Seymour Cottage, formerly Barton, is a four-roomed residence constructed in c. 1856, with walls made of prefabricated meranti door panels from Singapore.
The cottage was built by Sidney Seymour, who arrived in Romsey with his wife, Elizabeth, and their six children in the mid-1850s. Sidney and Elizabeth Seymour had arrived in Victoria in 1835 as assisted immigrants. Romsey, located on the Five Mile Creek near Lancefield, was on the route to the central highlands goldfields. Sidney Seymour was a farmer and resided at Romsey until his death, at age 100, in 1913.
The importation of prefabricated buildings to Victoria reached its peak in the early 1850s, due to the huge demand for accommodation and local labour shortage during the gold rush period. In the early 1850s, hundreds of prefabricated timber houses arrived in Victoria from Britain, Singapore, India and Hong Kong. It is unknown how Seymour obtained this large quantity of door panels, but it is likely they arrived with a large consignment of prefabricated houses.
The single-storey cottage consisted of three small bedrooms and a sitting room entered from narrow central passageway, and had another bedroom and a large kitchen. The partitions between the rooms have since been removed, but beams and ceiling trusses convey this original layout. The house features a coved ceiling, original twelve-paned double-hung sash windows, and has roof shingles under one part of the verandah. The hipped roof is clad with corrugated iron, and there is a verandah on three sides of the building, with a small skillion addition on the fourth side. The kitchen retains a large brick fireplace and bread oven. The most unusual aspect of Seymour Cottage is that it is constructed using Singapore-manufactured meranti doors, and there are variations in the height of the panels and horizontal rails within each door.
This site is part of the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people.
How is it significant?
Seymour Cottage is of architectural and historical significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Seymour Cottage is architecturally significant as it exhibits an unusual use of materials in the prefabricated meranti doors from Singapore, which were used for external walls of the cottage. It is also architecturally significance as a relatively intact example of a simple gold rush era cottage.
Seymour Cottage is historically significant as a demonstration of the proliferation of prefabricated buildings and materials imported to meet the demand for accommodation in the rapidly expanding colony of gold rush era Victoria.