Built in the 1850s and 1860s, Sharam Cottages were home to Christopher and Ellen Sharam and their fifteen children. Christopher, a bootmaker aged 29, married Ellen Patching, the 15-year-old daughter of a nearby shepherd. They moved into the two-room blackwood slab cottage which later had a four-room cottage of sawn slabs added to it.
Both cottages were built by Christopher himself. The front room of the first cottage was where the family's social life centred. Meals were cooked and eaten here. This was also where they entertained their friends. The other room was the kitchen where chutney, jams, pastries, pies and porridge were prepared. At times, it was also used to make soap and candles.
The second cottage had the bedrooms which included an out-of-bounds parlour. Being their best room, the parlour was reserved for special occasions such as funerals and weddings. Christopher and Ellen used the front bedroom while the back bedrooms were shared between their sons and daughters.
The Sharams grew quinces, figs, pears, apples and mulberries in their orchard as well as many herbs in the garden. Today, the herb garden produce is available to the public for a fair-price donation. Visitors can either pick their own herbs using the scissors and bags provided or simply choose from what's already on the bench. We decided to take home some beautiful kumquats after placing our payment in the box provided. The bay leaves also looked amazing but unfortunately, we had no need for them at that time.
Sharam Cottages are free to visit and can be found along the historic Petticoat Lane in Penola. So, why not substitute "Paris with Penola" as our Premier once said, and make the Limestone Coast your next holiday destination.