And why do we keep hearing about the convict bricks; how can you tell? - is this just a short-hand derogatory term for any sub-standard hand-made bricks. The Order-in-Council ending transportation to New South Wales, is dated 22 May 1840 and only a handful arrived in 1842 and 42. Convict gangs may have been still making bricks in the 1840s, but private companies and freeman brickmakers were commonplace in the 1840s. Brickfield hill near Castlereagh St. was the centre of Sydney brickmaking until about 1840, when many brickmakers were forced out to places such as Glebe, Newtown, Redfern, Camperdown and Waterloo, and further afield. For example Captain Westmacott Aid-de-camp to Governor Richard Bourke, settled near Bulli in 1837 and was a brickmaker among his many endeavours.
While some convicts or ex-cons may have provided labour, these were run as private businesses, so non-convict bricks were widely available.. Some more sophisticated analysis of the bricks might have made better television (like the Timeteam experts in everything) and also offer some hope to all those other renovators struggling with rising damp and crumbling convict bricks.
But getting back to the drama; Harold and Jenny have taken on a dream to fix up Judge Roger Therry's 1843 home, referred to as Wollongong's oldest house, Although others claim this title too, such as Little Milton from the 1830s.
There is some interesting actual restoration taking place too. The poured on ceiling repair looked like a sloppy mess, so what did they actually use, and how does it actually work? Lots of patching brickwork and replacing render going on but the details of the mix were covered in Episode 2 so maybe they don't need to go over them again.
The owners were indicated they were trying to negotiate the tensions between restoring a heritage building and complying with building standards. But that had been covered in Episodes 2 and 3.
I read elsewhere, that an underground cellar which was used for root vegetables, was un-earthed, and 1920's car parts were dug up in the garden. Sibella's blog has some arty pictures of old bottles and cutlery - is this more archaeology going un-permitted and unrecorded?
Some references to check up on those 'Convict Brick'.
Dawes, A. 1935. Early brickmaking in Australia, The Clay Products Journal of Australia 1/11/1935.
Pavlou, 0.1976. The history of bricks and brickmaking in N.S.W. 1788-1914. Unpublished B.Architecture thesis, University of N.S.W.
Gemmell, Warwick. 1986. And so we graft from six to six : the brickmakers of New South Wales. North Ryde, N.S.W : Angus & Robertson