Preserve & Restoration of a 180-Year-Old Timber Boat | Steamatic

Preserving History: Steamatic’s Involvement in the Historic Preservation of the 180-Year-Old Barangaroo Boat Discovery

In the bustling heart of Sydney, where the modern city meets the past, an extraordinary heritage discovery has taken place. During excavation works for the Sydney Metro station at Barangaroo, a team of archaeologists uncovered a remarkable artifact – a 180-year-old timber boat, believed to be the oldest of its kind ever found in New South Wales.

The boat, dating back to the 1830s, provides a fascinating glimpse into Sydney’s colonial past. Built from Sydney Blue Gum, Stringybark, and Spotted Gum, it reflects the craftsmanship of a bygone era when these waters were navigated by vessels much like this one.

As leaders in restoration, we have been intricately involved in the delicate process of safeguarding this piece of history for future generations. One of the critical challenges in preserving such an artifact is maintaining its structure and integrity. By employing advanced freeze-drying techniques, we have been able to ensure the boat’s delicate wooden structure is protected from deterioration and the structural integrity of each timber piece is maintained.

Using the largest freeze dryer in Australia, we are carefully controlling temperature and pressure to remove moisture from the artifact without causing damage. The meticulous step-by-step approach involves:

  1. Preparation: The artifact is cleaned and prepared, ensuring that it is ready for preservation.
  2. Freezing: To halt any further deterioration, the boat is frozen to a very low temperature.
  3. Primary Drying (Sublimation): Placed in a vacuum, the frozen artifact undergoes sublimation, where moisture is removed without transitioning through to a liquid state.
  4. Secondary Drying (Desorption): Further drying at slightly higher temperatures eliminates any remaining moisture, preventing the risk of decay.
  5. Packaging: Once thoroughly dried, the timber pieces are carefully packaged in airtight containers to shield it from environmental factors that could compromise its integrity.


Steamatic’s dedication to preserving this historic boat goes beyond mere restoration; it is a commitment to safeguarding a tangible piece of our shared heritage. Through our expertise and meticulous approach, we ensure that this artifact will be available for future study and display, allowing generations to come to connect with Sydney’s rich maritime history.

As the preservation efforts continue, Steamatic remains at the forefront, working hand in hand with archaeologists and heritage experts to ensure that this remarkable piece of history endures for centuries to come.

Barangaroo Boat Preservation Vacuum Freeze Dryer    Drying Barangaroo Boat using Australia's largest vacuum freeze dryer.  Inside the freeze dryer

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