Historical information

EDHS Newsletter No. 182, September 2008
In the late 1970s when our Society was the Shire of Eltham Historical Society, an offer was made to the Society regarding use of an old cottage at Christmas Hills. For various reasons the offer ultimately lapsed The cottage sat beside Watsons Creek just outside the then Shire of Eltham but following municipal restructuring it now lies within the Shire of Nillumbik.
At that time some research on the cottage was carried out for the Society by Keith Chappel as part of a larger research project that he was doing. Keith's notes were taken from Lands Department records and showed that house is the subject of a permissive occupancy of Crown land comprising the creek reserve. In 1903 a Miners Right of one acre in area was granted to Edwin Samuel Birch.
In 1907 Birch applied to purchase this land but was unable to because it was part of the creek reserve. The documents show that the house existed at that time. Birch died in 1932 and his daughter Honor Mary Birch was granted a permit to occupy the residence.
The future of the cottage remains precarious because of its location on Crown land. In 2007 the Andrew Ross Museum began a campaign to ensure that it is preserved. It included a video presentation on the history of the cottage under the title of "This Old House- Birch Cottage".

Physical description

Black and white photograph

Inscriptions & markings

Detail Cottage Entrance
Williams Cottage
Yarra Glen Rd
Panton Hill Aug 1969
Photo - G.W.B