Quay Quarter Lanes is set to completely re-vitalise and transform the Circular Quay area, Hinchcliff House is an important part of the historical record of Sydney, a rare survivor and an expression of the historical trading port at Circular Quay which was once dominated by store buildings. Reinstating the gilded ram atop the parapet very strongly interprets the historical values and the original function of the place as well as enriching the narrative and architectural fabric of the City.
In the 19th century, Australia’s most valuable export was wool, with Australia dominating the global market as the world’s largest merino wool exporter. Andrew Hinchcliff, the original owner of Hinchcliff House was reputedly one of the best judges of Australian wool during this time. If you review historic records Hinchcliff House made a strong statement about the importance of wool in the economy with newspapers dating back to the 19th century showing a golden ram perched upon Hinchcliff House overlooking Circular Quay.
If you walk past today you may see a development under construction with many moving pieces, however if you look closely down Customs House Lane you will see a refurbished golden ram, perched on top of Hinchcliff House and glistening under the sun’s rays.
At Urbis they have one simple goal – to shape the cities of communities of Australia for a better future, they were able to research historic records and gain access to the original ram, that previously lived on Hinchcliff House. International Conservation Services were engaged to assess the sculpture and whilst it was deemed not feasible to restore the original ram, they were able to assess and stabilise the sculpture to take an exact mould then Millennium Art Services were able construct a fibreglass replica. The fibreglass replica weighs between 50 and 75 kilograms, which is much lighter than the original which was 600 kilograms. During the analysis and conservation works, evidence of the original finishes were investigated and evidence of gilding was found which was a very exciting discovery!
Art Gilding were then engaged to gild the replica. Art Gilding provides professional metal leaf gilding services to galleries, antique dealers, artists and the public and they experts in the field.
The conservation of Hinchcliff House is a fantastic outcome for the Quay Quarter precinct. It restores a state heritage listed building and provides for an exciting new use where the building can be enjoyed by the general public and once again play a more active role in the life of Circular Quay. Places of cultural significance enrich people’s lives, often providing a deep and inspirational sense of connection to community and landscape, to the past and to lived experiences.
We are proud of being able to restore an icon and want to thank our fantastic partners for bringing this fantastic part of history back to life.