JE Whites Cottage

Winner Renovations & Additions 2012

Jane E. Whites cottage was built in approx 1883 by Edward Clarke, a local miner. Two years later on the 6th February 1885, he sold the cottage and 3797sqm of land around it, to Jane E. and Davey White. With the couple’s separation some years later, Jane remained at the cottage until her passing, hence the cottage kept her name. The cottage was sold some time after by her nephew to the present owners, Bill and Norma Wullaert on the 1st March 1985.


After many years of using the cottage for holidays, weekend get aways and chestnut session’s approaching faster each year, Bill and Norma thought the time was right to renovate and extend the cottage to give them a more comfortable pad after a hard days picking their chestnuts and for the future, with retirement not that far away.


Wandiligong is a heritage listed township that restricts design and materials to be used on new and renovated properties. Some properties in Wandiligong also carry their own Heritage overlay listing if they are deemed significant enough. Jane E. White’s cottage is one such property as it one of the oldest buildings in the town. The design and the materials to be used needed to sympathetic to the age of the building and without losing the integrity of the original cottage.


The brief was to create a three bedroom, two bathrooms, new laundry, kitchen and lounge area that surrounded the existing cottage and small outbuilding that was in later years a bathroom and additional bedroom. This building needed to be joined to the cottage as previously it was separate from the cottage.


The design was completed so that the cottage still remained the main visual focus with the lounge and master suite to the rear of the cottage. Two bedrooms, a main bathroom and laundry were added by extending the outbuilding on the east side and the creation of an entrance joined the two buildings together. The shape of the new design lent itself to have a large outdoor entertaining area off the lounge and kitchen.


After nine months in discussions and plan submissions, Heritage Victoria gave the stamp of approval for the works to be started. It was at this time that the Wildfire Management Overlay was placed over many areas within the Alpine Shire, including Wandiligong. The Wildfire Management Statement concluded a BAL-29 would be placed over the property. The conditions of a BAL-29 seemed to be direct conflict with Heritage Victoria’s requirements for materials to be used. The hunt was on for hardwood timber windows, rather than cedar and hardwood weatherboards instead of a pine product.




The requirement under the Wildfire Management Overlay increased the build cost by over $50,000. The owners however felt very passionate about completing the works and construction started. With the site cut near completion a visit from Department of Primary Industries concluded that the 100 plus year old chestnut trees on site had Chestnut Blight. They would be moving in to remove them and in the mean time all machinery and vehicles were not leave the site without a full wash down in a disinfectant solution. Chestnut Blight cost us approx three weeks in down time in not being able to move in and out of the property but the cost to the Bill and Norma was far greater in the loss of income but more importantly, a family tradition of chestnut picking each year.


Construction flowed freely after Chestnut Blight. Outside Jane E. Whites cottage remains the main focal point with both chimneys receiving a little make over. The outbuilding is no more an added extra. The lifting of the wall height and inclusion of new timber windows and doors and the construction of the new entrance blend the once tied building into the cottage as if it should have always been there. The new lounge area sits to one side of cottage, barely peering out the side of the original building.


Inside the original two front rooms have had a face lift with the small sitting room receiving the Baltic pine ceiling from the outbuilding to match in with lounge adjoining it. The open fireplace in the lounge remains as the centre piece of the room. What was once the small kitchen and bedroom is now a large kitchen and dining area. The old wood stove and fireplace remain in a reminder of days gone by. The new entrance area links the two buildings with the natural timber floor flowing in from the kitchen.


In keeping with old meets the new, the kitchen is constructed from timbers removed from an old school near Benalla. All tapwares are from the Bastow Georgian range to keep the heritage feel. The open plan lounge area overlooks the surrounding township to the west and the outdoor entertaining area to the east, whilst still being connect to the old cottage via the dinning and kitchen areas.


DTM construction Services is very proud to have been asked to be involved in this project and having a hand in restoring such a local iconic building so that it may see another hundred or more years to come.