RTBG’s convict wall gets a facelift

The recent months, affected by the invasion of the Covid 19 virus, have not been all bad.  Government funds have created job opportunities to support major and minor community projects. One such example of this largesse was funding to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) for the heritage quality restoration of a part of the convict built brick walls in its grounds.  Mention is made of the walls in ‘On the Convict Trail’ blog.  The ‘Tasmania Come Down for Air’ site offers additional information. These walls cut across many spaces, and edge the Food Garden so that I always aware of that section.  Over the decades various attempts have been made to ensure the wall does not disintegrate.

In recent years, as money has been available, heritage restorers have been at work removing cement mortar from the crevices between bricks and unsightly and unnecessary smears across the surface of some bricks.  In past months, two professionals have been working day in and day out along a section next to the Food Garden’s orchard. This is meticulous and slow work, but the change is dramatic.

On the 10th September, the following photo shows a wall with part of the lower half completed and top with a couple of exceptions remaining untouched.  I can clearly see the smeared concrete/mortar spread around the crevices between the bricks at the top and the bottom.

By contrast the following photo shows considerably more of the wall has been repointed and there is less to do near the bottom of the wall.

In the photo below, the wall to the left of the buttress remains untouched while the wall to the right has been repointed.

On the 24th September I took more photos as the repointers continued their work. The first photo is a close up showing what needs to be removed from between the bricks and on the bricks. The remaining photos show the bricks with cleared mortar waiting for their refill.

This job requires dedicated attention to detail, and the changes made will help to ensure the wall’s future maintenance will be minimal.

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