5 out of 5 stars
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In Collits' Inn: Uncovering the Past, Christine Stewart gave a detailed account of the restoration of Collits' Inn, a building that was an Australian historic site. Collits' Inn was a single-story, old colonial Georgian building with an inn, stables, an outbuilding, a woodshed, a pit toilet, and an external septic toilet. The inn was first built in 1823 by Pierce Collits, a convict serving his sentence in Australia. Stewart's family's contact with the inn started when the author's mother-in-law purchased a landed property with the inn in its vicinity. The owner of the inn at the time, Katie Pilarcik, sold to the family the land on which the inn stood, which was only thirty acres of the two hundred acres she owned. Upon the purchase, the Stewarts were unaware of the historical significance of the inn and would later discover that Collits' Inn represented the earliest surviving example of early inns.
The account given by the author in this book was detailed. The author had gone to great lengths to chronicle the entire process of restoring Collits' Inn. She started her account with directional instruction to aid readers in getting a grasp of the location of the inn. The robust details in the book took many turns that, while all connected to the inn, provided room for exploration of culture and the lifestyle of that period.
The book was replete with many pictures of the inn, showcasing the improvements the author had made to the inn. It was fascinating to see the vast difference between the improvements made to the property from the before-and-after pictures. One of the most impressive parts of the book was the insight into the amount of work that went into the restoration, which was quite a lot. This book revealed the intricacies involved in restoring historic sites, which the author shared from the requirements of the Lithgow Council.
Collits' Inn: Uncovering the Past was a great read because it gave history so much significance. The author's effort in restoring Collits' Inn proved that historical sites were to be treasured. The author gave so much life to the stories behind the inn that it seemed almost like a museum tour on paper. Christine showed how vital research was when restoring a historical building, especially in getting the history right and ensuring that it was preserved in the restoration.
This book would provide invaluable guidance for individuals wishing to restore any historical building. Christine shared their challenges and how they were eventually solved, which could be most beneficial to future restorers. This book was educational, especially when the author gave some background about old practices, like when a child's shoe and cat skeleton were found in the inn's walls. Her research showed that it was an old practice to ward off evil, which was exciting information.
The only downside to this book was that the plenty of talk about the actual restoration, like digging, flooring, and coloring, can be boring. However, it was the author's way of capturing the entire detail of Collits' Inn's restoration.
Collits' Inn: Uncovering the Past is professionally edited and makes for a well-documented history. I recommend it to history researchers and individuals who plan to restore any historic building. Regardless of the minor downside, I rate it five out of five stars.
Collits' Inn: Uncovering the Past
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