Tiny House in a Landscape

Crater Cove Shacks

Occupancy of Crater Cove started around 60 years ago when weekend fishermen built the first huts. During the depression of the 1930s, some of the huts may have been occupied full time. Nowdays Crater Cove is managed by NPWS and cared for by volunteers since 1987.

Crater Cove looks directly out toward the entrance to Sydney Harbour. I have cunningly included North Head and South Head in the background of this picture. There are no roads into Crater Cove: it can only be reached by walking there along a bush track, or by boat from the harbor.

Since the Depression, there have always been a small collection of huts in the cove, used as weekenders, or occupied by squatters. When the land became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park, the residents were evicted, and the plan was to demolish the huts. This provoked a good deal of public protests. So, the huts have been retained as part of our heritage, and volunteer caretakers look after the places.

LAST century, at least for an inventive few, building your own weekender could be as easy as finding a secluded bay and gathering a few bits of driftwood and local stone for walls and sheets of discarded tin for a roof.

In Sydney the best examples of the art of this pure, makeshift beach retreat are still standing in a hidden enchanted cove near Balgowlah, looking directly out Sydney Heads to the vast Pacific Ocean beyond.

The seven shacks – at Crater Cove – were knocked up between 1923 and 1963 from available materials by fishermen on army land (now part of the Sydney Harbour National Park) and these days are lovingly repaired and maintained by caretakers.

If you press your face against the window of any of the improvised dwellings you’ll see an idyllic vision of a simple unadorned existence. Walls are wood panelled and the sun streams in. In one there’s the simplest of wooden benches, with a wok sitting on a gas burner ready to cook the evening meal.

It’s rustic pared-back living of a kind that speaks to a primal part of the Australian psyche. It’s a pure distillation of our beach-house dream. It’s a romanticised promise of instant escape from our complex urban lives.

More professional photos here…

10 Comments Tiny House in a Landscape

  1. Anaheim termites pest control

    Its rustic, looks dilapidated but in the minds of those fishermen years centuries ago, this is home, this is shelter. But looking outside those windows is a view of the ocean, of the setting sun, of an endless horizon, beautiful!

    Reply
  2. cj

    Absolutely beautiful. Something about a shack…It asks nothing in return. A reminder of how simple things could be yet.

    No doubt, this attempt anywhere here would also bring swift eviction.

    Reply
  3. Nerida

    As a country kid who moved to Sydney in 70’s at 17 and winged it on my own I somehow ended up in Spofforth Street, Cremorne, which led to a walking path around the edge of the harbour. Quite a number of homeless people lived down along the path among the trees and rocks. It was such a spectacularly beautiful spot, but walking the path was always tinged with sadness at the thought that in one of the most expensive areas of Sydney there could be such desparate poverty. However, if for whatever reason you might be homeless, these people shared the most expensive views & real estate for free.

    Reply
  4. Benjamin

    Did you cut and paste this from an old webpage? There seems to be a bit of a time warp:

    “Occupancy of Crater Cove started around 60 years ago when weekend fishermen built the first huts. During the depression of the 1930s, some of the huts may have been occupied full time.”

    Occupied before the first huts were built? 60 years ago would be 1951.

    Reply
    1. Kent Griswold

      Hi Ben, the information was passed on to me by a reader, it is possible that it was on another web page. I would say they were built in the 50’s and occupied full time in those early days.

      Reply
      1. Benjamin

        That would make more sense. Otherwise, for the numbers to add up the article would have to have been written about 20 years ago.

        Reply
  5. LibertyTreeBud

    Thanks to agenda 21, we’re all going to be evicted out of the landscape and herded into community ‘green spaces’.

    There are four very specific routes being used. In the rural areas it’s called the Wildlands Project. In the cities it’s called smart growth. In business it’s called Public/Private Partnerships. And in government it’s called stakeholder councils and non-elected boards and regional government – or reinvented government.

    Agenda 21 And The Step By Step Process To Enforce It In America
    http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/1352/249/Agenda_21_And_The_Step_By_Step_Process_To_Enforce_It_In_America.html?currentSplittedPage=6

    Reply

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