Quirky home in Goulburn comes with a city full of devoted admirers

Diane and Bill Waterford

Diane and Bill Waterford are happy in their home in Bradfordville and nevertheless have to share their affection with countless people in Goulburn who have memories of the former community center when it was a hub for sport and social activities since before the Second World War. Photo: John Thistleton.

Truck and car drivers pull up outside Bill and Diane Waterford’s Goulburn home and give them a heartfelt thumbs up in appreciation.

In the summer, when the nine crepe myrtles Diana planted exploded into pink flowers, a mechanic at the local garage asked Bill, “What do you feed your crepe myrtles?”

A 95-year-old man walking past the immaculate Queen Street property in Bradfordville told the Waterfords that he had worked for a Mr Godfrey who was instrumental in the construction of their home, and that he had trained as a boxer there . A woman said she had been a cleaner there.

They have been told repeatedly about 20th, 30th and 40th wedding anniversary parties in their home when it was a hall. Dancing during World War II, basketball games, roller skating and table tennis games are all discussed in the conversations.

“Probably 60 percent of Goulburn residents have been here for one reason or another,” says Bill.

When Region Posted about Goulburn Table Tennis having to leave the venue in 2013, Diane responded on Facebook saying they regretted occupying their former ‘home’.

Originally from Tamworth, they initially lived on a 25-acre block on Forrest Siding Road near Goulburn for ten years before deciding to move to the city.

“We didn’t look at any other houses,” Diane said. “We looked at what was online. It wasn’t until we saw this that we took the plunge and came to see it.

“This was quirky, it was different,” said Diane. “I just didn’t want a square brick house, we wanted something different. As soon as I walked in, I said to Jess (Grashorn, Ray White’s real estate agent), ‘This is ours,’” she said.

“We like things that have character, or that we can see character in. And yes, this place had character because of its history and the way it looked when we got there,” Bill said.

Woman kneeling

The original step on the side entrance of a former hall is one of Diane Waterford’s favorite elements of her home. The wooden floor there came from the old Picton High School and is almost as old as the building. The Waterfords added a side deck outside the porch. Photo: John Thistleton.

The Waterfords bought the house in 2021 and discovered the previous owner had owned it for nine months and approved plans for an extension before putting it on the market to sell and returning to Sydney.

“We didn’t know anything about its heritage,” Diane said. “It wasn’t until we moved in that we started finding out all this information. Everyone knew the place better than us,” she said.

Alex Fry, who had bought the hall from trustees of the Bradfordville Community Association in 2018 and converted it into a house, called their home and presented them with an early title certificate for the land and two security locks that belonged to the hall. He presented a copy of the history he had researched to the audience.

That investigation uncovered a group of civic-minded residents who had met in 1927 to build a public hall for the village of Kenmore, then raised £170 and bought the land for £30. Volunteers started building at the weekends, using cast fly ash concrete blocks, believed to have been sourced from Kenmore Hospital’s boilers.

A village fair where a chocolate stall raised £26, a sweets stall raised £19 and a vegetable stall raised £16 helped pay off the hall’s debts.

Thanks to Alex and the neighbors, the Waterfords now know a lot more about where they live. They learned that the main restroom inside was previously the hallway’s ladies’ restroom. A storage area is now the laundry room and utility room next to the kitchen, which was previously a server room, enclosed by windows.

One of the side entrances has been converted into a lobby, leading to the second bedroom and opening onto a huge L-shaped living room. Opposite this lobby is another side entrance and a veranda with green potted plants.

Bradfodville House

The Waterfords added 32 solar panels and a large shed to the back of their Bradfordville home, which consisted of a hall, a greenhouse and two decks. Diane has planted natives in the garden, nine crepe myrtles and Japanese maples. Photo: John Thistleton.

The original redevelopment plan was to turn the hall into a business with an office, with the main entrance to the hall being located on Queen Street. Instead, that office space is the master bedroom, with a large walk-in robe and en suite bathroom.

Elsewhere in the house there is a ceiling manhole approximately five meters above the floor. Even the false ceilings are located one meter from the original ceiling. Well lit, the view of the abundant space reaching to the high ceilings throughout the home is captivating.

“Luckily we don’t mind if it is a bit quirky. It worked for us when we looked at it,” Bill said.