Mayes Cottage is a genuine relic of Queensland's pioneering age. Genuine, because it is almost exactly as it was when it was built over a hundred years ago, in 1887. This house, and what remains of the slab hut that stands outside, are originals, not reproductions. For visitors this is a rare opportunity to experience a unique part of Logan's heritage.
Download the Mayes Cottage brochure (PDF 1125 KB) before you visit, to find out more about Logan's heritage.
Mayes Cottage is now a House Museum and is open for tours every Thursday and Friday from 10.30am to 4pm, at 20 Mawarra Street, Kingston. Entry is free. For enquiries or to book groups of over 15 people, please phone 07 3412 4147 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John and Emily Mayes and their two small children, Joshua and Ruth, arrived in Brisbane from England aboard the Indus on 21 July 1871. On 27 June 1873 John took up 321 acres of land in the area that was later to become Kingston. At that time it was simply known as Scrubby Creek.
According to family stories, the Mayes initially made their income from selling timber as they cleared the land. They built a slab hut, planted fruit trees, pineapples and grapes, and kept bees. Their produce was sold in Brisbane or Beenleigh. By 1887, the Mayes had prospered and built a new house of sawn timber. They called it Pleasant Place and it survives today as Mayes Cottage.
Slab hut, cow shed and dairy
The slab hut was the Mayes' original home. Most of the slabs were cut from the outer timbers of large logs. Those logs were split by driving metal wedges into the wood along the grain, to make the slabs for the sidewalls of the hut. The original roof was made of bark and was later replaced with shingles.
When the house was completed in 1887, the family moved and the hut became a shelter for a buggy and much later a car. As an example of the craftsmanship involved, lan Rohl, Josiah Mayes' grandson, remembers that the hut was still secure against rain and the wind sixty years after it was built. You might think that this was a hard way for a family to live, especially when there was little here but scrub. Emily cooked on an open fire and used a hollowed-out anthill as an oven.
Mayes Cottage contains original family furniture dating from the 1880s until the 1930s, when John and Emily Mayes' eldest surviving son, Josiah, lived here. The interior rooms may seem small and sparsely furnished, but to the Mayes family this was a 'better than average' home.
The dining room was the place where the family gathered on formal occasions. When Josiah and Daisy Mayes lived in the cottage, the dining room was the place where the family would meet for Sunday dinners. Ian Rohl recalled many family 'sing-alongs' which, in the absence of radio or television, were the only source of home musical entertainment.
The kitchen was separate from the rest of the house, limiting the potential for a fire to destroy the entire house, but was the real centre of the family's daily life. This was the place where Daisy, like most pioneering women, spent the great bulk of her time. In the kitchen, she would make her own butter, jams and bottled fruit, preserving what she could for the off-season. Daisy would also make and mend clothes on the sewing machine and then cook what was needed for a family, hungry after a full day's work.