Cooks’ Cottage is a beautiful building set in the picturesque Fitzroy Gardens to commemorate the voyages of Captain James Cook, discoverer of Australia.
The Great Ayton family cottage is the only concrete historical link we have with Captain Cook’s origins and gives visitors an idea of life in the 1700’s.
In 1933, the last owner of the cottage, Mrs. Dixon put the cottage up for. Melbournian, Russell Grimwade agreed to buy the cottage and present it as a gift to the Victorian people. However, a difficulty arose in that the patriotic Mrs. Dixon had said that the cottage should stay in Britain. She had rejected offers from wealthy Americans for this reason, but she was persuaded to agree to Victoria’s claim on the cottage as Australia was, after all, still “in the Empire”.
Cooks’ Cottage was purchased in 1933 by Sir Russell Grimwade as a centenary gift to the people and State of Victoria. The cottage was moved, brick by brick from Great Ayton to Melbourne, shipped in 253 crates complete with an ivy cutting which had grown on the original building. Today the cottage is covered by the same ivy!
A site in Fitzroy Gardens was selected to compliment the cottage with its large shady European trees and construction work was completed in six months. The cottage was handed over to the Lord Mayor, H. Gengoult Smith by Russell Grimwade on the 15th October, 1934 during a centenary ceremony.
If you want to learn more about this amazing historical piece in Melbourne, head on our Week 1 excursion on Thursday 22nd March to visit the cottage!