The Strata-Plan. ( A re-post due to great demand.)

Pardon me Madam; your Body Corporate is showing

Sometimes, it is true, storm clouds gather in Strata-Titled communities joined at the hips by the regulations of The Body Corporate. They say, and many historians agree, Australia really got on its own when land ownership was denoted by giving parcels of land ‘Title’. This is how the name of “real Estate” came about. I remember my father being very puzzled when, after arrival in 1956, he assiduously queried the name of ‘real estate agent’. Are their estate agents that are not ‘real’, was his logical Dutch question?  Apparently before ‘Title’ people just put pegs in the ground and claimed it as belonging to them. People squatted by putting down their swag between the pegs and went to work tilling the soil, had babies and went to sleep in between. The document of Title was called Torrens named after a pioneer of Title, Mr Robert Torrens. Robert lived to a ripe old age of 94 and is buried at Rookwood. It is claimed the last words he uttered, were, ‘ I am feeling as Crook as Rookwood.’

However, and this is the crux of this little piece, when many arrived and populations grew faster than Torrens Titles could accommodate, many wanted to share the same block of land on the one single title. This was first used by large Italian migrant groups. We all know that ‘en famille’ around the’ tavola’ and forever ‘en casa’ is what makes Italian lives tick and has so for thousands of years. Not for them the world of segregated privacy and gloomy darkness with the enforced separation of the Robert’s Torrens Title.

It was an extraordinary large Italian family who just all wanted to remain together on the one parcel of land but living at close quarters. The name of this very large family was Signore et Signora, ‘Strata’. After seven years of marriage they had nine children. Both papa and mamma were very busy and fertile.  The family included many uncles and aunties, many of indefinable ages. They were born so many years ago, they simply never thought of the passing years. They just wanted to be able to see any new bambinas and sorellis at any given time of the day. A beehive of life and birth with the occasional death celebrated at Rookwood with copious amounts of Chianti with lots of calamari and prawns. It has to be said though, in respect for those dearly departed; many aunties would dress up in black. Some had also forgotten who they were mourning for, but that’s how Italian families functioned best. It was all a bit of a tradition and many had died so long ago. Mourning and feasting were always very close, almost the same. Both involved the intake of good food and plenty of it.

That’s how it was around the late nineteen fifties or so. They called their multi families property, the Strata en Casa.  Officials that visited this large community of Italian migrants felt it needed a more formal and Anglo name and decided on Strata Title. And that’s how the term ‘Strata Title’ was born. It was incorporated into statutes and made into a stern law. Soon many communities followed suit.

However, and we all know when ‘however’ is used, it is usually followed by a disclaimer or worse, some kind of dreaded bit of news. When the Strata Title was used and incorporated by those not used to communal life in order to get a foot-hold in a cheaper form of ‘real Estate’, (are their Estates that are not ‘real’?) it now is a “Title” thick with possible stirrings of discontent. Some people do not hold to common values and shared Strata ownership and insist on doing Torrens Title things. In other words, they want to do individual things on shared communal property.

Many annual Body Corporate meetings are now steeped in anger and misgivings about differences between both forms of Title. Both Mr Robert Torrens and the Family Strata used to live harmoniously together.

Not anymore now. Or so it seem and it has come to pass.


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16 Responses to “The Strata-Plan. ( A re-post due to great demand.)”

  1. M-R Says:

    [grin] You really enjoyed that !


  2. Dorothy brett Says:

    Gerard another really interesting and well written piece. Did you know the Strata Titles Act is being looked at. But only in terms of an old building that a Developer wants to buy. Currently 100% of owners have to agree, and this is to change to 75%. Meaning some will have their homes sold from underneath them and perhaps have to move to an inferior location etc. I would hate that, and hopefully it will never apply to me.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Dot. I read about that too. I think if seventy- five procent agree to sell, it might be reasonable. That is part of sharing the same property. It has pro’s and con’s. The choice is to either fully own (Torrens) or share (Strata-Plans).
      The trouble in Strata is when common shared property is changed by a minority or single person.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. algernon1 Says:

    Nice story but not entirely correct. Strata Titles in NSW came into being in I think 1961. Prior to that home units were held by company title where the owners held shares. You didn’t actually own your unit per se, in fact if someone desired your flat then a meeting of the company could determine that someone could take your unit and them yours. Banks wouldn’t lend against them either. Strata titles allow you to own the space between the walls separating each unit, which are common property. As a unit owner you own a share in the common property as well as a say in the going on of the scheme.

    Torrens Title replaced the common law title that was inherited from England. It is based on the system developed by Lloyd’s to buy and sell ships. Unlike the Old system where you needed to show a good line of title, meaning you needed a great wad of deeds. Torrens Title shows title based on one certificate of title complete with all its encumbrances. It also gave certainty of title which the Old System did not. It first came into practice in the late 1850’s in South Australia and the rest of the Australian Colonies by the mid 1860’s.

    With you on the “Real Estate Agents” they more correctly should be called house salesfolk. Most are little more than pox doctors clerks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:


      Our first apartment in Pott’s point and bought around 1963/64 was Company Title. I had no trouble getting a bank loan then and had no trouble selling it around 1969.


      • algernon1 Says:

        Happy to be corrected there gerard. I understood that banks were reluctant to lend on company titles. What the introduction of strata title did was to give certainty of title like torrens title does.


  4. bkpyett Says:

    I can see this building up into a massive story.


  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    We shall see what will come of it. People think that somehow owning is better than sliced cake, but unlike slice cake you can’t eat bricks and mortar.
    It gave great insight when the man who loves slashing confessed he wants to maintain the ‘value’ of his property and not because he was keen to make it beautiful. I always thought gardening was a very creative past-time to make for greater beauty without spoiling it.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I look forward to succeeding stories of the slasher. He sounds a complete idiot.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but some idiots can do great damage. We should get an answer soon about the AGM’s Strata Plan minutes that did not mention the naughty word ‘painting’ with the even naughtier ‘$40.000,- accepted quote’.
      Stay close-by for the latest news!


  7. rod Says:

    I agree with Kayt concerning the slasher. As for this titles stuff, even reading a little law puts me into a sleep so deep teeth could be extracted.


  8. stuartbramhall Says:

    In most cases the people uncomfortable with communal land ownership are wealthy elites seeking an opportunity to privatize it for profit. Yet another example of the theft of the commons.


  9. elizabeth2560 Says:

    Thanks for this bit of history. It is a problem with strata title owners wanting to do their own thing on common property. Happiness in living in those ‘estates’ does depend on the other owners being like-minded people.


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