2003 / 2004


28 November 2003

Yay, we own a historic house, now the work begins. After giving notice at our rented house in Canberra we had 2 weeks before we moved in to make the place livable. In the first week we took 3 tip truck loads of threadbare carpet, mattresses and dead refrigerators to the Yass tip. Here's a picture of the back verandah before we started cleaning up.


16 December 2003

Boxes everywhere ! After cleaning the house the removalists dropped all our stuff to add to the chaos, Back to work for us and back to childcare for our 11 month old daughter. I seems that the amount of stuff that we owned plus the amount of furniture we inherited with the house only just fits within the walls and we still have a storage unit down the street which is full of our more industrial belongings. With Christmas nearly upon us we have no hope of getting any work done on the house so its bare floorboards in some rooms and delightful 1960s kitchen carpet in the lounge room. Some of the furniture we got with the house is below.


Christmas 2003

Our first Christmas spent in our own home for a couple of years to the chorus of " Gee you've got a lot of work here" But sitting on the front verandah on a warm summer evening watching the Southern Cross rise makes it all worthwhile. 





January 2004

We have decided on some new carpet to have laid and ordered it, the garage plans are in with council and we have decided which room we are going to sacrifice for an inside bathroom.


February 2004

Nic's parents came down to visit and we decided that it would be a good idea to pull up the kitchen floor, hopefully salvaging some of the floorboards to relay after repairs were done. After removing the old floor coverings and checking the floor we managed to salvage three cedar floorboards as the rest had succumbed to dry rot. The kitchen has been added to the original house at some time after the house was built. Although of similar construction ( field stone with lime render ) it has been constructed more cheaply than the rest of the house and is not as well built. Instead of the 2 ft clearance between the floor and the earth as in the rest of the house the kitchen only has minimal clearance with the bearers sitting on the ground. To add insult to injury the downpipe from the back verandah has at one stage been routed underneath the floor into the underground tank, as the galvanised iron pipe rusted through every time it rained the underfloor area would have become a lake.

March 2004

The builder has started the bathroom. We have decided to frame the lower portions of the walls where the tiles will be and sheet the walls to give the tiles a stable surface to stick to. This has the added advantage that it preserves the original wall underneath and allows us to run plumbing and power without disturbing the walls.

The bathroom floor has been replaced with compressed sheeting and the bearers renewed, we have salvaged all the original blackwood floorboards for use in other areas of the house.


The original fireplace which we will retain with a cast register grate


April 2004

Work on our garage has started, however we realised that in order to stop the horse walking over the slab we would need to do some fencing. (and clean up the mess where the shed was going)  

Hmmm, lets put the driveway where that tree is and the shed where we are standing




School holidays are on which means more renovation work. This time around it is the front half of the hall that we are tackling. Previously we had sanded the floor with an orbital sander and applied about 4 coats of tung oil. The walls will be cleaned and painted with an arcylic paint. the original hooks were removed and the mounts fixed. we have found that the original finish on the cedar responds well to a rub over with a rag soaked in methylated spirits.


We decided to have a weekend away at Nelsons Bay after the hall was done, while we were in Maitland we called in and checked the area which was granted to Captain Allman which he named Rathluba. The house that he constructed was a ruin in the 1950s and is now beneath a housing estate. Rathluba farm is the remaining part of the land grant, the farmhouse in the photos was constructed in the 1920s.


May 2004

The garage is complete and we have connected the power. We removed the tree in the pictures above and dug the trench for the power.


June 2004

The builder decided that it was best to replaster the walls in the bathroom above the sheeting. In order to do this all the old plaster was removed and redone. With the old plaster removed it is possible to see where the original roofline on the western side of the house would have been prior to the later addition of the kitchen attached at the rear of the house.

Picture showing the stonework on the western side of the house inside the bathroom. The holes where the rafters would have originally been before the roof height was increased to accommodate the new kitchen are filled with bricks.



We have installed the tank on the shed for some additional water, not without dramas though. the wall height quoted on the brochure for the tank is not the inlet height. After making a nice sand base for the tank we discovered that the tank was too high and since water doesn't flow up hill something had to be changed. Eventually we dug enough sand out of the base to drop the tank far enough. The fiddly nature of fitting the guttering has made me think twice about replacing any on the house.

This photo is taken from approximately the same position as the one above showing the shed site



July 2004

This time its the lounge room's turn to get the renovation treatment, the carpet we ordered earlier in the year is to be laid, but first we have to remove the tasteful kitchen carpet with the rubber backing from the floor.

Nicole and Mrs. T hard at work



We had been a bit concerned about the condition of the floor under the carpet, however once we had all the old carpet up the only repairs were two sections of flooring that had been damaged by termites at some time in the past. these were replaced using timber recovered from the bathroom.

The Damaged boards replaced


As well as removing the old carpet we decided to strip the paint from the skirting boards to make the job easier to do after the new carpet had been laid.


Why would you paint cedar skirts like these??


After the carpet layers have done their magic the lounge room now looks like a new room. All we have to do now is remove the fibro ceiling, strip the architraves, strip the doors, strip the picture rails......

The new carpet installed, small white dog seems happy enough with the progress


Another shot showing the front of the room, Gotta love the pink doors with green architraves

While replastering the bathroom our plasterer noticed that there had been some pictures stuck inside the cupboard between the chimney and the external wall. This room was probably originally a maid's room so it would be interesting to know who put the photos there.

You can just make out the picture in the middle shelf


The mysterious photo in close-up



August 2004

The Bathroom is progressing (slowly) we've got the plumbing in and the tiling done

Love that carpet, at least it was useful for protecting the tiles

The bathtub has also arrived and is sitting on the front verandah awaiting installation. We have applied for a heritage grant to repair the chimneys. Yass Valley Council will grant up to 50% of the cost of works so hopefully we will be able to repair the tops of the chimneys and pull the bathroom one back together.

A bath with a view



You can just see the crack in the bathroom chimney in this shot


October 2004

RIP Hoover. The little white dog who has been a part of our family for six years escaped one time too many and was hit by a car. We miss his company and our lives have an empty place in them.

We recovered the fireplace from the gazebo in the back paddock and have put it back in the chimney it was originally removed from. It's in pretty ratty condition but it should be able to be repaired.

The Fireplace needs some work but should be repairable


December 2004

The bathroom is working (well, mostly anyway. ) The water is connected and we have an inside toilet and bath, unfortunately no shower curtain yet and the vanity cupboard is AWOL but we are getting there. Our plumber made a last ditch effort to get it all hooked up before he went on holidays. We had to make an effort and tidy up the back hallway so that we could use the western side of the house, we hadn't really been in there except to store junk since we moved in.

The bath has made it's way around from the front verandah, cupboard yet to be fitted.

An inside toilet is a good thing !


We've been carting the fireplace around for a couple of years, It was to be a feature in the house we didn't end up building. Not strictly of the correct era for our house but neither is the inside plumbing. The mantle is original.



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