Cadmans Cottage: A History of Sydney’s First Home

Cadmans Cottage is a historic building in Sydney, Australia. It is the oldest surviving residential building in the city, and one of the oldest in the country. Built in 1816, it has seen a lot of history over the years, from being a home for government coxswains to a water police station.

The cottage is located in The Rocks, a historic district in Sydney’s central business district. It is a two-storey sandstone building with a simple Georgian design. The cottage is open to the public, and it is a popular tourist destination.

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History of Cadmans Cottage

The Construction of Cadmans Cottage

Cadmans Cottage was built in 1816 by Francis Greenway, a convict architect who was also responsible for designing other notable buildings in Sydney, such as the Hyde Park Barracks and the Government House. The cottage was built on the shoreline of Sydney Cove, and it was originally a simple two-storey sandstone building with a Georgian design.

The Role of the Coxswains

The coxswains were responsible for the operation of the government’s boats, which were used for a variety of purposes, such as transporting government officials, ferrying passengers, and patrolling the harbour. The coxswains were an important part of the early development of Sydney, and they played a key role in the colony’s maritime trade.

The Renaming of Cadmans Cottage

In 1827, the cottage was renamed Cadmans Cottage after John Cadman, the fourth government coxswain. Cadman was a former convict who had risen to a position of prominence in the colony. He was a skilled navigator and sailor, and he was also a respected member of the community. Cadman lived in the cottage with his family until his death in 1845.

The Later Uses of Cadmans Cottage

After Cadman’s death, the cottage was used for a variety of purposes. It was used as a sailor’s home, a water police station, and an office for the Harbour Master. In the early 20th century, the cottage was restored and opened to the public as a museum.

The National Heritage Listing of Cadmans Cottage

Cadmans Cottage is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register and the Australian National Heritage List. This means that the cottage is recognized as being of national significance, and it is protected from demolition or alteration.

Interesting Facts About Cadmans Cottage

  • The cottage was built on the site of a former Aboriginal camp. The Aboriginal people who lived in the area before the arrival of the Europeans called it Cadman’s Point, and it is believed that the cottage was built on the site of their camp.
  • The cottage was originally surrounded by a garden, which is now a public park. The garden was planted by the coxswains and their families, and it included a variety of plants, such as vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The garden is now a public park called Cadmans Cottage Reserve.
  • The cottage was used as a headquarters for the water police during the 19th century. The water police were responsible for patrolling the harbour and preventing crime. The cottage was a convenient location for the water police headquarters, as it was located close to the water.
  • The cottage was restored in the early 20th century by the National Trust of Australia. The National Trust is a non-profit organisation that preserves historic buildings and landscapes. The Trust restored Cadmans Cottage to its original condition, and it opened the cottage to the public as a museum in 1916.
  • Cadmans Cottage is a popular filming location. The cottage has been featured in films such as “Australia” and “The Great Gatsby.” The cottage’s Georgian architecture and its location on the shores of Sydney Cove make it a popular choice for filmmakers.

Interested in Purchasing a Colonial Building?

Cadmans Cottage is a fascinating piece of Sydney’s history, but it’s not for sale. If you’re interested in buying or refinancing a heritage-listed property, there are specialist lenders who will accept these types of properties.

However, even if the property you want to buy isn’t a historical site, certain lenders will not accept certain properties and locations. An experienced mortgage broker can help you build a strong case with the right lender.

Are you interested in purchasing or refinancing a heritage-listed property? Speak with one of our specialist mortgage brokers today to learn more about how we can help you get the best possible mortgage deal.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

Cadmans Cottage is the oldest surviving residential building in Sydney, Australia. It was built in 1816 and is located in The Rocks, a historic district in Sydney’s central business district.

Cadmans Cottage is a two-storey sandstone building with a simple Georgian design. The cottage is open to the public, and it is a popular tourist destination.

Inside the cottage, you can see exhibits on the history of the cottage and the early development of Sydney. There are also exhibits on the life of John Cadman and the role of the coxswains in the colony.

Yes, there are guided tours available at Cadmans Cottage. The tours are conducted by trained guides who can tell you more about the history of the cottage and the early development of Sydney.

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