VOLUNTEERS at Old Government Cottage were happy to open the doors to visitors on Sunday for the first time in almost 12 months.
The iconic heritage building on Stanley Street was a victim of COVID-19, losing visitors and much-needed volunteers.
Bathurst District Historical Society (BDHS) media officer Sarah Swift said it was good to finally be able to welcome people back.
"We normally have quite a few out-of-town visitors coming to see the cottage, but we are really hoping locals take the time to explore what is in their own backyard," she said.
"We are especially looking forward to helping younger people who might be interested, such as university students doing research and school groups, and show them an insight into life in Bathurst 200 years ago."
BDHS archivist Kim Bagot-Hiller said the volunteers who run the cottage had used the closure time wisely.
"We have applied and continue to apply for a number of small grants to help us with a lot of projects, such as maintaining the gardens, erecting new signs and displays and keeping up restoration," she said.
"Bathurst is in the unique situation where we have three lovely, historic homes - Old Government Cottage, Miss Traill's House and the Chifley Home - which are great examples of heritage architecture and gardens.
"We are one of the oldest buildings in Bathurst and are lucky to be part of that wonderful collection."
While volunteers are looking forward to the return of visitors, volunteer co-ordinator Julie Liddell said they could also use some fresh faces among their ranks.
"Quite a few people have stopped volunteering since the outbreak of COVID and, like most volunteer groups, a lot of our hard workers are getting on in years," she said.
"It would be great to hear from anyone interested in history and Bathurst's past, and who might have some spare time to volunteer at the Old Government Cottage or at the Historical Society Museum."
Old Government Cottage is open on the fourth Sunday of every month from noon to 4pm.
Entry is $4 for adults and $2 for pensioners and children.
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