Francis, son of Michael and Margaret (née Tranier) McAteer was born in 1828 in Newrey, Northern Ireland. He emigrated on the Goldfinder arriving in Melbourne on 1 Feb 1855. He married Catherine Mulroney in 1859. The couple had the following children:
Margaret Mary — born in 1861 at Geelong, married Thomas Fowler in 1890, died on 5 December 1942 aged 79 years at Kew, buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Michael — born in 1861, died on 9 June 1892 aged 31 years at Marshalltown, buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Alice — born in 1869 at Geelong, died on 14 April 1870 at Geelong, buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Edward — born in 1871, died on 28 May 1934 at Geelong, buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Rose — born in 1877, died on 30 October 1896 aged 19 years at Geelong, buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery
The family lived in a two roomed cottage at Breakwater in 1865 and 1866. On 28 September 1866 Frank bought a crown allotment on the corner of Barwon Heads and Tannery Roads on which he built a bluestone cottage of four rooms. This block was sold later than other crown allotments in the district as it had been retained to be used as a cemetery prior to the gazetting of Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Margaret was postmistress at Marshalltown Post Office from 1886 until she married in 1890. Catherine took over the position after this and continued until 1896.
He also bought two other allotments in Horseshoe Bend Road and allotments 1 and 2 on the north side of Tannery Road. After his death on 15 November 1901 he left a lifetime interest in his property to his wife and then his assets would be divided between his surviving children, Margaret and Edward.
Catherine died on 28 March 1915 aged 73 years at her daughter's residence, "Barwon" in Brighton Street, Richmond and was buried with her husband and other members of her family in the Roman Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.
As the cottage was kept in the family until at least 1937 much of it was in original condition at this time. There is also a bluestone outbuilding which has a nineteenth appearance. By 1957 the property was owned by market gardener Reno Saccardo. After this it was under threat from vandalism.
The cottage was built on allotment 18. The Barwon Heads Road was re aligned to the eastern side of the church and later when the congregation moved to a new church in Grovedale the church building was moved to Cobbin Farm.