Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Schwerkolt Cottage

Home > Melbourne > Disabled Friendly | Museums
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published January 25th 2020
Step Back 136 Years in Time
Schwerkolt Cottage was built in 1884 by August Schwerkolt, who migrated to Australia from Germany and was one of the first to erect a dwelling in Mitcham.

entrance sign
The entrance sign on Deep Creek Road.

The three-room cottage is simply constructed, using stones from a quarry that was within the original 63 acres purchased by August Schwerkolt. The remains of that quarry are now in nearby Yarran Dheran reserve.

Schwerkolt cottage
The cottage.

Schwerkolt cottage
In a nice setting.

The cottage is filled with period furniture similar to what the Schwerkolt family would have used. Today, the cottage is considered of local historical significance and is on the National Trust register and has heritage protection.

Schwerkolt cottage kitchen
The kitchen.

August died in 1887, but his descendants lived on the property until 1946.

Schwerkolt cottage map
The map identifies the buildings.

The cottage fell into disrepair and was threatened with demolition in the early 1960s until the former City of Nunawading purchased the 5.5 acre property and the cottage was restored, being opened to the public in November 1965.

Schwerkolt cottage bedroom
The main cottage bedroom.

Schwerkolt cottage children's bedroom
The children's bedroom.

The only other original structure is the wine cellar, which had been built into the side of a small hill. The roof had collapsed over time and has now been restored and contains artefacts related to wine production.

Wine cellar
The entrance to the wine cellar.

Wine cellar
It's quite deep.

The area has been developed as a period complex with the construction of several buildings. The only modern looking building is the museum, built in 1977 and extended in 2011.

Museum interior
The old in the new.

Entering the museum is a step back in time as you gaze upon everyday items from the last century and beyond.

Museum interior
More old artifacts.

old laundry appliances
Laundry appliances of yesteryear.

Among the many displays of early clothing was a wedding dress. This brought back many memories to your WeekendNotes writer, who as a former wedding photographer had photographed many weddings at Schwerkolt Cottage. It was indeed a beautiful setting for wedding photos.

wedding dress
The wedding dress

The orchard shed was constructed in 2007 and displays farming implements specific to the orchard industry that flourished in the area from the 1800s to the 1950s.

orchard shed
The orchard shed with the tower indicating the entrance to the Melba tunnel in background.

fordson tractor
A Fordson tractor in the orchard shed.

The smithy building is constructed of timber slabs and displays the tools of trade of the blacksmith. The barn came from Olinda and was re-erected on the site in 1969. A horse and buggy are one of the many items displayed in it.

old barn
The barn building with the smokehouse in background.

Nearby is a replica smokehouse built in 1974 and constructed from an early photo of the one that was originally on the Schwerkolt family property. It looks very authentic.

The smokehouse with the museum in background.

Despite the large areas of trees, few birds were seen. A couple of crows and a noisy miner were the only avian sightings.

noisy miner in tree
The only bird photographed

The Schwerkolt Cottage and Museum Complex is owned and operated by the Whitehorse City council.

Schwerkolt cottage
A veranda surrounds all four sides.

Facilities in the complex is a toilet block, playground equipment, bbq, drinking fountains, off road parking and picnic tables.

Schwerkolt cottage facilities.
Playground and bbq.

It is well worth visiting to soak up some local history and would be ideal to introduce young folk into the world of yesterday.

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  70
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? It's a very authentic piece of history.
When: anytime. Cottage open 2.00 pm - 5.00 pm Saturdays, Sundays & public holidays.
Where: Deep Creek road, Mitcham. Melways map: 49. D.7.
Cost: Free
Your Comment
You've highlighted a real gem here Neil and one I suspect many people, like myself, knew nothing about.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8059) 439 days ago
Top Events
Popular Articles