Thursday, 5 March 2015

Eardley Cottage

This beautifully restored cottage is a wonderful part of the New Norfolk streetscape. It dates from about 1830 and from what I can understand, since being purchased in 1980, has been the site of a major restoration and preservation project which has resulted in the beautiful cottage of today.

The cottage was initially built on land that had been granted to Eliza Bridger in 1827. Eliza was the daughter of Tasmania's first and probably best known early female entrepreneur, Anne Bridger, who is well known as the first licencee of the Bush Inn in 1825. Eliza appears to have ultimately named her cottage after the early Governor of Tasmania, Sir John Eardley Eardley - Wilmot ( I have no idea why this occurred and would love to know why). Eliza appears to have owned the cottage until 1862 when she sold the property to the Weslyan Church for 550 pounds and it went on to be used as the church parsonage. Quite interesting that the hotel - owning Bridgers would sell their cottage to the temperate Weslyans. The cottage was used as the parsonage by the Wesleyan Church until they decided to dispose of the property in 1936 when it began it's new life as a private residence..

By 1980, new owners had purchased Eardley Cottage and made a start on an extensive restoration project. First step was to strip back the property to a state that made it easy to move in. It appeared that over the previous century and a half, any issue with the building was solved by papering or plastering over or boarding up. Once the owners had been able to get back to the original surfaces, they were pleased to discover that the interior of the house was still in very good condition.

Only one of the original cedar fireplaces remained intact in the house. The others had been covered over or replaced with more modern ones. With great imagination and skill, and after a sustained search, some cedar church pews were located, salvaged and used to produce mantlepieces to match the surviving one. Much of the verandah lacework was missing but remnants were found in the attic and also buried in the garden. Enough of the lacework was recovered and restored to complete the decoration.

What now is standing proudly is a magnificently restored colonial cottage with an extensive garden. A beautiful private residence and a credit to the owners over the years who appear to have lovingly restored and maintained the property. A lovely reminder of yesteryear!

Main Text & Information Source - 
"From Black Snake To Bronte" - Book by Audrey Holiday & John Trigg