Restoration work to save iconic house

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Jackson BarrettBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Volunteer wardens Alan and Linda Stanbury, NTWA conservation architect Caroline Stokes and manager of interpretation and collections Sarah Murphy outside Wonnerup House.
Camera IconVolunteer wardens Alan and Linda Stanbury, NTWA conservation architect Caroline Stokes and manager of interpretation and collections Sarah Murphy outside Wonnerup House. Credit: Jackson Barrett/Jackson Barett/Busselton Dunsborough Times

The iconic Wonnerup House is undergoing urgent work to replace its damaged roof, as well as other conservation work by the National Trust of Western Australia.

The roof of the 161-year old building is failing, putting the building and the hundreds of artefacts it houses under threat.

The property was settled by George Layman, who was assigned the land after migrating from Van Diemen's land, now Tasmania.

The house originally featured shingle roofs, before being replaced by corrugated iron, which remained in place for the majority of its existence.

The latest restoration work will reinstate the corrugated iron, to replace the shingles which were used in the 1990s in accordance with heritage practices at the time.

NTWA conservation architect Caroline Stokes said delays in fixing the roof meant the work had become urgent.

“The works to the roof are urgent as leaks are risking permanent damage to the collection and missing gutters are creating accelerated damage to the verandas,” she said.

“The works have been delayed over a number of years while the National Trust found a storage facility for its collection.

“We also needed to find funding to pack up and relocate the collection, a costly project in itself. Other conservation works will include removing cement render from the base of the two buildings and replacing them with a lime render, structural repairs to the walls, and stabilising the water tower.

“The water tower had a rotten timber foundation and was leaning, creating pressure on the well wall,” Ms Stokes said.

“The well and water tower illustrates that Wonnerup was a working farm.”

The property currently operates as a house museum.

The restoration work began in late November and will take about three months to complete.

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