Magical spot a home to dragons
You’d never guess who lives under our harbour bridge.
Beneath the canopy of great steel trusses and thousands of cars making their way from north to south and south to north live Millie the dragon and her hopeful suitor Willheim Belchmuch.
It wasn’t long after Brian Holloway and his wife Jay moved into No 1 Princes St that they met these magical creatures who reside on the slopes of Northcote Point.
The Holloways have lived underneath the iconic bridge for almost 30 years. Not that you would know it once you stepped through the doors of their 100-year old villa.
‘‘That’s the funny thing,’’ Brian says. ‘‘ You can’t actually see the bridge from anywhere in the house or hear it. It’s quite hidden.’’
One could forgive a retired yachtie for indulging in fairytales and friendships with dragons in his spectacular backyard.
‘‘The ambience of this place is incredible.
‘‘At night time we look across to a fairytale city.
‘‘And when there are fireworks, this is the best seat in the house.’’
The couple’s section reaches down to the water, with a private beach and their catamaran Whiskers anch- ored a few metres out.
‘‘We swim and fish from the beach and have our dingy tied up there and we row out to the boat.
‘‘If it wasn’t for the bridge this would be paradise on earth.’’
When Brian moved in all those years ago the cliff was a sheer drop which he’s slowly transformed into a green wonderland.
His first glimpse of the Princes St house was almost 20 years before that when he was a marine broker visiting a client.
‘‘I was just gobsmacked,’’ he says.
‘‘A seed was planted and I thought that if ever there was a day that I’d be lucky enough to buy this house, I’d be in heaven,’’ he says.
And lucky he was, houses in this neighbourhood are rarely up for sale.
‘‘It’s a neat little community, we’ve had the same nextdoor neighbours for 25 years and they’re wonderful.’’
For 11 years the couple opened their home to visitors from around the world as a bed and breakfast.
‘‘We worked out that we’d had around 8500 people stay here,’’ Mr Holloway says.
‘‘And there’s hardly one of them who wasn’t blown away by this place.’’
Visitors were introduced to Mr Holloway’s wonderland and the resident dragons. And with this the dragon family has grown.
‘‘People really get into it and we get sent dragons from all over the world – each with their own little story.’’
Living in such a treasured patch of paradise it’s easy to understand their outspoken opposition to further expansion of the bridge or the proposal of a second harbour crossing which would’ve seen them sandwiched between two hefty structures.
‘‘It would have broken your heart to have lived around here back in the day and had your house taken over for the bridge,’’ he says.
In fact the grandson of the woman who lived in the house in the 1950s when the harbour bridge was built knocked on the door one day, Mr Holloway says, and asked if we would do an afternoon tea for her birthday and we had a little party for her.
She reminisced about the days before construction started when the whole of Northcote Point was surrounded in strawberry fields.
The strawberry fields are long gone but the views are still breathtaking.
‘‘Ah yes, everything about this place is magic, there’s no other word to describe it,’’ Mr Holloway says.