Plans for historic cottage

Virginia Johnson at the partially-dismantled Marshall Bluestone Cottage. (Ivan Kemp) 251267_11

By Luke Voogt

Marshall’s 155-year-old bluestone cottage has almost disappeared as specialist contractors dismantle the historic building following a community campaign to save it from demolition.

Initially Major Road Projects Victoria had planned to demolish the cottage to make way for the Barwon Heads Road duplication and reuse some materials to build “heritage interpretive works”, which campaigners labelled a “zombie memorial”.

But Marshall Bluestone Cottage Community Group’s 800-person petition convinced the road authority to instead dismantle and completely rebuild the cottage elsewhere.

“There’s been such a groundswell of support … of people that want the cottage rebuilt and repurposed,” group president Virginia Johnson said.

The group is calling for the building to be relocated to JF Field Park, diagonally opposite to its current location.

The duplication and improved cycling and walking paths will increase access to the historic cottage, according to Ms Johnson.

“It’s a highly visible site, just like where it is now, it’s got great access and it keeps the heritage factors intact,” she said.

Contractors have removed and stored slate, bricks and bluestone blocks to rebuild the cottage, which Ms Johnson said could become a gateway to more than 20 historic sites across Marshall and Charlemont.

In June Geelong council voted unanimously to investigate new locations for the cottage with council officers to present a report by December.

The cottage could also serve as a gallery, a mini museum, a school excursion destination and, if rebuilt in time, a venue for Geelong Design Week next September, according to Ms Johnson.

“We would love that,” she said.

“There are so many creatives seeking a venue to showcase their designs.”