History of the Cottage
History of the Cottage
In 1897 William Bridgetown, a carpenter, built and lived in a three roomed “iron house” at 67 Jane Street. He also built and rented the house next door.
The Martin family lived next door and in 1900 they swapped houses as the house at the end of the street had more potential for expansion, and the Martin’s had a bigger family! In 1909 the street became known as Hulbert Street and 67 Jane Street became 37 Hulbert Street.
Margaret Marian and John Henry Martin came to WA from Victoria in 1895 with three children. Over the years they had a total of 10 children, all of whom lived at 37 Hulbert Street. The Martin family lived at this house for the next 93 years.
Their daughter Margaret (Mrs Sloss) was born in 1902 at the house and describes four children sleeping in a double bed, sitting on forms for meals and doing homework by lamp light. She had to wash all the socks for the family and pulled water from a back yard well with an iron hand pump. The family had chooks, ducks and grew vegetables, trading with their neighbours.
After working at Mills and Ware for 12 years Margaret left to marry Ronald Sloss in 1929. Mr and Mrs Sloss lived initially with Ron’s parents, then in several rented houses before moving back to Hulbert Street in 1945 to take care of Margaret’s father.
Many people in Hulbert Street remember Mrs Sloss fondly. She finally sold the house in 1993 to Bryn Davies and moved to a Salvation Army Home.
Mr Davies, local political activist, phantom tree planter and a renovator of great renown in the Fremantle area, hoped to renovate the house, but ill health slowed him down and he sold “Mrs Sloss’s house” to Tim Darby in 1994.
When Tim bought the house there was no hot water, one powerpoint and the “loft room” still had a dirt floor. White ants and a hundred years of harsh coastal conditions had taken a toll on the “old girl” so Tim set to work restoring it.
The basic layout of the house has not changed. The roof line in the loft room has been adjusted, and the kitchen and dining room no longer have a wall between them. The back veranda had a set of stairs leading to the outdoor toilet, which is still there! The original house would have finished at the living room and you can still see the wood that would have been the outside wall!
In 1994 Tim installed the railway carriage in the back yard, and in 1997 work began on the Studio and the landscaping of the back garden. The work continues today!