Letters From the Suburbs: Craigieburn
Thursday, October 28 2010
One word—Delfin. As you wander around the vast expanse that is techinically defined as “Craigieburn”, you wonder how far a suburb can keep expanding.
Once merely the offcuts of Broadmeadows’ burgeoning migrant population, Craigieburn has developed its own identity as one of the residential housing communities that litter Melbourne’s outer suburbs.
The area surrounding the train station could be any northern Melbourne suburb, but venture a few kilometres further and a whole new world opens up. Man-made lakes, meticulously landscaped nature strips, and cookie cutter houses springing up from the ground.
It’s always reminded me of the title sequence from “Weeds”—Little boxes, on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky. Little boxes, on the hillside, and they all look just the same.
My parents started building their dream house here two years ago, and it took that long to finish it. A warped Sri Lankan version of the Australian dream, their vision was Bigger Is Better, and More Open Plan, Please.
Walk into any house in this area and you’ll feel at home—they’re all slightly modified from the same basic design that you can inspect in the display village just down the road.
Giant kitchens that open into at least two “living” areas. An “al fresco” that takes up the entire backyard, and a front garden that barely borders the front door. The blocks of land are generous and cheap, and sold with these McMansions in mind.
The trend seems to be stretching your walls out to the boundary of your property, to get the most tiled space bang for your buck. Remember when you played The Sims and couldn’t fit your post box anywhere because you overdid it on the square feet? You probably grew up to own a house in Craigieburn.
With all my hating, Crazyburn (as we fondly call it) is actually a lovely little microcosm to raise a family—so long as you don’t venture into the old side of town.
The giant flakes (fake lakes. More fondness) are picturesque for cycling and rollerblading around, as the ads that litter late night television are all too eager to tell you. These commercials, filled with young white families and their golden retrievers, don’t quite represent the true population of Craigieburn.
In actual fact, it is established migrants trying to buy a piece of the Australian pie that make up most of it, and towns like it around Melbourne. And you can’t hate on that.F