Fort Gellibrand, Williamstown

Restoring Australian Defence Heritage

If you know Victoria, you know that there are numerous Defence bases scattered around the state. Situated at the south of our beautiful state is Fort Gellibrand, a heritage-listed military installation at Morris Street, Williamstown.

Some of the earliest buildings date back to the 1860’s and form a significant part of Australian Defence history. The Drill Hall for example, is one of only two drill halls surviving in the Port Phillip Bay defences.

Our project also extended to the Naval Cadets building, TS Voyager. Built after the second World War, it had its own set of requirements and criteria.

The Project

As Fort Gellibrand was listed on the Australian Commonwealth Heritage List in June 2004, it meant that this was a true historical restoration project. In conducting our works, our team needed to honour the building’s heritage, along with preserving it for generations to come.

Our focus was the external and internal surfaces of the building, including trims and window frames. Our cleaning, restoration, and painting, needed to reflect the heritage as well as consider the modern-day aesthetic of the surrounds.


Being a significant part of Australian Defence history, Fort Gellibrand and TS Voyager presented our team with a unique challenge. We had to ensure that all works carried out did not do any irreparable damage while we were trying to restore the buildings.

We were also conscious of ensuring we did not just patch areas that clearly required replacing, while also ensuring we did make any additions to the buildings that would out of place and not true to the history of the buildings.

Of course, there was also our obligations to maintain current building codes without ruining the building. Along with ensuring we adhered to the guidelines set out by the Department of Defence for our contract.

Avello’s Bespoke Solution

Working with a Defence contract does come with its own set of guidelines and challenges, however here at Avello we are able to tailor a solution to provide the best outcome for each individual project. Our areas of focus for the Fort Gellibrand and TS Voyager project were:

  1. Maintain confidentiality of the work that has been carried out.
  2. Embrace the heritage of the site while ensuring the building can still be utilised.
  3. Adhere to budget and timeframe as per our agreed contract.

The Outcome

This project is definitely a feather in our cap; however, we can say that the Department of Defence were very happy with the completed restoration.

Through diligence and tailored solutions, we were able to complete the restoration works and maintain the beauty of this amazing historical structure for many to enjoy well into the future.


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