Not many retirement villages boast such a rich and colourful history as Aveo Bayview Gardens, whose land was formerly owned by the founder and director of Taronga Zoo, Sir Edward Hallstrom.
During the 1950s and 1960s the site, located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, was home to Sir Hallstrom’s minor private collection of animals, and housed several species including koalas, reptiles and birds amongst others.
Set across 40 acres, Sir Hallstrom also used the land where Aveo Bayview Gardens now stands to grow vegetation and feed for other animals at Taronga Zoo.
In 1976, Tony Baldwin, solicitor and developer, purchased the property from the Hallstrom estate with the view of creating a retirement village for the new and growing retirement market.
John Bungey, who worked on the development of Aveo Bayview Gardens as a landscape consultant, remembers the existing animal pens and other small structures being removed as part of the initial clean-up of the site.
“Full construction of the village took over 30 years and it is still one of the most solidly constructed villages in Sydney,” Mr Bungey said.
“Prior to construction, many other builders and developers visited Bayview Gardens, stating that they could build a better complex but most could not.
“Many tried, and failed, to copy the system but we had the team, real funding and had a long-term view,” Mr Bungey continued.
Thanks to Mr Bungey and Sir Hallstrom’s contributions, Aveo Bayview Gardens is now home to acres of lush, rainforest-style gardens and boasts over 70 species of plants, both natives and introduced.
Mr Bungey still remembers the first residents who moved into the first completed units at the village and still visits the village regularly to see other residents he has met along the way.