Lyons Cottage

Lyons Cottage is the only remaining example of colonial bungalow style architecture in Darwin.

 

Lyons Cottage was built in 1925 as accommodation for the Darwin Cable Company management staff and their families. The Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company operated and maintained the cable but it was more commonly known as the British Australia Telegraph Company and the cottage as BAT House.

 

The building is managed by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and currently houses Aboriginal Bush Traders.

Aboriginal Bush Traders is an Aboriginal art gallery and retail exhibiting a range of authentic Indigenous products complimented by a bush food Café.

Lyons Cottage

74 The Esplanade, Darwin City

Opening Hours

9am–4pm Monday – Friday

9am–3pm Saturday – Sunday

 

Cafe Opening Hours

7.30am–3pm Monday – Friday

 
FREE ENTRY
+61 8 8931 6650
info@aboriginalbushtraders.com

History

 

Lyons Cottage was built in 1925 as accommodation for the Darwin Cable Company management staff and their families. The Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company operated and maintained the cable but it was more commonly known as the British Australia Telegraph Company and the cottage as BAT House.

 

Following the laying of the cable in the 1870s, the cable company built several substantial buildings along The Esplanade but many of these buildings were either destroyed during the 1937 cyclone or the Japanese bombing raids on Darwin in 1942. Although the bombing destroyed most of Darwin city, the Cottage survived intact and was occupied by the United States Army between 1943 and 1945.

 

Post-war Era

After the war, there was an acute housing shortage when Darwin was officially reopened to civilians. Lawyer John ('Tiger') Lyons and his family returned to Darwin, leased the Cottage and. Eventually purchased it in 1952. In 1958, Lyons was elected Lord Mayor of Darwin and later to the Legislative Council.

 

Cyclone Tracy

Following Lyons' death in 1970, the Cottage was sold to a property developer with plans to erect a multi-story hotel on the site. However, these plans were vigorously rejected by heritage conscious Darwin residents and Cyclone Tracy effectively cancelled the development plans. Like most Darwin buildings, the Cottage suffered some damage during .the cyclone. The roof was blown off and the ornate plaster ceilings damaged beyond repair.

 

Restoration

The Cottage was restored to its post-1942 exterior, while the interior reflects the period between 1926 and 1942. In early 1984, the Museums & Art Galleries Board developed the Cottage as a museum of early Darwin history. The building is still managed by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Since 2015, Lyons Cottge has been leased by Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation (trading as Aboriginal Bush Traders).

 

 

Aboriginal Bush Traders

 

Established by Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation in 2015, Aboriginal Bush Traders works to deliver shared services that support Indigenous community members to commercialise and trade authentic products and services, based on Aboriginal culture, art and experiences.

 

Aboriginal Bush Traders provides avenues for Indigenous people wanting to engage in economic activities in a sustainable way. Specializing in sourcing unique, authentic and ethically sourced products and services from across the Northern Territory.

 

A mix of Indigenous and European history, Lyons Cottage features a quarterly exhibition program, a retail store and a bush tucker café specializing in Native Australian products.

 

CONTACT

Museum and Art Gallery of
the Northern Territory

GPO Box 4646, Darwin NT 0801

+61 8 8999 8264

info@magnt.net.au
MAGNT acknowledges the traditional owners of country across the Northern Territory and beyond, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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ABN  22 932 713 682

Aboriginal Bush Traders cafe features a bush food inspired menu and outdoor seating

Photo courtesy of Aboriginal Bush Traders