Historic woolshed repair draws a crowd

News article |

Volunteers from the Friends of Burra Parks group and staff from Natural Resources Northern and Yorke gathered recently at Bimbowrie Conservation Park to breathe fresh life into the historic Antro Woolshed.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscape Ranger Darrin Bennett said that 17 volunteers, guided by DEWNR staff, focussed their attention on the Antro Woolshed, understood to have been the largest shearing shed in Australia in the late 1800’s.

"During the 1980s, cement was used to reinforce the walls, which at the time was considered best practice, however we now know that this is not the case," Mr Bennett said.

"The group spent five days removing the hard cement mortar, and employed traditional stone masonry techniques using a ratio of non-hydrated lime and water to repoint and lime wash the walls."

"The very original works lasted about 100 years, and it is hoped the work done by the volunteers will last at least another 100."

Bob Lamb from the Friends of Burra Parks said that over the years the volunteer group has achieved an incredible amount of work.

"Everyone that comes on these annual trips learns a lot about working with stone and traditional building materials," Mr Lamb said.

"It is always great to be involved with such an amazing group who are all so passionate about restoring these old historic buildings."

Since the project between Friends of Burra Parks and Natural Resources Northern and Yorke began, a significant amount of restoration work has been completed on historical buildings near the homestead, including the old coach house, horse stables, Cobb & Co. post office and Mawson’s Hutt.

Mr Bennett said that the most recent visit to Bimbowrie Conservation Park was the fifth annual stonemasonry trip that the Friends of Burra Parks group has made.

"It’s a privilege to support such a dedicated group of volunteers who are passionate about heritage buildings – without their help these buildings would not be in such good condition for future generations to enjoy," Mr Bennett said.

"I would like to thank them for accomplishing so much on this trip and all the other working bees that they have contributed to."

The group celebrated their achievements with a BBQ dinner in the historic woolshed on the final night of the trip.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Regional Director Trevor Naismith attended the working bee and said the pastoral heritage is a huge part of the Bimbowrie story and central to that is the magnificent Antro shearing shed.

"The assistance provided by the Friends of Burra Parks in conserving Antro will ensure that visitors to the Park will be able to gain an insight into what was once an incredibly busy place," Mr Naismith said.

For information about the Friends of Burra Parks group and volunteer opportunities in the Northern and Yorke region, contact the Natural Resources Centre at Clare on 8841 3444.

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