Our History

A place which helped shape my belief in people

In December 2019, some wonderful people from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) volunteered their time at Cottage by the Sea. One of their team, Tony, stayed at the Cottage as a child nearly 50 years ago.  We were lucky enough to hear his story. In his own words, Tony has generously shared some of his […]

Our History

Our only measure is the child’s need

When we heard of cases where not only a child and her mother, but also her grandmother, have all had their holiday at Queenscliff, we feel that the Cottage holds a unique record in Victoria,” writes Pamela Conrad, Organising Secretary of the Ministering Children’s League (Cottage by the Sea) in a document from 1963. During […]

Our History

Very Merry Cottage

Historically, Cottage by the Sea hosted children over Christmas and throughout the summer holidays.  It was an invaluable service for hundreds of families, especially those who needed to work through this period. Thanks to generosity of private donations, the Cottage was able to offer a beachside holiday for free. Children played on the local beaches […]

Our History

Fun times remembered

In 1945, Margaret Carroll (nee Woodman) from Boundary Primary School, North Melbourne stayed at Cottage by the Sea with her younger sister Lillian.  In September 2019, she visited us again with her daughters Christine and Jenny. Margaret remembers coming with her mum and her sister on the tram to Spencer Street station.  For her mum, […]

Our History

Any child regardless of colour and creed

In 1951 a new matron, Sister Nora Harper, arrived at Cottage by the Sea from the Ministering Children’s League (MCL) parent house in Ottershaw, England. She was highly qualified and well experienced both medically and administratively. In her notes from that year, Matron Harper writes: “the selection of children to be sent on holiday has […]

Our History

To keep the clouds of war from influencing children

In 1940, the Ministering Children’s League (MCL), the founding charity of Cottage by the Sea, held their Jubilee AGM, celebrating 50 years in Australia.  Held in the Reception Room at the Melbourne Town Hall to a packed attendance, Dame Enid Lyons, gave a delightful address pointing out: “how necessary it is for all to realise […]

Our History

Undeterred by war or epidemics

A Convalescent Home called Cottage by the Sea, situated at Queenscliff, was the principal work of the Ministering Children’s League. The original wooden Cottage was built in 1895 to accommodate 12 children but was added to over time so that it could eventually cater for 36 convalescents. By 1936 the ravages of seaside wind, rain […]

Our History

Restoration and health (1890-1920)

Restoration and health in the early days of the Cottage (1890-1920) Cottage by the Sea has a proud history of helping children in need since 1890. It was established and run by the Ministering Children’s League (MCL), a non-denominational charity started in England by the Countess of Meath. Originally it catered for convalescing children but […]

Our History

25 years ago, today

25 years ago, the Cottage wasn’t such a different place … the children were still the heart of everything. The Cottage, operating purely on funds donated, provided a nurturing environment where children could build their potential and return to their lives happier and healthier individuals. “As the longest serving staff member who joined Cottage by […]

Our History

Seventy-Nine Years On

It is 79 years since I first stood here, at the door of Cottage by the Sea in Queenscliff. The Black Friday bushfire of 1939 had burnt down our school at Icy Creek. It killed 72 people in the state, including a family or 13 in the next community. Someone thought us bush school students […]