A local stonemason has been acknowledged by the National Trust [NSW] for his ongoing efforts to preserve the foundations of Bathurst's Cathedral of St Michael and St John.
For the the last five years, stonemason and builder Ron Lodewijks has been leading a project to restore the damage time has inflicted to the 158-year-old building.
Mr Lodewijks was announced as the winner of the prestigious Heritage Skills award at a recent function in Sydney to celebrate the 2019 National Trust Heritage Awards.
But for Mr Lodewijks, a restored heritage building is the reward he cherishes the most.
"It's rewarding in the sense that the work you put in will last centuries," he said.
"I don't know if I'm really worthy of any award because I enjoy what I do and I don't require any accolades to drive my work."
Mr Lodewijks said the process behind the restoration of a heritage building requires immaculate attention to detail and can often be physically demanding.
"Sandstone is an extremely expensive medium to work with and because our work will last for generations, we have to take plenty of care," he said.
"The stones are heavy to lift and the dust can injure your eyes and lungs if you don't look after yourself properly but at the end of the day, the risk is worth the reward."
Mr Lodewijks and his team has been working primarily to reduce the effects of groundwater on the foundations of the church.
"We've had to replace timber floors within the cathedral because exterior groundwater was causing them to rot," he said.
"The church was built extremely well in its day, but later additions have caused all sorts of problems to the foundations."
Mr Lodewijks was nominated by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst for his dedication to preserving heritage sites within NSW.
"We've got such a limited amount of heritage architecture left, so it's important to protect and conserve what we have," he said.