Proud descendant of First Fleeters flies the nation's flag for patriotism
"Australia is my passion'' … Chris Hazell in the front yard of his Federation house in Bexley. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
A QANTAS baggage handler is so proud to call Australia home that he has renovated his Bexley home to show his patriotism.
With an Australian flag flying proudly in the front yard, Chris Hazell's Federation home has a coat of arms set into the verandah, terracotta figurines of kookaburras in diggers' hats added to the roof, and images of kookaburras and rosellas in leadlight windows and on ceilings throughout.
"Australia is my passion, and I love making my house reflect that," Mr Hazell says.
"I'm descended from the First Fleeters and I'm very proud of our country.
''In the old days on Australia Day I used to fly two 17-foot-long flags to the front and back of the house too, but they always killed the flowers."
Mr Hazell, 54, is part of a marked trend to show home as where the heart is.
Heritage architect Paul Davies said that in earlier years, people were happy to strip their homes of Australian features and to modernise and start afresh.
But Mr Davies detects a change in the air. "Now that's moved back to wanting to preserve the past, which is indicative of an underlying sense of Australian patriotism and a nostalgia about the quality of craftsmanship that you might not see today," he says.
At the same time, the size of crowds attending antique fairs and exhibitions of Australian memorabilia is growing all the time, reports Jim Bertouch, president of The Australiana Society.
"People are now so much more interested in our history and our national identity in an aesthetic way, rather than seeing it as a potential investment," Dr Bertouch says.
"There are now so many people across the board restoring their homes back to their original finish and embellishing them with Australian features, which is fantastic."
Mr Hazell sees himself as merely reflecting an increasing sense of patriotism among Australians. "You see so many people flying flags on their cars these days," he says.
"I think we're becoming more Americanised in our patriotism, with young people embracing it now on Australia Day, and new migrants getting into it too.
''It is a great country that we like to pay our respects to."