Captain Cook’s famous Yorkshire cottage, which was dismantled brick by brick and shipped to Australia, has been made an honorary member of Welcome to Yorkshire.
The house, which is classed as the oldest building in Australia, is now open as a tourist attraction, complete with an English cottage garden and furnishings representative of the period.
The two-storey home was originally built in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, for the explorer’s parents in 1755. In 1933 it was bought by an Australian businessman for £800 – the highest local bidder offered just £300.
The cottage was then dismantled piece by piece and packed into 253 cases and 40 barrels before being shipped more than 10,000 miles from the Port of Hull to Australia. Cuttings from ivy plants in the garden were also included in the shipment and re-planted near the house.
A site in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens was chosen for the cottage’s new location and builders spent a painstaking six months rebuilding the house as close to the original as possible.
A stone obelisk now stands on the site of the old cottage on Easby Lane, Great Ayton.
The famous pink plaque that all Welcome to Yorkshire members are given has been presented to the curators at Cook’s Cottage in Melbourne and will now be displayed on the building for visitors around the world to see.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to make Cook’s Cottage in Melbourne an honorary member of Welcome to Yorkshire.
“Captain James Cook was one of the greatest explorers of all time and one of Yorkshire’s most important figures and to have a slice of Yorkshire heritage more than 10,000 miles away in Australia is incredible. What a wonderful way to help spread the word of this great Yorkshireman’s achievements.’’
Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said: “We are honoured to accept this membership to Welcome to Yorkshire and are extremely proud of Cooks’ Cottage, a favourite Melbourne attraction. We welcome anyone coming to Melbourne from Yorkshire and beyond, to visit the cottage and see it in its ‘new’ home.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism John Eren also welcomed the news and encouraged travellers to visit Cook’s Cottage on their next trip to Melbourne.
He said: “Nestled in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens, Australia’s oldest building is fast becoming a popular attraction for tourists.”