La Trobe’s Cottage

Melbourne's oldest surviving building, the original home of Victoria's first Lieutenant-Governor, Charles Joseph La Trobe

La Trobe’s Cottage was the home of Charles Joseph La Trobe, Victoria’s first governor, and his wife Sophie and their children from 1839 to 1854. Originally erected on his Jolimont estate, the single-story dwelling is constructed of timber, replicating the original prefabricated structure brought by him from London. The locally built dining room (1839), the first of many additions made during La Trobe’s tenure, is the oldest surviving Melbourne building. The modest yet elegant family home contains many pieces of La Trobe’s furniture and other historic artefacts. Learn more about La Trobe’s beloved garden and cottage here.

Join us at our next open day to learn about life in early Melbourne. Obtain a glimpse into La Trobe family life and enjoy the romantic garden re-created using plants available in the 1840s and 1850s.

In 2014, the cottage garden was awarded a Victorian Community History Award for Historical Interpretation.

Conserving La Trobe family portraits

The painting of his grandfather Benjamin La Trobe (1728-86) is by John Astley (1724-87). Benjamin came to England from Ireland as a new convert in the Moravian church. He was a scholar and teacher, and rose to be head of the fledgling British province by his extraordinary talent as a persuasive preacher, peacemaker and administrator. He had connections with people at the centre of the evangelical circle opposing slavery.

The large painting of La Trobe’s father, Christian Ignatius La Trobe (1758-1836) is by Thomas Barber (1768-1843). Christian Ignatius La Trobe followed his father into the Moravian church. He was also a musician and composer, a friend of Haydn, and was significantly influential in disseminating the European classical style of church music in Britain. He became secretary of the international Moravian church in Britain and was a promoter of its missionary activity. He was a supporter of William Wilberforce’s anti-slavery movement, but was unable to take an active part due to the church’s policy of not meddling in politics.

The two paintings were donated to the Trust by La Trobe’s grandson, Captain Charles La Trobe.

Both paintings are of excellent quality and in urgent need of restoration. The original frames in particular need extensive restoration work. This conservation work will greatly enhance their appearance and will ensure that they are looked after into the future.

The fundraising target for the conservation works to the La Trobe portraits has been reached.  The conservation work is now proceeding. Thank you to our wonderful donors for their support.



La Trobe Family Portraits: Special Viewing

Sunday, 24 September 2023.
3.30 – 5.00pm

Special viewing of important portraits of Charles Joseph’s father Christian Ignatius La Trobe and his grandfather Rev. Benjamin La Trobe will be on display after extensive conservation.

Both men had connections with leaders in the British anti-slavery movement. Their portraits were painted by renown artists Thomas Barber and John Astley and were donated to National Trust Victoria by two of La Trobe’s grandchildren in the 1960s. Donations from members of the C J La Trobe Society enabled the necessary conservation work to be carried out.

Light refreshments will be served.

Bookings can be made to the C J La Trobe Society,

Enquiries to

Place Details

October to April, Sundays 1pm to 3.30pm (property closes at 4pm)

Closed on Christmas Day and Grand Prix weekend in March/April.

Please note that the property closes on days of extreme heat. You will be able to use your tickets on another day, or request a refund.

La Trobe's Cottage
Dallas Brooks Drive
Melbourne, VIC 3004

Bunurong Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Plan your Visit

La Trobe’s Cottage


Corner of Birdwood Avenue & Dallas Brooks Drive, The Domain, Melbourne 3004 VIC


October to April, Sundays 1pm to 3.30pm (property closes at 4pm)


Christmas Day and Grand Prix weekend in March/April.
Please note that the property closes on days of extreme heat. You will be able to use your tickets on another day, or request a refund.

Entry Fees:

Adults: $5,
Children and Concession: $4
Family $12

What we offer:

Group tours of La Trobe’s Cottage are available all year, Monday to Saturday. Additional fees apply.

Click to make a booking request.

Tours of Government House are available all year (except January). Additional fees apply.

Click to make a booking.

Tours of Government House will resume in Spring 2023.
Combined tours of La Trobe’s Cottage & Government House are not currently available.

What's On

Join us on a tour of the charming La Trobe’s Cottage.

It is over 180 years since our first Governor and his family arrived in Melbourne. Discover how Charles Joseph La Trobe, Victoria’s first Governor, lived with his family in his prefabricated house in early Melbourne. You will get a fascinating glimpse into family life at his ‘Jolimont’ estate, with his wife Sophie and their children.

You can arrive anytime between 1pm to 3.30pm (Sundays, October to April). The property will close at 4pm.

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Sunday 1 October

Spring Garden Day

Join us in celebrating Spring this year with tours of the cottage garden at 1.15pm, 2.15pm, & 3.15pm.

Book a guided tour


Spring Garden

During October, enjoy the spring garden and see plants that featured in La Trobe’s ‘Jolimont’ garden.

Book a guided tour


Furniture and Artefacts

During November you will see items of the La Trobes’ furniture and other special artefacts of the family.

Book a guided tour


Christmas Traditions

During December, learn how Sophie La Trobe introduced the European custom of the Christmas tree to Melbourne.

Book a guided tour


Family month

During January we welcome families to the Cottage, with activities for the children.

Book a guided tour


Prefabricated Cottage

During February you will learn the story of La Trobe’s prefabricated house, and hear how factories in London were supplying such cottages for British settlers around the world.

Book a guided tour


La Trobe's Artwork

During March, view a selection of La Trobe’s art and see other artists’ pictures of La Trobe’s Cottage.

Book a guided tour


Autumn Garden

During April, enjoy the autumn garden and see plants we know featured in La Trobe’s ‘Jolimont’ garden.

Book a guided tour

Government House

Guided Tours

Join us on a guided tour of the State Hall, State Drawing Room, State Dining Room and the Ballroom on select Mondays from 11am to 12pm.

Purchase tickets

Weddings and Functions

For weddings and function enquiries, please contact our National Trust team.

Email or phone (03) 9656 9889.

More information can also be found in the following brochures:

Download The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Wedding Brochure.

Download The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Functions and Venue Hire Brochure.

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