Portable Iron Houses Open Day

Experience Melbourne in the 1850s via a unique Portable Iron House. See first hand what it was like living in Melbourne during the 1850s gold rush period. Emerald Hill was a canvas town but an entrepreneur, Robert Patterson, established a collection of Portable Iron Houses - one of which still stands on its original site.

There are 3 Portable Iron Houses on the site (one relocated from North Melbourne and one from Fitzroy). They show what it was like to live in that time. Patterson House is quite spacious compared with Abercrombie House which was a more typical workers cottage.

These significant properties show how Melbourne found a partial solution to the housing crisis that existed at the time – there was a shortage of both workers, who were all heading to the goldfields, and building materials. These houses arrived at Melbourne port in flat pack pre-fabricated panels and could be erected quickly with just one tool by unskilled workers.

Celebrating 50 years of the Victorian Heritage Register 

Event date

Event Details

399 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, Victoria


Entry fees:
Adults $ 10, Children $ 5, Concession $ 7, Family $ 22, Members $ Free
Attendance limit:
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
No toilet facilities. Please note there are steep steps at the front that can be bypassed