Love's labour for a house

Labour of love: Jennine Leonarder-Collins and her husband Peter used their knowledge of historic buildings to restore Werrington House. Picture: Gary Warrick

Labour of love: Jennine Leonarder-Collins and her husband Peter used their knowledge of historic buildings to restore Werrington House. Picture: Gary Warrick

A Werrington County property where some of Australia's most famous political figures have lived has received acclaim of another kind.

Werrington House has been selected as a finalist for the category of Conservation Built Heritage by Community/Individual in the National Trust NSW Heritage Awards.

The awards, to be announced on May 14, recognise the detailed work that goes into revitalising historic houses.

Werrington House was completed in 1832 by Robert Lethbridge and his wife Mary, the daughter of Governor Philip Gidley King.

The property was part of four grants made to Governor King's children in the last week of his term of office in 1806.

The "Father of Federation" Sir Henry Parkes also lived there for 12 years between 1860 and 1872.

But while Werrington House stood solid, it was obvious to the new owners, the Collins family, who purchased the property in 2012, that major restoration work was needed.

"It was a big job," Jennine Leonarder-Collins said.

"For example, the building and pests that we had, [it] was not a glowing report.

"We knew that we were up for a massive challenge and we didn't underestimate that at all."

The Collins family and their builder Craig Gilchrist had to restore most of the structure including rewiring, installing irrigation and replacing the roof and walls.

Mrs Leonarder-Collins said she was proud of the award nomination because they put their heart and soul into restoring the building.

"We never cut corners," she said.

"For example the windows in the orangery — Craig, a joiner and myself spent two solid months trying to get the dimensions of the windows correct.

"That was a labour of love and everything has been done with fine detail."

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