Mar 23 at 2:21pm
Check out our merchandise
Mar 23 at 2:12pm
2017 family picnic
One way you can help keep Rose Cottage open is by attending the annual picnic day.

Jun 27 at 4:49pm
Resource Centre

Planning and pre-construction activities are continuing for a Resource Centre south of Rose Cottage. More
May 23 at 10:45pm
Become a Rose Cottage guide

Rose Cottage is open each Sunday. Can you help supervise tours?

A desperate plea for help!

Descendants of Australia's first free settlers have called for help to keep open a priceless piece of the  country's heritage.

The Thomas and Jane Rose Society works year-round to maintain and promote Rose Cottage, the oldest slab timber dwelling on its original site in Australia.

Membership of the society is drawn from far and wide, but it has increasingly fallen to a handful of stalwarts keep the cottage - in the Sydney suburb of Wilberforce - open to the public.

It's a labour of love - mowing lawns, weeding rose gardens and opening the historic cottage for public display each Sunday - but is crucial if this key part of our history is to remain available for future generations. 

But, like many voluntary organisations today, age is wearying the society’s workers.

So, in an effort to sustain its efforts and preserve an invaluable piece of Australian heritage, the Thomas and Jane Rose Society has gone public with an appeal for help.

It has made a call to its own members; historians; people interested in the story of Australia generally and the Hawkesbury area in particular; keen gardeners; and local community organisations.

The request is simple: spare us just an hour or two every now and then to keep Rose Cottage open.

Perhaps you could occasionally help open the cottage - in Rose Street, Wilberforce - on a Sunday between 10am and 4pm.

Or join the few volunteers who carry out working bees in the grounds on the third Sunday of each month. There’s always lawn to be mown, but the society also needs and appreciates help maintaining the rose gardens around the cottage. 

Anyone with a green thumb and a particular knack for growing roses would be welcomed with open arms.

If you can help in any way, contact John Nichols on 0428765378 or Alan Dudley on 0401000724.

Rose Cottage was the home of Thomas Rose, the first free settler to be granted land in New South Wales. He had arrived in the colony with his family in 1793.

How a vision turned a crumbling cottage into an icon

The Thomas and Jane Rose Family Society was conceived by two brothers, Roy and George Rose, who were descendants of Thomas and Jane's third child, Joshua.


George initially travelled to England to  accumulate official documents to help him verify a proposed history of the family.  

Lindsay Rose, a cousin, actively encouraged the research.

In 1975, Roy and George officially set up the society and  planned a reunion for 1982.

A committee was formed and the society set two targets:

  1. Conservation of Rose Cottage
  2. Publication of the family's history 

Rose cottage is the oldest slab timber dwelling on its original site in Australia. 

Society members and helpers maintain the building and its grounds with regular working bees.

The society also acts as an information source for members scattered far and wide and promotes its activities and aims via media, printed materials and social media.

Today, you can keep up to date with happenings in the society, including meetings that are held at Rose Cottage;maintenance and development proposals; working bees; merchandising; and other activities via social media. sites.

Reunion date set

The society has confirmed that the next Rose Family reunion will be held in early 2018.

Tentatively, the get-together has been set down for March 18 in 2018.

The reunion is expected to be held at Rose Cottage in Wilberforce, Sydney. Watch the society's social media channels for additional information as planning continues.

Annual picnic

Meanwhile, the society's 2017 annual picnic will be held on Sunday, May 21 for family and friends. The picnic will start at 10am in the grounds of Rose Cottage, Rose Street Wilberforce and you'll need to bring your own picnic basket or food for the barbeque. Everyone is welcome to come along and show support for the society.

Committee meetings will be held at Rose Cottage on  Sunday, July 16 and  Sunday, November 19. Meetings start at about 10am and everyone is welcome.