Over the last 18 months we have been developing the content of an interactive website for the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife service to provide virtual access to Lake Innes – a grand colonial estate built by Major Innes a charming but ultimately unlucky Scottish entrepreneur and settler of 1840s Australia.
Innes constructed a grand country house at the centre of a large estate – an endeavour only made possible by convict labour – vividly described in a contemporary diary by his niece Annabella Boswell. The house enjoyed a very limited heyday before it fell into disuse and decay, its end exacerbated by a fire, the ruins were quickly engulfed by vegetation and suffered from salvaging of materials in the 20th century.
The ruins have now been rediscovered and conserved but access is limited due to their fragile condition. The state Parks service was thus keen to develop an exciting website which would enable virtue access to the site and bring the evocative story of the estate and its inhabitants to life. In doing just this we have used our specialist in-house knowledge to interrogate the archival sources and physical evidence, developing the interpretation of the site, using actors and interviews with local experts to give visitors the best experience of the site.
At the heart of the website is a 3D tour of the actual ruins, which has been developed from a laser scanned survey of the site. This allows visitors to explore the site either following a guided tour (led by Major Innes and other characters) or using their own initative.
The website proved so attractive and popular that we were recently commissioned again to expand the experience by virtually reconstructing the Innes House and stables in 3D – showing how they looked in their heyday. Again, our understanding of the archival sources, archaeological excavations and knowledge of contemporary architecture and materials have enabled us to give a realistic picture of how the buildings would have appeared.
This video shows how we have enabled the virtual reconstruction of this fascinating site.