Stevenson’s association with this land began on December 23, 1837, when the four town acres were granted to him. A mortgage to Edward Stephens taken out on March 10, 1840, indicates impending improvements to the property. It is probable that part of the present Buffalo Cottage was completed by 1842, for its small-scale representation on the Kingston map is virtually identical with that included in the Smith Survey and today it remains recognisably similar. It is of note that even by 1880 the four town acres still had not been subdivided; two were in fact noted as “Chinaman’s Garden”.
The buildings, of limestone brick and pug (pisé), are indicated as stone and brick in the Smith Survey, yet the Kingston map shows them as constructed of pisé. The almost identical plan form would, however, indicate a high degree of historical continuity. The structure displays pioneer building techniques and is one of the few buildings in the city to retain its roof cladding of rolled sheet iron, dating from 1872 (possibly indicating a later date for the front wing). Although a distinctive element on Finniss Street, it makes little contribution to the streetscape because of its location behind a high fence.