Dale Jennings relates the history of the house at No 25 The Esplanade, North Shore.
ln 1927, as an apprentice of 15, Eric Lyons helped his master build a house at North Shore.
Eric founded E J Lyons Construction which continues to trade in Geelong to this day.
The house, at 25 The Esplanade, has been occupied by Dale and Kay Jennings and family since 1965.
Prior to that it was occupied by Dr Harold Day and family from 1959 to 1965, and prior to that by Andrew and Anne Davie and son Iain from 1932 to 1959.
Dr Day was well known in the northern suburbs of Geelong before moving to Maroochydore The house functioned at times as an emergency medical surgery.
Andrew Davie was manager of the Corio distillery for many years before moving to Sydney in retirement.
The house at No 25 was commissioned by Patrick Moloney, a Canadian who was about to wed a Miss Dorothy Drysdale who owned a frock shop named La Mode in Ryrie Street, Geelong, and who was one of the Drysdale family of Bellarine Peninsula fame and after whom Drysdale itself is named.
The house remains an imposing structure and has a splendid view across Corio Bay towards Geelong.
The owner, being Canadian, wanted a Californian style bungalow of two storeys, which in those days was quite a challenge for the young Lyons the apprentice and his master. Much of the timber was brought from Canada, although the foundations were stout Aussie red gum posts, measuring five inches by five inches in the old. (They are still in good condition.)
Construction was mainly of timber with weatherboard cladding and some cement rendering in the A of the upper storey exterior. The roof was of iron, a Canadian red cedar shingle roof being added by the Jennings family in the 1970s.
To work on the house, Eric Lyons and his master travelled from Belmont to North Shore early each Monday with a horse pulling a dray packed with materials and tools.They camped in the yard and over some weeks built the house according to Patrick Moloney's plans.
Mr Maloney would travel from Geelong by train to the North Shore station, inspect progress until a car or truck happened along. There wasn’t much traffic in North Shore in those days. He would step into the middle of the road, hold up a large hand, bring the vehicle to a halt and request transport into Geelong or at least to North Shore station.
Eric Lyons remembers vividly, while working upstairs, losing balance and putting one foot into a sheet of plaster for the ceiling below. It had to be replaced and his boss lost no opportunity to remind young Eric of the error of his ways. That is, until the boss mistimed a hammer blow and dented the solid pine handrail prepared with great care for the stairs. Reproach abated as the boss tried to 'draw' the timber back to its original form.
Recently Eric and Norm Lyons visited 25 The Esplanade, North Shore, and over a cup of coffee Eric shared some great memories with Norm and Dale Jennings.
Recently Maria Sarchese (nee Moloney) who now lives in Welland, Ontario, Canada, called at No 25 and also shared some warm memories of growing up in the house that Eric built.