How’s this for a home with a difference? Doug and Kate and their two-year-old son Jack have lived on their houseboat on Sydney Harbour for about five years.

With the constant gentle rocking of the boat, the beautiful sun-rises and sparkling sunlight all day Doug and Kate say they can’t imagine ever selling their unique home.

Since only four houseboats are allowed in Sydney Harbour, and no more licenses are to be granted in the future, theirs is a very exclusive address.

Their houseboat has an interesting history:

  • The original barge was the original punt across the Spit in Sydney Harbour
  • After WWI some returned diggers decided to build houses on the barges, without any electricity or home comforts
  • At one stage it was owned by the family who owns the house next to the path. It sank and the owner intended towing it away until his then-18 year old daughter objected. She is now 90 years old!
  • The houseboat has had a series of owners. Businessman David Hill owned it in the 1970s and installed water and electricity. Entrepreneur John Singleton and Ian Kiernan (of Clean Up Australia) then owned it and designed the current structure with its second storey.
  • John Singleton sold it to a group of barristers (one of whom was a friend of Kate's). One night they had a party, turned the water on the mains broke just as the guests started arriving. The boat filled up with water and sank – a sight that hit the headlines
  • The boat was rebuild and refloated and sold to another barrister, who subsequently put an ad in the paper
  • Doug’s wife saw the ad “Houseboat for Sale”. They went and looked at it and fell in love immediately.

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