How Flinders Chase National Park’s heritage cottages are rising from the ashes

How Flinders Chase National Park’s heritage cottages are rising from the ashes

SA’s her­itage-list­ed cot­tages in Flinders Chase are being rebuilt fol­low­ing the bush­fires. Find out their history.

Plants and ani­mals are not the only things re-emerg­ing after South Australia’s dev­as­tat­ing 2019 – 20 sum­mer bush­fires – the her­itage-list­ed May’s cot­tage and Postman’s cot­tage in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park are being care­ful­ly rebuilt.

Here’s their journey:

Short his­to­ry of the cottages

May’s and Post­man’s cot­tages were part of the orig­i­nal Rocky Riv­er Home­stead on the west­ern end of Kan­ga­roo Island. The home­stead was estab­lished back in the ear­ly 1880s when a land boom was antic­i­pat­ed on the island.

The land boom nev­er quite even­tu­at­ed, but records from the peri­od show that the home­stead was asso­ci­at­ed with a com­pa­ny owned by Robert Stock­dale and Ben­jamin and William Haigh Tay­lor, who were sheep pastoralists.

The sto­ry goes that Postman’s cot­tage was built for the mail­man, who would call in and stay overnight once a fort­night at Rocky Riv­er Homestead.

The area was pro­claimed a park in 1919 and named Flinders Chase Reserve, and May’s cot­tage was leased to the park’s first ranger, Charles May. 

Today, the Rocky Riv­er Home­stead remains an impor­tant part of the Flinders Chase Nation­al Park head­quar­ters, and is her­itage-list­ed because of its role in the coloni­sa­tion his­to­ry of Kan­ga­roo Island.

Cot­tage design

Archi­tec­tural­ly, the cot­tages are typ­i­cal of the types of hous­es built on the island in the 1800s, with sol­id mason­ry walls and low-pitched cor­ru­gat­ed iron rooves.

May’s cot­tage is a pic­turesque four-roomed stone cot­tage. Postman’s cot­tage is a cute one-roomed stone hut.

Cot­tage rebuild

Both May’s and Postman’s cot­tages were dam­aged in the 2019 – 20 bushfires.

How Flinders Chase National Park’s heritage cottages are rising from the ashes

In recent times, both cot­tages were avail­able as rental accom­mo­da­tion for the many vis­i­tors keen to enjoy a slice of his­to­ry in one of the state’s most beau­ti­ful and remote parks.

Let’s hope it won’t be too long before you can once again stay in these his­toric cot­tages, and enjoy a bev­er­age on the porch, while watch­ing kan­ga­roos and Cape Bar­ren geese gath­er by the creek at sunset.

If you’d like to learn about oth­er her­itage places in South Aus­tralia, vis­it theDEW web­siteor fol­lowHer­itage SAon Face­book.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living