HERITAGE RESTORATION

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JMBS won the Master Builders Regional Awards in Excellence for Heritage Restoration for works involving the complete renovation and restoration of the Harrington Park Homestead (NSW).The restoration of this early 1800’s heritage listed building was a huge undertaking with each task presenting its own set of complex difficulties.

The conservation of Harrington Park Homestead was undertaken following in-depth and extensive historical research of the property to establish the evolution and development of the Homestead and the Estate over time. This research, in conjunction with investigation of the physical fabric and thorough documentation of the place, provided an informed framework for the careful planning of the conservation and adaptive works to the homestead. The planning framework established a brief to retain as much of the homestead and its fabric as possible and to carefully adapt it for modern living. The approach was to conserve this State significant homestead in adherence to the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter, NSW Heritage Office and Camden Council conditions, and in line with the physical and documentary evidence of the place. The methodology was to do “as much as necessary but as little as possible” to repair, conserve and restore the heritage fabric of the homestead, and to adapt the homestead in areas of least significance, leaving the areas of higher significance intact.
Tropman & Tropman Architects were the specialist Heritage Architects responsible for the research, documentation, supervision and management of the project. Approvals were obtained from the NSW Heritage Branch (Section 60 Application) and Camden Council (Development Application and Construction Certificate). Specialist tradespeople, skilled in conservation works, were engaged to manage the project and to carry out works at the site to repair and reconstruct damaged fabric.
Conservation of this State significant homestead was at the very heart of this project. All periods of ownership and development of the homestead from its initial construction in c1817 through to the final phase of building in 1967 were respected and conserved.
At the commencement of the works, the fabric of the homestead was in fairly bad condition from falling and rising damp and structural instability. Sensitive fabric was handled with care with some adaptation carried out in areas of lower significance (e.g. constructing a new stair in the later Flower Room on the Ground Floor for internal access to the Cellar below) or areas of extensive damage (e.g. the Kitchen space had extensive water damage). Areas of high significance were generally stabilised, cleaned and conserved.
Archaeologists were engaged to monitor the site and building during works. Undisturbed areas were given particular attention during repairs and conservation works. For example, during the repair of the Ground Floor ceilings, the floor to the First Floor rooms was taken up. Extensive artefacts were discovered that had slipped under the skirting boards or through the floorboards into the underfloor space. Items discovered included needles, dress pins, safety pins, hat pins, glass beads, buttons, ribbons, hairclips, a wall hook, brass ring, draw key, hair comb, pencils, pen tips, decorative shells, string, thread, leather, nails and tacks, matches, broken wine glass and ornamental ceramic, a bullet casing and a women’s ticket for the Agricultural Society dated 1910. Many of these items are traditionally associated with women and have accumulated over the past 187 years.
Advancements in technology were used in the form of wireless switching for new lighting to avoid extensive chasing of the heritage fabric (brickwork).
Structural Engineers were engaged to advise on best practice methods of underpinning and stabilising the later period masonry First Floor Bathroom that was causing the rotation and destablisation of the earlier walls below.
Generally, this was a very large conservation and repairs project such that all phases of the homestead’s development – from the initial c1817 construction through to the recent retreat additions of 1967 – were valued and conserved. The conservation works carried out at the site uncovered the layers of fabric and confirmed the documentary evidence of the site in terms of the evolution of the building and its construction periods, including the change in orientation of the homestead. The use of advancements in technology and best practice techniques ensured the retention of as much heritage fabric as possible with minimal interventions to fabric.
Harrington Park is one of the earliest Cowpastures estates, built in the early 19th Century. The careful restoration and conservation of this historic homestead (built from c1817) will ensure that this tangible component of the early settlement of the Cowpastures area is able to be maintained and appreciated by future generations.
The Harrington Park Homestead Estate has State significance as one of the earliest Cowpasture Homesteads that became a Gentleman’s residence on the Cumberland Plain. The Harrington Park Homestead Estate continues to be a landmark and a focus in the Camden Valley as part of the cultural landscape of scenic setting, remnant pastureland, residential development and open space.
The Homestead, associated structures, gardens, landscape features, grazing paddocks and surviving contextual setting have historical, social, aesthetic and technical significance to the State of New South Wales.
The Harrington Park Homestead is a significant example of an early two storey country residence with generally intact interior. Alterations and additions to original are superficial. Its architectural quality, setting and its connection with William Campbell, an important settler, mariner and trader; Abraham Davy, for restoring the gentrification of the Homestead; the Rudd/Bretton family for using the place to express their social status; and Sir Warwick and Lady Mary Fairfax for their use of the place to pursue and develop their cultural interests, make it a property of great importance.
JMBS wins Master Builders Regional Awards in Excellence for Heritage Restoration
The restoration of this early 1800’s heritage listed building was a huge undertaking with each task presenting its own set of complexed difficulties.
The builder has produced a magnificent project and should be very proud of his final completed works.
The project involved the complete renovation and restoration of the Harrington Park Homestead.
Meticulous joinery, plastering, electrical and plumbing were all carried out under strict heritage supervision.
The judges were very impressed with the Builders endeavours.

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