1977-78 Building Burnside Rd – Theo Mathews’ house at Margaret River.

Margaret River resident/architect/surfer Theo Mathews built his dream home on a challenging block on the banks of the Margaret River in ’73.

This is Theo’s story and photos of the building process at Marg River.

In 1973 I bought 80 acres of half-bush/half-paddock on Burnside Road & sold in 1994 having raised a family in an idyllic location. The property has 1.5km of frontage to the Margaret River with steep cliffs, which as an adventurous architect is of course where I chose to build.

As a newly graduated architectural student, there was no way that I wanted a gun tradesman dictating how I would build the house. My trusted assistants were Howard Johnson, a Marxist political economist from Murdoch University and Horny Campbell, the one eyed electrician.

Groups of architectural students and visiting friends and their friends helped with the construction. The house was packed to the rafters for the opening party with lots of dancing. The stiletto heel marks were eventually sanded out many years later.

The Margaret River building surveyor at the time was Tony Stone, an alternative life-styler himself, who basically encouraged owner builders to do what they wanted. The period is affectionately known as the Stone Age.

All photos courtesy of Theo Mathews.


Photos 1.1: Early site work

Top: (Left) Blocking clearing (Right) Lee Verios surveying.
Bottom: Theo Mathews.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR Build 1 collage_photocat

Photos 1.2: Workers.

Top: (Left) Theo. (Right) Lee Verios, unknown, Theo & Theo’s mum.
Bottom: (left & Right) Theo.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR build 3 collage_photocat

Photos 1.3: Workers

Top: (Left) Lee Verios (Right) Lee Verios, unknown, Theo & Theo’s mum Maria.
Bottom: (Left) Howard Johnson & Theo. (Right) Theo

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR Build 2 collage_photocat

Photos 1.4: Workers

Top: (Left) Patrick Bloomer. (Right) Howard Johnson.
Bottom: (Left) Howard Johnson, Theo & Steve ‘Horny’ Campbell. (Right) ‘Horny’ Campbell & Howard Johnson.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR Build 4 collage_photocat


Photos 2.1: Margaret River

Top: (Left) workers lunch (Right) Annie Brown
Bottom: (Left) Noelene & Chris Willcox. (Right) Chris Willcox, Annie Brown, Peter Hodge, Theo & Barbara Hodge.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR social 1 collage_photocat

Photos 2.2: Margaret River

Top: (Left) Katherine Kalaf. (Right) Leslie O’Dywer, Peter & Barbara Hodge
Bottom: (Left) Howard Johnson, Theo & James DeLestang. (Right) Theo.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR social 2 collage_photocat

Photos 2.3: Dunsborough

Left. Unknown, Parisse Kailis, Denise Gaudi, Peter McDonald, unknown & Peter?
Right Unknown, Peter?, Parisse Kailis, Denise Gaudi, Peter McDonald, Janine Mackery

1977-78 Dunsborough social 1 collage_photocat


Photos 3.1: Exterior & garden.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR House 1 collage_photocat

Photos 3.2: Exterior with view of Margaret River

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR House 2 collage_photocat

Photos 3.3: Interior kitchen & living area.

1977-78 Burnside Rd MR House 3 collage_photocat


In July 1992 the Augusta Margaret River Mail published an article on Theo’s house title ‘At home amongst the gum trees”. This image courtesy of AMR Mail.

1977-78 Burnside Rd House Marg River. Theo Mathews pic (1)

  • Annemarie Malcolm

    Great memories of watching Theo’s house go up and sharing times in the beautiful space he created! They were special times, when enterprising young guys like Theo and others and their partners built their own vision of home in nature in what was then a pretty much the pristine part of our South West …privileged to have been part of that!!