Dairy Cottage | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Dairy Cottage

Item details

Name of item: Dairy Cottage
Other name/s: Salter's farm
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Primary address: Parramatta Park, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Parish: St John
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Parramatta
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Parramatta ParkParramattaParramattaSt JohnCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Parramatta Park TrustState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Dairy Precinct is a site of national significance. It contains rare and intact vernacular structures, indigenous and historical archaeological deposits and landscape elements documenting its history from precontact times to the present. The Dairy Precinct contains rare evidence from the earliest years of European settlement in the colony of New South Wales, documenting emancipist land grants, 18th and 19th century building techniques and contains the earliest dairy complex known to survive in Australia.
Date significance updated: 12 May 03
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1797-
Physical description: Salters Cottage was a simple two-roomed structure, a living room with a fireplace for warmth and cooking and a smaller room as a bedroom. The walls were made of slop-moulded bricks. The roof was hipped and shingled. Two wings and two pavillions (now demolished) were added by Macquarie c1813, using similar building techniques.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:23 Jun 03
Modifications and dates: Extensive conservation and interpretation worksundertaken in 1998.
Current use: Interpretation, recreation
Former use: Farm house


Historical notes: The Dairy Cottage is the most important feature of the Dairy Precinct. It is believed to date from the late eighteenth century and is remarkably intact. The cottage is linked to the first land grants in Parramatta ,early agriculture and to Old Government House and the Governor's Domain. The land was first granted to George Salter, who was transported to Parramatta in 1788 for his part in a smuggling ring. His sentence expired in 1796 and at this time he was granted 30 acres of land, on the condition that he proceed to improve and cultivate it. Food shortages caused ongoing hardships in the colony, and hopes for self sufficiency rested with ex-convicts such as Salter. By 1800 Salter was growing wheat and maize and owned a pig and a horse. He lived on his farm with ex-convict Winifred Marsh and had the help of three convict labourers. Salter and Marsh built a small two roomed cottage on their property using local materials. The bricks were made in a brick yard which was once down by the river, the mortar was made from river muds with shells from Aboriginal middens and the timbers were local hardwoods such as blue gum. The only imported materials used in the cottage would have been the window glass and the iron nails. This cottage survives today as the two front rooms of the Dairy Cottage. In 1813 Salter sold his cottage to Governor Macquarie and took up an appointment as Superintendent of Crown Stock in Hobart. A short time later, in about 1815/16, Macquarie converted the cottage to a dairy. He added two wings which give the cottage the shape we see today. He also added two pavilions, now demolished, one of which contained a sunken milk room. With the transfere of the land from Governors Domain to public Park, the cottage was used as accomodation for Park Rangers and eventually as a storage shed. The significance of the building was reestablished in the 1980s and conservation and interpretation works were funded by the State Government in the mid 1990s.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-

Recommended management:

Implement CMP and update as appropriate


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Archaeological zoning plan     
Heritage study 418   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDesign 5 Architects1998The Dairy Precinct, Conservation Management Plan
WrittenVarman, R.V.J.1997Archaeological Zoning Plan for Parramatta Park Trust

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4681041

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