The Exchange Hotel has been in a bad state for a number of years. Just recently, fears were being expressed over the condition of the front wall - it was in great danger of collapsing in high winds.
A recovery operation was launched early this works season, and a large section of an East-West wall connecting with the North-South front wall approximately half way along was rebuilt to bring it up to it’s original height. Included in this operation was a heavy steel rod to tie the two walls together (see the “S” plate now visible in some of the images below).
Many of the small Hotel rooms were excavated, drift sand being piled adjacent to (on the South side) of the Hotel. Fallen rocks from collapsed walls were also carted out and stacked ready for later use in the Hotel.
While the RAAF boys were on site from April 14 to 17, they contributed an amazing amount of youthful energy as they toiled to clear the site. Mechanical diggers were to a large extent precluded owing to the fragile condition of many of the walls, so shovel and wheelbarrow were the tools of choice.
Stonemasons Peter Russel and Ron Johnston carried out all the critical stone construction, while a band of volunteers cleaned and re-pointed exposed surfaces between the rocks.
Work continues with the re-pointing on all the uncovered low walls, while (hopefully) some of the higher walls will be repointed, and have a lime mortar capping applied since they currently have absolutely no protection from the elements.
Our new shed:
On June 22nd, work began on erecting the large steel posts, anchored to the footings installed the previous week, so that by 5pm on the 22nd, all uprights and main roofing members had been erected. A massive task for the small group of seniors (who literally staggered into the evening meeting at the shearer’s quarters that night.)
Over the next couple of days progress was slow (as a result of fatigue, and excessive winds that made working at heights quite dangerous.) Progress continues to be made however, and since it has not been possible to start earlier, we missed the time-slot allocated to install the poured concrete floor, so we have a month delay before we’re able to schedule that in.
With the date now moved along to late July, we were pleased to receive from Steve Harding, images of the shed after cladding (and by the looks of it) already at the “lockup stage”
It also looks likely that the floor will be well cured by next season, and the internal construction and fit-out will be able to be completed.