Cathedral Restoration Stonemason, Ron Lodewijks receives National Trust Heritage Award
Richard Silink, National Trust Deputy CEO; Ron Lodewijks; Fr Paul Devitt, Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Bathurst and Patrick Cooper, Diocesan Financial Administrator, Catholic Diocese of Bathurst
The National Trust (NSW) announced the winners for its annual National Trust Heritage Awards on Friday 10 May.
Local stonemason and builder, Ron Lodewijks of Stone Restorations Rylstone, was presented the prestigious Heritage Skills Award at a luncheon attended by more than 300 people at Doltone House, Sydney.
Currently, Mr Lodewijks is working on the restoration of the Cathedral of St Michael and St John at Bathurst, and was nominated for the award by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst for his dedication to his craft and preserving heritage sites within New South Wales.
But for Mr Lodewijks, a restored heritage building is the reward he cherishes the most.
"It's rewarding in the sense that the work you put in will last centuries," he said.
"I don't know if I'm really worthy of any award because I enjoy what I do and I don't require any accolades to drive my work."
Mr Lodewijks said the process behind the restoration of a heritage building requires immaculate attention to detail and can often be physically demanding.
"Sandstone is an extremely expensive medium to work with and because our work will last for generations, we have to take plenty of care," he said.
The Most Reverend Michael McKenna, Bishop of Bathurst was delighted with Mr Lodewijks being recognised by The National Trust (NSW).
“Ron embodies all the key attributes of an outstanding heritage stonemason and builder. He is not only passionate about the restoration of heritage buildings, but also about the continuation of the craft of stone-masonry through the training and development of the next generation, who will continue this work into the future,” said Bishop McKenna.
“Over the last six years, his work has been outstanding in quality, affordability and, most importantly, it has been continually executed in a way that demonstrates commitment to extending the life of the building, restoring its original fabric and ensuring that future works can be avoided or reduced in complexity and cost,” he added.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of these important awards, which acknowledge the greatest innovation, conservation, education and advocacy with a view to preserving or protecting natural, built and cultural heritage in NSW. Assessed by an independent panel of judges across 11 categories, award entries are received from the building design and architecture sector, community groups, the culture and arts sector including galleries and libraries, leading researchers and publishers, and many more.