Southern Cross University social history researcher Karyn Rendall outside a pre-1900s timber home in Ballina to be studied as part of her honour’s degree thesis.
Southern Cross University social history researcher Karyn Rendall outside a pre-1900s timber home in Ballina to be studied as part of her honour’s degree thesis. Doug Eaton

Building on towns past

YOU might be living in one and you don’t even know it, but Karyn Rendall will.

The Southern Cross University social history researcher is looking for those cute, historical timber houses in Ballina that hold the pieces to the town’s history puzzle.

Ms Rendall is undertaking a one-year research project into the history of pre-1900s houses in Ballina as part of her Bachelor of Arts honours degree.

It’s her passion for history, her love of old houses and her thirst to do something never done before that inspired her thesis choice.

“I majored in history at uni and I love timber houses,” she said.

“There has not been a study done like this in Ballina and I wanted to do something to do with history and Ballina for my thesis.

“I think there have been a lot of studies done into the big houses, but not many into these types. I love how timber houses represent the ordinary people.

“It’s who lived in these simple, worker cottages that interests me as well.”

The Ballina resident has lived in the area for 20 years and knows a historical, study-worthy house when she sees one.

However, they have got a little harder to uncover with generational trends in renovation.

“Most of the houses have had additions added to them, but the basic structure will still be there,” Ms Rendall said.

“When they were first built all they had were rooms, and a lot did not have indoor plumbing or things like that.

“I am also very interested in the original owners of these houses and finding out what their lives were like and what Ballina was like in the early days.

“It will be fascinating to see what stories we come up with.”

Unlike Lismore, which is littered with historical homes, Ballina is proving to be a little more difficult to find houses built in the pre-1900s era Ms Rendall is interested in.

Anyone with an eligible house, or people who are unsure their house fits the bill but wants to participate in the study, can call 0416 247 803.



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