Returning: Restoration Australia

Anthony Burke meets a couple restoring a multi-levelled mansion high on a hill, overlooking Brisbane River.

Season six of Restoration Australia begins this week on ABC with host Anthony Burke meeting a Brisbane couple determined to return a vandalised, graffiti-daubed wreck to its rightful place as one of the city’s finest mansions, no matter the cost.

Host and Professor of Architecture Anthony Burke is fascinated by Australia’s legion of dedicated restorers and enthralled by the dynamics driving their passions and their projects. In this new six-part series Anthony adventures far and wide to capture all their trials and tribulations from a whirlwind restoration of a family farmhouse in remote King Island, an important settler’s mud hut in the Adelaide Hills, a crumbling police barracks in remote NSW, a tumble-down terrace in inner Melbourne, a decrepit beach house in Sydney and on to Brisbane and one of the grandest and most important restorations in the country.

Episode One:

Brisbane media like to call Steve and Jane Wilson a power couple and it’s easy to see why. Jane’s moved seamlessly from the heights of the city’s medical community to corporate boardrooms while financier Steve has been responsible for some of the city’s tectonic changes, notably heading up the huge Southbank redevelopment that transformed a neglected swathe of inner Brisbane into a pulsating urban precinct.

They don’t shy away from a challenge. Even their own home has been a painstaking saga of restoration, renovation and extension playing out over almost 40 years.

But it turns out that labour of love was just a warm up. The architect who designed that home back in the late 19th century poured his considerable talent into what would become his magnum opus years later: a multi-levelled mansion high on a hill overlooking Brisbane River and the city itself. A magnificent house called Home.

Brisbanites have come to know it as Lamb House, for the wealthy city draper who commissioned and the generations of his family who’ve lived in it. But it’s controversy that really made it famous.

A bitter dispute between a latter day Lamb and local authorities over damage to the house set in on a slide. Long periods of neglect, squatter occupancy and vandalism just about condemned it. Until the Wilsons enter the fray.

Host Anthony Burke gains carte blanche access to one of the country’s most remarkable restoration projects and follows the Wilsons and their posse of fastidious artisans, architects and tradies resurrecting a Brisbane icon.

Production credits: A Fremantle production for the ABC. Supervising Executive Producer: Brooke Bayvel. Executive Producer: Michael Collett. ABC Executive Producers: Madeleine Hawcroft and Jo Chichester.

8pm Thursday on ABC.

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