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  • Simon Milner

Locks, no longer in stock, and three smokin’ new barrels…

Our approach to the renovation of Terragong has been to keep as much of the original fabric of the house as possible, based on condition and the viability of refurbishing. Red has been invaluable with his carpentry skills in repairing and preserving most of the original woodwork throughout, in particular doors and windows.

Each of the five internal doors off the downstairs hallway (3 guest rooms, butlers’ pantry and passage door from the entrance foyer) feature wonderful door furniture that is contemporary to the house but no longer in full working order. As part of his work in rehanging the doors, Red removed the hardware, which provided us with the opportunity to do some detective work.

Made of cast iron and brass, each of the locks has a medallion bearing the name of the manufacturer and a model number. Jumping online (thank you Google) we learned that they were manufactured by H&T Vaughan in Willenhall, England, circa 1875-1880. The company was established in 1856. During the latter part of the century, Australia and New Zealand were their primary export markets. More information can be found at

Following Red’s advice, liberal amounts of paint stripper were applied, removing the many layers of paint. Once stripped, a goodly amount of buffing with extra-fine steel wool restored the cases to their original surface. Each mechanism and its accompanying strike plate (also in cast iron with brass detailing) has been numbered and tagged, according to which door it was removed from.

Further online research (and quite a few phone calls later) and we’ve located a locksmith in Sydney able to repair the lock mechanisms and provide new keys, and four of the five have today been delivered to his workshop. The key blanks are only available from a supplier in Tasmania and will need to be hand-cut and filed, not an inexpensive exercise.

Once returned to us in working order in a few weeks' time, we’ll give the cases their final clean and polish, a blacking and a protective wax coating and Red will reinstate them on the doors. Yet more original fabric saved!

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