Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published September 1st 2016
A by-gone Era
The House that John built
Today Pioneer Cottage was on my 'hit list' - a journey into the past to reflect and admire, sometimes with astonishment, as to how the early European settlers used to live. Pioneer Cottage is today a museum open for the public's enjoyment and education, with an abundance of historical items and information reflecting Buderim's rich historical background.
Pioneer Cottage is heritage listed and even though it's called a cottage, it is actually a fairly substantial home. The Burnett family — John, his wife and eight children plus an elderly father — all lived in this beautifully preserved home from 1882.
Hall tree - Image: Elaine de Wet
Taking a walk through the different rooms of the cottage, furnished in the decor of this era, I could only observe, with an absolute sense of admiration how onerous the life of the lady of the house must have been. No washing machine, no dishwasher, no running water; imagine doing the washing by hand for eight children! And, then, of course, there's no inside loo. This would have been a particularly tough one for me to have had to endure!
Main Parent's Bedroom plus sleepwear - Image: Elaine de Wet
As the Burnett family grew larger they extended the house by adding two additional bedrooms into the roof of the home, which in winter must have been beautifully warm and cosy, but totally sweltering in summer. The story goes that when the littlies reached the height of the window-sill, they were permitted to leave the nursery and sleep on the verandah. I can only imagine what a delight this must have been for the children, being outdoors as well as having the night breezes (almost like camping!).
Children playing Peek-a-Boo - Image: Elaine de Wet
The original mattresses on the beds are filled with horse hair that the children collected and one can inhale the fragrance of the sawn timber boards in the upstairs bedrooms. The array of children's toys on display plus a nique rocking horse are absolute treasures of a by-gone era.
Rocking Horse - Image: Elaine de Wet
If you're anything like my hubby, then you'll love the slab hut at the rear of the cottage (I might add he made a bee-line for this hut), which holds historic tools utilised during this time period. There are saws, scythes, pick axes, sharpening tools, all essentials for the difficult labouring jobs of the time. I, of course, was more interested in the equipment that could have made my life easier (perhaps?) like the coffee-pulping machine, the coffee grinder and the coffee hulling machine. Well, at least after all the labouring efforts to get some coffee beans ground and prepared, I can only image that the coffee must have been the best ever tasted: fruits of our labour?
Many of the historical items of interest at Pioneer Cottage have been donated by the local Buderim community with certain furniture items having been made by John Burnett himself. There's a little something for everyone to enjoy and admire. I was totally fascinated by the fashions of the day and how beautifully put together they were. My personal favourite was a cream silk georgette wedding dress with a pure silk petticoat worn in the 1930's. The shoes were dyed to match the satin with a handmade Maltese silk-lace mantilla, made in the late 19th century.
Wedding Outfit - Image: Elaine de Wet
Pioneer Cottage is open Monday to Saturday from 11.00am to 3.00pm. Entry fee: Adults $5 and Children $1
If you've never ventured into this part of the 'woods', a visit to this beautifully preserved cottage is a definite 'must-do'.