KAVHA is one of the 11 properties forming the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Listing and is situated on Norfolk Island, some 1400 km from the eastern seaboard of Australia. The area has a permanent population of around 2000 and is a focal point for the local community, contributing to the life, identity and culture of the residents.

View of Quality Row. (Source: Purcell)

Purcell was commissioned by the Commonwealth Heritage Manager for Norfolk Island to review the existing condition and current Maintenance Manual and practices of the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA). The client sought our engagement to ensure that the principles and technical approach to conservation maintenance reflects current best practice standards and is consistent with the principles of the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter.

The site is constrained by its isolation and limitations on freight and passenger transport, resources, funding and a transition presented by a change in management framework. The Condition and Conservation Report recommends a change in maintenance and conservation practice, with the introduction of a cyclic maintenance and conservation program. A return to best practice with regard to mortars, renders and paints is also advised. In addition, recommendations have been made in support of further resources and traditional trades training given the site’s remote location.

A report outlining recommendations as to a change in the specification of works was provided, carefully substantiated through demonstrated best practice and contemporary research. Further advice was provided as to a framework for a conservation maintenance program to ensure an approach which is preventative rather than reactionary.