Mayes Cottage puts Logan’s pioneer past on show

TRAVELLERS tales, a bush baby picnic and rockabilly music and dancing are just some of the fun that can be had as part of the Mayes Cottage’s Australian Heritage Festival program on Friday and Saturday.

FLASHBACK: The Mayes family, snapped wearing their Sunday best in the 1890s. Photo: Supplied

FLASHBACK: The Mayes family, snapped wearing their Sunday best in the 1890s. Photo: Supplied

The heritage-listed museum at Kingston will throw open its doors with house tours, themed hands-on activities and workshops. Visitors can bring a picnic and stay on to enjoy the gardens.

FLASHBACK: The Mayes family, snapped behind the house near a detached kitchen,  circa 1887. Photo: Supplied

FLASHBACK: The Mayes family, snapped behind the house near a detached kitchen, circa 1887. Photo: Supplied

The cottage is a genuine throwback to Logan’s pioneer past.

John and Emily Mayes and their two small children, Joshua and Ruth, arrived in Brisbane from England in July 1871.

They built a slab hut, planted fruit trees, pineapples and grapes and kept bees. Their produce was sold in Brisbane or Beenleigh.

By 1887, the Mayes had done well enough to build a new house of sawn timber. They called it Pleasant Place. It survives today as Mayes Cottage.

In 1974, the Queensland Housing Commission bought what remained of the Mayes estate with the exception of 2,198 square metres around the house.

In 1978, the Housing Commission sought to resume the house. A local action group stormed parliament to protest.

After a drawn out campaign to save the property, it was declared a park and recreation reserve in 1979 with the former Albert Shire Council as trustees.

At that time, there was no heritage legislation in Queensland and the property was saved on the strength of the value of the vegetation rather than the house.

The cottage is now a museum which is maintained by Logan City Council and volunteers.

City lifestyle and community committee chair Councillor Steve Swenson said the cottage offered visitors the chance to explore a unique part of Logan’s heritage.

​“It gives people an insight into how the city’s early residents lived as the cottage remains as it was when it was first built,” he said.

“The house, and what remains of the slab hut that stands outside, are originals, not reproductions and we are lucky to have this preserved for the future.”

This week’s Friday and Saturday programs will be staged to mark the Australian Heritage Festival (May 18 to 20), a National Trust event designed to celebrate places we live, work and travel. Buildings all over Australia throw open their doors to the public. They also coincide with National Archeology Week (May 20 to 26).

The house will be open for tours on Friday and Saturday from 10.30am and 4pm. 

As part of the Friday program, visitors can hear a local heritage specialist telling traveller’s tales at 10.30am and 11.30am. The talks focus on colonial and contemporary exploration in Australia and Papua New Guinea starting with the diaries of the women of Logan and their adventures settling into a new land, through to Australian photographer Stephen Dupont’s numerous trips to Papua New Guinea. Mr Dupont’s works are on display at Logan Art Gallery. 

The Saturday program launches with a bush babies picnic for children aged up to five from 10.30am. Kids over six can use use archaeologists tools to consider what they might discover at Mayes Cottage in sessions at 10.30am and 11.30am. Kids aged 12 and over can play amateur archeologist from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Rockabilly band Lock’n’Load perform at 2pm.

Travellers’ Tales and Hands-on Fun Archaeology sessions must be booked. Call 3412 4147.