Turning Up the Heat on Pests at Woodford Academy

In February 2019, the Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains will become the first complex of heritage buildings in Australia to undergo a ‘non-toxic’ pest control treatment. National Trust (NSW) – the owners and managers of the Woodford Academy – have invested significant research into the most innovative procedures to treat the property for pests and will be undertaking this process as a result of the support of generous donors and members of the National Trust (NSW).

National Trust (NSW) Collections Manager, Rebecca Pinchin at Woodford Academy. (Photography by Stephen Reinhardt, SGR Photo)

The innovative treatment is being undertaken by Modified Atmospheres and Simon de Montemas from Precision Pest Control and involves progressively heating the interiors of the Blue Mountains oldest building to 56ºC. The treatment targets pests such as borers and silverfish, both of which are notoriously damaging to historic buildings and extremely difficult to eradicate.

The pest treatment will be accompanied by a symposium for specialists, practitioners and advisors to the museum, galleries, heritage building, engineering and architecture industries on Friday 15 February along with a public talk by National Trust (NSW) Collections Manager, Rebecca Pinchin, and Alex Roach from Modified Atmospheres for the Academy’s monthly Open Day on Saturday 16 February.

“The symposium will explore, through a range of perspectives, new approaches in museum practice and methodologies for the management of insect pests in heritage collections and buildings. It will highlight and discuss the treatment of the buildings at Woodford Academy, established in the 1830s, with heat, explore the challenges posed by an undertaking on this scale, and share the solutions found to the problems encountered. This is particularly relevant to regional collections held in historic buildings,” said National Trust (NSW) Collections Manager, Rebecca Pinchin. “It will explore recent developments in the treatment of common insect pest infestations and possible strategies for countering this threat to the survival of collections and heritage buildings.”

‘This pest treatment is an important part of the National Trust (NSW)’s ongoing commitment to the conservation of our nation’s built heritage and we are very pleased that we are the first Australian heritage property to undergo this innovative treatment to ensure the Woodford Academy’s buildings and museum collection is appropriately conserved for future generations.’ said Elizabeth Burgess, Chair of the Woodford Academy Management Committee. “This important conservation work would not have been possible without the expertise of the National Trust (NSW) staff and our dedicated team of volunteers who have generously donated many hours of their own time over the summer months to make this project a reality.”

The industry symposium and public open day will be accompanied by ‘Dust: An exhibition about insects, collections and care’, which brings together artists and museum professionals to explore the processes of collection care underway at the museum. Developed by local Blue Mountains artist Jacqueline Spedding, Dust celebrates the work of Spedding’s fellow artists and museum colleagues who have backgrounds in art and science, both professionally and creatively. Dust highlights the materiality of insect bodies, museum objects and heritage environments and gives expression to the productive and destructive forces inherent to human-insect relationships with a suite of vibrant and fascinating audio and visual works that showcase the good, the bad and the ugly of the insect world.


Turning up the Heat on Pests Symposium:
Friday, 15 February 2019
9am – 4pm


  • Adults – $200 (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)
  • Student/ concession – $80

Bookings essential (before 12 February)
Symposium Enquiries: Rebecca Pinchin, Collections Manager, National Trust (NSW)
Phone: (02) 9 258 0129
Email: rpinchin@nationaltrust.com.au


Open day:
Saturday, 16 February 2019
10am – 4pm (Talks at 1pm)


  • Adults – $10
  • Seniors/ Students (5-15yrs) – $8
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children) – $25
  • Child under 5 years free (includes Museum Entry, exhibition, talk & guided museum tour)

Open Day Enquiries: woodfordacademy@gmail.com