Update: Vaucluse House arch works
The accompanying images show the voussoir (the wedge-shaped stones which form the curve of an arch) just after being replaced, with the keystone at the centre. These were all marked and carefully documented to make sure that each stone was replaced exactly where it came from. Only around 5mm of lime mortar is required to hold each stone in place. A curved timber frame is held by scaffolding and acts as a support whilst the arch is constructed. This will remain in place until the capping stones are positioned and the mortar has set.
The project revealed a number of previously unidentified issues, which will require further work to the surrounding walls in the coming months, but overall has been a success in terms of preserving the arch. Initially we feared several of the original stones were compromised by cracks and might need to be replaced. Our stonemasons have managed to salvage all but one stone, using clever pinning to hold any fractured sections together. The replacement stone (one of the capping stones from the top of the wall) has been sourced from a quarry which produces sandstone of a very similar colour and texture to the Vaucluse stone, and will be almost undetectable.
The arch is now safe, and in no danger of collapse. Over time, we’ll allow the ficus to return, but with careful management from the horticultural team to ensure the roots don’t cause any further issues.
More from Vaucluse House
Vaucluse House Tearooms has one of best high teas in SydneyFriday 3 August 2018
The Tearooms at Vaucluse House have come in at number 3 on a list of the best high teas in Sydney, according to TimeOut.