The Sans Souci house that 'could be seen from heaven' may soon be no more

A sign that was part of a beautiful love story lies forlornly on its side in the front garden of a Sans Souci home.

For many years, the sign reading Our Berta’s Corner swung from a post in front of the neat fibro house on the corner of Riverside Drive and Tuffy Avenue.

It was as well known as the brightly coloured roof tiles, which the owner John Hall painted after the death of his wife Berta in 1997.

Mr Hall wanted the house to “be seen from Heaven so Berta can look down and see how much I love her’’.

His painstaking task involved lifting each roof tile, painting it in one of four colours and refitting it.

The story gained widespread media attention and attracted many visitors wishing to see first-hand the unusual profession of love.

Mr Hall died last year at 98, and the house has been vacant since.

In recent weeks, the property has been tidied up and neighbours believe the NSW Trustee & Guardian is preparing it for sale.

John Hall outside his home in April 2012, when he was 93. Picture: James Alcock

John Hall outside his home in April 2012, when he was 93. Picture: James Alcock

Given it’s position on the edge of the Georges River, it is likely their “forever home” will be demolished and replaced by a mansion.

The Our Berta’s Corner sign, which fell over on a windy day, will become just a memory.

Two old, children’s cars, which Mr Hall retrieved from a council rubbish collection in 2013 and secured to the carport roof to add more colour, have already been removed.

After his wife’s death, Mr Hall shared the house with their son Warren, who moved to a nursing home before his father’s death.

In 2013, aged 94, Mr Hall told the Leader he was “aiming to get to 100, and then I reckon I will be ready to go upstairs”.

He said he and Berta had known each other since they were children and married in 1942.

‘‘She was not quite 16 and I was six years older and an apprentice boilermaker,’’ he said.

‘‘Her mother said ‘you can get married, but only if you live in the side verandah so I can keep an eye on you’.

‘‘Berta was a gorgeous girl, one of a kind.

‘‘She was from a family of 10 who lived in Kogarah, and I was from Brighton-Le-Sands.’’

The couple bought the Sans Souci home after she underwent a double kidney transplant.

‘‘Berta had 16 years enjoying life here, looking out over the water,’’ he said.

Mr Hall said, when he painted the roof, he was told the paint would last only five years, “but, it’s still as good as ever”.

Every year, he marked the anniversary of Berta’s death on October 18 by placing a poem in the In Memoriam column in the Leader.


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