A remnant of Victoria’s first population boom is being restored in South Melbourne under the Living Heritage Grants Program.

Timber, wall cladding and wallpapers dating back to the 1850s are being repaired and stabilised at the Abercrombie prefabricated iron cottage in Coventry Street South Melbourne. You can view the restoration works in progress in the above video.

Portable iron cottages - the original kit homes - were among the first permanent buildings in Melbourne. They were shipped from England to solve the housing crisis during the gold rush era, when many people in South Melbourne were living in tents.

The urgent repairs will ensure the cottage, and several layers of internal wallpaper finishes, are preserved for generations to come.

Abercrombie House owners, the National Trust, received a $95,000 grant in the 2017-2018 round of Living Heritage Grants to fund the restoration works. The portable iron houses in South Melbourne are open to the public on the first Sunday of each month except January.

The $38.5 million Living Heritage Grants Program is the largest government investment in the State’s history in preserving and protecting heritage assets. The fourth round of the program opens in 2019, visit Living Heritage website for updates.

Page last updated: 20/12/18