Beach Cottage Walking the Beaches : Collaroy

Mon 5th, Mar, 2012

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Hey Beach Cottage ladies, G’day to you.

Phew I have had a weird weekend…you know when you feel like you lived a whole life in one weekend?

Mine was like that.



We experienced some sporting highs this weekend, also getting horribly lost in the West of Sydney, with a girl from London as chief navigator and driver (not a good combo) and lots of tears from both the Beach Cottage Girls, followed by some very good times and a very late night that included a trip at midnight to Maccas very far out West in Sydney and very surpisingly me not hating it

…woke up to a much calmer Sunday with a glut full of baking, sunshine, coastal breezes and a dip in the ocean, then a trip to the airport in lashing lashing lashing down rain, followed by a long soak in my new bath (hello I love you) and a pizza washed down with a Peroni.  The End.



So, thanks again for the de-lurking post, I have read EVERY single reply, some more than once, and I have to tell you some of them made me get a little tear in my eye…



I don’t actually intend to come here and inspire anyone, but it seems that is what happens to some of you on the other end of this here thing they call blogging…and I guess that is a great result for all involved…I come here, ramble on about loving Australia, sometimes talk about the Old Country, take a heap of photos and paint things white and love doing it…if ever there was a win win this was it.


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Anyway, along with a shed load of comments on that post, I also had a big ole inbox of emails (trying and failing to reply quickly, I am blaming it on those three rugrats that live in this old cottage) and what came up time and again, and which surprised me, is that you girls want more ocean shots (and more fashion shots!  ahem we’ll go the more beach shots route first, k?)



To me, this has been some very very well-received news, and I am taking full note of it



from now on there will be more beachy shots around here, I am more than happy to oblige with that part of this journey they call blogging.






Today then, always wishing to please you dear Lurky readers I give you

Walking the Beaches : Collaroy.



Now this is one of the beaches I often find myself at for one reason or another, mostly sport related….but it’s not my local beach…but I do love it.

The beach was named after the ship S.S. Collaroy which was beached here in September 1880, and was stuck here for four years, although the locals didn’t start to call the area Collaroy until the 1900s.

Much of the development here, as I have been able to find out was in the early to mid-twentieth century and this is very evident by the buildings and architecture…there are some gems still left tucked away here and there

..look at this art-deco cinema…I have been driving and staring up at this and sighing for years…it’s kinda bittersweet because firstly it is surprising that somehow it has not been knocked down for a block of ocean facing apartments, secondly that it is still actually a cinema – but it’s bittersweet because it’s old and shabby and peeling and looks sad and unloved and there’s this sort of underlying panic when I look up at it that, indeed, it is not listed and protected and that, yes, it will be soon a thing very much of the past…I so hope not


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but, sadly, as I see a lot on my travels in Australia, not just on my travels in the very road that I live in, a lot of places and the history of this lovely land, are just bulldozed to the ground (without even keeping any of the original fittings etc) and smashed up ….to be replaced with some flat-packed McMansion home…



…you can feel that this was a holiday destination, indeed it still is I am guessing for a lot of people…I believe a whole lot of the dwellings were originally places such as this…a bit more than a beach shack…but very interesting at that…when I have travelled out of Sydney there are a lot of places like this here…there’s a ramshackle, cobbled together feel to them..I think this comes from pre-war Australia when the country didn’t have much labour or many materials (not sure how true that is but it’s what I have been told)…but they did have plenty of land, hence why you will often see a small place such as this, lost on a huge plot, often on what is now oceanfront or near ocean, premium land




Collaroy is an Aboriginal word meaning long reeds


love this old building from 1922




and this lovely old arcade…I am surprised this is still standing….but I love that it is


It looks over this and is the local pub/hotel these days still…

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getting used to living with the locals now…hello spider’s web


this is more my kinda local…one on a bike with a slab of beer on his shoulder ;-)



some amazing florals and colours abounding at every turn on this walk


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So I will see you soon Beach Cottage ladies, hope you enjoyed your walk on the beaches…the suburb of Collaroy, I certainly did!



I have bathroom news, and will be back to show you the old lady in there in all her finery and in the next couple of days we should be all systems go on the shower and the vanity (we have been waiting for the shower screen to be made)

Cheers lovelies, I am exhausted after the weekend and going for a coffee and a bacon sandwich to recover

What do you think?  Think this is the kinda suburb you could live in thank-you-very-much?


p.s and last, but not least I came across this…


(I am assuming Dave Rastovich is a surfer, maybe I should know, but I don’t but I tell you what I’d like to meet him ‘cos this quote is about me all over…I have some serious issues with people telling me what to do, it does stem from certain things that have happened in my life, I have now learnt, but it still doesn’t go away…I beat to my own drum and sometimes that is not always a good thing in life..perhaps in surfing it is?)



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44 Responses to “Beach Cottage Walking the Beaches : Collaroy”

  1. jen says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the tour of Collaroy!!! we bought a little original 2 bed cottage built in the 1940′s in Collaroy about 8 months ago. It was originally a holiday house built for a grazier to come visit to get away from his farm. It has lots of quirky features and original bits that I think make it unique…not to mention a leafy love heart arch to the back garden!

    I’m with you I also luv the old cinema in Collaroy such a landmark I hope it stays forever!

    Jen :-)

    • sarah says:

      oooh lucky you Jen…glad you know the history of your cottage, how interesting! I wish I had a leafy loveheart arch :-)

      a nice place in the world to have a cottage I believe, don’t you?


      • jen says:

        yes feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful spot close to nature.
        I have been filling my quirky cottage with little treasures from charity shops and council throw outs the latest find was on the weekend an old box with a hinge lid that says in a vintage style spuds and onions on the front..I think you would like it :-) Luv seeing the treasures you keep finding to put in your lovely cottage very inspirational to see clever ideas on a budget.

  2. Krisztina says:

    Oh, I love your picture of the soft grass/reed!

  3. Ellie says:

    Oh so jealous!! I love seeing your photos – so envious of the sunshine.

  4. Jen (Arriving) says:

    I loved this little history lesson, and the beach colors are food for the soul. Thank you! Spent the day skiing on an equally gorgeous day, but too busy skiing to take pics (and def. difficult to carry whip out the camera with gloves on!). Just curious… sport on/near the beach.. is this beach volleyball we are talking about or is there a soccer or lacrosse field across the street from the beach? Have a great week – Jen

    • Jen (Arriving) says:

      Oh, and I was thinking it would be fun to see a map with a million pins in it, one for the location of each of your readers – you know.. a visual. In all your spare time, ha! And another oh, Saturday I chaperoned at my girlfriend’s daughter’s 16th birthday bash, a dance party for 35 teens….. it was so fun watching them… we are a ways from teens in my house – but I was thinking you must really enjoy yours (you know, except maybe during shark week.)

      • sarah says:

        haha yes…that’s actually a really good idea…hmmm wonder if anyone knows how to do that map thingy thing?

        I would love to be skiing on a gorgeous day xx

  5. I think I finally get why the beach cottage is white on white on white….
    All of the amazing blues, aquas, foamy greens from the beach. It would just be overkill to smather the cottage with a bunch of color and nonsense. The beach cottage is the cool ocean breeze.

    I have an idea for a new feature, Sarah. A Beach Cottage House Swap. Just think of all of the amazing places you could visit.
    I will happily be your first swap. Really, I don’t mind one bit. ;)

    • sarah says:

      that means you would see my dust bunnies though ;-)

      we actually have something in the pipeline on that…more coming soon :-)

      yes that is exactly why I went white with this place…our back yard too full of greens etc…one of the things many people say about Australia is the amazing colour everywhere…I certainly do xo

  6. Karlee says:

    Hey Sarah
    Beautiful pictures… you’re very talented! Looks like a perfect part of the world there. Love the picture with the man on the bike with a carton of beer lol!
    Sounds like you’e had a big weekend… lucky you have a nice place to recover
    Can’t beat the beachy life!

    • sarah says:

      thanks Karlee, I did…drinking a coffee right now to get over it lol

      thanks for your comments on my pictures…I was pleased with them xo

  7. Alice says:

    Hee…hee…. I see that you have heard of the western sydney reputation… I didn’t know it existed until I had to move out from the inner suburbs… Even then I decided to live more south rather than west… ;) I’m slowly discovering that there are many hidden gems out west (such a shame they have such a neglected feel to most of them, they can trully be beautiful places).

    “but, sadly, as I see a lot on my travels in Australia, not just on my travels in the very road that I live in, a lot of places and the history of this lovely land, are just bulldozed to the ground (without even keeping any of the original fittings etc) and smashed up ….to be replaced with some flat-packed McMansion home…”

    This is exactly what is happening to my suburb :( When we moved here 5 years ago I kept getting lost (I rely on these cute houses as land markers)because the houses (on really large blocks)were being knocked over with huge 4 – 5 Mac monstrosities jammed in the one block (still happening now). It looks horrible!!! It’s actually made me consider moving away, all the character is being erased to make way for profit and population growth(which I know can’t be helped)… Thankfully the old (and first) cinema of the area is preserved here as a church now. All the features (except the sign and the addition of leadlight windows) are preserved… I had always wondered about the inside layout and all the panelling when I first set foot in the church then ofcourse I found out why and it made sense lol.
    The area I live in used to be the holiday playground of the wealthy that used to live in the city (in the 1900′s)and would come out this way for a country get away (by the georges river). It is where the finest produce of Sydney was grown and I read somewhere that the produce had such a reputation it used to fetch premium price. We had “baths” and piers by the river but all that was removed and replaced by a board walk. It’s all very neglected I am sad to say, the council doesn’t seem to really care… Some of the locals that lived and grew up in that era still live here today and if you take the time to listen they will share some wonderful stories… It’s why when I see history being erased … I find it so depressing…The name of my suburb is Aboriginal for sun rising over the hills…Though my brother likes to call it something a little cheeky…

    Thank you for the lovely tour Sarah, I loved it… I love knowing the history of places(that and the photos made this post such a joy to read)…It makes them feel more real, more alive… I know it’s crazy but it helps me settle into a place if I know it’s history a little better…

    • sarah says:

      oh I feel the same…an old cottage over the road from me got smashed to the ground…they didn’t keep anything, the whole lot went in the crusher…then up went a kit home..

      I am slowly getting to see a few more of the Western suburbs and find it very interesting, especially the housing…its sounds like your suburb has some great history Alice, I love that sort of thing and finding out about it.

      good to hear that the cinema is protected!

      I totally agree with you about know the history of a place, though what I am finding here is that it isn’t actually that easy to get information on the history of suburbs etc…the library does have some…perhaps it just isn’t interesting enough for people?


      • Alice says:

        “though what I am finding here is that it isn’t actually that easy to get information on the history of suburbs etc…the library does have some…perhaps it just isn’t interesting enough for people? ”

        Yes it is very hard to find any history… It could do with a few things…

        Australia is a big land so it is easy for places to be left behind and forgotten slowly erased by time.

        There is also this thing in Australia where the population is forever covering up or hiding its past (the whole convict situation you know), they would rather forget it than just acknowledge it, accept it as part of time in history preserve it and move on… Did you know that in the 70′s (I believe) there was some thought of getting rid of all the beautiful houses in the Rocks?!(because it reminded them so much the convict settlement and how those that built there were trying to replicate england or something like that). They literally wanted to erase all of it and start all over again… Thank goodness they didn’t manage to get to all of it, I love the place! (must go to the moonlight markets this year)…

        In my case, for my suburb there is very little info left because the council burnt down to the ground (I believe) and all records destroyed… I tried getting some plans to see how my street has changed and the house looked back in the 40′s but there was no info(I managed to find one ariel shot of my street with my house on it hence why I assume the 40′s that and the style of home)!

        Also living by the beach has become popular only in the last 20 years or so… Before then it was all about the city and the inner suburbs… Hence all the shabby shacks still seen today… Blink and you will see them disappear in a few years time once the developers are done with it…. The sad thing is that the developers are targeted for these areas so they can fetch high prices effectively pricing those who would (most likely)preserve the history of the house/place out of the market… Coastal towns/places don’t stand a chance I am afraid…

        Sorry couldn’t resist I had to reply back ;)

        • alison says:


          I don’t think it was so much that white Australians were trying to hide their past, it’s just that they didn’t have a really strong sense of history and heritage. Australia is a far more patriotic nation now than it was when I was growing up. Mostly it didn’t occur to white Australians to preserve things.

          I think it was Jack Mundey who had the foresight to preserve The Rocks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Mundey


        • sarah says:

          yes I did know some of this…this alone is fascinating, I love history and all parts of it…

          I have realised the beaches thing is a new thing, from the property that is so obvious here and not very far at all from Sydney city to talking to people who have lived here all their lives, particularly my in her late 80′s neighbour who told me that her as I can gather fairly middle class parents were HORRIFIED that she would move to the beaches..

          I also came across a book in a garage sale all about 3 young girls who lived in this aree from Europe in the late 40′s 50′s and how this was one of the places in Sydney that you didn’t live…and that certain suburbs that are now highly sought after were extremely different even just 50 yrs ago


  8. Tiff says:

    So glad to hear your bath is fully operational! Sounds like you needed it after the weekend you had. I hope you are also sleeping better now that you get to soak and relax again :)

  9. Simple Daisy says:

    Love all your gorgeous photos!!! I for one can say I truly appreciate the beachy photos! Living where the sun rarely shows it’s pretty face from October-March….I appreciate living vicariously through lovely bloggers like you:)

  10. Cas says:

    Hey there Sarah. Beautiful pictures… and the guy on the bike just cracked me up! Have a relaxing day :)
    Cas x

  11. Paula says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I love the pictures! So envious, I live in Michigan, USA winter gray-longing for the beach and blue skies. Your cottage is very inspiring. My goal is to have a beach cottage someday, but since seeing all your great ideas I have decided not to wait and have a few beach inspired items in my home. Thanks for helping me dream!

  12. Nicky says:

    Hi there Sarah, that’s one sensational tour… Enjoyed it very much. Just wanted to let you know that Dave Rastavich is a surfer and does some amazing ocean wildlife conservation work!!! Quite fitting you should like his quote really. Also we just bought an old, what I like to call Gold Coast beach shack (aka cottage) built in 1950′s… Absolutely no intention of knocking down though. We want to preserve and extend its key features. These gorgeous little shacks will become rarer (sadly) but the best thing is Because they are unique i think we will see demand for them rise… Yay for beach cottages xx

    • sarah says:

      hmmmm a good point Nicky on that they will become rare, hadn’t though of that

      thanks for telling me who Dave is…that makes sense now xo

  13. Kim says:

    G’day Miss Sarah~I missed commenting on your lurking post and I too was going to sit down and read them as well, sounded fun to get to know other bloggers.I still have more to read.I enjoyed that post as well as all your others.I simply enjoy your blog because you have such a balance of what you post about it’s not always the beach, not always decor or fashion just a balance.I enjoy your recipes a lot myself.
    So just do what you do best and I will be be back for another visit~Cheers Kim

  14. Selby says:

    Thanks for the photo trip:) just what I needed today.
    Currently I live in Melbourne but I grew up around Wollongong and Newcastle and Sydney
    And I miss the beaches so and the clean salt sea air so your post was just the tonic for my heart.


  15. alison says:

    I teared up when you emailed me and said to give my soon to be born grandchild a kiss on the head and to smell that lovely baby smell.

    I spend a lot more time looking up these days at the beautiful old shop fronts and buildings that I think won’t be around much longer. I get sad.

    A few years ago Mr alison and I stayed in the lighthouse keeper’s house on Montague Island just off the coast of Narooma on the NSW south coast. It felt like a lifetime in one weekend, in a good way. We did conservation work. A bit pricey, but magic!!

    Re your Masonic photo. I have a small antique Masonic ball I wear on a chain in memory of my dear old dad who was a Mason. Masons wore these balls on their fob watch chains. The balls unfold into segments to reveal Masonic symbols inside.

    Thanks for the trip to Collaroy. I haven’t been there but it looks like my kinda place. Those big old houses on huge blocks of land in prime beach positions in Cronulla are a big part of my childhood. We thought nothing of it growing up.


    • sarah says:

      I hope your baby arrives soon and safely

      I have a bit interest in the Masons and all that sort of thing…I must find out more about it all…

      love the sound of your lighthouse stay…actually Mr Beach Cottage and I are planning a no kids long weekend break very soon…wonder if this could be for us?


  16. Christy says:

    Thanks for sharing bits and pieces of your gorgeous walk with us! You are inspiring me to get to my own local beaches more often and to TAKE.MY.CAMERA. *sigh* Why do I always forget it? Maybe because I’m busy packing lunch, towels, sunscreen and beach toys for 8 people. I dunno, could possibly have something to do with it. :P I’m in Florida, not on the beach, but I have access to nice beaches within about a 30 minute drive. Do you just walk out your front door and walk to the beach? Sounds heavenly…..

  17. Jan says:

    Love the photos today …thanks for sharing. It is so nice to be able to see Austrilia ’cause don’t think I’ll ever visit her. Not that I wouldn’t want to, but have a longish list of things I want to do first :)

    Jan @ BellaCasa on the lake…

  18. Katherine says:

    Your tour was both scenic and interesting – Collaroy looks like the kind of place I would like to visit – a bit of history works well for me. It is sad, isn’t it, that sometimes our beautiful old things fall into neglect and subsequently their doom – once gone, those beauties are lost forever; and new isn’t necessarily better or more attractive – maybe cheaper? I like ALL things OLD, with a bit of character! Chippy, faded (even jaded) are all good in my book!
    Enjoyed Collaroy Sarah – and the blues of the sea are stunning me (as usual)!

  19. Tabby says:

    I love it when you take us ‘touring’. Even the day you and Mr. BC were out looking for jumble sales. It gives us a glimpse of your beautiful adopted homeland. thank you. :o)

  20. Jasmine says:

    Collaroy looks amazing! I am in love with that bright blue cinema. I hope, hope, hope that it is protected and is allowed to stay there looking magnificent for many years to come :)

    x Jasmine