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