The refurbished, colonial slab cottage with sprawling gardens at 16 Wells Place, Bellmount Forest, which originally served as a Cobb & Co station and a post office on the outskirts of Gundaroo, is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a slice of history.
Bellmount Cottage, which was built in 1864 by the Wells family to provide a resting place for people travelling by coach between Yass and Queanbeyan, is on the market for $985,000.
The Bellmount Forest property, located eight minutes from Gundaroo and 40 minutes from Canberra, has been lovingly restored to maintain the pressed tin ceilings, timber slab walls and panelling, exposed beams, cedar sash windows and cypress pine floors.
Current owners joined and extended the two original slab huts to create a four-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage with a separate study and three living areas.
The property also has numerous outbuildings, including a studio that could be run as a bed and breakfast, a workshop/shed that could be used by artists or writers, a four-bay carport, chook shed and dog run.
The colour scheme throughout the property matches the timber slabs with the corrugated iron exterior cladding painted the same colour as one of the lighter hues found in the slabs; the exterior doors painted blue as a tribute to the previous cladding; the tiles in the ensuite have been made to look like the slabs; and the oiled, reclaimed timber doors complement the brown hues also found in the slabs.
Signs of the property’s history can be seen throughout with newspapers still lining some of the slabs. The barn door in the laundry is homage to the former stable – now the main bedroom – where tired horses could recover from the long haul between Cobb & Co stations.
During the years, the owners have also dug up many old treasures, including an old signpost to Breadalbane; a signpost to Yass/Collector, which is now a feature in the front yard; forged chains and nails; a rifle barrel; old tools; and a bumper from an old New Holland truck.
Historical pieces not maintained on the property have found homes elsewhere, with the original windows taking on a new existence in tiny homes, glasshouses and picture frames; the surplus hand-cut slabs used by a local carpenter to craft an impressive tabletop; and many of the tin signs now displayed by a sign collector known to the current owners.
The current owners also donated the external chimney to the Kosciuszko Huts Association for restoration.
Situated on a popular route for day trips by pushbike, motorbike or vintage cars, the owners often receive a thumbs-up from passers-by telling them they love how the cottage has been restored.
Locals and travellers also regularly knock on the cottage’s door out of curiosity and to share stories of its history.
Two elderly ladies who once lived in the cottage told the owners how they walked to the school near Lawtons Road – now a private residence – without any shoes on. Another time a family visited the cottage wanting to buy tickets because they believed it was a museum.
European features have also been added to the property, representative of where the current owners grew up. A feature wall has been created using wallpaper from Dutch artist Piet Hein Eek, while the main bathroom floor has been partially raised, a common building technique used overseas.
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The 1.15-hectare gardens are also worth mentioning, featuring 100-year-old yellow box trees, almond, apple, mulberry, peach, pear, apricot and quince trees, plus 300 natives donated by Greening Australia, and more than 500 shrubs and plants.
This house would suit couples or families seeking to secure a piece of Australian colonial history in a relaxed rural lifestyle.