Great Work Kirk! A surprise Visit

On a chilly June morning, I was taking it easy in a chair in front of the Mill fire and chatting to the attendant. A couple came in. He with a head of white hair and a sparse white beard attached to a youthful face, she with a shy demeanour. Before they reached the counter, they paused, his face lit up with a huge smile. 

“It’s Kent, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I think so,” I replied as I stood up, because occasionally I am well-mannered.
“I’m Kirk Abbott, and this is my wife, Diane.” Remarkably, I’d already realised that. The last time I’d seen this bloke was early in 1982, when he and his father-in-law, Bob Maze, finished their work as builders on the Mill restoration project in 1980-82. Back then, he was young, clean-shaven, bright-eyed, handsome and ever polite. Now, he was just the same, only unshaven. Oh, and forty years older. Diane hadn’t changed at all, except for a few cheery-looking wrinkles around her smiling eyes. “We’re on our way to Noosa for a family gathering, but just had to call in. Our son came here a month ago and raved about the place.” Before they went upstairs, I suggested they keep their eye out for the name “Bob Maze”, or part therof, on some of the “new” timbers. We labourers, back in 1982, baulked at scraping the words off.
“Good, leave them there”, said architect Peter Myers. Well, these two had done such top quality work. They built the new staircase, (privately sharing derogatory remarks about architects); made perfect replicas of three missing verandah posts; became expert stone masons to repair the footing for the front verandah (their replacement of the original section is visible); installed the new floor joists and boards to the verandah and the Mill’s ground floor; and the most stunning of all, installed new ironbark posts and lintels to support the rear wall.Those massive timbers, originally from the road bridge at the Salisbury and Bridge Streets intersection, were salvaged by our team from the Uralla Tip where they were destined to be burnt. Bob always said he “loved working with big stuff on the small, detailed work – didn’t like mucking around with the in-between stuff!” So, take the time to have a close look at all the little plugs and patches that Bob and Kirk fashioned to repair dents in all the original cedar doors – quite remarkable. Those two really had respect for what was referred to back then as “an old wreck of a joint.” Our whole raggedy team of volunteers greatly admired them for their expertise, patience (with us!), and dry, engaging humour. There was a lot of that about. The humour, I mean! Off they went upstairs, their measured footsteps indicating that they were taking it all in, then eventually emerging, jaw-dropped, stunned by our exhibitions, and said so. It was so exciting for Kirk to see the result of their hard work, so well maintained. Forty years had vanished from his face, now alive with surprise and pride.

Discover

Open 7 Days  – 10am – 4pm

Please check by calling the museum or the Uralla Visitor Information Centre Ph: 02 6778 6420, if you are travelling from afar.

Salisbury Street

Uralla, NSW. 2358

PH: 02 6778 3022

Email: museum@uhs.org.au

 

Admission Fee

Adults $7.00

Concession: $5.00

Children: $3.00

Family $15.00

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