Thomas and Jane Rose family picnic day to be held at Rose Cottage

HERITAGE: Built around 1811, Rose Cottage is said to be Australia’s oldest slab timber dwelling still on its original site.
HERITAGE: Built around 1811, Rose Cottage is said to be Australia’s oldest slab timber dwelling still on its original site.

MEMBERS of pioneer Hawkesbury family, the Roses, will gather for their annual family picnic day at the home of settlers, Thomas and Jane Rose.

The couple were among the first free settlers to come to Australia in 1793, and the heritage-listed cottage Thomas built on Rose Street in Wilberforce still stands as a treasured Hawkesbury icon.

Built around 1811, Rose Cottage is said to be Australia’s oldest slab timber dwelling still on its original site.

Karen Rose, a descendant and secretary of the Thomas and Jane Rose Family Society, invited family descendants and friends to attend the event on Sunday, May 22, from 10am.

“It is being held around the same date that Thomas and Jane were married in Sturminster Newton, Dorset UK,” she told the Gazette.

It will be an informal, fun picnic day; BBQ facilities will be provided, but attendees will need to bring their own food.

“We also have an affiliation with the Australiana Pioneer Village [next door] and families can make a day of it experiencing colonial life e.g horse and buggy rides, blacksmithing, shearing, spinning, old fashioned children's games, re-enactments, explore the old church and burial ground and partake of a devonshire tea or ploughman's lunch and billy tea,” said Karen.

Thomas Rose was a farmer, who travelled to Australia at the request of Governor Arthur Phillip to help build the colony. He brought with him his wife, Jane, and four children, Thomas, Mary, Joshua and Richard.

The family’s first land grant in what is now known as the Strathfield-Homebush district had poor soil, and they soon moved to Prospect, and then to the Hawkesbury a decade later.

By 1802, Thomas had gone into partnership with his son-in-law William Green, and had purchased a property on the Wilberforce Road. Called Laurel Farm, it remained in the Rose family for 110 years.

In 1809, Thomas purchased a 30-acre piece of land a short distance downstream from Laurel Farm, and on higher grounds. This became the focus of the Rose family life and it was here that Thomas and Jane built Rose Cottage. The family occupied the cottage continuously until 1961.

For more information go to www.rosefamilysociety.org.au.