26 April 2019

Historic Allwood: a heritage-listed slab cottage

| Theresa Cronk
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Allwood heritage slab cottage. Photos: Supplied.

Down a country road, past the rural locality of Wallaroo, is a historic window into the early settlement of the Canberra region.

Located just 6.3 kilometres off the Barton Highway is Allwood, a heritage-listed slab cottage. Allwood retains all of its original features and provides an insight into the ingenuity of early settlers and the opportunity to experience the ambience of what life was like for early settlers in the Wallaroo district.

Built in the late 1800s by district pioneers David and Agnes Rule, these two buildings have undergone painstaking restoration by the current owners Rod and Judy Roberts who are hosting an open day on the property this Saturday, 27 April 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The view of surrounding countryside from Allwood.

Why you will love it

  • The original fabric of the building. Leather washers can still be seen on the ceiling where they were originally used instead of nails to hold hessian lining the building. Remnants of wallpaper, fabric and newspapers used to keep out the elements and dress the walls can also be seen. There is also evidence of lino on the original floor. The roof and slabs are also original.

Allwood heritage slab cottage.

  • History of the building. Dedicated research and photographs have been hung on the walls to explain different aspects of the building and its history. Typescripts of articles from local newspapers in 1872 and 1887 have been framed after discovery on newspapers used to fill gaps in the walls and ceiling. Framed photographs and family history of the original owners, the Rule family, are also available.
  • The ingenuity of pioneer settlers. Glass was expensive at the time that these huts were constructed but glass windows have still been installed. These have been covered with what is known as eyebrows or flattened pieces of corrugated iron used as awnings over the windows. Wire fashioned into hooks can also still be seen on the walls. Artefacts recovered from the property are also on display including one created by Hall blacksmith, George Kinleyside.

Old fashioned window awnings known as eyebrows.

  • Two slab huts. These buildings were home to a family of ten with records suggesting that Agnes and David Rule moved to the property about 1881. This was when David took up 40 acres of land in the parish of Wallaroo. The couple were married at Parkwood Church, near Kippax, on 2 October 1871 and had nine children between 1875 and 1893, one of whom died at birth.

Allwood historic slab cottage.

  • The first building believed to be completed, comprised a sitting room and dining area with a fireplace and a bedroom. The kitchen and verandah, underneath a skillion roof, were likely completed afterwards. The second building was built as two bedrooms for the eight children, four boys and four girls, who lived here.

Building 1 – interior showing kitchen area.

  • Understanding of what life would have been like during the late 1800s. The two buildings have been furnished with items evocative of the period to provide ambience and an understanding of the lifestyle of this period. An original woodfire stove is still visible in the kitchen area.
  • Guided tours explaining key highlights of the buildings and their history.


    Building 1 – Sitting area.

Key details

Getting there

  • Allwood is located at 633 Wallaroo Road, Wallaroo and is 6.3 kilometres off the Barton Highway. Coming from Canberra, you will need to turn left onto Wallaroo Road. After this, you will see the Hall cemetery on the right before you go over the Gooromon Bridge. From there, continue up the hill until you pass the Serbian Church on the left and the Wallaroo Fire Shed on the right. Continuing down the hill, you will see the turnoff to Southwell Road. The next gate following this is Allwood and you will see a gate flanked by two pine trees and a stock ramp or grill. Enter here and follow the left-hand fork to another stock ramp/grill. Once over the second of these, directions will be provided on where to park.
  • GPS coordinates are available here.

Building 2 – interior showing family photographs and glass window.

When to go

  • An open day will be held 27 April 2019 between 10 am and 4 pm
  • Visits can be arranged by appointment at other times

Building 1 – The verandah.

More information

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