Photograph of the front door of nineteenth century portable iron building, Abercrombie House, located in South Melbourne.
Photograph of the front door of nineteenth century portable iron building, Bellhouse House, located in South Melbourne.
Photograph of the front door of nineteenth century portable iron building, Patterson House, located in South Melbourne.

Portable Iron Houses

Description

Get an insight into life during the Gold Rush era when you visit one of the few remaining prefabricated 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 House were relocated to their current sites from North Melbourne and Fitzroy.

What's On

Are you interested in Melbourne’s early colonial history? This was a time when Melbourne was facing the Gold Rush and a surge of people leaving their homes and jobs. New ways of living were explored, particularly portable houses.

Many portable iron houses were sourced from the UK in the 1850s. Unfortunately they are now very rare and the three examples at Coventry St, South Melbourne are now open for visitors.

Volunteers can assist visitors to appreciate and understand how rare these 1850s buildings are.

Small groups can be accommodated or free moving around.

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 30 July
Open access 12pm-3pm

ACCESSIBILITY

Accessible parking nearby

Location

399 Coventry St, South Melbourne 3205

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