By JAMIE KRONBORG
BURKE Museum and Indigo heritage manager Cameron Auty and Billson’s Beverages’ director Nathan Cowan have started the intricate task of cleaning the National Trust Victoria’s extraordinary Beechworth carriage collection.
The 21-vehicle exhibition has long been housed on a lower level of Billson’s historic Murray Breweries complex in Last Street.
The National Trust is responsible for the collection – some of which it owns and some of which is on long-term or permanent loan – but it has recently given Mr Auty and Mr Cowan sanction to proceed with specialised conservation cleaning.
The pair was joined recently by volunteers Jan Wills and Eric Thompson to help out on the first day of the program, which is likely to take some while because of the laborious process of lifting dust with a soft brush and then vacuuming it away from each of the vehicles.
The collection includes a hearse built in Beechworth in the 1870s by Beechworth coachbuilder Walter Edwards and a charabanc (horse-drawn bus), also built in Beechworth in the 19th century, which ran the Stanley-Beechworth route.
CAUTIOUS: Billson’s Beverages’ Nathan Cowan and Burke Museum and Indigo heritage manager Cameron Auty prepare to clean a pre-1888-built heavy wagonette classed as “significant and rare” by the National Trust Victoria.