About ICS

International Conservation Services has been caring for Australia’s cultural heritage for over 30 years.  During that time we’ve conserved well over 100,000 items, and employed over 200 professional conservators. 

We’ve worked on a remarkable range of objects, artworks and collections for every national collecting institution, most state collecting institutions, government bodies and corporations, every major university, a host of regional and local galleries and museums, and innumerable private individuals. We value every one of them.

Our conservation, consulting and collection work takes us across the whole of Australia, and also features international projects in New Zealand and Antarctica.

The 1980s: where there’s a need…

International Conservation Services Pty Ltd was formed in June 1991, but really began life in September 1986 under the name Campbell Conservation. Campbells was co-founded by Julian Bickersteth, who at the time was Acting Curator of Conservation at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Julian brought conservation to the Campbell Group, which had been established a year earlier by Chick Campbell to provide a range of museum and exhibition design, fabrication, merchandising, publications and project management services.

Julian felt there was a lack of private sector conservation services available in Australia to service the very substantial collections held outside of public collecting institutions. At that time, the importance and condition of those collections was highlighted by the impending 1988 Bicentenary celebrations. Julian’s vision was to establish a one-stop shop for materials conservation services. 

Julian was joined by a small group of highly qualified and established conservators.  Together they quickly built a reputation for undertaking complex conservation work to museum standards.

By 1988 they were ready to manage the installation of two major exhibitions at Expo 88 in Brisbane, the Treasures of the Holy See for the Vatican, and Captain James Cook, Navigator for the UK National Maritime Museum. 

The 1990s: ICS is born

In 1989 Julian and five senior staff undertook a management buy-out from the Campbell Group to become Campbell Conservation.  Then, in 1991, Campbell Conservation merged with the smaller conservation practice of Corrigans, an art freight forwarding company established by Neil Wilson.

Thus International Conservation Services was born.

Throughout the 1990s ICS consolidated and prospered, undertaking a number of high profile projects in NSW, ACT and Victoria.  For five years in the late 1990s ICS maintained a Brisbane lab with a focus on paintings and paper conservation.

From its original base of furniture, paper, textiles and paintings conservation, ICS expanded into objects, built heritage and outdoor cultural material.  We also grew to provide consulting services in the areas of preventive conservation, collections management, exhibition management and architectural and archaeological conservation.

In 2004 David West joined ICS, subsequently becoming a major shareholder. David brought with him significant experience and expertise in the conservation of built heritage which greatly expanded the company’s services in this area.

Beyond 2000!

The 2000s saw ICS working with the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust on the conservation of the huts of the early explorers in the Antarctic.  This has been our single largest, most complex and longest lasting ICS project to date, involving conservation planning, implementation, designing an on-site conservation lab, employing conservators to work in Antarctica and, for a number of senior staff, site visits to Antarctica. It was described by Sir Neil Cossens, the Chairman of English Heritage, as "the world's most exciting conservation project".

The early 2000s saw further ICS expansion to meet the needs emerging from an increasing community awareness about the value of our cultural heritage.  

In 2004 ICS opened its Canberra office to provide art security and collection technology systems, along with museum planning, conservation and collections management in the ACT.  

Our most recent expansion was the establishment of our Melbourne lab in 2018, with its strong initial focus on archaeological and objects conservation.

We are planning for our next 30 years of providing conservation services to Australia and beyond.  Julian is busily working with and mentoring the next generation of conservation professionals and representing Australia on international committees and organisations.  ICS is actively engaged in securing the future of Australia’s cultural heritage.

Award Winning Projects


Our Environment

At ICS Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra labs, on all our work sites, and in our methods and materials, we are taking practical measures to contribute to the worldwide goal of mitigating catastrophic global warming.  We have found plenty of opportunities to save energy, reduce emissions, and make our workplace a little greener.  Some of our initiatives include:

  • recycling and composting
  • energy efficient lighting
  • safe storage and disposal of hazardous substances
  • regularly maintaining vehicles, plant and equipment to reduce air pollution and maximise efficiency
  • preparing Environmental Risk Management Plans to assess and minimise environmental impacts

For more details, download our Environmental Sustainability Statement

Professional Affiliations

ICS is proud to be associated, through work and membership, with many prestigious national and international organisations dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage for future generations.

Julian Bickersteth, the CEO of ICS, is the current President of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC).  IIC is the key international institution providing platforms for collaboration and partnership for national and international conservation and cultural heritage efforts across the world.


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