A 166-year-old cottage in Romsey has won a government heritage grant

Erected in 1855 the cottage is one of the earliest colonial buildings in Romsey. It is now owned by the Romsey and Lancefield Districts Historical Society, who last week won a grant to help preserve it as a historical and tourism asset.

The Romsey and Lancefield Districts Historical Society has been awarded a State Government grant to help preserve the historic Seymour Cottage in Romsey.

Erected on Palmer Street in 1855 from prefabricated parts imported from Singapore several years earlier, the cottage is one of the earliest colonial buildings in Romsey.

Its first inhabitants were Sidney and Elizabeth Seymour, who immigrated to Melbourne in 1840 from Somerset, England, as part of the British government’s early bounty scheme. They moved to Romsey in 1855, where the family lived in the cottage until 1915.

It passed through several other owners, before it was gifted to the Romsey and Lancefield Districts Historical Society ‘for the purpose of preservation of the historical homestead’ in 1982.

The society is now campaigning for its World Heritage Listing.

The $37,000 grant from the government’s Living Heritage Program will go towards commissioning the development of a conservation management plan, a heritage landscape plan, and a structural condition report recommending appropriate remedial measures for Seymour Cottage.  

Minister for Planning and Housing Richard Wynne announced the round six recipients of the grant last week, and said the program intended to protect significant sites across Victoria for future generations to enjoy and learn from, as well as adding to the tourism value of regional towns.

Society secretary Fay Woodhouse said members were overjoyed by the announcement after a long campaign.

“This was a matter of third-time lucky for the society,” she said.

“After two unsuccessful attempts – the first in 2011-2012 and the second in 2018-19 – we are at last a winner.

“Seymour Cottage is certainly a treasured site in our region and tells us a great deal about the history of the township.

“When the cottage was open for its first ‘history tea’ in April 2021, over 150 people attended the day, keen to discover what they could about the cottage and its former owners.”

Ms Woodhouse said lockdowns had disrupted this year’s events schedule, but the grant ensured future events at the cottage could be planned.

“We are hoping that this heritage grant will, as Minister Wynne notes, ‘breathe new life’ into Seymour Cottage for the people of Romsey and Lancefield and for all Victorians,” she said.

People can follow the society’s updates at www.romseylancefieldhistorical.org.au.