Tom’s Cottage

The timber slab cottage is a good example of an early colonial rural building. The simple four room dwelling was moved to its present site, possibly in 1921, from its original setting on ‘Brandon’, 2km south. Many tenant farmers had worked there in the 19th century, and slab dwellings would have been home to their families.

Tom McLellan was the son of Mary McLellan and they both worked for the Fisher family of ‘Brandon’. Mary died in 1947 aged 85 years. She had worked for the Fisher family for fifty years!

Tom continued to live in the cottage, cultivating the land and keeping a a few cows. Tom also generously gave his time to the community by cleaning and helping to maintain the nearby Seaham Park. Floods inundated this area so close to the river and many times Tom was ‘rescued’ from his home. Kind neighbours would reach Tom by row boat and he was given refuge in one of their homes, at least once with the Ralston family. Tom was a proud homeowner and would welcome visitors to his ‘cosy’ dwelling where the linoleum floors were gleaming and the furnishings simple but comfortable. Life would not have been easy there but Tom always managed to be bright and cheerful – perhaps that explained his dark head of hair, well into his late 70s. He lived in his home until 1975, and died in a nursing home in July 1982 aged 84 years. 

Tom’s cottage is now part of Seaham Swamp  Nature Reserve and is managed and maintained by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. In 2022 NPWS carried out works to secure and stabilise the building including roofing, guttering, water tanks and termite control.