Dad’s shack still stacks up
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