Famous Tarragindi Retro House on the Market After 38 Years

A distinctively familiar retro house on Marshall Road in Tarragindi is going on the auction block for the first time in 38 years and it’s one with an equally interesting history as Mater Prize Home No. 22. 

Anyone who has walked or driven past this house for the last 57 years has admired its quirky beauty. Designed by architect John Dawson and builder Les Smith, it’s one of 100 houses built for the Mater Prize Home Art Union fundraising initiative. 

“I’ve only been eyeing it off for about 6 years when I drove past it for the first time and almost crashed while staring at it,” one local said in the Facebook group Retro Houses for Sale.  

“The amount of times I’ve driven past and audibly sighed at this home’s beauty…and now it’s for sale!”

But in 1964, when Mater Prize Home No. 22 went up the market for the first time, it was billed as  “the latest ultra-modern Mater prize home.” 

Photo Credit: realestate.com.au

The house features four “dazzling bedrooms,” an “ultra-modern kitchen,” a deluxe dining room, lounge with a built-in sofa, patios and two garages. It also has a well-manicured garden with a “secluded barbecue area,” which was quite forward-looking at that time. 

Some time ago, the former owners added security grills on the patio as an airy pet enclosure. Over the decades, this house has retained almost all of its original retro features, including the original hardwood flooring underneath the carpets. 

Mater Prize Home No. 22, protected as local heritage-listed property, went up for auction on-site Sunday, 28 March 28, 2021.

People Went Out of Their Way to See It

When Mater Prize Homes were first sold, people would queue to see the properties and marvel at “modern conveniences” like airconditioning, plus design features like open-plan living, en suite bathrooms and built-in wardrobes. Today, these may be common features in many middle-class homes but these were considered “high-end” and “cutting edge” decades ago.

In those days, families would pack in their cars and drive down to look at a Mater Prize Home, if they have one near their area, as if they were on an excursion.

What is the Mater Prize Home initiative?

The Mater Prize Home initiative was established in 1954 and aimed to raffle off beautiful houses to Australian families to support the projects of Mater Foundation. Proceeds of this initiative went to supporting the patients’ financial needs during hospitalization, purchasing new life-saving equipment, funding research and diagnostics to treat and prevent even life-threatening diseases, and providing for the patients’ mental health care.

The Mater Foundation received more than $6 million in donated properties that were offered to the public via the house raffles. Tickets to the raffles had an initial cost of $2.