Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roto House

When we visited the Koala Hospital we also paid a visit to Roto House.  Roto House is within the Macquarie Nature Reserve which comprises twelve hectares of bush and parkland close to the centre of Port Macquarie.  The reserve was established in 1966 with the express purpose of establishing a koala reserve so it is not surprising that this area is now known as a koala corridor and the koala hospital was built here.

Port Macquarie is one of Australia's earliest European settlements and was initially settled as a British penal establishment for secondary offenders in 1821.  The area was opened up for free settlement in 1830 and the last convicts left Port Macquarie in 1847 - if you are a long time resident of Port Macquarie there is a good chance your ancestor was a convict!

Roto House was the home of John Flynn (and Flynn's Beach was named after him) and he was a land surveyor.  His family property was named Roto and was built in 1890 for the princely sum of 667 pounds and is one of the very few remaining 19th century timber buildings in Port Macquarie and was well worth a visit.  There are ten rooms built of red mahogany and has high ceilings, typical sash windows and fire places in six of its seven main rooms. There is a wide verandah around most of the house.

The Flynn family retained permission to occupy the house until 1979 but in fact vacated in 1976.  By then it was quite run down and extensive renovations commenced in 1980 at a cost of $153,000.  It is now open to the public as a local social history museum and is well worth a visit.  Many of the family's belongings and photographs are on display and these provide an interesting account of family life in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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