THE continuing restoration of a circa 1930 caretaker's cottage in The Hills is as important to the community as it is to the orphans who farmed the property.
This is the view of conservation architect Jonathan Cannon, who is overseeing the restoration of the cottage which is on the grounds of Redeemer Baptist School.
"Some of their stories are very moving; when they tell you their family never told them they would be going to the home; that they dropped them off and drove away"
"It is very significant in terms of the history of the Burnside Homes orphanages," he said.
"When those children come back to us — and we're talking 'children' in their 70s, 80s and 90s — they talk fondly of the times that they worked on the farm here.
"Some of their stories are very moving; when they tell you their family never told them they would be going to the home; that they dropped them off and drove away."
Mr Cannon, who is also the school's principal, said the plan was to re-do the entire cottage.
"It will be probably take a couple of years and a few hundred thousand [dollars]," he said.
The next thing to do is repair and restore the existing verandah.
This will cost $8745, with $2000 of this to be contributed by The Hills Council which has approved 15 projects at a cost of $28,794.50 under its 2014-15 Heritage Assistance Fund.
The funding, issued on a dollar-for-dollar basis, will be paid to the beneficiaries from its annual operation plan on completion of the work this financial year.
Grants are capped at $2000.
"It is a drop in the bucket — a very appreciated drop in the bucket," Redeemer Baptist's headmaster Russell Bailey said.
The council has also granted the school $6000 of heritage funding, to be spent in equal parts, on the principal's office building (the gutters, downpipes, eaves, facia boards, windows and front door need painting), Blackwood Home (to paint the ground floor classrooms) and Castle Hill House (external timber posts, handrails, balustrades, ceiling and Dorma windows need painting).
"It is a drop in the bucket — a very appreciated drop in the bucket"
Since 1993, more than 190,000 man hours have been spent on Castle Hill House's restoration.
Mr Cannon said the records show Mary Isabella Macarthur owned the circa 1829 building, which the school opens to the public on Christmas Eve for carols and tours.
There are 248 heritage items listed in The Hills.
Of those, 22 — about 10 per cent — are religious and educational items, owned by religious or educational institutions.
The Hills Council’s heritage funding eligibility criteria covers projects that:
■Conserve the identified heritage significance of the item;
■Complement broader conservation objectives of The Hills shire;
■Are highly visible to the public, e.g. on Old Northern and Windsor roads;
■Are highly accessible to the public, e.g. churches, commercial premises;
■Avert the item from coming under threat in terms of structural condition.