19th Century Portable Iron Houses


Get an insight into life during the Gold Rush era when you visit one of the few remaining pre-fabricated iron buildings in the world.
The three houses in South Melbourne are among the last nineteenth-century prefabricated iron buildings. With gold discovered in Victoria in 1851 accommodation was needed for the many migrants flocking to the colony. Iron houses met that need.
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 their current sites from North Melbourne and Fitzroy.

What's On

Three 19th Century Portable Iron Houses, located in South Melbourne will be open for visitors to wander through. The original house at 399 Coventry Street is a rare survivor and, along with two other houses, provides glimpses of how people lived in the late 1800s in these very rustic and simple homes.

Images: (1) Portable Iron Building, Abercrombie House. Photo: National Trust of Australia (Victoria) 2019. (2) Portable Iron Building, Bellhouse House. Photo: National Trust of Australia (Victoria) 2020. (3) Portable Iron Building, Patterson House. Photo. National Trust of Australia (Victoria) 2018.

Important Details

Time & Date

Sunday 31 July
Open 12pm-3pm

Age Requirements

All Ages


399 Coventry St, South Melbourne 3205

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