Brought all the way from Yorkshire, England to Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens, Captain Cook’s Cottage is the former home of one of the most influential explorers to enter Australian waters. It provides a unique insight into the life and times of this British captain who made the first European contact with Australia’s east coast, as well as being the first recorded as having circumnavigated New Zealand.
The cottage was originally constructed in the village of Great Ayton in 1755 by the parents of Captain James Cook and there remains disagreement as to whether he actually lived for any extensive period in the house. When the owner of the cottage decided to sell it in 1933, she requested that it remain in England, although she was persuaded to change this request to “Empire” and accepted a substantial bid from Australian Russell Grimwade.
The cottage was deconstructed brick by brick to board the Port Dunedin in Hull where it was transported in cases and barrels across the seas to Australia. A cutting of ivy that once covered the house was also shipped and replanted when the house was erected in Melbourne. Russell Grimwade eventually donated the house to Victoria on the centenary anniversary of Melbourne’s settlement in 1934.
While few items within the cottage are actually from the Cook family, it has been decorated with period furnishings and an English cottage garden established around its exterior. Captain Cook’s Cottage is easily combined with a visit to the beautiful Spanish mission-style conservatory, which is also situated within Fitzroy Gardens.