A 100-year-old cottage tucked inside the Wollongong Botanic Garden has been celebrating its centenary by inviting artists inside.
Cratloe Cottage, otherwise known as the Discovery Centre, is set to host established or emerging writers between April and June to help them develop a new literary work.
"We're looking for someone who would particularly benefit from being in the gardens and they'll be invited to be part of the 100th year anniversary of the cottage in June," said South Coast Writers Centre director Sarah Nicholson, who established the artist residency program this year.
Two four-week residencies will be offered for writers from Illawarra local government areas and one two-week residency offered to a non-local writer living on the South Coast or Southern Highlands.
Despite 2020 being a tumultuous year for writers' organisations across the state due to funding cuts, 2021 is "actually looking quite rosy" for the Illawarra centre with help from Create NSW.
"It's just been a fortuitous coming together of all of those things at the same time," Dr Nicholson said. "We were able to apply and get some money from [the state government] to support the project and the garden was making the space available."
Earlier this year the cottage hosted visual artist Greer Taylor and her work "Ghost Trees" as part of the 2021 Sculpture in the Garden exhibition.
The temporary sculpture encouraged visitors the garden to embroider words on to ribbons attached to tree boughs. The collaborative work was about the processing of grief felt by our communities in the wake of last year's bushfires.
Applications for the writers' residencies close on March 28. More information can be found at: https://southcoastwriters.org/
Cratloe was built dairy farmer James Fitzgerald in 1921 for his wife Elizabeth and eight children, and named after the Irish town where Mr Fitzgerald's parents had migrated from.
The family had previously bought land in the area and initially built Claremont Homestead. This was later sold to Arthur Sidney Hoskins who erected Gleniffer Brae Manor in its place.
In 1935 Cratloe and surrounding acreage was sold to the Hoskins family, whom in 1951 donated 46 acres of their estate to Wollongong City Council for the purpose of building a Botanic Garden. In 1966 council purchased Cratloe and the adjoining two-and-a-half acres.
It's uncertain whether future artists residencies will be offered at Cratloe beyond those from the SCWC.