Half-house hits the market as NSW residents ponder building mystery: 'Bad divorce?'

·4-min read

A curious real estate agent is determined to solve the mystery of how and why a 1950s post-war bungalow near Wollongong, NSW, was seemingly split in two.

The half-house in North Warrawong is iconic across the Illawarra and has been the subject of countless stories for decades but nobody knows exactly why it was never completed.

An iconic half-house in North Warrawong, NSW
A half-house in Wollongong is hitting the market for the first time in 26 years. Source: Supplied

Half-house hits the market

Now, for the first time in 26 years, the quirky one-bedroom home is going up for sale.

Luke Veleski of First National Real Estate Wollongong told Yahoo News he was "shocked, stunned, excited and thrilled" to be appointed the selling agent for the unique property, describing it as a career highlight.

"In my opinion this is one of the top listings I've ever had the privilege of being the listing agent," he said.

An aerial view of an iconic half-house in North Warrawong, NSW
The iconic house is situated on a parcel of land measuring approximately 536 square metres. Source: Supplied

It marks the third time this one-bedroom home, which sits on a parcel of land measuring 536 square metres, has been put on the market.

The last time was in January 1996, when it sold for just $55,000.

This time around, the iconic half-house with ocean views has a price guide starting at $500,000, based on the land value of the block.

Questions loom over design

But as Mr Veleski prepares to put it on the market, he knows potential buyers will have questions about the design.

"I'd like to get to know the real reason so that when someone asks me how it became the half-house I can give the real reason to it," he explained.

"There are still so many different stories to how it became only half a house. And prior to the late owner of it, it was owned by a family that had it as an investment property."

In his quest for answers, Mr Veleski obtained the original floor plan from 1951, which indicated it was meant to be a three-bedroom home.

"From what was built compared to the plan you can identify where the cut off point was and still to this day no one still knows why it wasn't completed," he said.

The original floor plan of an iconic half-house in North Warrawong, NSW
The original floor plan suggests this home was originally designed to have three bedrooms. Source: Supplied

Still stumped, he turned to social media for clues.

"This is a bit of a long shot but I'm trying to see if anyone knew the original owners of this iconic half-a-house in North Warrawong," he posted to a local history group on Facebook, asking for information about how the swelling became half a house.

Locals divided on reason behind strange design

The post was quickly inundated with rumours, guess-work and dozens of jokes.

"Looks like a divorce to me," one local commented.

"Maybe a settlement. Each got half of everything," another pondered.

Others quizzed whether it would be sold for half-price.

"A very common question," Mr Veleski replied in the comments.

The post sent some long-time locals on a trip down memory lane, while prompting others to offer their own theories behind the home's unusual layout.

"As a kid, I'd imagine it filled with elves and leprechauns," one woman wrote.

"I assumed it was a house that was moved there but only half of it or was a double duplex at one stage but the other burnt or had to be demolished," one resident commented.

Some were certain it was a settlement dispute.

"Two brothers, one refused or contested a will and basically cut, then took his half elsewhere," one man wrote.

An aerial view of an iconic half-house in North Warrawong, NSW
There have been many theories and rumours about this quirky property over the years. Source: Supplied

However many suggested the original owners simply never had the money to complete their family home.

"Way back then there were lots of 'half houses', materials were short after WWII. Most people finished them as the materials and money became available," one person commented.

Another said houses like this were commonly built by migrants who landed jobs at the nearby steelworks.

"They would just build these small half houses to house their families quickly with the intention of completing them when they could afford to," offered one Facebook user.

Another man dismissed this theory, believing the small build was intentional.

"It was the architect and builders design... to be eye catching and different," he wrote.

Mr Veleski said he received a lot of "great" responses but is no closer to discovering the truth behind how this mysterious half-house came to be.

The property will be up for auction on October 8.

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