From inducing a sense of well being to inspiring great thoughts, the spaces we inhabit have a vast impact on what we feel and how we act.

In December 2020, Cottage by the Sea officially opened the doors to a bright, modern renovation. When children, and visitors alike, first arrive at the Cottage they are greeted by the grand façade of the original 1930s building, sympathetically restored to its whitewashed coastal glory. Through the welcoming double doors, the children’s eyes are drawn immediately to the multi-coloured spiral slide that leads down from the dormitory floor to the colourful, sunny foyer.

The slide encapsulates so much of what the Cottage means to the generations of children who have come here over 130 years and will come through for many decades to come.  First and foremost, the slide is fun. It is adventurous. The journey through it is longer than you might imagine.  When the children tumble gently out of the slide onto the soft landing mat at the bottom, they are filled with a joy that they share spontaneously with their peers and adults alike.  This sense of bonding and belonging is immediate.  The experience of the slide shares so much with all the activities the children take part in while at Cottage: ocean swimming, boogie boarding, long walks to the light house, the low ropes course and the many team building games organised by our programs team.  All these activities are aimed at building confidence and engaging children in a fun way.

As the children leave the reception area, the excitement builds with stunning views of the water and Port Phillip Heads. From the dining area, water views can be seen from all angles.  The use of a large servery window and glass splash back in the kitchen allow the children the comfort of seeing who is making their meals while the delightful smells of nutritious food fill the Cottage.


The dining room and back deck allow the children a full view of all their play areas – ropes course, sand and fire pits, basketball court and large open grass area for various activities that connect the Cottage to the beach that appears to be within arm’s reach.

All elements of the redesign have been carefully orchestrated to meet the many needs of our children, including tackling the issue of real anxiety that some children feel on arrival in a new environment.  Every element of the redesign has been focussed on generating happiness and providing a sense of security.  This forms the very basis of the work we do to help enhance children’s lives.

The modern extension is evident with the use of the Cottage colours on the bottom deck area; bright and light, evoking happiness and optimism.  Grey cladding blends with the recycled bricks seamlessly transitioning the new and the old, connecting our 130 years of history to the new and inspiring opportunities of the future.

Once again we extend our thanks to everyone who contributed financially and in kind to help the Cottage building come to life. As well as everyone who has helped keep the Cottage here for over 130 years, through your kind donations and kind words.  This capital works project was also made possible through generous funding from the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund.  This one-time grant has been directed to the Major Capital Works project only. It does not contribute to funding children’s programs.


“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” – Winston Churchill


Cottage by the Sea thanks everyone who has contributed to fundraising for Capital Works. Some of our major donors for this project include:

Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund

David George (Bequest)

Portland House Foundation

John T Reid Charitable Trusts

Roseanne Grimke Drayton (Bequest)

Percy Baxter Charitable Trust

Gandel Foundation

Shine-On Foundation

Geelong Spiritual Church

Dr & Mrs Sam Howes

Smart Family (Indoor Slide)

Newman’s Own Foundation Fund at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors – via Patrick Dangerfield

The Flack Trust

Cottage by the Sea Combined Branches (Annual Fair)

Simply Energy

Australian Communities Foundation

APCO Foundation

The Dawn Wade Foundation

Anthony Costa Foundation

Campbell Edwards

Bull & Bears Golf Group

Michael Vickers-Willis

Rod Laver Dinner hosted by Frank Costa Patron AO

Deakin University

Gordon TAFE

Glynn Harvey

Cottage by the Sea Ambassador’s Race Day