Saturday, April 23, 2011

On My Soap Box - Abandoned Houses

I know, what a weird post for Easter - well, I have heaps to blog about due to my splitting everything up now into their own sections, I thought I would do this one while it was fresh in my mind!

We went for a lovely drive after Good Friday church yesterday - something we do quite often, especially when the kids are asleep in the car.

Something we see quite often is abandoned houses in our drive through the SA countryside. Some are by themselves, others are right next to the newly built homes, some in the middle of no-where, but all seemly abandoned. Some are more obvious than others - lol!

I would never presume to know why they are no longer lived in and loved - too many reasons in todays society.

But what does tick off the DragonMumma is the fact they are empty. We have families living in cars and couch-surfing, we have share-houses that are bursting at the seams and being charged like wounded bulls for the privilege. There are people living on the streets who would do anything to have a secure roof over their heads.

So why are these places empty? Is it the remoteness? Is it the fact that many of these houses require fixing up? (some more than others! rofl)

Is it that they have no 'modern' amenities like power and running water? Is it that they are too small or too old?
Or is it because their owners can't be found? Or don't care? Or don't want the hassle of having people in there? Is it legal? Are there danger issues?

I have so many questions!! Yet no-one really has a definite answer. Because there isn't just ONE answer.

One of the houses looked like it was straight out of Ireland or Wales - stone cottage with stone outbuildings and even a stone wall surrounding it! In the middle of a sheep field, to me, it looked like Heaven!!

Others we see are simply modern houses that the owners have used until their McMansions were built and now sit there empty, awaiting...... who knows! Demolition? Age? Money?

There was a movie I watched as a child starring Kathy Bates, where she played a single mother who went out, found an almost abandoned house, bought it (sort of) and with hard work, they fixed it up into a home. They learnt the skills they needed and got the job done.

A Home Of Our Own

So why aren't Aussie families doing this?? Is it that we have lost our knowledge? Is it that we have forgotten the Pioneer spirit? Are we SO comfortable now in our City homes with our modern conveniences that we are no longer able to cope with anything less? Are people so caught up in their own struggles and world that seeing outside that life is too hard? Are we no longer the country that looks out for others? I'm not talking the mass disasters we have had lately - they tugged at all our hearts - I mean the day to day stuff, the slog that we all go through.

I know of many people who HAVE chosen this life, but they had the funds to do it. There are others who would, but lack the funds to buy the property at the start -

One of my friends, a single dad with 2 kids, once approached a farmowner about his abandoned house in the middle of one of his fields. My friend was living in his car until they moved in with me, but he wanted his own place, somewhere he wouldn't have the fear of being turfed out when he couldn't afford the massive rent increases.
The Owner told him that the house hadn't been lived in for over a decade - his parents built the house themselves, raised 7 kids in a two bedroom house and then passed away in their beloved home. But by the time everything was sorted out, the house required too much work to be habitable (to 'today's standards' mind you), the now adults all had their own places and no-one wanted to live in a rural setting - only 1.5 hours from the Major Capital City for that State mind you, not the local town! (which was only a short drive away)

But the answer to my friends request to live there? No. Too hard, too much work, didn't want tenants. When my friend offered a deal (similar to Kathy Bates Character) it was a tentative agreement. My friend was so excited! He spent weeks fixing it up for his girls, making it as habitable as he could after 12 years of neglect.

It had no mains power, no mains water, but it was weather and critter proof - lol - He had worked very hard.
Two weeks in there, the girls had settled down, they were going along great, but some 'concerned' citizen - who apparently couldn't BEAR the fact that someone had kids in a house with no mains power - called Child Services and my friend was told to find 'other' accommodation. Apparently living in your car in the City is borderline acceptable, living in a house with no mains power is a massive no-no!

Well, between us-his friends - and the farmer - who was extremely impressed with such a hardworking, upstanding young man and father - and some other warm hearted people, we got him some second hand solar panels (this was over 15 years ago - NOT easy to find!! lol ) and the farmer even dipped into his own lean pocket and bought a years supply of water, had it trucked in and even gave my friend a nearly brand new water tank to store it in!

That was enough to get the Child Services off his back, but has always left a nasty taste in my mouth.

But back on track - this that another reason why people don't do it? The fear of losing our kids?

All I see is a place that is empty, that needn't be. I liked a Council in England's take on this. If its derelict for too long, they take it or force the owners to relinquish it, and give it to someone who wants somewhere for themselves and their families.

Can we get something like that here?

I for one, eye these homes off with envy and sadness and a little bit of anger. Yes, this post is about me - after all, 'I'm On My Soap Box' - I would love to have my own house, and that is something that may or may not happen, but I am also sad for the houses. Every house needs a family.
Otherwise, they can't be called home!

** Important Note!! I nicked these pictures off the 'Net, if you see yours, let me know so I can credit you or remove **


  1. Wow - cool post! Does your friend still live in that house? Beautiful photo's too!

  2. Thanks Jo! I haven't spoken to him in years - we drifted apart like people do - but the last time I heard, he was still living there after 8 years, owned it outright and loved every day there!

    As for the photos - they are gorgeous aren't they!! Makes me very envious - both to live there and to be able to take great photos! One day, one day I'll be able to do both!! lol


Come and share in the life of the Jolly Dragons and their adventures.

Thank you for commenting. We love to hear your views and opinions. Comments are moderated because of the Naughty Spammers and a few Grumpy Trolls that lost their bridge, so give us a little time and your comment will be posted :)