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Bondi Hoarders Decision A Load Of Rubbish

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on June 14, 2012 in Other

Photo: Tom Dwyer

I read with interest recently an article on smh.com.au about the filthy hoarders of Bondi who have for years been a stain on what is otherwise a rather beautiful Boonara Avenue.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m harking on about, there is a house in Bondi that passers-by could easily mistake for a rubbish tip. The tenants of what has become known locally as ‘the junk house’, Mary Bobolas and her daughters Elena and Liana Bobolas, are clearly raving lunatics. Mary in particular lost the plot long ago, developing what her daughters have described as a “stress-related psychological condition” that causes her to hoard rubbish.

Their house and its surroundings are an obvious health risk and I can’t imagine the neighbours are particularly comfortable living near it. Not only do rats run rampant having made the dump their home, a fire could go through the multiple layers of litter in seconds, and I can only imagine how many of the aforementioned neighbours are sitting at their dining room tables right now, packet of Redheads in their paws, pondering just how easy might be to take things into their own hands and solve this unsightly problem once and for all.

Over the past several years, Waverley Council has on numerous occasions sought to clean up the unsightly mess at Boonara Avenue, but it hasn’t been easy, nor cheap. And even after council cleaned up the crud-ridden house at its own expense, the litter eventually piled back up again.

After constant calls for the owners keep the property neat and tidy fell on deaf ears, the council took things a step further and in December 2009 the Land and Environment Court ruled that the council’s orders to clear the rubbish were valid and the work was carried out once again.

But the Bobolas daughters were not happy with this decision and had the almost unfathomable gaul to appeal it. What’s even more unbelievable is that last month a three-judge panel found the Land and Environment Court decision should be set aside as the council’s order was “invalid”.

According to the smh.com.au article, the panel found the order “did not convey any requirement for immediate implementation or compliance. Rather, they were expressed in terms of futurity” and as a result, the Bobolas family members “could not be certain as to whether it required present compliance or whether it was some sort of warning notice in anticipation of an order requiring removal of rubbish being issued at a later date”. To make matters worse, the judges even ordered Waverley Council to pay some of the Bobolas’s costs.

What a load of codswallop. The simple fact is the place is a disgusting blight upon Bondi and it needs to be tidied up. And ideally it should be the Bobolas family that fits the bill rather than the ratepayers who already have to put up with the eyesore that this mess creates.

Rupert here has a few words for the Bobolas family: clean up or clear out. If you want to live in a rubbish tip, there’s a bloody big new one out at Eastern Creek!


  1. This is a bloody disgrace – there has to be some way to make council or someone take notice – maybe all within the smell/sight zone could hold back on their rates or something… it really doesn’t make any sense why the police/courts/council/mayor/local residents don’t have the upper hand here – not the best answer – but just perhaps these people are certifiable??? is that still legal???

    Posted by: Deb | June 14, 2012, 6:00 PM |

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  2. Yes it’s gone on for years and yes it must be terrible for neighbours.

    But there are mental health issues here. The real villian is the Land & Environment Court and their questionable ‘judgements’ which are then overturned. The hoarders need help and Council must find the best way to deliver it. Costs to be sought against the Court.

    Posted by: Paul | June 18, 2012, 10:55 AM |

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  3. I walk past this house most mornings dropping my kids to childcare, I always wondered what crackpots lived there. It is is vile that people choose to live like this and try to oppose cleanup. If I was in one of the neighbouring houses the redheads would be looking like a very attractive option indeed…roast rat anyone?

    Posted by: Jen | June 18, 2012, 11:58 AM |

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  4. In relation to Pauls earlier comment, this really is a question of mental health. What this story really should be about is the severe lack of support and care for the mentally ill. Clearly these people need help that they are not getting and I’m not talking about help cleaning up the mess. 1 in 3 people suffer from some kind of mental health issue at some point. Lets look at how we can change things for the better for people with these problems…. In doing so a better, safer more community focused environment will naturally follow.

    Posted by: Simon | June 18, 2012, 1:27 PM |

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  5. I used to live down the road from this house. It’s now a tourist attraction.

    Posted by: starlee ford | June 18, 2012, 4:41 PM |

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