Monday, April 11, 2011

Stately weekend

On Saturday and Sunday Government House held open days so that the public could see where exactly their tax dollars have gone in the $40 million strengthening and refurbishment project over the last three years. I used to be able to see Government House from my old apartment and the whole time I lived there it was surrounded by scaffolding so I was very interested to see the finished product. My step-mum and little brother joined me for the outing; Hunter was not thrilled to be there but he didn't complain too much, especially considering this is what we saw when we got there:

We had to queue for almost an hour to get into the house. The newspaper said today that over 8000 visitors attended over the course of the weekend. Luckily it was beautiful weather while we stood waiting, and we had the sounds of an awesome brass/marching band to entertain us. I didn't know they could play such funky tunes!

The house itself is huge, I was surprised at how much of it was open to the public to wander around in. It was hard to take any decent photos as there were so many people, but I tried.

Even the radiators were elegant. 

There was some great art - this is a painting by Sir Peter Siddell. I've never heard of him but excellent work there Sir Peter. 

There was a lot of wood. 

This is one of the guest suites. Perhaps even the very one that Prince William stayed in recently (weirdly, there were signed framed photos of various members of the royal family on top of a piano in the house, I think it must be the ones who've visited/stayed there over the years).

$40 million is a lot of money. Especially considering some of the before and after photos of the rooms look much of a muchness. But the house is beautiful in a very grand sense and I think a lot of money was spent on earthquake strengthening, heating, plumbing and all those practical things that no doubt need updating once they've been around for 100 years. I'm glad I went for a nosy, there is a lot of history there and those working on the Conservation Project have endeavoured to preserve and enhance the house, its contents, and the landscape as much as possible. I think they've done an excellent job.

And increasingly, it seems like it wouldn't be a weekend without an afternoon tea. But I'm not complaining.

I think I'd much prefer this to the state dining room any day.

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