Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Restoration Australia - quick review, Episode 2 Woodcot Park Tarraville

Another wonderful couple in Jo and Marcus, who were willing to put common sense out on the back porch and get stuck in. I suspect heritage has a high degree of obsessive compulsive behaviour disguised as attention to detail,  meticulous authenticity and traditional craftsmanship. Archaeology also attracts a similar personality type, what with all those nail typologies and tiny flakes of stone, shame there was not some more overt archaeological references.

The dramatic narrative in this case seems to have mostly revolved around the hard plastering. Would the traditional plaster hold up, will Markus be able to do it himself, will it ever get finished? Then there was the 'incredible' (how many times was that said) authentic detail and traditional craft being lavished on joinery, wallpaper, etc. Who was the 'lady in Melbourne who hand blocks them' Barbara Wilding? A bit of a plug for the practitioners surely wouldn't hurt the ABC's no advertising policy.

I recall there was a National Trust visit to the house about 5-6 years ago. Some of the unique construction details pointed out then included the unusual wall cladding which originally used stretched oil cloth used to simulate stucco. No mention of this, although there was a scene of taking off some later weatherboards. There was also a prefab timber and iron room used as a kitchen,  but I couldn't tell if this was part of the restoration. It might not have been of interest to the general audience, but some of this technical stuff must have an audience out there, after all we get every detail of the metal fatigue of pop-rivets in 'Air Crash Investigation'. Another missed opportunity was the potential use of the John Collins photos in the show's before and after transitions (a sort of slow spreading mould transition – love those digital effects).

Tim Smith's comment about Heritage Victoria being involved was not evident in the show – no troublesome clipboard-wielding heritage bureaucrats to be seen. Did this confuse the narrative, or perhaps the shooting schedule just left them out, but it would have been nice to see a HV permits officer in the picture – putting a human face to the red tape.

There are a few local people who will be greatly cheered to see what Jo and Marcus have done, especially since it was another case of almost too late. So lets celebrate the people who find an obsession that preserves and creates heritage (didn't really need the ghost story though).

In a wonderfully macabre bit of synergy, one media producer has combined the two – heritage conservation and obsessive compulsive cleaners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5OtDB1fDgo

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