The media is accused of only ever trading in bad news but today Gang-Gang brings you tidings of great joy. It is that a 1913 Canberra buggy shed, less than one year ago a scraggy, roofless ruin and a ''shed of shame'' for its custodian, the Australian National University (that had allowed it to decompose), has been gloriously repaired and restored. The centenary gave the project impetus. Less than one year ago when this columnist went to see it (it is behind the Constable's Cottage in the ANU's Liversidge Precinct) the Canberra Times photographed it with despairing conservation architect Peter Freeman inside it. The photographs showed him dappled by the sunlight that came in through the building's zillion holes. The shed looked irreparably ruined.
Freeman is delighted by what's only just been completed (when Gang-Gang was there on Tuesday there was still a smell of fresh paint) but on our visit last May he was seething: ''The ANU has no interest in heritage. All they're really interested in is crass new modern buildings .. . the shed has a great story to tell. It's ironic that, as we come to 2013 [our centenary year], the ANU is letting a building built in 1913 fall to pieces when it tells a story of how Canberra was in 1913 [when motor traffic was still scarce and when cottages came with buggy sheds the way, today, they come with garages.].''
On Tuesday, on this columnist's first visit since seeing it as a sad ruin, the shed looked so wonderful we were worried that none of the 1913 building had been kept. But Amy Guthrie, the ANU's sustainability officer for heritage, was able to dispel those fears.
''Between 80 and 90 per cent of the fabric [original material] has been retained,'' she rejoiced. ''We first looked into pulling it down and reassembling it … but we ended up going through and stabilising it instead. So it's a stabilisation rather than a reconstruction, which is great in terms of the building's integrity … we've been able to follow the principle of doing as much as necessary but as little as possible.
''So we were able to strip these back and repaint almost all the  weatherboards. We were able to retain all but two of the windows.''
Freshly painted, the shed is a vision of off-white with grey-green window frames. ''And the paint we've used here is a special organic linseed oil paint. Of course, the timber was so dry this actually gave us the opportunity to give the timber a bit of a drink with linseed oil.''
Buoyed by the thought of dry old timbers getting a deserved drink, and by the news that the possum that had been living in the decomposing shed has now moved back into the stabilised one, your columnist left the premises in high centenary spirits.
In another column ere long there's more to be said about the shed, its past (for example, in the 1950s one part of it was a cramped home for a large, battling family of Hungarian migrants) and its imagined future, now that it is fit to last another 100 years.