The original small, pioneer cottage was built in the late 1840s to early1850s, by an unknown pioneer. It was located on part of a 30 Acre allotment that was originally part of Dendy’s Special Survey granted in 1841. The doors and window sashes, (made of red deal joinery timber), as well as the brass locks and fittings, are from the original cottage, and were imported from England. The fire-place bricks are from the original cottage, and are sun-dried, (not kiln fired), and are hand-made. Convict marks can be seen on two bricks. There is a small display of external cladding shingles from the original pioneer cottage. These shingles were hand-split, and most likely made from locally collected timber The nails included in this display were used to fasten the shingles on the original cottage, and are also hand-made. The cottage was occupied by William Box and family from 1865 until 1914 when it was sold to William Reitman who resided there until 1950. The enamel nameplate, “Colonial”, on the wall of the cottage, was the name chosen for the original pioneer cottage by Mr William Reitman, when he purchased the property in around 1915, for 1200 Pounds approximately. In 1974 Mr Lewis, a timber specialist, found the dilapidated building on property he had recently purchased in Jasper Rd and suggested it be reconstructed and relocated. Moorabbin Council agreed and the cottage was rebuilt just about 250 metres from its original site. The cost of the rebuild was met by 'Victoria's 150th Committee, plus a small grant from the City of Moorabbin, and Mr Laurie Lewis donated much of the timber for the reconstruction. The re-constructed cottage plan has followed faithfully the original dimensions, and plan of the original pioneer cottage, and as many original items from that cottage’s long occupation have been incorporated. The photographs in Album 1 record the progress of the reconstruction from February 1984 to the First Public Open Day November 18th 1984
The Moorabbin Standard was the local Newspaper for the City of Moorabbin during the 20th century until it was absorbed into the Leader Newspaper Group Pty Ltd. Mrs H. Deam and Mr Arthur Smith, CMHS members, kept this article to record the progress of the ‘Reconstruction’ from February 1984 to November 1984. This article 6/7/1977 notes that Mr Lewis jnr states "The National Trust is not interested in the house because it is built of wood". and that Cr Max Fox MCC states " It is too easy to knock things down and regret the loss of these pieces of history later on". Although 'Box Cottage' is a re-construction, it is an unique museum that, being located in the midst of a modern community in Ormond Victoria, can educate and demonstrate many aspects of the early settler’s way of life in Victoria. As such, it is an invaluable resource for students and all kinds of visitors.
The Moorabbin Standard Newspaper article 6/7/1977 with 2 x black and white photographs of Box Cottage and apprentice Malcolm Proven holding a convict brick when the derelict building was discovered by Mr Laurie Lewis jnr. on the property of Lewis Timber Yard, Jasper Road, McKinnon
Inscriptions & markings
Written on the article ; 6/7/1977 Moorabbin Standard
- brighton, moorabbin, highett, ormond, mckinnon, cottages, pioneers, colonial, dendy henry, box william, box elizabeth, reitman william, convicts lewis timber co. ltd., deam h, smith arthur, museums, box alonzo, moody & smith builders highett, the moorabbin standard newspaper, the leader newspaper pty ltd., fox max , lewis laurie, moorabbin city council, national trust,