Longford Academy, May 2018
The ninth annual APT Australasia Chapter Longford Academy was held at the World Heritage inscribed Woolmers and Brickendon Estates on 7-12 May 2018. The group of 25 participants included builders, tradespersons, materials conservators, architects, engineers, archaeologists, curators and others actively involved in conservation works and heritage management. The focus of this year’s activities was the c.1840s walled garden area of Woolmers Homestead, including two garden pavilions and the central fountain. At Brickendon the open cart shed was the subject of a structural and conservation analysis.
Activities included investigations (smoking pavilion, fountain and Brickendon cart shed) and works (fountain and stone kerb, garden pavilion and Coalbrookdale bench seat).
Formal one-day workshops on lime mortars and roofing were also built into the six-day program. These were attended by builders from the Tasmanian Independent Builders Association and Port Arthur Historic site. David Young presented a workshop on lime in conservation works and Greg Owens presented a workshop on the conservation of roofing, leading an inspection and discussion of the material construction and significance of the significant early roofs at Brickendon Estate. He also conducted hands-on demonstrations of crafting traditional galvanised steel rainwater goods.
This building was found to be in poorer condition than it appears externally, with questions raised about latent structural conditions, including the sub-floor. The building was subjected to a detailed analysis and discussion of appropriate approaches and methodologies to address its repair and conservation. This analysis is informing further investigative work and conservation repair to be undertaken in June.
The failed roof cladding was removed from the garden pavilion to expose and treat the roof timbers in preparation for the introduction of new matching roof cladding.
The lower part of the structure was found to be very fragile, needing a gentle touch to stabilise the weathered cladding and flooring. Again, detailed analysis and debate by participants over approaches to the repair of this fabric is informing further necessary conservation works.
The mid nineteenth-century cast iron fountain was hand cleaned and coated with penetrating oil in preparation for re-coating. Perforations in the bowl and some extreme corrosion were considered to be suitable to be safely re-painted without further intervention.
The new paint coating system will replicate the traditional faux bronze paint finish. Paint sampling revealed the bronze green base layers of the originally specified faux bronze finish.
The sandstone kerb was re-pointed with a lime and fine sand pointing mix following hand-removal of the old decayed pointing.
The c.1860s bench seat was disassembled and the cast iron partly stripped by means of an alkaline paint removal poultice. Paint sampling revealed evidence of the same faux bronze finish. It will be reconstructed with new pine slats and re-painted in the coming months.
Brickendon Cart Shed
The open-sided cart shed at Brickendon was examined by a multi-disciplinary group and a report with recommended actions provided for consideration. There is evidence to suggest that the structure is probably an early estate building but heavily modified to accommodate changing needs uses. It requires substantial works to stabilise the structure.
General Roofing and Masonry Works
In parallel with the works described above groups worked at Woolmers on the preparation of lime repair mortars and at Brickendon examining roofing in preparation for works to be undertaken during the masterclasses at Longford in Spring 2018.