Monday, 23 March 2009
A toilet stop and a bit of Melbourne History
I have to admit to being a bit dismissive when it comes to our Australian heritage. After visiting the UK I was blown away at the history greeting you around every corner! Wherever you went there were castles, churches, abbeys...hundreds and hundreds of years old, Saxon, Celt, Roman, it was just everywhere!
When we returned to Melbourne I remember grumbling about how new everything was, nothing very interesting! Well yesterday when I least expected it I saw a glimpse of something that intrigued me. On the way back from a weekend in the beautiful and historic (I am now much more appreciative) Ballarat we had to stop along Hoddle st in inner Melbourne because Mr 4 yr old, Cam, had to go to the toilet right NOW!! We pulled into a little street to find a tree or a vacant block, anything...we ended up parking next to an old factory with a big clump of bushes nearby and Dad took Mr 4 to do his business. While that was all going on I happened to notice a funny little house on the other side of the street! It was made of very rough looking timber, unpainted and raw, the windows were covered by old wooden shutters and the roof looked to be made of iron with little flourishes of Asian inspired decoration around the gables. I turned the car around when the boys got back in and noticed a blue heritage sign on the gate reading "Singapore Cottage"
When I got home I decided to look up the great Internet and found that this little house would have been brought out here to Melbourne in pieces around 1855. It has markings on every plank and board so someone would know which bit went where and often these were in Chinese! The demand for housing was so strong after the gold rush that the government imported these houses from Singapore due to the lack of skilled builders and building materials available at the time.
This house is made from exotic Asian timber apparently. There are not many left now, but this one in Collingwood has been saved and heritage listed! I'm going to keep an eye out on any open days! Id love to look inside..something about people making these tiny places their home fascinates me! We are such a land of bigger is better when it comes to housing! as viewed by the miles of soulless Mc Mansions around...I find this little house warm and comforting (very impractical, I'm sure!) but lovely all the same!