Speaker: Samantha Westbrook, Conservation Architect, National Trust

Samantha Westbrook and I work at the National Trust as the conservation architect.

Abercrombie House is a portable iron building that was brought out from the UK in the Gold Rush era and was put up for people who were coming to Melbourne to support the goldfields.

Well, these buildings, we've got three of them on this site at South Melbourne, they demonstrate the really early building construction and the beginnings of prefabrication in the Victorian period. And there's not many of them surviving. So, it's so important to retain what we have to demonstrate this early technology.

It was really important with these conservation works that we retained the patina of the buildings. We stabilised it enough so it was more presentable for visitors to come to Abercrombie house and understand a bit more about this particular cottage.

The wallpapers really reveal a bit about how people lived in the cottage, and that's something that hasn't been retained in the other two cottages on the site. So, we really love this and we find that the works that we've undertaken revealed all these different layers and we can start to date them through the patterns now and find a bit more about the people who lived in the house.

Page last updated: 15/03/23