Build Your Own House

The ultimate website for owner builders & DIYers
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:33 am 
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 1:04 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Heidelberg, Melbourne Australia
I'm Murray Johnson, a Melbourne journalist and photographer who started this web site several years ago as a "virtual community" where owner builders could share information and support. Since then Build Your Own House ( has had more than 60,000 hits.
I became aware of owner building in the 1970s when a bloke called Glenn Mack moved to Echuca where I was a cadet journalist, and built a mudbrick mansion on the site of the former Nine Mile Inn. I wrote about the project in The Riverine Herald and secretly pledged to do something similar one day. You can read about my project at
Our muddie is called Charleroi – after a place in Belgium where my grandfather enjoyed some respite from the trenches of the Somme with a Belgian family in WWI. I took my kids to France last year to Villers Brettoneux but that's another story.
When I started Charleroi the average house price in Melbourne was $190,00. Now it's $360,000. Owner building offers people a chance to put a roof over their heads without crippling debt, but it's much more than that. Owner building teaches you skills and makes you aware of new possibilities. When I started building I was a journalist on Rupert Murdoch's payroll. Now I'm self-employed and much happier. Owner building, combined with my love of literature, has led me to read great books like Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own and to discover writers like Henry Thoreau who wrote the famous "Pink Floyd" line about "most men living life in quiet desperation." He opted out and went to live On Walden Pond where he wrote a book of that name, and urged people to "Go Boldly in the Direction of your Dreams. Live the life you've Imagined."
I urge you to do the same... and owner building's a step in the right direction. Enjoy the site and I look forward to your contributions.
Murray Johnson
Build Your Own House

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