The Werninck Craft Cottage is one of Nowra’s hidden gems and it’s hard to believe that many local residents have never been inside this historical building.
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People will get the chance to look inside the cottage, at 102 Plunkett Street, Nowra, on Sunday, April 29 when the group holds an open market day.
The land on which the cottage constructed was originally part of a grant in 1858 to Michael Hyam, after whom Hyams Beach was named.
The market/open day from 10am to 2pm will feature handiwork from local crafters, homemade cakes and preserves, craft demonstrations, a book sale, stall and much more.
People can buy refreshments and food from the sausage sizzle which is raising fund for PCYC Shoalhaven.
The group is also selling tickets for its raffle which is also supporting PCYC Shoalhaven.
If you can’t make it to the open day the group sets up a stall on the third Friday of each month in Nowra’s Jelly Bean Park from 8am to 2pm.
NOWRA'S Werninck Cottage is enjoyed by visitors and tourists alike, as one of the few remaining examples of an early 20th century residence.
The simple weatherboard dwelling was constructed on stone piers, and is generally lined with pine.
Located in Plunkett Street on the edge of Marriott Park, it is within easy walking distance of the town's central business district.
The land on which it is constructed was originally part of a grant in 1858 to Michael Hyam, after whom Hyams Beach was named.
However he did not develop it, and it was part of the estate of his son David that was sold by the executors in 1922.
Lot six was purchased by local farmer Joseph Turner.
He firstly built a home on the corner of Plunkett Street, but facing Kinghorne Street, which was later moved up the hill and is still located next to the City Muffler Centre.
Joseph Turner lived there with his wife Elizabeth (nee Rutherford), most of their nine children having left home.
He built a second cottage for his brother Will to occupy - but he refused point blank to live in it.
This led to Joseph's daughter Mabel moving in with her husband William Donovan, and their son Les was born while they were there.
It was 1928 before the Werninck name became associated with the cottage.
During June of that year the property was sold to Turner's son-in-law, Thomas James Werninck, who had married his widowed daughter Mary Ann.
They had been born on neighbouring properties at Nowra Hill, Werninck in 1888 and his wife in 1886.
Thomas Werninck applied in 1933 to subdivide the property into four lots, and this was approved early the following year.
One was purchased by Nowra builder Arthur Moore who constructed the home that has recently become the Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre.
In the meantime additions were made to the Werninck Cottage, and electricity was connected in late 1935.
By the time Thomas Werninck died in 1973 (aged 84), Shoalhaven Shire Council had started to re-develop Marriott Park and was looking to extend its area.
However Mary Ann was adamant that she would not sell under any circumstances.
Her late husband had advised her "not to let the key to her home out of her possession under any circumstances" and she followed this advice to the grave.
Mary Ann moved to a nursing home in 1976, and lived there until her death in 1981 just short of her 95th birthday.
Her daughters subsequently offered the Werninck Cottage to council, and the purchase was completed in 1984.
Some funding for restoration was received from the Heritage Council, and the building was prepared for public use.
Werninck Craft Cottage was officially opened on October 12, 1985 by Shoalhaven Mayor, Harry Sawkins.
[Acknowledgement to Robyn Florance of Shoalhaven Historical Society, and Maurice Toulmin for assistance with this article.]
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