The well-known Lanyon Homestead will be partially closed to the public for the next three months for conservation and restoration works.
The goal of conservation and restoration is to go a step beyond maintenance works and focus on long-term works that won’t need to be repeated for years.
Acting Director of ACT Historic Places Amy Jarvis said the works would be carried out to ensure the property remained in good condition for future generations.
“It gets to a point where maintenance can only do so much, and repair and some restoration is needed,” Ms Jarvis said.
The roof would be a focal point as the sheeting and plumbing needed to be replaced to ensure the building was watertight.
The new roof will be matched as closely as possible to the current one, said Ms Jarvis.
But history buffs needn’t despair – the original timber shingles from the original roof that are under the current roof won’t be removed.
These works will also include repairing timber, masonry, concrete and tiles at the site.
The Homestead will also be painted inside and out in its original colour scheme, and landscaping will be done to improve drainage.
Ms Jarvis will draw on her knowledge and experience in previous conservation projects and work with a heritage architect, a materials conservator and roofing professionals to carry out the works.
“We’ve also undertaken archival recording of the building so we could record it before the works are done, so we have a full evolution of the building, as well.”
Ms Jarvis said the works were being funded by the ACT Government. They were initially supposed to take place in 2020 but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Jarvis said several factors can impact the condition of older buildings and prompt extra care.
“The homestead is 160-plus years old and it is a building that is in a landscaped setting so it is exposed to the elements, like any building,” she explained.
“A lot of buildings of this age are made with materials that may not withstand the weather, but also the sheer age of the building is a huge factor, as well.”
Lanyon will remain open throughout the works, though fencing will be up around the Homestead and signage will be installed.
Tours of the Homestead will not be running while the works are being carried out, but visitors to Lanyon can undertake free tours of the Heritage Precinct and the gardens, or visit the on-site cafe.
Similar works, though smaller in scale, will soon be occurring at Calthorpes House and Mugga-Mugga Cottage, as well as other buildings at Lanyon Homestead.
“They’re all in remarkably good condition, I should say, for their ages, but it’s always good to know we’ve got this rolling program of works to make sure they stay that way!”
These works are scheduled to finish in May 2023.