At the end of 2006, I was approached by Ann Toy and Robert Griffin, Curators for The Historic Houses Trust, Government House, Sydney to re-upholster the antique furniture in the drawing room for the APEC meeting.

I was honored to use the skills that I had learned from a young age in Portugal and use it for such an important meeting that was going to be held in Australia. The Napoleon III chairs and sofas had an amazing history behind them when they were first upholstered. I never thought that in my life I would ever get the chance to do something like this or be approached by a ‘group’ that cared for antiquities the same way I did.

Although I had never re-upholstered something from this style since I have been in Australia it involved me and my co-workers to do some extra research about the period, by going to the Australian National Library. By using my experience from previous jobs done in Portugal and understanding the period we were able to re-upholster the furniture in its correct style, taking into account shapes, angles, lines, button depths and swags. I re-upholstered the antique furniture in red silk and once I delivered the completed furniture to Government House for the Red Drawing Room, it looked amazing.

I was so proud that my furniture sat in a room where leaders of the world in a few weeks we’re going to be for this special event. I am still involved in working for the Historic Houses Trust in Sydney and currently working on the banquettes for the music room.


Carlos Rodrigues has worked on some significant items of the Government House Collection over the past few years. Most recently, Carlos and his team have restored 5 banquettes (originating in the 1860’s) to their original design. This was a long and considered process – sourcing fabric, filling (horse hair) cord and tassles to ensure their integrity with original – and then, the actual construction works. Carlos spent many months hand working the items to be finished to the high standard required. The items are now housed within the Ballroom at Government House and their design complements the overall style of the room. Carlos has a pride in his work – he is considerate and attentive and the works produced are of high quality. – Dayn Cooper | Estate Manager,
Government House Sydney

Government House