Victoria's first Government House was not a grand building. It was a small prefabricated wooden cottage. Charles Joseph La Trobe, Superintendent of the Port Phillip District and the first Governor of Victoria, brought the house with him in 1839 in the ship Fergusson along with his family and domestic possessions. The house was originally located on 12 1/2 acres of land on the south side of Wellington Parade, on a property called 'Jolimont' after La Trobe's wife's home in Switzerland. The initial cottage consisted of a prefabricated, panelled timber, two-room structure manufactured in London by H. Manning. Known at the time as a Manning cottage, many houses of this type were exported to Australia and New Zealand in the late 1830s and 1840s. A dining room was added to the cottage in 1840, the first of many additions made during La Trobe's tenure in Australia. In 1963, the surviving cottage was dismantled, restored and reconstructed in the Domain. One of Melbourne's oldest buildings, this house is typical of the modest beginnings to house-building in the early years of white settlement of Australia.

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