ABOVE AND BELOW: Loggan Rock at Whale Beach, by architect Alexander Stewart Jolly.
ABOVE AND BELOW: Loggan Rock at Whale Beach, by architect Alexander Stewart Jolly.

Jolly’s ‘most peculiar’ cabin up for sale

IT'S NOT every day you get a rather quirky 80-year-old log cabin with a $2.2-million price tag.

Next Tuesday on a stunning headland on Sydney's Northern Beaches, the heritage-listed Loggan Rock Cabin will be auctioned.

It's no run-of-the-mill log cabin and it was designed and built by no ordinary man.

Meerschaum Vale-born Alexander William Jolly was a colourful character who allegedly once chopped off part of his finger to atone for his alcoholism, published two children's books, and had a masterful vision when it came to architecture.

Responsible for five public buildings in Alstonville in his early career, including St Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Jolly was brought up in a family of carpenters with a strong connection to the local timber industry.

Loggan Rock at Whale Beach, by achitect Alexander Stewart Jolly. Photo Contributed
Loggan Rock at Whale Beach, by achitect Alexander Stewart Jolly. Photo Contributed Contributed Wikimedia

By all accounts he was a gentle, generous man who had a genuine love of nature and used it as a guiding light in his work.

While personal and financial challenges sabotaged a lifelong career in architecture, today he's hailed as an Australian icon, with a number of heritage-listed homes in Sydney, where he moved in 1918 at the age of 31.

Loggan Rock Cabin is a one-of-a-kind creation made of raw local timber and sandstone, and features window panes split by natural tree branches. It is routinely named as Sydney's most peculiar abode.

Jolly personally supervised the work and even lived on site in a tent, often finishing the more innovative elements such as a tree trunk table and stone benches built into the wall with his own tools.

Its construction in 1930 was apparently a healing for Jolly, marking the dawn of his second period in architecture after he had abandoned the profession in the early 1920s and was sliding into alcoholism.

Jolly would never return to architecture after enlisting in the army in 1941.

He pursued a career in real estate and died in 1957 at the age of 70, never realising how his buildings would one day be cherished.


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