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La Trobe’s Cottage, Victoria Australia

La Trobe’s Cottage is a historic cottage in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, built in 1839 for the first superintendent of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, Charles La Trobe, and his family. The cottage was constructed out of prefabricated materials imported from England on 50,000 square metres of land at Jolimont, near where the Melbourne Cricket Ground now stands. When the colony achieved independence from New South Wales in 1851, La Trobe, was made the first Lieutenant-governor of Victoria and reserved from sale the area of Kings Domain as a site for a future Government House, but remained living with his family in this cottage at Jolimont until their departure for England in 1854.

The house is listed on the Victorian heritage list for its historical, social and architectural significance. It is one of the few surviving examples still standing of prefabricated houses from this period of history and gives an insight into early colonial domestic architecture and living arrangements. Personal effects of La Trobe and his family are still contained in the house. The dining room was added by La Trobe in 1840 and is now one of the oldest surviving structures built in Melbourne. The architectural style is described as Pre-separation colonial Georgian.

In 1963 the cottage was relocated to Kings Domain as an historical landmark, and is now located backing on to Dallas Brooks Drive. As such it represents an early example of conservation of an endangered heritage building, utilising early techniques of heritage preservation. It is now operated as a museum by the National Trust of Australia, and is regularly open to the public.

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