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1984, Total running time: 96 Minutes. Exempt from classification.

This compelling six-part series was originally produced for the Australian Heritage Commission to illustrate the skills required for authentic restoration of buildings. The episodes show conservation work at Coolamine Homestead complex in Kosciusko National Park, at the Garrison Holy Trinity Church at Millers Point in Sydney, the Sydney Technical College at Ultimo, the Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne and examples of interior decoration and restoration at two historic private homes in Melbourne.
They feature master stonemason George Proudman, moulder Jack Thomas, stained glass artist Kevin Little, axemen Bill Boyd and Mark Garner, solid plasterer Larry Harrigan and interior decorators and restorers Elizabeth Stevens and Christine Cooke. In each film the craftsmen and women give their own explanation of their rare skills as the work proceeds and share the benefits of their experience and wisdom.

TIMBERCRAFT (16 Minutes) A detailed look at the restoration of the Coolamine Homestead in the Kosciuszko National Park. Constructed in 1883, the building is a very good example of a drop slab alpine ash timber hut. The process of restoration is explained in detail, including choosing the right tree, using traditional tools such as the cross-cut saw; the broadaxe; the adze; the drawknife; the maul and froe, and demonstrating what were once standard bush skills. The program features axemen Bill Boyd and Mark Garner who, like their families before them, have worked in the bush all their lives.

STONECRAFT (16 Minutes) Weathered stonework at the Sydney Technical College, built in 1891, is being restored and where necessary, replaced. The grey stone needed comes from Wondabyne Quarry. Stonemason George Proudman explains the process of restoration, from choosing the stone and tools required, to the methods used for fitting replacement stone.

GLASSCRAFT (16 Minutes) Like his father and grandfather, Kevin Little works with stained glass. This film gives a detailed description of the process of restoring damaged glass panels in the East Window at the Garrison Holy Trinity Church, Millers Point, Sydney. Designed by Henry Ginn in 1844, the first official Garrison Church is a small Gothic Revival stone building. Kevin Little vividly displays the time-honoured skills required for the authentic restoration of an ecclesiastical window. He guides the viewer through damage assessment and removal of window, glass selection, painting, staining, firing, leading up, polishing and installation of the restored window.

IRONCRAFT (16 Minutes) A detailed look at the making of cast iron lacework at a small iron foundry in Sydney. Jack Thomas, who has been working at the foundry since 1939, provides a tour through the process and with his workmates demonstrates the skills required. We see him restoring a delicately wrought corner frieze for a terrace house. His methods and equipment are those of the original master, creating a mould in sand, cleaning and preparing the traditional furnace, firing with wood and coke, melting the pig iron, pouring the molten metal into its mould and then carefully dressing the moulded metal. In this small workshop, the red hot metal and dim light give an unexpected glimpse of what iron work must have been like in the early years of the Industrial Revolution.

SOLID PLASTERING (16 Minutes) A look at the intricate and varied process of restoring and retaining the original ornamental plasterwork on heritage buildings. Larry Harrigan, a third generation plasterer originally from Ireland, has taken seven years to restore the old Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne, which was very badly decayed.

DECORATIVE PAINT WORK (15 Minutes) Interior decorators and restorers Elizabeth Stevens and Christine Cooke demonstrate their skills restoring the Victorian and Art Deco decorative paintwork in a private house in Toorak, Melbourne, built in the 1880s. The film shows many beautiful, traditional decorative techniques, including stencilling, marbling, wood graining, simulated tortoiseshell and porphyry, and gold gilding.

Produced for Australian Heritage Commission by Film Australia. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.



Directors: Paul Humfress; Keith Gow

Producers: Pamela Paddon (Parts 1-4); Elisabeth Knight (Parts 5-6)

Cinematographers: Ross King; Kerry Brown

Composer: Derek Strahan

Year: 1984

Running Time: 6 x 16 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Curriculum Links: Architecture; Australian History; Environment & Conservation; Heritage, Museums and Conservation; Design and Technology.


Open House

Betty Viazim

NFSA FILM AUSTRALIA YouTube Channel (Timbercraft)




SKU 198321000
Brand Film Australia

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