Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Living in an igloo

The suburb of Ashwood is about 13 kilometres from the City of Melbourne. I recall there being Nissen Huts somewhere in Ashwood, but I can't quite recall where. I'll check. Ok, Holmesglen Migrant Hostel was at the corner of Power Avenue and Warrigal Road, now parkland. I am unsure when they were removed and while I know Power Avenue, I am not sure I ever saw Nissen Huts there.

If you are unsure what a Nissen Hut is, they were originally used to house army troops but were adapted to house new migrants to Australia until they found permanent housing. They were corrugated iron in the shape of an arch. The Nissen Huts would have been boiling hot in summer and freezing in winter.


They were even used for public buildings, such as Ashwood High School.


What I thought were Nissen Huts were Robin Boyd designed 'igloos' and they are in High Street Road near Cleveland Road. I certainly remember this igloo looking very much as it is below. They date back to 1954 and I expect the inspiration came from the not too far away Nissen Huts.


These more recent photos were taken by Muzza from McCrae.


This one is being used as a private residence. While it may be nice inside, I find the igloos extraordinarily ugly. The former supermarket and residence is registered as a Heritage Place on the Victorian Heritage Register. Do you see them as having great merit?

22 comments:

  1. So neat! I have never seen these structures in my neck of the woods.

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    1. Keith, I think you should be grateful you don't have them.

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  2. Now I just dont know but our current Prime Minister may have lived in one, they were as you say where most migrants who arrived in Australia during certain years lived in. And the P.M. arrived in the early 60s.
    Arriving in Australia as a migrant in 1973, they were no longer used, I missed out. Another pic
    here

    From Rooks road in Nunawading, I think now also a parkland, some may still stand, am not sure.


    And i just turned up this gem also from Nunawading!

    !!!!

    Anyway back from the dead, dont know what happened to me,still in nyc, some pics here

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    1. Nice to hear from you Ian. I think there were also huts at Springvale and Maribyrnong.

      I prefer the D Generation ad for Wobbies World, Piss Weak World. I posted the vid a while ago.

      Photos not loading properly at the moment. Will check later.

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  3. During wartime shortages, I suppose it was brilliant thinking to make the housing a] quick to erect, b] very economical in its use of materials and c] portable. During war time, people put up with terrible rationing, shitty food and miserable housing.

    But I remember the flood of post war refugees, survivors of the European catastraphe, starting in 1947 and going until c1960. People were so grateful for a safe home, they actually loved the Nissen huts. Some need to be on the Victorian Heritage Register for that historical reason alone.

    Clever sod, that engineer Major Nissen!

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    1. Hels, wouldn't it be post war housing for the many immigrants? Some people took great pride in the area within the huts. I agree, a hut, one at least, should have kept.

      Major Nissen hey. Over to you. I don't know about him and it should be on the record.

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  4. I quite like the look of the old time structures - without ever wanting to actually live in one - but the converted one looks like a weird kind of hybrid between old & new.

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    1. Red, the converted one is odd looking. I'd like to see inside before making a serious judgement.

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  5. there are no words. merit? only to remind us all of the bad things in the past.

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    1. Hessian and concrete Ann. Classy.

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  6. They must have been awful to live in with the heat especially people coming from Europe. Even though I was a migrant in 1949 we didn't go to a camp. In those days I think you had to have a sponsor or maybe if you had a sponsor you didn't go to a camp.

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    1. Diane, you may be right about a sponsor. I can't recall if you had one?

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  7. The Nissen huts are actually more attractive than that foodland monstrosity. At least there was a reason for the former. Reason had nothing to do with the latter.

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    1. Reason had nothing to do with the latter. Well done FC.

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  8. I have a couple of photos of me and my sister with dad or mum on the steps of one of those huts at the Bonegilla Migrant camp. I'll have to search them out and maybe post them.

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    1. You should get them out River. The personal touch is always good.

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  9. Awful these "houses" in Belgium they were used for housing Italian mine workers with their families ! And of course to attract the workers they had promised nice houses for all of them ! a shame !

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    1. Gattina, they must have nearly froze in them. Australia promised prospective immigrants endless sunshine and beach side living. Many were disappointed.

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  10. We had an igloo in Upper Beaconsfield - it was the new club rooms for the cricket club (& football I think). It was a shocking design and full of flaws and issues. Not sure why an igloo was chosen as the best idea. Weird.
    http://www.upperbeaconsfield.org.au/images/igloo.jpg
    It has had an extension, that part down the side never used to be there. It was a strange, echoey space, either really hot or really cold.

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    1. Fen, my father was a builder and he would be horrified by the design of that building, and then get stuck into 'bloody overeducated architects'.

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  11. I've never seen any here in Perth Andrew (which doesn't mean there weren't/aren't any) but I do remember them from many years ago in Africa, in fact Ndola Airport was housed in one, I think it was an old hangar!

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  12. I just checked Grace and there were some at Redcliffe and one is still there and being used as a school assembly hall. Yes, they do look like aircraft hangers.

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