Cliff Hall founded Hallbury Homes in 1990, the first office was the back of a Datsun 1200b. A few years earlier, Cliff had just emigrated from Worksop England, escaping the bitter miners strike of 1984, which divided the town. The bitter miner's strike was made famous by the musical Billy Elliott.
“It was just like Billy Elliott but without the dancing, life was pretty tough and conflict was part of daily life, I wanted a better life,” Mr Hall said.
With $200 and a photocopy of his dad’s retirement payout, which was enough proof at the time for Cliff to get in the country, Cliff boarded an air Yugoslavia flight (the cheapest he could find) and spent several weeks sleeping rough before getting work.
A year in, it was time to go home, but some advice from a female punk rocker in a leather jacket and nose ring at the immigration centre in Spring St Melbourne changed Cliff’s life forever. If ‘change of status’ wasn’t written on his visa application, it would have been back to England and the social housing projects which were his home.
One value that came with Cliff from England was the understanding of the importance of home, he saw it first hand with mass produced social housing which didn’t consider what people wanted. When that changed, gardens and picket fences and aesthetics were considered, then people’s attitudes in England changed about home and they began to take pride and care for them.
“Home is about security, a roof over your head, being proud of your lifestyle and area you live,” he said.
“I have a strong social conscience and believe what we have achieved should be shared.”
What would you say is the most endearing quality of your staff?
“Their ability to grow and learn, not just, as people, we do inhouse education and impart wisdom from time to time. You will be a better person.
What about your homes?
“I don't believe anything is perfect, because it is a handmade product and not made in a factory. There are a lot of components, it is handmade, not perfect, not a laptop which comes out of a box and a production line. The houses and projects are inspected by myself and practical completion inspection. Our clients don't realise this happens, I do this behind the scenes.
I’m not a designer but a builder. We make sure that what clients have asked for is what they get and expectations are met.
We build a nice home, we do it with pride, we are not perfect. Houses are built in the rain and sun.
From its earliest inception, Hallbury Homes was built on the idea of being worthwhile for all concerned, for our clients, staff, suppliers, contractors and shareholders." More info go to Hallbury Homes.