1940s School Holidays at Oldbury Cottage
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
In March 2015, the National Trust approached property owners throughout Berrima to open their historic homes and, in some cases ruins, for a 'Berrima Heritage Weekend'. The initiative proved a popular success for the National Trust, and offered rare public access to some of New South Wales' most unspoilt time capsules.
Hundreds of people filed through a series of key properties to the north and south of the Wingecarribee River and an address was given by NSW heritage architect - Clive Lucas. Two cottages at Oldbury Street attracted considerable attention; a wooden slab cottage built circa 1852 and an earlier sandstone hut - possibly linked to the construction of the Old Hume Highway - both of which had lain untouched for over 30 years, thus preserving their originality.
While making arrangements with the National Trust, we were fortunate to be contacted by Yvonne Auld, the granddaughter of Gertrude Jane Elizabeth Walker - resident at Oldbury Cottage in the 1940s. Yvonne has kindly shared her fond memories of weekends and holidays at Oldbury Cottage during the 1940's, thus providing the most tangible personal experience of life in the cottage that we've yet been able to establish.
Yvonne tells us that 'my grandfather Edward Walker was born in the old home and I spent all my school holidays in the cottage with Auntie Gertie'. The below photograph shows Yvonne just in front of the small sandstone cottage behind Oldbury Cottage, which at that time functioned as a kitchen.
'I spent most of my younger years in Berrima and was very close to Auntie Gertie. Even when we moved to Sydney, we went to Berrima most weekends and school holidays.'
Berrima Heritage Weekend
Prior to the Berrima Heritage Weekend, both the timber slab and sandstone cottages were in a very poor state of repair. A BIG clean up helped us get them into a reasonably presentable condition - safe enough for people to explore. The response was exceptional.
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