The stone dwelling, now known as Blundells Cottage, was built in 1860 to house Duntroon's head ploughman, William Ginn, and his family (1860-1874). It was then occupied by George Blundell, a Duntroon bullock driver and his family (1874-1933) and finally by shepherd Harry Oldfield and his wife Alice (1933-1958). When Harry died in 1942, Alice took in boarders. This included the Sainsbury family, who lived at the cottage between 1958 and 1961.
After the last tenant vacated the cottage, the Canberra and District Historical Society (CDHS) approached the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC), for custodianship. In 1961, Sir William Holford, a British consultant town planner, wrote:
'Oldfield's cottage is a valuable relic of Canberra's early days. Encircled by trees it could well remain as an object of interest to visitors, without appearing incongruous in its new surroundings. Restored to something like its original state it would make a symbolic foil for the majesty of the Parliament House opposite'.
In 1964, following its restoration, the Cottage was handed over to the CDHS, which managed it and established a museum collection. Since 1999 it has been managed by the National Capital Authority (NCA) as a house museum. It is the only pre-Federal Capital building in the National Triangle.
The Cottage was closed in the six months prior to May 2015 to allow for considerable heritage works. These works have included the development of new exhibits reflective of the Ginn and Sainsbury families – the first and last families in occupation. In time, these displays will be expanded to include the Blundell family and Alice Oldfield.
The Cottage will be open every Saturday from 11:30am - 14.30pm for general visitors with two scheduled tours, one at 11:30am and one at 13:00pm. With numbers limited, bookings are essential.
The cottage is open on Thursdays for School Programmes only.
Admission free but bookings essential
For more information or assistance with a booking
Phone: 02 6272 2902