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Captain Cook's Cottage

Can anyone tell me why Melbourne's package tourists are all forcefed through this heritage curiosity in Fitzroy Gardens? When I walk past during the day, there is always a busload or two of bemused tourists standing around it wondering perhaps why they have been taken here. I understand the building was purchased in the early 1930s and shipped to Melbourne in pieces where it was rebuilt in the gardens. It is thought that Captain Cook's parents might have lived there for a while, but it is doubtful James ever even visited the place (not what you'll read on the toursit websites).

So why did Russell Grimwade buy it?
‘It was to introduce some solid reminder of the old world to this young country that first stimulated me to bring out the Cottage and to endeavour to foster national traditions
that must necessarily be absent in so young a country as our own.’

Peering through the hedge at the cottage, my eye is drawn to the thumping big white security camera hanging off the new guttering. Looking in the door below I can see a stand selling kodak film. Hardly a step back in time.

I think perhaps Melbourne's tourist sights need to be revisited, penguin parades and imported english cottages are not the best things this city has going for it. Cottage.htm

A different history of the cottage (a PDF file at Museums Australia):


  • peter_j
    edited January 1970
    Around the corner from Cook's Cottage is a model tudor village. Fitzroy Gardens is just full of olde English things. It is a "Union Jack" park so I guess that's to be expected. Yesterday trucks began to remove the ageing old concrete models from the village - they're going off for their first facelifts. Great photo at the Age. [Tip KM] (rego req'd)
  • Peter Andrew Barrett
    edited January 1970
    I've heard that it was reassembled back-to-front in the gardens. Can anybody confirm that?
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Better late than never with a reply. On a physical level I can't see how it could have been reassembled back to front but on a metaphysical level it is entirely back to front and inside out. It is ticky tack of the highest cack as indeed is the tudor villiage and dare I say the fairy tree, and the concrete dragon slide is an OH and S nightmare. Imagine fostering 'national traditions' by importation. An oxymoron if ever there was one, but that is the essence of that whole park. Perhaps Fitzroy Gardens is due for an overhaul as rigourous as the one Mabo gave terra nullius. Those ghosts of a bygone era are probably suffering as much in their concrete extravaganza as the former residents of the old Melbourne zoo once did.
    Russel Grimwade should have spent his money exporting pork pies back to the old country instead. They would have arrived in a better condition, been a more palatable morsel for forcefeeding and told more truth in the photographs.
    Peter. Can anyone tell us why tourists would tolerate Captain Cook's cottage? Good question!
    A better question might be; Can anyone tell us why the residents of Melbourne tolerate Captain cook's cottage and why the council has done nothing to amend this crassness of the deepest hue?
  • dharma bum
    edited January 1970
    peter wrote:
    Looking in the door below I can see a stand selling kodak film. Hardly a step back in time.

    Actually, this kind of does seem like a wierd journey into the past.
  • simon seasons
    edited January 1970
    Just to add another correction. My post should have read 'ticky tack of the hardest cack'
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