Nothing that will alter the original character of the house

There are not many houses in Canberra of charm and character - at least not many that we could afford to consider. But once we became aware of the Tocumwals in O'Connor they seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

We liked the look of this house from the outset: the big corrugated iron roof, the timber floors, the roomy interior spaces, and the general country farmhouse appearance. And we were delighted to find a Tocumwal that was so intact with its original casement windows and Tasmanian oak doors, the functioning fireplace in the lounge, even the Canberra Metters slow combustion stove that Mrs Heycox, the former resident, had reputedly used to such effect for the last forty years. We could also see the possiblities of the odd triangular-shaped block for creating a wonderful garden. The fact that it was rather bare and empty didn't seem to be a problem. After all there was an old quince and that magnificent mature fig tree - everyone who walks past reminds us about the colourful scarecrow that used to hang there every year. (We even found Mrs Heycox's recipe for preserved figs in the kitchen cupboard when we moved in.)

What are we going to do with our house in the future? Well not a great deal really apart from some TLC. The garden is one of our priorities and we have already spent quite a bit of time and energy making a start in that direction. Some painting of course, a wooden deck down one side to enjoy the garden, and perhaps extending the front verandah. Nothing that will alter the original character of the house. In fact we are quite pleased about the heritage listing - at least this part of O'Connor will be protected from the threat of predatory developers! We are also hoping that the recommendations of the traffic study will be implemented in the near future so that Miller Street becomes a bit quieter.

As new arrivals we have thoroughly enjoyed becoming acquainted with the neighbourhood and we have been especially pleased to get to know some of our neighbours who have been part of the Tocumwal precinct from its early days. We regard this as a part of inner Canberra with a distinctive history and we are looking forward to living here into the forseeable future.

John, Robyn and Simeran, Miller Street, 1996 - (contributed 1996)

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•  Nothing that will alter the original character of the house

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