There have been many restoration projects undertaken since the current owners (as have previous owners) took on the custodianship of Anlaby in February 2004. One such project was the upgrade of the electrical wiring. This took 18 months with very little to “see” at the end of much upheaval.
With a large house and a 10 acre garden the obvious question is how to prioritise, and not become overwhelmed? The answer in respect of the garden was to start next to the house, and slowly radiate out. The first few years entailed taking out anything dead, cutting back the overgrowth that had taken over much of the garden, and removing rusty old fences to reclaim lost spaces – there were many bonfires! Once the original garden layout could be seen clearly again, the process of commencing at the house and slowly radiating out again started again. This time however it was about renewal with the planting garden beds, repairing stone walls and laying tons and tons of gravel on the many paths. HOWEVER – you need to keep a watchful eye on the whole garden making sure that the weeds and undergrowth don’t rush back in when your back is turned!
One of the greatest problems with an old house (not to mention the cottages, stables, and various sheds) is keeping water out. Therefore one of the very first projects was to identify and fix the many leaks – this is an ongoing project. No sooner is one leak fixed, than another one (or three) appear. As much as we are very appreciative when it rains in this very dry climate – it is with trepidation that every room in the house is inspected for that telltale drip, drip sound…
Restoration and redecoration of the dining room was a very rewarding project. This entailed the removal of the 1970’s green velvet curtains and matching carpet. The walls have been repainted a deep yellow, available in the 1890’s, and new carpet laid in a documented 1870’s design. New curtains have also been hung, thankfully, the magnificent cedar paneled ceiling was still in pristine condition.
A small hallway has been redecorated with William Morris “Pomegranate” wall paper which had to be shipped from the UK, and half the timber floor of the 50 metre hall has been polished and laid with William Morris “Tulip and Lily” carpet – only another 50 metres to go!
One of the most recent projects has been the restoration of the Tower Clock located in the stable quadrangle. After being subjected to over 100 years of extreme heat, cold, dust, and many generations of mice, rats and possums, the clock had not worked for at least 20 years. We asked Barossan horologist, Darrell Kaesler, to “have a look”. Given the size of the project we had to wait several months until Darrell could clear his workshop. It took several more months, as Darrell pulled the clock completely to pieces, cleaned away years of accumulated dirt and grease and made replacements for worn gears, over many nights and weekends. What returned was a gleaming and beautiful brass and cast iron tower clock. It is once again keeping time in the stable quadrangle – now in a protective and insulated housing and with ongoing maintenance and careful attention it should be keeping time for another 100 years!