La Trobe’s Cottage

As, perhaps, the most significant dwelling relating to Melbourne’s settler history, La Trobe’s Cottage provides an excellent introduction to many aspects of Melbourne prior to and during the gold rushes.

The Cottage provides a fascinating glimpse of the life of Charles Joseph La Trobe, the first Superintendent of The Port Phillip District who was appointed by the British government to administer the region, at that time an outpost of the colony of New South Wales. Charles La Trobe and his Swiss wife, Sophie, and two-year-old daughter Agnes and two servants arrived in Melbourne in October 1839, a mere four years after the first European settlers arrived. La Trobe brought his own portable prefabricated cottage which he had purchased in London. 

Students are able to learn about family life experienced by one of the earliest European settlers as they attempted to adjust to the harsh conditions of colonial life, such as illness, homesickness and lack of water, and, at the same time, recreate the kind of society from which they had come, in terms of entertainment, education, values and belief.

Students can clearly see the rudimentary accommodation with its small and intimate spaces, but they will also discover a treasure trove of everyday items, together with elegant furniture, precious books and ornaments, and other accoutrements from the family’s cultured European past. They will also be able to learn about Charles Joseph La Trobe’s significant role as pioneering administrator in Victoria’s history from 1839 until 1854.

School Visits 

The Cottage is available for guided tours by school and ESL groups, bookings essential. It can be successfully combined with a tour of Government House when available.



Education advice

Education resources


<Location & Getting there>



Charles Joseph La Trobe and the Port Phillip District/Victoria.

   search the society and FOLTC web sites

See also
National Trust of Australia (Vic)
Education program



Education kit

Explore the Cottage in 3 dimensions 

Clicking this image will take you to Google Street View. To move inside the Cottage, click on the arrow by your mouse when it is pointing in the direction you want to go. Drag your mouse across the picture to look around.