Archive December 2018

Searching For Sydney’s Oldest Building?

Searching For Sydney's Oldest Building?

Australia, which was only colonized less than 300 years ago is one of the youngest so called ‘Western’ nations in the world. This has left the country with a short history when compared with other countries who can look back on historic buildings that are in some cases nearly 2 millennia old. For instance Westminster Hall in London was built in 1097. However when it comes to historic buildings Australia, because of its relative youth does have an advantage. Click here to learn also about oldest buildings in Australia.

Many of the country’s oldest buildings which were built in the earliest days of settlement have survived relatively intact (in some cases in a pristine condition). This allows those who are resident in the country and visitors to get a real feeling for waht life was like in the early days of Australia.

Take for instance Cadmans Cottage which can be found on the Circular Quay in Sydney. This two story Georgian house was built in 1816 and was the result of a request by the New South Wales Governor at that time – Lachlan Macquarie. As was common in those days – when it came to government buildings and public works the cottage was built using convict labor. It was an integral apart of what was then the government dockyard. The picturesque setting of the cottage no doubt appealed to the governor as it was located on a rocky shore with easy access to a small beach.

Searching For Sydney's Oldest Building?

The style of the cottage was distinctively English. It was based on patterns that had been developed by a British architect named Francis Greenway – who (unfortunately for him but luckily for the governor) had been transported to Australia after being found guilty of fraud and forgery. Learn more about Francis Greenway.

The building itself is utilitarian in structure and function. The simplicity was due in part to the fairly humble nature of those who would take up residence. The cottage was used as accommodation for Government Coxswains and their families. The duties of the Government Coxswain was to act as The Chief Petty Officer in charge of the government ships that docked at Sydney.The duties of this functionary were to oversee repairs to the ships, ensure that the compliment of seaman was adequate and to make sure that the Naval officer’s boat was in good repair and could be used at all times, as well as act as Captain of the Governor’s Barge. The cottage served as residence for these functionary’s until the mid 1840’s. .

Searching For Sydney's Oldest Building?

The function of the cottage had changed by 1846 when it became the base for the Sydney Water police and additional buildings were added including offices and cells. By 1864 the cottage had again been re-purposed. It now (with further additions) became central to the efforts of the Sydney Sailors’ Home Trust which saw to the care and housing of ‘vagabond’ sailors and so called ‘wanderers’. To discover about heritage listing; visit:

By 1972 the building had been named as a heritage site under the auspices of the National Parks and Wildlife Act. It was at this time that restoration efforts first began.

The cottage is a fascinating link to the past of Sydney and well worth a visit.

Looking At The Oldest Building In Melbourne, Australia?

Looking At The Oldest Building In Australia?

Trying to figure out the oldest building can be a bit tough as early settlements were hardly organized, and for all you know the remains of an early shipwreck or local homestead is there from the very beginning. That being said, there are definitely some buildings that are clearly and verifiably among Australia’s oldest and each has an interesting bit of history behind it. Read on to learn more about the oldest Aussie buildings and why each one is worth a visit!

Oldest Public Building: Old Government House at Parramatta

Looking At The Oldest Building In Australia?

The Old Government House at Parramatta is the oldest government building in Australia that is still standing. A tourist spot today as opposed to an official place of government business, it overlooks 200 acres of parkland. This served as the residence of 10 early Australian governors with the original base of the house completed in 1799 and the major upgrade and extensions to create the look that is known today completed in 1815. This would serve as a public building for over 70 years and today is carefully preserved while maintenance work is done to maintain the appearance and keep it as authentic as possible. A living testament to early Australian colonial history. Learn more about this place.

Sometimes Claims The Title…But An Imposter: Cook’s Cottage

Looking At The Oldest Building In Australia?

Sometimes someone will make a claim that Cook’s Cottage is the oldest building in Australia. While Cook’s Cottage is certainly impressive in its age, there’s no reasonable argument that an be made putting it as the oldest building. This is a nice small cottage that has stood for over a couple centuries and is an easy stone’s throw of a visit from Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne which was concreted by Formwork Melbourne. Worth a look to see where the famous Captain Cook resided, and certainly an impressive little historic site, it’s very old by Australian standards but isn’t going to hold up compared to the Old Government House at Parramatta or Wiebbe Haye’s Fort. For more details about Cook’s Cottage; visit:

The Oldest Australian Building Period: Wiebbe Hayes’ Fort

The winner for the oldest known European building in all of Australia is actually located on West Wallabi Island, which is part of the Houtman-Abrohlos archipelago. This is a building that wasn’t built because it was planned out, but came out of necessity from a part of Australian history that locals, and history buffs, will know well! This is because the Wiebbe Hayes’ Fort was a direct result of the infamous Batavia shipwreck that took place in 1629.

There was a large mutiny that led to a lot of fighting and mass murder. While the conflicts were taking place over multiple islands, Wiebbe Hayes rounded up the men by him and they built a fort specifically for their own protection. There’s not much left here – mostly remnants of fort walls and a basic structure, but this fort pre-dated actual planned settlements in Australia by over 150 years. While it isn’t really possible to get up close, there are some local air charters that are willing to fly you over it for a scenic tour and a bit of local flavor added to the history lesson.

Click here to get more information about heritage listing.