1 July 2024

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1 July 2024

Discovering the Heart of The Groves: Childhood Memories by Linda and Veronica Buljubasich

Growing Up on 11th Avenue

As we reflect on our childhood, growing up on the land that is now home to The Groves housing estate, we are filled with a sense of nostalgia. Life on the farm on 11th Avenue was a blend of hard work, community spirit, and joyous celebrations. One of the highlights of our life was bonfire night on the June long weekend. Each year, all the neighbouring families would come together for a combined bonfire. Everyone would contribute timber, and we would create a huge stack, eagerly anticipating the night’s festivities.

The sense of community was palpable as we all pooled our fireworks, creating a dazzling display that lit up the night sky. It was more than just a celebration; it was a testament to the camaraderie and collective spirit that defined our rural lives. These moments were magical and remain etched in our memory as some of the happiest times of our childhood.

Buljubasich family home
Buljubasich family home with Steve Buljubasich (dad) and Marijan Buljubasich (grandfather) sitting on the front step.

A Close-Knit Community

Living in a small community had its unique charm. We knew all our neighbours and most of the general population of farmers in the area. Our lives were intertwined in many ways, fostering a strong sense of belonging and mutual support. The hub of our community was the general store in Austral, owned by Herbie Starr.

Herbie’s store was more than just a place to buy goods; it was a social centre where we connected with one another. All our purchases were made on account, payable on a monthly basis. Herbie’s dual role as the local postmaster meant that the phone exchange was also located at his store. We still remember our phone number: Austral 264. This small detail encapsulates the simplicity and close-knit nature of our community life.

Buljubasich Family Home
Left to right Dinka Buljubasich Steve Buljubasich, Marijan Buljubasich and Mark Zarkovish (dad’s cousin).

Journeys to Liverpool

For certain necessities, such as visits to the dentist or doctor, music lessons, or high school, we had to travel to Liverpool. These trips, though infrequent, were significant. We would take the bus into town, and despite the travel time, these journeys added a sense of adventure to our routine lives. They were a reminder of the world beyond our small farming community, broadening our horizons and bringing a touch of the urban experience into our rural existence.

Family car, Chrysler Bel Air circa 1955-1957
Family car, Chrysler Bel Air circa 1955-1957

Social Gatherings at the Community Hall

Another cherished aspect of our childhood was the regular gatherings at the community hall on Bringelly Road. This hall was the epicenter of our social life, hosting dances and events that brought the whole community together. These dances were family affairs, where we could relax, socialise, and enjoy each other’s company.

They provided a much-needed break from the daily grind of farm life and strengthened the bonds within our community. The hall was more than just a building; it was a symbol of our unity and shared experiences, a place where memories were made and cherished.

The Beauty and Bounty of Our Farm

Our farm was situated on a hill at the very end of 11th Avenue, offering a beautiful view towards the city. The land was ideal for farming, and my dad grew tomatoes as the main crop. All our neighbours were market gardeners as well, creating a vibrant, agricultural community. We had a cow for our milk supply, as did many other farmers at the time, ensuring we always had fresh milk.

In addition to tomatoes, dad grew a variety of vegetables for our own use. Whatever we couldn’t use, we shared with neighbours and relatives, reinforcing the communal spirit that characterized our lives. We also had fruit trees, and we particularly remember the mulberry trees that produced an abundance of berries, enough to satisfy all the neighbourhood children.

Buljubasich family home and vegetable gardens.
Buljubasich family home and vegetable gardens.

The Transformation to The Groves

Today, as we walk through The Groves housing estate, we are reminded of the rich history that underpins this modern development. The land has transformed, but the memories of our life on 11th Avenue remain vibrant. The street names and the layout of the estate serve as a bridge between the past and the present, honouring the legacy of the families who once farmed this land.

In sharing these memories, we hope to keep the spirit of our community alive, ensuring that the values of cooperation, celebration, and mutual support continue to inspire those who now call The Groves home. Our childhood on 11th Avenue was filled with simple joys and deep connections, and we hold these experiences dear, carrying them forward as part of our shared heritage.

To learn more about Allam’s new ready-built homes at The Groves, Austral click here.

Buljubasich Street, Austral in 2024
New Ready Built Homes at The Groves estate on Buljubasich Street, Austral.

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