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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services
JB - 2017 (2)

julian bickersteth

Managing Director

MA (Oxon), Dip.Cons., FIIC, FRSA, AAICCM


Julian Bickersteth was educated at Oxford University before completing a diploma in materials conservation, specialising in furniture. In 1983 he joined the conservation department of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, becoming curator of conservation before leaving to establish International Conservation Services (ICS) in 1987.

Julian is actively involved in the conservation profession and the broader cultural heritage industry both in Australia and internationally. Within conservation, he is Vice President of the Council of the International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC). He was the Chair of the Organising Committee for the IIC biennial conference held in Melbourne in October 2000. In Australia, Julian was the national treasurer of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) for 9 years, Editor of the AICCM Bulletin for five years, and is currently editor of the AICCM newsletter. He was AICCM's conservator of the year in 2003. Julian is a fellow of IIC and a professional member of AICCM.

In the wider cultural heritage area, Julian is on the Board of and past Deputy President of the National Trust of Australia (NSW). He also chairs the Museums and Collections Committee and is a member of the Finance and Audit and Risk Management Committees. Julian was a director of AusHeritage Ltd, the Commonwealth Government's initiative for networking heritage professionals for five years and a member of the Heritage Council of NSW's Technical Advisory Group (TAG). He was on the Council of the Furniture History Society of Australasia and is Honorary Vice President of the Australian Decorative and Fine Art Societies (ADFAS). He is also a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. In 2003 Julian completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors company director course.

Julian has a particular interest in the interface between materials conservation and the context in which artefacts, collections and buildings are placed. This involves interaction with a wide range of associated disciplines and industries, including museum planning, archaeology, architecture, and exhibitions. Internationally he has worked on the National Museum of Kuwait after the Gulf War, the ancient quarter of the historic city of Hanoi, Vietnam, and the Ayala Museum and the Museum of Manila in the Philippines.

Julian's abiding passion is the historic heritage of Antarctica. He is closely involved in the planning for the conservation of Mawson's Hut at Commonwealth Bay and the huts of Scott and Shackleton in the Ross Sea region. He visited the Ross Sea huts in 2004 and 2006, and is currently leading a program to conserve the contents of the huts over the next decade.

Major projects which he has led include:

  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music archaeological conservation
  • St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney fabric restoration
  • Sydney Town Hall restoration
  • Sydney City Council outdoor sculpture and bronze conservation program
  • Australian War Memorial, Canberra - Hall of Memory mosaic conservation
  • Australian Museum, Sydney cultural collections review
  • University of Adelaide museums and collections review
  • Parliament House, Canberra furniture conservation program
  • Australian Red Cross, heritage review
  • Arts Victoria Cultural Collections storage review
  • NSW Treasury Gateway Review - cultural institutions joint storage project