Portable Iron Houses
Three inner city houses in Coventry Street, South Melbourne are among the few 19th century prefabricated iron buildings remaining in the world.
With gold discovered in Victoria in 1851 accommodation was needed for the many migrants flocking to the colony. The prefabricated iron and wood houses were brought to Australia during the gold rush.
The buildings offered ranged from modest cottages to theatres and even churches which could hold over 700 people. Constructed in Britain, the houses were dismantled, every component labelled then packed into crates and shipped abroad to be reassembled in their new location.
Specialist labour was not required and anyone could assemble them by following the instructions. As people had been living in Canvas Town - a small village of tents, paying five shillings per tent per week - being able to move into a two or even six roomed house was a luxury at the time.
By 1855 South Melbourne comprised nearly 100 portable buildings, of which Patterson House is on its original site. Abercrombie House and Bellhouse were relocated to the current sites from North Melbourne and Fitzroy.
On the first Sunday of every month, the National Trust open the historic Iron Houses.
Visitors with an interest in building, architecture, industrial archaeology as well as social history will find the houses of immense interest.
❊ What's On ❊
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 399 Coventry Street, South Melbourne | Map
✆ 9699 2172 or 9645 7517 for Bookings
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Portable Iron Houses
❊ Also See... ❊
→ National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
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