbarrow and winched to the roof where others spread it, while the next batch was being mixed. And so the job was done with the neighbourhood women and children being entertained all the while and no doubt supplying the needed food and drinks to the workers.


Flat roofed house “completed”

The Cavanough home now has a pitched roof so it’s lost its unique look.

Oh, and by the way a lovely separate laundry (in earlier image) was built behind the new home so Lila could now, at least do her washing in the shade!

Shirley Collins with thanks to Gary Cavanough for input and images.

One thought on “The Flat Roofed Home In Waratah Road

  1. maryjoe7 says:

    A really interesting story,thanks Shirley. So many people built their own homes after the war using whatever materials they could get.

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