Building Conservation Projects

All Saints Anglican Church Kempsey

An item of Local Heritage Significance in Kempsey Shire.

Following work to stabilise the salt content of walls, improve drainage and chemically inject damp proof coursing, the footings under the Sanctuary of the building were failing, as too the proscenium arch between the Sanctuary and the Nave, as a consequence, bad cracking was apparent and the structure was being propped by Acrow props and scaffolding. Essentially, the church could not be used due to the safety issues.

Our task was to repair in part and reconstruct the Sanctuary and flanking Vestries, increase a door width at the west end of the church, map plaster damage for repair and provide disabled access via a new ramp.

carste measured and documented the works and prepared a Statement of Heritage Impact and Development Application for the works.


The repair and reconstruction works are barely perceptible in the final product and the church has a new lease of life in a stable and durable condition.

Read the Case Study >


CentreLink Maitland

Substantially destroyed by fire in 1968, this former 3 storey Ravensfield sandstone building is a shadow of its former self (refer to the photograph). The remnant facade is the most decorative part of the former structure and it was in an advanced state of deterioration, with rising and falling damp, and loss of the dressed stone face through a process of deterioration known as "case hardening" where salts buildup below the face of the stone and crystallise exerting pressure outward on the dressed face, causing sections to fall off. The substrate is usually very soft and powdery after the loss of the face and deterioration is often accelerated beyond this point.

Cocooning was carried out by Australian Heritage Restorations, to remove salts in the stone, and followed up by Pressure injection of a Damp Proof Course to counter the rising damp. The parapet was waterproofed and capped to prevent falling damp and wetting the wall from above.

Due to the upper floors being removed, the parapet remaining was not designed to be a capping parapet and as such had not been flashed appropriately, leading to the stone deterioration and a musty smell inside.

The final result is a building which has stone in its facade that no longer deposits powdery residue on the footpath, meaning the facade is stabilised and waterproofed… retaining durability for some years to come.




Dunmore House, Largs

The property, now owned by Paris and Mittie Osborne, was built by the  Lang family commencing in 1827. It comprises a  two storey Regency style residence (c1830) and two stone outbuildings flanking to the east and west of the principal residence. The outbuildings date from about 1827.

While the main residence was in a reasonable condition, the two outbuildings were in a state of partial collapse. Timber lintels had been eaten out by termites, plaster and lath ceilings had collapsed and were in part lying on the floor and in the other part hanging from the ceiling and stonework was collapsing with much of the mortar jointing degraded or missing. In essence the walls had become dry stone walls, with no binding agent.


Close liaison with Maitland Council Heritage Officer and the owners resulted in a mercenary, but appropriate solution retaining what would become in a short space of time, a pile of stones. The roofs were supported independent of the walls and the stone was relaid as a facing, the internal stones being replaced by reinforced clockwork and then plastered. Therefore the form was retained and the openings and stonework were retained, but the principal supporting structure was replaced with modern materials.

Some would say that this is not an appropriate solution, but considering the fact that if nothing was done these important elements in the complex would have been lost, on balance, the most practical and enduring solution was reached.

The images of the finished work, together with the skill of the stone mason employed are testimony to the validity of the approach. Shoring, propping, buttressing with stone or steel would have been altogether too intrusive, and considering the expenditure made by the owners, precipitated an aesthetic and durable solution.



St Mary's Maitland Phase 2

St Mary's is a church designed by Blackett, and an important civic element in the townscape of Maitland…a landmark. It is also a very expensive building for a church parish to maintain.

The first project, funded by the Commonwealth Government, was to prepare a Conservation Management Plan for the site, and the church in particular, concentrating on the safety aspects of stone falling from the upper reaches of the building. The investigation also necessitated removal of dangerously  loose stone, and recording where these pieces had been taken from.

This document guided the first phase of conservation works which included the pinning of loose and dislodged stone, indenting stone and using mortar repairs for corbels, label moulds and terminals. Some refacing was also undertaken. Repointing the stonework joints of the tower faces was a major element of the work.

The four pinnacles formerly located at the base of the spire, had been removed earlier and disappeared. Only photos remained of the elements removed. These were reconstructed and relocated on their former seats at the base of the spire, completing the first phase of the work.

carste STUDIO not only identified the repairs to be done, documented the scope of work, but also performed the Contract Administration and inspections throughout the construction phase.

The second phase of the work included the repointing of the lower sections of the walls externally and injecting a chemical  damp proof course internally and externally.


Storm water and roof plumbing works were carried out under an exemption granted by the Heritage Council of NSW. Roofing rand flashing repairs completed phase 2 of the project.

The aim and result of the work is that the scope of work is not overtly visible, but the building fabric is stable, watertight and able to weather the environmental conditions for at least another 10 to 15 years.


St Andrews Anglican Church, Lismore

The building suffered severe damage in hail storms that ravaged the town late  in 2007. The slates on one side of the building were smashed and hail had broken through the lining boards internally. Windows were smashed and the copper spire was badly pitted.

carste STUDIO acted as the Conservation Architects for the project, recommending methods of rectification, assessing the condition of fabric as elements such as the spire were unsheathed and dismantled, revealing rot in the timbers and deficiencies in the original detailing of the structure.

The final phase of the work was the selection of a paint colour for the ceiling and running on site trials prior to the completion of the work. This phase of the project involved a massive logistical exercise with the scaffolding and was completed within tight time constraints.