Centenary Cottage was built in Tenterfield in 1871, itself a piece of colonial history, it is now a museum with a collection of memorabilia from Tenterfield and the surrounding areas.
The land was the first town land sold in Tenterfield in 1854, taking nearly 20 years before the cottage was built. It was opened as a museum by the Tenterfield Historical Society 1971.
One of the rooms is of General Sir Harry Chauvel, born as Henry George Chauvel in 1865 and known as Harry from an early age. He escorted Lord Carrington to Tenterfield for the opening of the Tenterfield Railway in 1886 .
General Sir Harry Chauvel was the first Australian to command a corps, becoming Lieutenant General, the first Australian to reach this rank. In 1929, he was the first to reach the rank of General before retiring in 1930. His military career didn’t finish here, as he was recalled in World War II as Inspector in Chief for the Volunteer Defence Corps.
Displays include soldiers who went with Chauvel to the Boer War, including Lieutenant General Charles Arthur Lee and Major J.F. Thomas who’s grave is in Tenterfield Cemetery .
Another person represented in Centenary Cottage is Sir Stuart Donaldson. Sir Stuart Donaldson owned a massive sheep run known as Tenterfield Station. He became the first Premier of New South Wales in 1856.
One disappointing policy at the Centenary Cottage Museum is that photography is not allowed inside the museum grounds. A sign at the entrance even goes as far as saying cameras and phones cannot be taken inside, however, this isn’t enforced and I had a very obvious SLR camera.
The policy is due to a theft at the museum and local police recommended not to allow any photography which could then be used to case the museum for items worth stealing. The volunteer requested if there was anything I’d like to photograph then to ask and it will usually be okay, as they are mostly concerned about certain items that would attract interest of thieves.
Petrie Pioneer Cottage
Beside Centenary cottage is Petrie Cottage, originally named Atherstone Cottage, the last remaining and largest of three slab cottages, the others (or one of) used as a boarding house. The land they were on in Rouse St was being cleared in 1984, now part of a shopping centre, and this one was saved and relocated to where it is now.
Petrie Cottage was built around 1860 as a workers cottage. The cottage has a board roof, later covered with shingles. The front two rooms was made of local pit-sawn hardwood sassafras slabs and battens, two additional rooms were added later. The cottage is filled with furnishings and artefacts of the era.
Atherstone Cottage name change to Petrie Cottage is from sisters Annie and Maggie who lived there during the 1950s and 1960s and cared for their mother Annastasia until her death in the late 1950s.
It is thought that bushranger Captain Thunderbolt stayed in the boarding house after he held up James Roper, the second owner of the cottage.
A friend of mine is a decedent of the Tenterfield Petrie family. I found out this trivia after we visited, which is a shame as I would have requested to take some photos if I had known at the time.
An interesting find in Centenary Cottage was a Kirbys Rotafrig. This is the third cylinder shaped Rotafrig found at brown sign locations. The first Rotafrig was found at the Dairy Museum in Murgon, and another was found at the Historic House in Charleville .
The Rotafrig is a rare item with only 30 to 40 made by Kirby. It is unique among refrigerators with its cylinder shape with rotating shelves inside – a lazy-susan inside the fridge.
The unique design of rotating shelves ensures nothing gets left at the back of the fridge. Those pesky jars of pickled relish, forgotten from last years sandwich lunches, are no longer a problem.
This item was something I really wanted to get a photograph of, so naturally, I requested permission. I was also able to impart some information about the Kirby Rotafrig. I was happy I was able to give something back when getting something from them.
To get there:
From the New England Highway in Tenterfield, turn into Clarence St at the brown sign for Centenary Cottage Museum. Follow Clarence St for 200m and turn left into Logan St at another brown sign. The Centenary Cottage Museum is less than 100m on the left.
Cost: Adult $5.00, Child $2.00
Hours: Wed-Sun 10am-4pm, Holidays Mon-Tue 10am-4pm
Wheelchair accessible: No