When the Swinging Sixties Came to Castle Cove
The 1960s were certainly a time of radical change; a period when the whole world seemed to be ready to embrace a future of new and exciting innovation.
Wherever you looked, new ideas seemed to be adopted enthusiastically: the Space Race saw men walking on the moon, skirts became shorter, bikinis became briefer, pop music took over the charts and many architects caught the mood of the time and created fresh, contemporary homes that appealed to a new generation of home buyers.
Castle Cove was being developed during this period and the beautiful peninsula suburb inspired many now famous architects to design and build homes in the fast-growing suburb. They included:
- •Harry Seidler. One of Australia’s most famous architects of the 20th century, Seidler started by designing his mother’s house on Sydney’s North Shore and moved onto buildings such as the MLC Centre. There are two Seidler Houses in Castle Cove.
- •Pettit + Sevitt Homes. Designer Ken Woolley teamed with Brian Pettit and Ron Sevitt to introduce the first project homes in Australia.
- •John James. James, who along with his wife, Hilary, would go on to design the iconic Readers Digest Building in Surry Hills and the celebrated Cook House in Castle Cove.
- •Frank Erby. Erby, as part of Devine Erby Mazlin, were responsible for several Castle Cove homes including his very own home, Erby House.
- •Ross Thorne. Thorne was only young in 1960 when he designed a ground-breaking home in Castle Cove. He went on to become a celebrated architect and an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney (Faculty of Arts and Social Science).
What drew these people to Castle Cove?
Sydney’s North Shore was booming in the late 50s/early 60s. As the city spread out, each area gained a new following: not long after a railway station was built a Chatswood and bus services went to and from the city. Chatswood was also the first place that major department stores such as Grace Brothers and Waltons set up outside the CBD and Eastern Suburbs.
Whilst the upper North Shore had already established some fine luxury homes (giving itself a reputation for affluence), Castle Cove was seen as a new opportunity – rather like Green Square and Terrey Hills have in more recent times. The combination of ‘virgin’ land and stunning water views made Castle Cove the perfect opportunity for ambitious builders and architects to create a new kind of suburb.
Where are they now?
Some of the original contemporary homes have long gone, including some of the most innovative architectural gems from the sixties and seventies. However, many are beautifully preserved and are still much treasured by their owners. For example, several of those built by Pettit + Sevitt, can still be seen dotted around the suburb and are popular with the Castle Cove guided architectural walking tour groups that take place a few times every year.