CONSERVATION WITH NEW WORKS
The Exeter Farm project was undertaken through the Endangered Houses Fund (EHF) program of the Historic Houses Trust (now Sydney Living Museums). The EHF program identifies ‘at risk’ significant properties in NSW, conserving and protecting them, and on completion offering them back into the marketplace. The EHF is essentially a developer of last resort for significant heritage properties facing demolition.
Exeter Farm, Glenwood, consists of two 1850s modest timber-slab cottage buildings located on the northwest outskirts of Sydney, that were until recently set in a rural landscape but are now surrounded by suburban development. Once common in the Sydney region, 19th century timber slab cottages are becoming increasingly rare and Exeter Farm is one of the least altered known examples, and in its design and construction is representative of the building type from the earliest years of the colony until 1830s.
When the conservation work commenced in late 2008 the two buildings were in an appalling condition and had suffered severe damage from vandalism, rot and termites and had not been inhabited since the 1970s. The conservation works to the cottage buildings involved major structural repair, replastering, recladding, new floors, services and extensive landscaping and all sound original material was retained.
The project demonstrates that good sustainable and economic conservation outcomes could be achieved on what was perceived as an almost impossible task. This project was used to demonstrate best practice in conservation and as a teaching opportunity for the public and the profession.