When this post-Regency villa was built is uncertain but it may date back to the 1830s when the Betts family owned the land. The two-acre property was purchased in 1844 by sheriff’s clerk John Leigh Vannett who was charged with embezzlement and defaulted on his mortgage payments. It was bought in 1855 by architect Michael Golden who made additions and alterations.
Margaretta Cottage was built from sandstone, of which there was a plentiful supply nearby. A desperate shortage of limestone was partly solved by the laborious process of gathering seashells from Blackwattle Bay and burning them.
In its breadth and simplicity the house possesses many colonial features: French doors and shutters, flat cast-iron verandah posts, side gables and a central attic window. The front stone and iron railing fence originally belonged to the demolished Maryville.
Michael Golden died in 1872. His will stipulated that Margaretta Cottage be the home of his widow and his single daughters until they married. A legal labyrinth of intestate deaths meant that his descendants were not able to dispose of Margaretta Cottage and its two-storey neighbour (another Golden property) until 1949, by which time the stone buildings were considered old and “only worth their demolition value”.
Both escaped the wrecking ball and have been restored. In recent years Margaretta Cottage’s house and garden have provided a wonderful venue for concerts during the annual Glebe Music Festival.
Margaretta Cottage has also been known as Edenhurst while adjacent Leichhardt Lodge was renamed Bayview and Glebe Lodge.