The Miners Cottage and Garden
Built around 1870, this Cottage in the Mines Settlement is typically Cornish. The land on which the Cottage was built is only one third of an acre, similar to other blocks allocated to miners in the 1870s when they arrived to mine copper, after its discovery, so that they could build a home for their family. It is considered an excellent example of its kind, and was opened to the public by the National Trust in October 1967.
The kitchen and dining room were built of sun dried mud and grass bricks, and the next two rooms were of wattle and daub. Thereafter the parlour and main bedroom were built by ramming clay and mud mixed with lime stones between two building boards about half a metre high and 300 mm apart. This was repeated until the appropriate height was reached – not too high as fortunately the Cornish were of short stature! The walls received an outer layer of lime and sand plaster and finally a liberal coating of lime wash, repeated yearly to keep them weatherproof.
Floors were of compressed earth and later, boards from old packing cases were used. Cement floors caused problems with rising damp and deteriorating plaster. Linoleum became the eventual solution.
The roof was originally split wooden shingles, but were later replaced with corrugated iron. The original shingles are visible through a skylight in the passageway ceiling.
Primitive laundry facilities and ever present dust caused the women of the mines constant work keeping the lovely white bed linen and handiwork clean.
The interior of the cottage now contains furniture, clothing and artefacts donated by descendants of mining families still in the district, giving authenticity, as do old photographs of original family members.
The garden is surrounded by a heritage stick fence – built to keep the children in and the goats out! Original plants are still in evidence as old stumps and vines, but the ancient agonis flexuosa and strelitzia nicolai tower over all in the front garden, needing regular attention, but giving good afternoon shade to the house. “Modern” plants add colour and structure, but where possible, the present volunteers try to maintain integrity of an old heritage garden by using cuttings and seedlings from original plants, also mingling these with drought tolerant varieties.
During term time, the cottage is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 PM until 4:00 PM
During SA Public and School Holidays the cottage is open daily from 1:30 until 4:00 PM
Entry to the cottage is $4
Buy Entry Tickets Here
National Trust Moonta
Copper was first discovered in the area in 1861 by a shepherd named Paddy Ryan. This signalled the start of a mining boom in the area.The area today provides a fascinating insight into the regions mining heritage.
National Trust members play an active role in the conservation of South Australia’s built and natural heritage.
“We really learned a lot about the Cornish Mining History today. It was a great day for all of our family, something to interest everyone..”
“I highly recommend a visit to the National Trust Moonta Branch. There is so much to do.”
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