Thursday, 25 November 2010

Rawlins Cottage, Devon Meadows

Rawlins Cottage, on Worthing Road in Devon Meadows, is listed on the City of Casey Heritage database as well as the National Trust Register. Even though it was only built in the 1920s the suite of buildings are considered significant. The following is from the National Trust significance statement This group of owner-built pole and pug structures of twentieth century date, comprising a farmhouse and outbuildings of 1922 and later, is significant at a State level as an example of primitive structures. They relate to a tradition of pole and pug building which was especially prevalent on French Island from the 1890s, and of earlier wattle and daub structures on both French Island and the Mornington Peninsula. The house itself, the creamery and one shed to the north-east, are substantially of this construction and, though severly decayed, illustrate the method very well. Two other sheds also contain fragments of pole and pug.

Two views of the Cottage, above and below. The photograph, below, clearly shows the construction method. The photographs were taken in 1994.

One of the out-buildings.

The City of Casey Heritage database says the Cottage complex is significant as a rare surviving example in the Devon Meadows area of a farm complex, which illustrates the development of the area as a result of closer settlement during the interwar period. Thomas and Alice Rawlins moved to Devon Meadows around 1920 from Lawloit, between Kaniva and Nhill in the Wimmera district. They moved because Mr Rawlins wanted to go somewhere which had green grass. They had four children Roy, Rhoda, Cyril and Phill. Rhoda was interviewed for the book Uncovering Devon Meadows: a collection of local lives* and she says that when they arrived there was only a little hut on the block and then her father built the house, he dug up the soil around and made the mud and put it in between the sticks. The house consisted of three bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen and had only kerosine and candles for light. The family milked cows, grew their own vegetables and Mr Rawlins also had a horse and a single furrow plough. The photographs show Thomas (1880-1969) and Alice  (nee Eva Alice Lee, 1877-1956). The photograph of Mrs Rawlins was taken in 1942. In the next post we will look at more of the history of Devon Meadows.

Rawlins Cottage. Mrs Rawlins was obviously a keen gardener, as you can see in the photograph above. She won many prizes in the 1935 Devon Meadows Flower Show.

The Argus Saturday, November 23, 1935 p.18

*Uncovering Devon Meadows: a collection of local lives. Published by the Devon Meadows Primary School, 1985.
All photographs are from the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Archive.

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