We’ve seen the iconic site of the Nylex Clock in Melbourne's Cremorne restored, the RSL in the heart of Petersham revitalised, and now South Village has transformed the site of a former brickworks.
Redeveloping a heritage site, or a beloved landmark for a community, is no easy feat and it can be hard to satisfy the concerns of those who would rather push for the preservation of the site. And yet, the Cozens sisters, former occupants of the brickworks site, had nothing but positive things to say about South Village and the newly constructed Vivid apartments.
Margaret Leishman lives in Sylvania with her husband, and her two surviving sisters were visiting when they realised there was a Vivid launch event.
“I said we should all go down to South Village to check it out,” says Margaret. When they first heard of the redevelopment, Margaret says her younger sister was saddened to think of losing the site of her childhood home. “But when she saw the final results of the apartments, she changed her tune.”
Margaret’s father, Edward (Ted) Cozens, was appointed the manager of the brickworks, and theirs was the only family to live on-site at the time. “We used to have bonfires and let off firecrackers on Empire Night each year,” Margaret recalls. “On a Sunday afternoon, we girls would all sit on our brick fence facing the Princes Highway — it was just two lanes back then — and we would wave and laugh at the drivers who honked their horns as they passed us by.”
Images: Margaret Leishman and husband in front of the former brickworks building September 1953 (left) and Margaret with her husband at the new South Village shopping centre display November 2018 (right)
Despite the fond memories, Margaret was highly impressed with the transformation of her childhood home into the new Vivid residential precinct, and the new shopping centre at the heart of the South Village development. Despite the fond memories, when the Cozens’ sisters had to travel to Sutherland to get the meat, eggs, and other food. “There wasn’t anything closer, really. Just a petrol garage across the road,” Margaret says.
And now? “There are a lot of us ‘oldies’ you might say around the Shire and the shopping centre so close to the apartments makes it very accessible.”
Developed by Mirvac, the new retail precinct features 27 specialty shops and an Aldi and Coles, as well as restaurants and cafés. It’s sure to be a meeting place for apartment dwellers within Vivid, and Stage 2 apartment residents within South Village.
By chance, the Cozens sisters were able to meet PAYCE Director Dominic Sullivan, who offered them a VIP tour of the display apartment (as shown below). “We were only up one floor but we could see right along the highway, north to Sutherland, and over to the east across to the Taren Pt. bridge. The views were most impressive.”
Vivid, developed by PAYCE, has bucked the softening Sydney property trend by selling out in just one month. Next, a 9,000 sqm park will be developed and named Kiln Park, in reference to the heritage of the site.
Stage two of South Village is due for release later this year, and Margaret and her sisters plan to revisit. “You can’t stop progress, can you?” she laughs.