Shipbuilding was the first important manufacturing industry established in Van Diemen’s Land – the colony’s blue gum timber was well-suited for boat-building and there was strong demand for trading and whaling vessels. A number of slipyards were established at Battery Point, with some at the bottom of today’s Finlay Street, and the remainder along the foreshore on the eastern side of Napoleon Street.
The brick-built cottages were auctioned in May 1858. Notices in The Courier stated they were ‘desirably situated for the residence of parties whose avocations call them daily to the Wharfs or its neighbourhood, and also as an investment, the certainty of always having occupants at a fair rental enables the purchaser to make a pretty safe calculation.’ They were purchased by Robert Burnett Burgess who lived nearby in Trumpeter Street.
The ‘Investment Cottages’ were offered for sale in The Mercury in November 1951 and it was noted that each of the four cottages had a laundry, bathroom and toilet at the rear. The advert continued that ‘The situation is very good, overlooking the harbour, and adjacent to transport. We recommend this property as a good investment proposition.’
Information Source: Australian Heritage Database