THIS Californian bungalow was home to Fremantle’s iceman in the days before fridges: from his horse and cart he would deliver esky-sized blocks for domestic iceboxes.
When I first moved in across the road, old Bill told me many a tale of his exploits as a young man, and his interest in the racing industry around South Fremantle, and his passion for the Bulldogs, of which he was a life member.
For years his old tools hung on the garage walls, a silent testament to previous generations’ capacity to fix rather than replace.
These days the garage is sealed shut by grass and a 60s Ford Cortina sits in dusty silence, consigned there years ago when Ron (the iceman’s son) decided post-retirement that everything he needed was close enough to walk to.
It certainly helped keep him fit and he lived well into his 80s.
Sadly, the old weatherboard home has sunk into disrepair.
Once-gorgeous art deco ceiling roses can still be found, but little else remains of its former grandeur, with fireplaces looted and some jarrah flooring gone to a renovator.
The old chook pen up the back sags like a drunken sailor and weeds and buffalo grass fight for supremacy in the overgrown wilderness that was once a manicured lawn.
New owners would need to dig deep if renovation was on the cards but the old home is probably destined for the wrecker’s ball.
As a near neighbour I can attest to the high level of interest over the years in the Chester Street property’s whopping 1163sqm block.
Zoned R25 it’s possible to plonk three dwellings on it, (subject to approval) and from the ridge of the sharply sloping block there are ocean views.
Some neighbours—including this one—would love to see the place restored and kept as a single-family block, as examples of this size are so rare these days. But that may be just wishful thinking.
As long as whatever goes up respects the neighbourhood and is nice to look at, I suppose we all have to live with change.
Chester Street, with its wide verges and proximity to South Beach is a sought-after locale, and Ron was spot on that you can walk to just about everything you need, with a swag of shops and cafes and South Freo’s growing cappuccino strip a mere block away. There’s even a doctor and dentist just down the road, or wander down to South Terrace and jump on the free CAT.
by JENNY D’ANGER
38 Chester St, South Fremantle
Barbara Roberts 0477 172 240
Acton Fremantle | 9319 3022