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Fairwood: Around the ‘S’ bends

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Close to many schools and with homes on small stands boasting great views from high on the ridge of Sylvia Pass, Fairwood is an ideal location for younger families.

Tucked away in the elbow of the famous Sylvia Pass above Norwood is the appealing neighbourhood of Fairwood. Homes are attractive and similar in style and there are some protected buildings owing to the age of the suburb’s development. 

In the lanes on Houghton Ridge are homes with great views and natural vegetation that has created a verdant indigenous garden to complement the large trees found along the streets below.

Places of interest and things to do in Fairwood

Adjacent to the affluent area of Linksfield and Linksfield Ridge, Fairwood enjoys access to the main arterials, and Sylvia Pass connects residents to the east, the freeways to Pretoria and the airport. Both local and private schooling is available and leisure escapes for sports and hiking lovers abound.

The heritage portal notes Sylvia Pass is the shortest official pass in South Africa.

“Sylvia Pass is only about one third of a kilometre in length and in that distance one rises about 290m on an “S” curve. This is the natural barrier of the ridge between the northern suburbs – Orange Grove, Norwood, Highlands North, Sydenham and beyond and the suburbs to the south such as Cyrildene, Bruma and Kensington,” says Kathy Munro on the portal.

It is purportedly named after Sylvia Easton. According to The Star of July 1, 1936, city engineer EH Waugh said his inspiration was the wife of the council’s government surveyor, Percy Easton, in 1928. Kallenbach Drive, named after immigrant German architect and property developer Hermann Kallenbach, who arrived in 1896, joins the pass halfway, just above Fairwood itself. 

The northern border of the suburb is flanked by Norwood, which was developed in 1902 with distinctly positioned stands of 500m² laid out in neat, residential configurations.

Local property expert Melody Mahdeb of Amour Properties, says Fairwood is ideal for the young family as the size of the stands is more or less 550m² and easily maintained.

A typical home in Fairwood in eastern Joburg. Picture: Amour Properties

“Younger families are attracted to the area as it is close to good schools, places of worship, private hospitals and public clinics, and relatively close to public transport and shopping nodes. It is a small, quiet leafy suburb with established families,” says Mahdeb.

“Fairwood comprises  about 140 homes. During the past year four houses were sold. Most are owned by a mature age group to pensioners, and new buyers are from the middle-aged sector of the market, between 36 and 49.” 

She says of the freehold properties, the majority of homes sold are by people of the mature/pensionable age who are relocating to smaller apartments or retirement homes.

The Victory Theatre, one of Johannesburg’s oldest heritage theatres, on Louis Botha Avenue in Orange Grove. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA Pictures

Tracy Allison is a data warehouse manager and has lived with her son in Mountain View, the name given to the homes on the ridge above Fairwood, since 1997. Her husband Ryan moved in 10 years ago.

She says the area is well-established with little evidence of sub-division or building.

“There are plenty of shopping and dining spots nearby and I am just 8km from work, close to the highways and not far from OR Tambo International Airport.”

The family enjoys Houghton Golf Club, Melrose Arch and eating at one of many restaurants on Grant Avenue in nearby Norwood.

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