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The long history of holiday rentals
A history of holiday homes was recently completed, providing some interesting details about the popular Australian tradition.

Renting a holiday home by the beach or in the country has been a common summer past-time in NSW for one and a half centuries.

The history of holiday homes was undertaken by the Australian historian Terry Kass. The history reveals that in 1868 the NSW Governor, the Earl of Belmore, rented Throsby Park near Sutton Forest which started a trend in the area.

It became fashionable for wealthy Sydney people to build summer residences in the Berrima area. The celebrated author DH Lawrence rented a holiday home in Thirroul and it was there that he wrote his novel Kangaroo based on the house, the town, the people and the culture.

Soon it was not just the rich enjoying holiday homes over summer. Affordable holiday rentals became available in favourite locations in and around Sydney – places like Bondi Beach, Bronte, Cronulla, Coogee, Brookvale, Dee Why, Narrabeen, Manly and Maroubra.

In fact in Manly it was noted that “furnished houses suitable for families may be rented for the summer season at moderate rates” in Gibbs, Shallard & Company’s 1882 publication Illustrated Guide to Sydney and its Suburbs. A later guide, published in 1917, the ABC Guide to Sydney and Suburbs noted the popularity of holiday rentals with “surf, river or mountain scenery".

By the 1920’s, the development of the railway in NSW opened up the Central Coast and South Coast, as well as the Blue Mountains, with areas such as Avoca Beach, Pearl Beach and Wentworth Falls becoming popular with a large number of holiday rental properties being advertised.

Architecture varied from grand summer residences to corrugated iron “weekenders”. However, a large selection of prefabricated durable and cheap “weekend cribs” were erected by families wanting affordable holiday accommodation.

Nowadays, there are approximately 180,000 holiday properties across NSW.

“Without a doubt, holiday rentals have made a valuable social and economic contribution over a very long time,” said Justin Butterworth, the Chair of the REINSW Holiday and Short Term Rentals Chapter. 

To find out more about holiday and short-term rentals, contact REINSW on (02) 9264 2343.