A personal reflection in art, science and music



Everyone needs a place to live -
I had to leave where I was living at short notice
and then made one phone call to someone I had never met before
I've been living here rent free as caretaker since late January 2008
and yes I know how hard it is to find a rental
and how impossible what has happened is

Cottage garden flowers December 2012, seeds planted May 2012


When I first pulled up outside this building one evening in late December 2007 the words Art Gallery came clearly into my mind. This was before I had even set foot inside the building.

It has been a long, time consuming task to get the building ready. Initially all the rooms were filled with everything from the kitchen sink to welding equipment, windows, doors, garden sculptures and it was impossible to move inside most rooms. It was mid 2008 before a shipping container was found in which to store many of these items.

Most of the lime wash walls with French Plaster finish and 10 feet high lath and plaster ceilings of the 22 rooms had been damaged, and it became a process of trial and error to find just the right materials and methods to repair the damage the building had suffered during the 135 years since it was built in 1885. As I have no formal training in carpentry or historic building restoration it has been a bit like a creating a sculpture but the before and after shots show that even with no training and no funding of any kind it is possible to do the impossible.

Cottage garden flowers December 2012, seeds planted May 2012

The local council are in favour of the proposal to use the building as an Art Gallery and I am in the process of preparing the DA. The gallery will have four exhibitions running at any one time with each room a different size to cater for individual artists needs. The gallery will be open from 10am - 4pm Monday to Saturday and will be closed on Sunday. The operation of the gallery will focus on the artist. Each artist who exhibits who will pay a daily room rental for the lenght of their exhibition and a 10% commission to the gallery on all sales. The artist will keep the rest.

Cottage garden flowers December 2012, seeds planted May 2012


Work carried out on the building was time consuming and removing paint from walls was done using a razor blade scaper and hundreds of square metres of wall area and ceiling panels were scraped back by hand to the original French Plaster finish. The variety of paints used on the walls and timber areas meant that the only way to have a stable surface the paint was to remove all previous paint layers. Over 400 feet of skirting boards were all hand scraped back to bare timber prior to repainting.

At the same time hundreds of metres of new electrical cable was also laid throughout the whole ground floor area ready for the when the skirting boards were replaced. The second floor was also rewired as part of this project.


1. View of Gold Room late 2009
(photo No. 3 taken from doorway at left of photo)

2. View of Gold Room 11/4/2011

3. View of Gold Room late 2009
(photo No.1 above taken from doorway at right of photo)

4. View of Gold Room 11/4/2011

5. View of ceiling damage in Gold Room late 2009

6. View of ceiling in Gold Room 11/4/2011

7. Entrance hallway stencil before ceiling was repainted

8. Entrance hallway showing stencils before arch was repainted

9. Applying stencil to Gold Room walls March 2011

10. 100 Metre long lengths of colour coded wiring
being fed under the floor in early 2010
(this doorway is at the right of photo No. 4 above)

11. Waterfall at Hazelbrook hanging in Gold Room 11/4/2011
(this painting is 6ft x 4ft)

12. Hassan's Walls landscapes hanging in Green Room 26/4/2011

13. Jess with paintings 26/4/2011

14. Air vent and stencil in Green Room 26/4/2011


15. View from Gold Room across hallway into Green Room 26/4/2011

16. Photo of Rose Room taken in March 2008
The right hand side of the lawn mower handle (center)
marks the left hand side of the then sealed doorway which I re-opened

17. Sculpture in the Rose Room 7/5/2011
Three figures on left are from Mother & Child series with the right hand figure being 8 feet tall all were carved from railway sleepers using hammer and chisel the Spire was carved from a tree trunk
the hard to see object (right) is a Reclining Figure

18.Reclining Figure
Is a cement sculpture cast from a clay model which was created during a three hour long sculpture class at Meadowbank TAFE using a pose by a live model

19. Creation of the Spire at Penrith

20. Detail of ceiling rose in master bedroom
after room was repainted during October 2011

21. Detail of stencil on wall below cornice in master bedroom
this was added during repainting in October 2011

22. Shelving and sorting books in library room October 2011
this section of shelving is 16 feet long and 8 feet high

23. Books and CD's in library room October 2011

View from inside loo looking towards door (taken from the corner
in the shot below) late October 2012

View from doorway looking inside late October 2012 on the floor is
render ready to be mixed befoe being applied to the walls the
green moss in the corner had been growing there for over 20 years
(as there had been no roof above) and along the base of the wall
at the left were ferns around 30cm tall

View same corner in early November 2012
some finshing touches still needed but the difference is obvious

Another view showing the door