Oldbury Cottage Berrima wins National Trust Conservation Award
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
At the 25th anniversary of the National Trust's Heritage Awards, local Berrima icon - Oldbury Cottage - received recognition for the authenticity of its 2016/17 restoration. It was announced joint-winner of the 'Conservation: Built Heritage' category.
Every year since its 1994 inception, the National Trust's awards have acknowledged various industries, specialist heritage skills and areas of knowledge dedicated to safeguarding and continuing the stories of our past.
'Winners, highly commended and shortlisted projects in each category are selected selected through a meticulous and rigorous process each year and are consistently of a high calibre' says National trust president, Brian Powyer, in the Trust's commemorative 25th anniversary publication.
'The National Trust Heritage Awards recognises conservation projects that emerge as a result of careful investment and exceptional built, interior, landscape design and construction expertise. It's a chance to appreciate the refinement and beauty of traditional craftsmanship and heritage trades'.
Michael Verberkt and Stewart Bunn resolved to restore the 1850s timber slab cottage following a request from the National Trust to open the cottage (and its sandstone companion hut) for public viewing during a Berrima heritage weekend in 2015.
'Hundreds of people poured through the cottage that weekend' says Michael Verberkt.
'The overwhelming enthusiasm for the authenticity of both structures as well as Heritage architect Clive Lucas' insights gave us the impetus to go ahead and try to save Oldbury Cottage, which was in serious disrepair.'
While accepting the award at Heritage Awards Luncheon at Doltone House, Pyrmont, Michael Verberkt said that it had been difficult to find a builder that would even consider the project.
'Nowadays, builders like to look at things with straight angles and nice clean measurements, but we eventually found one.'
Oldbury Cottage was also recognised in the Wingecarribee Shire Council's 2018 Heritage Awards when it won 'Best Conservation of a Heritage Place'.