Restoration Australia on ABC
Restoration Australia (image - ABC)

Tonight | Restoration Australia on ABC and ABC iview

Restoration Australia on ABC – Wee Jasper is a stunning, peaceful and tiny country settlement in the northwestern foothills of the Brindabella range near Canberra.

Colonial explorers Hume and Hovel put Wee Jasper on the map as they forged their way south from Sydney to Melbourne almost 200 years ago. But despite its breathtaking setting and surrounds few modern explorers bother to seek it out on their satnavs and so Wee Jasper remains enduringly wee.

The 19th century quest for gold and viable grazing country sustained the hamlet and kept it viable and accompanying crime and stock rustling gave it a police presence but it was all just a blip in this profoundly ancient landscape that holds cathedral-sized caves and rock formations among the oldest and most awe-inspiring in the country.

By the time Sydney adventurers Kim and Alan happen into Wee Jasper, the old, redundant police station is all but falling down, key buildings in the compound, including the jail house have disappeared and a cornerstone of community spirit, the local tavern, oddly sited on the property, is a burned-out shell.

It’s a mess of cracking, subsiding stone, home to feral animals and other pests, filled with rotting timbers and utterly devoid of basic services like sewerage, water and electricity.

It’s perfect.

Alan’s a handy mechanic with stonemason skills, Kim’s a history buff and willing accomplice and together (and along with their family tribe of city-based tradies) they set about saving this overlooked and neglected landmark.

They enlist the help of local amateurs to investigate the whereabouts of missing buildings and to guide them on an authentic and sympathetic restoration and transformation.

But can they accomplish their dream on weekend shuttles, spare-time assistance from their sons, daughter and partners and on a modest budget. And will they be able to celebrate in a renewed wee Jasper Tavern?

Restoration Australia presenter Anthony Burke joins Kim, Alan and their can-do crew on this deeply challenging project.

There’s enough folly, fun, character and drama in this to inspire some epic verse from onetime Wee Jasper local Banjo Patterson.

Production credit: A Fremantle production for the ABC. Supervising Executive Producer: Brooke Bayvel. Executive Producer: Michael Collett. ABC Executive Producers: Madeleine Hawcroft and Jo Chichester.

Restoration Australia on ABC and ABC iview – Thursday 27 June at 8.00pm

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Restoration Australia on ABC

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