My favourite Australian architect is Harry Seidler. That’s right, I said Australian even though Seidler was born in Austria. He moved to Australia as a young man. He was influenced by modernist and Bauhaus styles. Among my favourite buildings in the Sydney CBD are Siedler’s works: Australia Square, MLC Centre and the glorious Grosvenor Place. These buildings offer such amazing views of the city. I’ve seen the harbour from the top levels of all three, it can’t be surpassed.
Harry Siedler designed a Californian bungalow for his mother Rose to live in, in the northern beaches suburb of Wahroonga. It is now referred to as Rose Seidler House. Each year, the Historic Houses Trust hold a 50s Fair at this location.
The 1950s have always held a level of fascination for me. The world was re-emerging from the darkness of WWII and its aftermath. A new culture was breaking through, one of individualism and colour. People were introduced to new sounds: Rock n Roll, doo wop and probably the greatest era of Jazz that ever was. The silver screen was owned by James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant. Guys and girls hung out at milkbars, diners and drive-ins in their respective leather jackets, cuffed jeans and circle skirts.
The 50s were also the beginning of true international travel with the creation of passenger jets.
With all this excitement, I wonder how anybody was able to enjoy themselves with the threat of the world being obliterated by an atomic bomb at any given moment… Hindsight is golden, now I just need a time machine.
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