Conservation in action: Elizabeth Bay House external joinery work

Published on Monday 15 May 2023

With breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, the main elevation of Elizabeth Bay House is exposed to the full strength of sunlight, wind and rain, and although the original hardwood timbers of the doors and windows have withstood many years, they require periodic internal and external conservation works.

Thanks to the funds generously donated by our supporters during the 2022 Annual Appeal, we are undertaking the careful re-putty and painting of the first-floor joinery including the double hung sash windows and French doors onto the Portico. The windows will be documented and carefully taken to an offsite workshop to safely remove and replace all the deteriorated putty and sash cords and perform any localised repairs as needed and relocated back for painting. The portico French Doors will be painted and repaired in place. The dismantling of the windows has to be undertaken with a lot of care as to not damage any existing original glazing, which will be reinstated with new putty.

This work will be completed with a conservation joiner specialised in the repair of traditional hardwood windows and master painter specialised in traditional painting materials and methods with the guidance from the MHNSW project team.

By undertaking this delicate work we will not only be caring for the joinery but protecting the highly significant interior finishes and collection.

Maria Elena Ruggeri, Heritage Project Manager, MHNSW

Update: 18 July 2023

Conservation work to the first floor windows has now been successfully completed.

The below images capture some of the work that was undertaken and the re-installation of one of the sash windows. The results showcase the superb workmanship of MJ Bielby Construction and Haller’s Master Painters’.

Front door entrance,  Elizabeth Bay House

Elizabeth Bay House

The finest house in the colony

Couple enjoying the courtyard, Vaucluse House


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