Dad’s shack still stacks up

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jessica Howard

THE lat­est in­stal­ment in my some­what un­planned se­ries on Es­mond Dor­ney- de­signed homes is the Dor­ney fam­ily shack at Dodges Ferry, which was built in about 1956.

While it cer­tainly main­tains the feel of a tra­di­tional shack, the style of the res­i­dence with a panoramic view over Park Beach puts it well ahead of any other shack de­sign from the 1950s in Tas­ma­nia.

Es­mond’s son Shane lived at the prop­erty un­til his chil­dren started go­ing to school and to­day he and wife Mandy reg­u­larly stay at the beach­side home, which be­comes their per­ma­nent res­i­dence in sum­mer.

The in­cred­i­bly unique and for­ward- think­ing de­sign cre­ated a glass and steel struc­ture that took just one week to con­struct.

“They made the steel frame and bolted it down to the ground and then bolted the fl oor joists across and the ceil­ing joists bolted onto the steel,” Shane ex­plained.

“When it was fi rst built you couldn’t get Color­bond, so the roof was made of marine ply and fi bre­glass.

“There was very lit­tle ma­te­rial around to build with af­ter the war and it was hard to get a hold of any­thing so that’s why the marine ply roof. Once that was on, they just slapped the win­dows in and then it was just joinery.”

For a while the house was the only one in the area and gained quite a bit of no­to­ri­ety.

“They used to call it the Sput­nik be­cause it was built in the ’ 50s and the Rus­sian boys were busy do­ing their space thing,” Shane said. “Peo­ple used to come up and put their noses against the win­dow even when we were in­side.”

The oval- shaped glass house is largely com­prised of a cen­tral liv­ing area with an open fi re in the mid­dle with seat­ing all around.

Shane and Mandy com­pleted some mi­nor ren­o­va­tions last year to up­date the kitchen and bath­room and added a small sec­ond liv­ing area but made sure not to change the essence and style of the orig­i­nal home.

Their mas­ter bed­room is more akin to some­thing found in a car­a­van and bunk beds on the other side of the house have been built into the struc­ture.

“The old man’s idea was you don’t spend any time in your bed­room when you’re at a shack so why waste the space on a big bed­room,” Shane said.

“We just spend our time in the liv­ing room and out­side so it’s easy to look af­ter.

“He was re­ally the first of the steel and glass peo­ple.

“He al­ways liked cir­cles and hexagons just be­cause they were dif­fer­ent. He also liked open­ing up to the out­side, which none of the other ’ 50s and ’ 60s houses were do­ing in Tas­ma­nia.”

While other homes have popped up around it, the Dor­ney shack re­mains a pri­vate and cosy haven no mat­ter what the weather or the surf is do­ing. “Be­ing a surfer, it’s great,” Shane said. “You can check the surf in the morn­ing with­out even lift­ing your head off the pil­low.”

Peo­ple used to come up and put their noses against the win­dow even when we were in­side


UNIQUE DE­SIGN: Clock­wise from above, a re­cently added small sec­ond liv­ing area; the com­pact kitchen; the main liv­ing area has a fi re­place in the cen­tre of a sunken lounge and stun­ning beach views; the view from the deck; the back yard; inset on main im­age is the prop­erty’s ar­chi­tect Es­mond


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