Family history behind two little cottages in East Kurrajong

Two little cottages from East Kurrajong are part of the collection of re-sited historic buildings in the Australiana Pioneer Village at Wilberforce. Case Cottage and Cartwright Cottage both have close connections with Alfred Case.

 Case Cottage (left) and Cartwright Cottage located at
the Australiana Pioneer Village at Wilberforce, both have a close
connection with Alfred Case. Credit: Cathy McHardy

Case Cottage (left) and Cartwright Cottage located at the Australiana Pioneer Village at Wilberforce, both have a close connection with Alfred Case. Credit: Cathy McHardy

Alfred Francis was the third son of George and Frances (nee Hatch) Case who arrived in the colony of NSW with their infant son Walter, as free settlers aboard the Woodbridge in September 1838. Initially residing in the Maitland area, by 1844 the family, which by that time had expanded to five had settled in Kurrajong.

Born in 1847, Alfred was the fifth of nine children to be born to George and Frances. Sadly George passed away in 1857, leaving Frances to raise their children alone. While many of George and Frances' children left the district as they became adults, eldest son Walter and Alfred settled in the area known at the time as Buttsworth Swamp near East Kurrajong.

In 1867, Alfred married Sarah Hulbert at Ebenezer and the couple produced a large family with 11 surviving children. In 1876, Alfred was one of the seven local residents to support the establishment of a provisional school at Buttsworth Swamp agreeing to send three of their children to the new school.

In the 19th century, the Kurrajong district was made up of small farms and orchards and children grew up learning the practical skills needed to manage livestock, grow seasonal crops and maintain a productive orchard. Apart from becoming proficient in farming skills, Alfred and his brother Walter, demonstrated an aptitude for carpentry and building skills.

Alfred and Walter were proficient in the difficult art of pit-sawing and provided the timber for projects such as the timber planking for the Windsor and Richmond Bridges. Alfred was often called upon to construct homes for local families and to undertake repairs to district school buildings. In August 1900, the Windsor and Richmond Gazette reported that Alfred had finished painting and renovating the school at Bullridge.

The home we know as Case Cottage was constructed in Bullridge Road on the 100 acre property purchased by Alfred's son Herbert James Case under the Conditional Purchase scheme. Under this scheme, settlers with 25 per cent deposit could apply for a portion of vacant land eventually gaining freehold title as long as they could satisfy certain conditions such as living on the block and establishing a productive farm. Herbert was successful whereas many were unable to satisfy the requirements and therefore forfeited their holding.

Cartwright Cottage, from East Kurrajong Road was the home of Julia Ann Micock (later Cartwright), wife of John Edward Micock who also applied for 53 acres of land by Conditional Purchase. Alfred Case is credited with the construction of this family home which also served as the local post office with Mrs Micock in charge from February 1916 until April 1922. Both houses were moved to the site in Wilberforce in 1970.

By the time Alfred and Sarah Case celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 1927, the couple had 51 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Sarah died in April 1933 and Alfred in August 1933. They were both buried in St Matthew's Anglican Cemetery, Windsor.