Woolshed conservation: removing the collection


Over recent months the first stage of a major conservation project in the woolshed at Rouse Hill Estate has been underway.

The woolshed is a long, timber slab structure located just behind the house, one of the estate’s surviving farm buildings from the 19th century. It was built for Edwin Rouse, the estate’s second owner, probably in the late 1850s. Following similar work over recent years to other timber structures, the woolshed will be undergoing significant structural conservation later this year. First though several thousand objects need to be removed, cleaned and, in the case of organic material including timber, leather and textiles, deep frozen at -20C to stop any insect activity. 

A team of seven has been working through the piles of machinery, car parts, furniture, tools, ropes, sacks and farm equipment – everything that you’d expect to find in an old farm shed. This stage of the larger project is also giving us the opportunity to expand on our collection records, adding photographs and descriptions of objects that tell us much of life on the estate. Along with any archaeological material that might be revealed under the timber floors, we anticipate evidence will be discovered to tell us what this farm structure was actually designed and built for. Its name, the ‘woolshed’, derives from a boyhood memory of Edwin Stephen Rouse of having seen wool being stored and repacked there, passed down through the next three generations. 

About the Author

Man in blue and white checked shirt holding pineapple.
Dr Scott Hill
Elizabeth Farm, Meroogal, Rouse Hill House & Farm
As a teenager, Scott Hill was captivated by pictures of ruins, trying to imagine how people had lived in these dramatic and crumbling spaces.