Day Nine: The Life of a Miner's Cottage

I was born and raised in the gold mining town of Bendigo, Central Victoria. And it was here that I developed my love of miners’ cottages as we were surrounded by them as we grew up. And we watched them be renovated (usually by our fathers!) and we watched them be pulled down and replaced by a new building.

I'd like to share the life of my paternal grandmother's home which stood at 128 Wills Street, Bendigo for over 150 years.
The life of the weatherboard cottage started with the building of a single room slab hut positioned where the two windows can now be seen. When the cottage was finally demolished last year the original bark ceiling and timber wall slabs were still there holding up the corners of the room. My grandfather made the leadlight windows you can see probably around the turn of the 1900s. Later another room was added to the front left hand side of the house. The verandah was originally wooden.
Looking down the left hand side of the house you can see the separate additions to the cottage which were all added at different times over its life.
Under the side verandah was added another bedroom where you can see the two windows. The next room with two windows but not under the verandah was a complete free standing building brought in from one of the local mines. This became the kitchen at some stage along the way. The final room, closest to the left side of the photo would originally have been a washhouse but at some time was made into the bathroom.

The last addition down the left side of the house were the stables which at some time were also attached to the house as a sleepout bedroom and wash house. And on the back side of these rooms can be seen the original doors for the stables.
Inside the house in the lounge room you can see the outside guttering running along the top of the wall under the windows on the left showing that originally the land where this room was built was outside. The shadow box on the right hand side was added to hold up the ceiling as it began to cave in!!
My great grandfather William Lunn was a painter and decorator and when the walls of the house were stripped back the original wallpaper he had imported from England to paper the walls was revealed.

Vale 128 Wills Street Bendigo.

Please send me your stories of old houses you know about and I will include them in my Blog.

Activity For those of you who are painting along with me today's task is to sketch the front of my grandmother's house or the side view if you are more adventurous.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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