Historic Warrawong ‘half house’ set for auction in Wollongong as theories abound

Ask the locals of the Wollongong suburbs Cringila or Warrawong about their famous “half houses” and everyone knows where they are.

The iconic structures stand out like an optical illusion — perfectly constructed houses that look as though they were once put through a giant band saw.

Now, one of the rare houses is expected to be demolished after going to auction next weekend.

“It will likely be a knockdown and rebuild unless there is someone who likes that peculiar design of half-a-home and wants to restore it,” selling agent Luke Veleski said.

“I think based on the land size, location and views, it will most likely be taken down and replaced with a family home.”

The city’s other high-profile half house is on Lake Avenue in Cringila, and was leased as a rental earlier this year.

Wollongong’s other famous “half house” sits atop a hill on Lake Avenue in Cringila.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Mr. Veleski said he had heard of a third that existed in Mount Kembla.

“Being a third of the three iconic ‘half a house’ properties in Wollongong, it will be sad to see it go, but in today’s market, trying to find land is hard to come by with people battling for properties,” he said.

A half-finished plan

Given the property’s rare design, Mr. Veleski was eager to find out more about the house he was selling.

He tracked down the original plans for the house from 1951 and said the intention was never to build only half.

He said the fact that it ended up that way had added to the intrigue.

“It was proposed to be a three-bedroom place with living and dining areas with access out the back through the kitchen,” he said.

“The reason why it wasn’t completed and concreted up the side is anyone’s guess, but the theories that have been thrown out there about that make it even more iconic.”

An aerial view of the half house in Warrawong, as seen from a drone looking down
Luke Veleski says given the size of the block, the house will likely end up making way for a larger family home.(Supplied: First National Wollongong)

Public interest skyrockets

Mr. Veleski posted a photo of the house to the Lost Wollongong Facebook page, asking for people’s stories of the place.

“I received a couple of comments from people with past history with the property,” he said.

“Two people’s parents used to own it as an investment property and they said back in those days, it had a large vegetable garden that they used to help feed the six kids who lived with them.

“I’m not sure if her parents and kids lived in this one-bedroom property or behind it.”

Do you know more about the history of the half houses? Join the conversation at the ABC Illawarra Facebook page

Luke Veleski sits at a table with his hand clasped, wearing a cream blazer and white shirt.
Real estate agent Luke Veleski says the house has sparked plenty of jokes and theories.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

He also received jokes about the house being the result of a bitter divorce.

“One comment from a gentleman made the half joke about everything from Five Islands Road being known as Two-and-a-Half Islands Road, and people back then had 1.25 kids rather than 2.5,” he said.

“I couldn’t help but laugh.”

“I had a fella ask if it will be half the price and I said of course, it’ll be half a million dollars — it’s sparked a lot of laughs and it’s been good.”


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