Oldest house opens doors

LIVERPUDLIANS will be able to take a look into Australia's colonial past when Liverpool's oldest building opens its doors this weekend.

Built by American whaling captain Eber Bunker, Collingwood House dates back to 1810.

The Friends of Collingwood House will hold a Family Day and offer tours of the house from 10am to 2pm this Sunday, January 19.

Bev Barfield, a member of The Friends of Collingwood House group, a community organisation which works to protect the house, said it is an important part of the history of Liverpool and south-west Sydney.

"There's a lot of history there; the home was in use since it was built and all the way through to the 1970s and had some very influential owners," Mrs Barfield said.

"The tours give you a chance to see what life was like in those days."

Captain Bunker, who was granted the land in 1804, was known as the father of Australian whaling. He had moved from Nantucket to be part of a whaling venture in the 1790s.

Owners of the house included wealthy merchant and MP Samuel Dean Gordon, who owned it from 1842; Sir Saul Samuel, Australia's first Jewish postmaster, who bought it in 1869, and prominent Liverpool butcher Edward James Ashcroft who moved there in 1910.

It is an example of early colonial Georgian architecture and the land around it had numerous uses over the years, being the site of a wheat farm, a cattle farm and a flour mill.

Collingwood was the Liverpool Golf Club clubhouse but closed in 1971. It was restored, and reopened by prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Ms Barfield said the house had suffered some structural problems but most of those had been repaired.

Details: Collingwood House, 17 Birkdale Crescent, Liverpool.

Bookings: 4625 7004 or 0402 335 989, bevjbarfield@gmail.com.

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