Historical information

In 1855 William and Elizabeth Box migrated from Sussex England to Melbourne and in 1868, 1869 purchased 2 x 10acre Lots in part of Henry Dendy's Special Survey Brighton 1841. A Cottage was already on the land and they established a flower garden and raised 13 children. In 1888 William sold one Lot and built a new Front House . William died 1902 and Elizabeth sold the land except 1 acre and retained both the Cottage and the Front House. After her death in 1914, her daughters Violet and Ada leased the Cottage and Front House to tenants until August Rietmann purchased the property in 1935.
August Rietmann (1877-1951) of Lustdorf ,Switzerland, married Maria Frieda Oesschlager (2/2/1878- 22/7/1942) of Baden Baden, Germany on 6/8/1910. In August 8th 1915 August and his wife Frieda migrated to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia sailing on the Steam Ship ‘Osterley’ from Marseilles to Melbourne
They leased Box Cottage, Ormond in 1917 and raised two children, Stefanie (1918 -2006) and William (1920- 1997). 1935 August purchased the property and the family used the Cottage during the day and slept in the Front House.
August was a monumental mason, potter and sculptor, and was employed at Corbens Ltd Clifton Hill, to carve war memorials in Victoria post WW1 c 1915-1922. During the 1920's August set up his own business in pressed cement making pot plants, columns,paving slabs and lampstands. He continued to carve headstones and figures and took contract work for Artists eg Paul Mountford. He built a workshop in the Barn and used the Cottage for plaster moulding. His son William joined the business and and the family continued to use the site after August died in 1951. Rietmann Landscaping Ltd moved to Bay Road Highett in 1953 and later to Carrum. The land, containing the Box Cottage, was sold to Lewis Timber Pty Ltd in 1970 and Mr Lewis proposed that Moorabbin City Council should preserve the heritage Cottage.
In 1984 the Cottage was dismantled and reconstructed in the adjacent Joyce Park.


The Rietman family is an example of the diverse nationalities that lived and worked productively in Moorabbin Shire 1871–1933 , the City of Moorabbin 1934-1994 and continues today in the Cities of Glen Eira, Kingston, Bayside, and Monash. August, a sculptor and stone mason, was employed by Corben Pty Ltd Clifton Hill to carve WW1 Memorials before establishing his own successful masonry business in the Box Cottage during the latter 1920s. After becoming interested in pressed cement casting, he took on apprentices (1930s Depression) and among his products were garden furniture, pots and also street lamp standards, some of which were installed in St Kilda Road. After August’s death in 1951, his family continued the business ‘Rietman’s Landscaping Ltd.’, at Highett and Carrum.

Physical description

Photographs x 3 Black & White of the Front House with Pine Trees at Ormond and Frieda Rietmann in garden c1921

Photograph x 1 Colour Digital by Glen Lewis of these Pine Trees in situ Lewis Timber Pty Ltd Ormond 2020

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten a) path to Front House c 1921; b) Pine trees and Front House c) Frieda in garden c1921