I first found out about heritage overlays when I started investigating building a front wall in front of my house in Thornbury. Apparently, the local council had imposed a heritage overlay on my street to preserve the character of the neighbourhood – the general look and feel of the street in other words. Exceptions were granted – my neighbour had a whopping great brick wall.
Anyway, after being away for nearly four years, I moved back into Thornbury a couple of weeks ago and started thinking about putting up a front wall again. Traffic had got worse on the road since I’d lived there and these days massive trucks were hurtling down the narrow road. A community meeting between local residents, council and Vicroads which I attended didn’t seem to indicate that matters would change any time soon.
The place had kept reasonably well however. I was happy with the way my tenants had looked after it. Some earlier ones had even tiled portions of the garden and organised for the roof to be insulated. Inside, a few new cracks had developed in the plaster but that was common to the area with very high clay content in the ground. I’d stored a number of things in the back shed – a crumbling building with gaping holes in the roof. To my surprise, most of that had survived with the exception of a single filing cabinet.
So the last few days had been about moving new things into the house and re-discovering old things. I’d had a pretty turbulent time in the house before I left so some of the things that surfaced included memories. In the main, they were unpleasant. I’d been sad or stressed much of the time.
Still, as I sat yesterday in the backyard listening to the bird song from the trees around, I was happy.