Yesterday on our way home dropping my mum off we drove through all the very fancy rich homes in the Vaucluse area where I worked as a nurse almost 26 years ago.
On the spur of the moment I asked my husband to drive by where Strickland House used to be, and to my surprise it was still there, exactly the same as it had been all those years ago! Seems the government has reclaimed it…I’m not sure of the full story but all I know is shortly before I left there were an awful lot of very distressed residents who would soon be leaving their “home”. For many of them this had been their home for a very LONG time.
The house itself- a Victorian mansion, was built in built in the 1850s, when it was known as “Carrara”.
It was a bit of a strange place. Many of the residents had long term mental illness, some were simply there for aged care and some had developmental disabilities like Down Syndrome.
I have so many memories of working there and it was a grandest nursing home I ever worked in! The billion dollar views alone were something we all took for granted.
I remember so many of the residents. One in particular – Bertha Shoemaker….a large woman with a gentle soul who would ask me each and every time I took her down to the shower room…”Is it safe…tell me…is it safe?” 😦
They all had their own stories. Some which were fuzzy and blurred around the edges. Some which were sharp as a tack.
I remember one lady saying to me that she had simply had enough. She’d lived long enough and just wanted to “go”. She was happy enough….She just thought she’d had enough now.
I remember the time the entire unit was struck down with a terrible gastro bug like no other! Oh my, it was awful…and then the nurses, including myself got it.
We once had a visit from Rachel Welsh – scouting for a filming location. An exciting day!
So many memories were jogged by our visit.
We didn’t trespass. The grounds are open to the public and once a year they open it up so you can go inside. I think the house itself is used for functions or events. I’d LOVE to go inside it again.
It had a huge ornate wooden staircase as you walked in the front door that creaked when you walked up it and smelled so strongly of the wood it was made from. There were so many nooks and crannies and was seriously creepy at night! One section was empty and we weren’t allowed in it. I did some reading and apparently it was the nurses quarters – full of lead based paint!
What a place! And there is stands….abandoned and alone on that hillside over looking Sydney Harbour, after all these years.
So much in life changes…So many places from your past are torn down and simply disappear. It’s always an odd feeling to return to a place that hasn’t really changed that much, except YOU have, which makes the experience quite strange.
I googled it….Looks like quite a few things have been filmed here over the years…
“In 2007 the grounds and house of Strickland House were used by Baz Luhrmann in filming parts of his movie ‘Australia’, doubling as Government House, Darwin. It has also been used for film and TV shoots for ‘Underbelly’, ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife’ (Crosson, 2013) as well as for “The Krait”. a TV servies called “Flat CHat”mand an episode of the UK series “The Minder”. ( pers correspondence Peter Poland 2013). ”