Restoration Australia: Oct 24
A couple are saving Federation Queen Anne architecture in coastal NSW, while dealing with a profound health crisis.
On Restoration Australia host Anthony Burke meets a couple who are saving an important example of Federation Queen Anne architecture in coastal NSW, while dealing with a profound health crisis.
Seacroft stands frozen in time amid the new homes of Fernhill, a suburb of Wollongong first established to accommodate the miners and managers of the once booming coal mines of the Illawarra. Seacroft is weary, neglected and crumbling and when Dutch-born couple Pieter and Nettie first saw it they thought it might have been destined for demolition.
Thankfully it was protected by heritage orders and once they stepped inside it quickly became clear that it was a perfect project for the newly retired but enduringly practical engineer Pieter and his artist wife Nettie. They vowed to restore the existing structure – a stunning example from Queen Anne Federation period – add an extension including workspaces to accommodate the interests and passions of two very busy and active people.
Then came the crushing blow. Just as plans for their project were approved Pieter was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver and stomach cancer and given months to live.
Incredibly, the couple decide to proceed with their project. Pieter is determined to remain involved in the renovation even as he undergoes punishing chemotherapy treatment. And when COVID hits, sending immuno-compromised Pieter into strict isolation, he remains focussed on Seacroft, constructing a scale model to stress-test plans and colours and working on small restoration elements in the safety of his garage.
7:40pm Sunday on ABC.