History of Blundells Cottage
The cottage now known as Blundells Cottage was built in 1860 to house Duntroon Estate's head ploughman, William Ginn, and his family (1860-1874). It was then occupied by George Blundell, a Duntroon bullock driver and his family (1874-1930s) and finally by shepherd Harry Oldfield and his wife Alice (1930s-1958).
Upon the death of Alice Oldfield in 1958, the Canberra and District Historical Society (CDHS) approached the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC), for custodianship when it was under threat of demolition. In 1961 Sir William Holford, a British consultant town planner, wrote:
'Oldfield's cottage is a valuable relic of Canberra's early days. Encircled by trees it could well remain as an object of interest to visitors, without appearing incongruous in its new surroundings. Restored to something like its original state it would make a symbolic foil for the majesty of the Parliament House opposite'. (Cited in Freeman Collett & Partners, 1995. Blundells Cottage Precinct Conservation Management Plan, ACT. Vol. 1: 29)
In 1964, following its restoration, the cottage was handed over to the CDHS, which managed it and established the collection. It is the only domestic building in the Parliamentary Triangle. Since 1999 it has been managed by the National Capital Authority (NCA) as a house museum. Blundells Cottage fulfils an important role, showcasing life on the Limestone Plains prior to the creation of Australia's capital city.
Visitors to the cottage can listen to its story from our tour guides, read about each of the rooms and the people who lived in them and explore the museum with its artefacts from the past. Special cottage tours and education programs are available for schools or other groups (bookings are essential but there is no charge).
The cottage is open from 10am to 4pm Thursdays and Saturdays, excluding public holidays. The cottage may be closed during booked school programs.