In the third in our series on Pioneer Park, the museum’s youthful curator Bonnie Owen takes us on tour of its first ever building.
Fairview Cottage is a drop log constructed homestead built on a sheep run near Tabbita, 35 miles west of Griffith, in 1886.
The entire five bedroom building was transported to Pioneer Park shortly before the museum was open to the public in 1971.
“This was a project that the Rotary Club of Griffith undertook… in 1968, when they were still building Pioneer Park Museum, Charles Sharam who was one of the first creators of the museum, wrote a letter to the people who owned the farm at the time, and requested a the cottage be brought here,” Bonnie said.
“They had to take it apart, bring it to Pioneer Park, and reassemble it. It was a huge job that took two years.”
Fairview cottage was built by English immigrant Alfred Hill, with his eldest sons and a carpenter. It earned its name by a remark from Alfred, who said the property was so thickly timbered he could see a “fair view of hard work” all his lifetime.
Constructing a drop log building certainly was hard work.
“While it seems like a a simple design, each log that was dropped had to consider the profile of the log that was dropped beforehand, so you can get that close gap,” he said.
While it seems like a a simple design, each log that was dropped had to consider the profile of the log that was dropped beforehand, so you can get that close gapBonnie Owen
“Any spaces that were in between were filled by straw or homemade clay to weather proof it”.
The five room front section of the cottage was made from a detached log, iron chimneys, dirt floors and possibly a bark roof. A kitchen and pantry were then built in 1900. The homestead housed Alfred, his wife Elizabeth and their eight sons and two daughters.
Over the next few weeks, Bonnie Owen and Pioneer Park volunteers will be showcasing some of the buildings at Pioneer Park Museum.
Pioneer Park is open from 930am to 4pm on weekdays, and 10am to 3pm on weekends