The Storyline Of Oldbury Cottage
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Throughout Berrima's long and convoluted history, Oldbury Cottage - as it is now known - has been variously known as McDonald's, Walker's and Carey's Cottage. Naturally it depends on who you talk to and their personal experience. The record shows a Crown Grant was made to Patrick Maloney in 1856 but a timber slab cottage is believed to have been constructed at 7 Oldbury Street prior to that, in 1852, using Eucalyptus trees felled on-site.
The one room, rough hewn sandstone cottage- standing directly behind Oldbury Cottage- remains somewhat of greater mystery.
Before the Crown Grant of 1856, a convict stockade was established "on the corner of Oldbury Street" in 1830, where St Francis Xavier Catholic Church now stands, and a one-room sandstone hut - considered to have been a store for explosives used in the construction of the Old Hume Highway - is recorded to have been constructed.
Naturally, the Land Titles Office of New South Wales has clarified local history's fog of ownership, making the Walker's or their relatives, without doubt, the longest occupiers of the property - staying a total of 71 years.
Originally consisting of just two rooms, a further two rooms were later added to the rear of Oldbury Cottage . The sandstone hut has certainly served as a separate kitchen for the majority of early occupation, the theory being that if the kitchen burnt down, you didn't lose your house.
When NSW heritage architect Clive Lucas inspected both cottages during a National Trust weekend in Berrima in 2015, he found evidence of what was probably an early proving oven attached to the exterior of the sandstone cottage, adding further to the mystery of its earliest purpose. Some have suggested that the very thickness of the sandstone walls hints that the hut was once more than just a kitchen, or that homes much grander than Oldbury Cottage typically had separate kitchens. For now, its age and original purpose remains a mystery.
The Ownership Timeline
A convict stockade was established on the site where St Francis Xavier Catholic Church now stands - on the corner of Oldbury Street. A one-room sandstone hut is constructed, which is thought to have been a store for explosives used in the construction of the Hume Highway.
The Sydney Chronicle (June 19, 1847) recorded a donation of one pound, fifteen shillings from Mr & Mrs Patrick Maloney towards the ‘erection of a catholic church in Berrima’. In 1849, construction of the nearby church commences.
'Oldbury Cottage' is constructed, using Eucalyptus trees felled on-site. Originally consisting of just two rooms, a further two bedrooms were later added to the rear of the cottage.
A Crown Grant is made to Patrick Maloney.
After 34 years of occupation, Patrick Maloney dies and wills the property to Edward Scott Walker.
After 10 years of occupation, Edward Walker dies and leaves the property to his wife - Gertrude Jane Elizabeth Walker (Bessie) - who dies in 1936.
Gertrude Ella Walker Carey (Gertie), (the daughter of Gertrude Jane Elizabeth Walker (Bessie), becomes resident in the property and raises her son Paul Carey. She occupies Oldbury Cottage for 50 years and then dies in 1986, leaving the property to her son, Paul Carey.
1940 - Sydney Morning Herald
The sandstone hut appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 31st, with Oldbury Cottage's corrugated iron back room in plain view. The same day, Jack Thompson of 'Breaker Morant, The Man from Snowy River' fame was born.
Paul Carey sells the property to The Morton’s who build ‘Oldbury House’ at the rear of the site in 1994. ‘Oldbury Cottage’ remains unoccupied for the next 25 years.
Oldbury House is sold as a deceased estate.
Now delapidated, restoration of 'Oldbury Cottage' commences.
Following a thorough restoration and judicious repurposing of original timbers 'Oldbury Cottage' accepts its first guest reservations. Book your escape today.
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