My employment in the Paintings Section of the Conservation Department of the Australian National Gallery began in June 1983, however my internship did not begin until March 1984 under the supervision of Allan Byrne. At that time, the paintings section was divided, rather arbitrarily, into: paintings pre-1940, headed by Ilse King and; paintings post-1940, headed by Allan Byrne. Because of the departure of the then senior curator of conservation Dr Nathan Stolow, Allan Byrne became acting senior curator. When Allan Byrne took up the position of lecturer in paintings conservation at C.C.A.E., Ilse King then became acting senior curator and my supervisor; the division within the painting section was then disbanded. Jae Macnaught an departed temporarily from the department to undertake study and to work at the Tate Gallery and at the Courtauld Institute in London leaving me with the paintings section. I was fortunate enough to have at first one assistant Simon Hartas, then two assistants, Mark Henderson and Les Cormack to help with the task of backing, framing and restretching paintings. There was no formal training programme for an intern - work was undertaken as it came into the department and as it was allotted. V For the sake of simplicity and ease of handling the dissertation is divided into 3 parts: Part l includes the Functions and Facilities of the conservation department. Part 2 includes an outline of painting conservation practice within the gallery and details of conservation work undertaken. Part 3 comprises a project on some of the properties of hardboard. As the gallery has in its collection a considerable number of paintings on hardboard, to augment my knowledge and perhaps give some insight into the nature of hardboard, this project was undertaken in conjunction with the internship.
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