In 1978 the Western Australian Government purchased 376 hectares of land from Mr Jack Williams for inclusion in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. As part of the land sale Mr Williams gave Ellensbrook to the National Trust of Western Australia, retaining the use of a room there until he died in 1979. Since that time the building has been conserved and interpreted in different ways.
In the 1980s the National Trust undertook a major project to restoration which included the removal of structural elements thought to be not original or in too poor condition to conserve. Guy Weguelin, a builder with skills in masonry, carpentry, joinery, hand-forging and welding carried out the majority of the works, living on site for nearly two years. Of particular importance was Guy’s knowledge of splitting timbers using a hand-axe to complement the original construction techniques. During this time concrete was removed, repairs were made to the roof and walls, original window linings were repaired, and new limestone was sourced from an area just north of the beach. Repairs were also made to the fireplace and chimneys and the verandah was reconstructed.
You’ve got to do it as you feel it should be. It’s not a science. It’s common sense knowledge and I was lucky that I was born in a time when all these different trades were still in existence.
Guy Weguelin, 2016
But heritage places require ongoing maintenance and attention to ensure that they are conserved for future generations. Commencing in 2016, with funding from Lotterywest, the Trust has been able to continue essential conservation works, including archaeological investigation, to better ensure the long term care of the physical fabric of the building. New interpretation in the landscape and house has been informed by the Traditional Owners and a project team that has included historians, conservation architects, archaeologists, curators, educators, anthropologists, designers, builders and landscape contractors. Numerous volunteers and members of the community have also participated and generously contributed to the final outcome. ‘Ellensbrook at Mokidup’ is open now for a new generation of visitors to enjoy.