National Trust Day: 60 years of preservation

Come and experience the fabulous Portable Iron Houses - 2 saved from demolition and relocated to South Melbourne.

These 19th century portable iron houses were once a common sight in South Melbourne, however there are now very few examples left in the world. When gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851, the resultant influx of migrants created a ready market for new housing. The three corrugated iron and wood houses – Patterson, Bellhouse and Abercrombie – are all the result of significant preservation campaigns. Patterson House is on its original site and was once one of a terrace of similar houses, while Bellhouse was saved from demolition in Fitzroy in 1971 and Abercrombie was rescued from North Melbourne in 1981. Portable iron buildings (including cottages, churches, theatres and shops) were bought from catalogues. They arrived flat packed and ready to be assembled. The crates the buildings arrived in were then used to line the interior walls. You can see owner Robert Patterson’s initials and Melbourne destination numbers in Patterson House.

Admission by Gold Coin Donation

Portable Iron Houses - Planning your visit


399 Coventry Street
South Melbourne 3205 VIC

Bookings Office on 03 9656 9889 Mon-Fri