Coat of Arms, Old Parliament House

PROJECT DATE : 2015
project
British & Australian Coat of Arms
client
Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House
services
Outdoor Heritage, Object Conservation, Built Heritage

Overview

Old Parliament House (OPH, and formerly the Provisional Parliament House) is a nationally significant heritage building located in Canberra's parliamentary zone. Designed by architect John Smith Murdoch (1862-1945) and a team of assistants from the Department of Works and Railways, the building was intended to be neither temporary nor permanent – only to be a ‘provisional’ building that would serve the needs of Parliament for a maximum of 50 years. In the end, it was home to the Federal Parliament for 61 years, from 1927 to 1988.

Today, OPH is home to the Museum of Australian Democracy, an enriching institution that informs the public of Australia's constitutional, political and social history.

ICS has been involved in conserving both interior and exterior elements of OPH for many years.  In 2015 we were commissioned to conserve the two painted coats of arms (one British, one Australian) that sit atop the front façade.

Condition

Both coat of arms were last treated in the early 1990s. Since then, their paint and gilding had deteriorated considerably. After many years of exposure to the elements, significant amounts of dust, dirt, pollution and bird droppings had accumulated on both structures, accelerating their deterioration.

Treatment

  • Cleaning off dirt and debris using a brush and damp cloths
  • Scraping off loose material, wiping down surfaces and washing to remove remaining dust and debris
  • Infilling cracks and losses
  • Sanding and sculpting fills to match surrounds, and priming filled areas ready for repainting
  • Repainting and re-gilding both coats of arms

project
British & Australian Coat of Arms
client
Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House
services
Outdoor Heritage, Object Conservation, Built Heritage
British Coat of Arms Before Treatment
British Coat of Arms After Treatment

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