The heritage-listed Glover Cottages in Millers Point are a rare surviving example of colonial Georgian architecture. They were first occupied by Thomas Glover, a miner from Somerset transported to Australia aged 19 for stealing a rabbit. Glover had worked as a stonemason on some notable Sydney buildings before becoming the publican of the Sailor’s Return in nearby Cumberland Street.
Built in the 1820s from local sandstone, the cottages were adapted from the rural English style for an Australian urban setting, and are thought to be among the first semidetached terraces to appear in Sydney.
The cottages remained in the Glover family for generations after Thomas’s death, though their survival was something of a lottery. Outbreaks of the bubonic plague between 1901 and 1910 led to the demolition of many buildings in the area, although Glover Cottages were ultimately spared along with the nearby Lord Nelson Hotel.
The prior quarrying of sandstone in the area, combined with the later lowering of Kent Street, left Glover Cottages stranded high above their neighbours. Appearing to have ‘run aground’, the cottages have been nicknamed ‘the Ark’ by locals since the end of the 1800s.
In 1977 the Glover Cottages interiors were restored and repurposed for modern life, preserving them for future generations. Currently they house the Sydney office of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), a non-profit platform for research, debate and understanding of international relations in Australia.
The two cottages and the courtyard.
Entrance is up a steep slope so not suitable for wheelchairs or prams.