Canberra 1950s homes steeped in history now on the market

Nothing brings up nostalgia quite like the sale of a childhood home; packing up family heirlooms, saying goodbye to your former bedroom and reflecting on the thousands of memories created there.

For two Canberra families going through this process the nostalgia is amplified, as they bid farewell to homes in Griffith and Yarralumla which have been in their family for the past 60 odd years.

In 1959, Geza and Helen Imhalyka started a new chapter of life at 79 Jansz Crescent, Griffith. A home sporting beautiful finishes which have been meticulously maintained. The 1950s design is halted in time.

Their son John reflects on the many joyous nights he spent watching his mother and grandmother cook in the kitchen.

"As a kid I had two of the best Hungarian cooks in the country as parents," he says.

Geza migrated to Australia from Hungary in the early 1950s. He was the builder and designer of the art deco inspired Griffith home.

"As a side gig, my father was also a draftsman," says John.

"One of the things I always remember was my father in the loungeroom working on drawings."

One of John's fondest memories from the home was playing in the reserve situated behind the residence.

"For us kids it was like our territory, my brother and I were always up there running around," he recalls.

"It was a simpler time. We built a cricket pitch and we indirectly planted a lot of trees because we had so many acorn fights."

John says the family is moving on to nurture the next generation.

"It's going to be really hard to let go but we have to move on. It's a tough decision but basically we're trying to set our own children up and that's what mum and dad would have wanted," he states.

Around the same time Geza was building Jansz Crescent, the Nixon family moved to Yarralumla as the first owners of 1 Woolls Street.

1 Woolls Street is one of the few original homes remaining on the street.

1 Woolls Street is one of the few original homes remaining on the street. Photo: Luton Properties

Alex and Gwen Nixon moved from Sydney with their three children. The couple were conflicted between the Yarralumla home and one in Lyneham, eventually deciding on the inner-south home much to their agent's dismay who said it was on the outskirts of Canberra.

Not only was their agent proved wrong, the cosy family home in leafy surrounds turned out to be a great choice for the family.

Their daughter, Maureen was three years old when her parents moved to the Yarralumla home. She is selling the house on behalf of her 94 year-old mother who has just moved to a retirement home.

"It's extremely hard to see mum leave the house and pack up her things," she says.

The Nixon family in the early 1960s.

The Nixon family in the early 1960s. Photo: Supplied

The sale of the home has brought up a lot of memories for Maureen.

"You think a lot about the past when you are dismantling everything in a house," she says.

"I remember moving in, I remember when the yard had not a blade of grass, I can remember neighbours coming over to help settle us in and I remember playing with other children in the street."

As a suburb, Yarralumla has experienced immense change transforming from housing workers' tents to prestige real estate. Maureen and her family witnessed this first hand.

The Nixons were tossing up between a home in Yarralumla and one in Lyneham.

The Nixons were tossing up between a home in Yarralumla and one in Lyneham. Photo: Luton Properties

"Over time the original homes have been knocked down and mansions have been built. Mum's home is one of the last originals in Woolls Street," adds Maureen.

Gwen also spoke briefly to Allhomes, saying she was really happy at the home and she treasured the many memories created there.

"I just hope somebody buys it who will look after it. I've done my best to look after it and I hope that it works adequately for someone else," says Gwen.

This story Canberra 1950s homes steeped in history now on the market first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.