exactly squatters, but this priceless piece of Australian heritage has certainly attracted some unexpected occupants in recent times.
A number of pigeons apparently decided that home of the first free settler granted land in NSW, Australia, was a good place to see out the cooler months.
They found their way into the roof of the cottage and - with Spring getting closer every day - decided to build nests ... and yet more nests ... and yet more.
Few animals are as maligned as pigeons. Who hasn’t heard the description "rats with wings”?
And the Rose Cottage inhabitants certainly created a few problems for society volunteers who already face a constant task maintaining the Wilberforce building and its grounds.
For a start, accumulated nesting material had to be removed to prevent it becoming a fire and vermin hazard.
Pigeon droppings had to be cleaned up and, more importantly than all this, the cottage had to be made pigeon-proof.
This was done by fitting ‘bird wire’ around the eaves to block the birds from entering.
But, like most stories, there’s a footnote of sorts.
When the pigeons were first discovered in the roof of Rose Cottage, some of the nests contains eggs.
Being old softies, the society volunteers couldn’t bring themselves to abort these pigeon hatchings.
So, they left a section of the bird wire unhooked for a few weeks to allow the eggs time to hatch and the little pigeons to make good their escape.
That’s exactly what happened.
The cottage is now clean and secure and our volunteers have undoubtedly made a lot of new friends - of the feathered variety.
If you can spare just a little time to help our volunteers with their maintenance task, please come along to Rose Street, Wilberforce on the third Saturday of each month.
Watch this website and our Twitter feed for any changes to this time.
Pigeon photo courtesy Wikimedia