EXPLORER William Lawson's vault will receive a facelift ahead of the bicentenary of the Blue Mountains crossing to be celebrated next year.
Blacktown Council has received a grant of $10,000 from the federal government's Your Community Heritage program to help repair the cracked altar slab and sandstone picket fence and install drainage to the vault surround.
It is the second stage of restoration of the vault at St Bartholomew's Church, Prospect, where members of his family are buried.
Annette Sheather is one of Lawson's descendants, and gave her blessing to the project.
Her grandmother was the child of Lawson's daughter Sarah Maria and George Langley, her second husband.
Mrs Sheather began to research the Lawson family history in earnest in 1993, and has recovered some surprising information about her kin.
She said Governor Lachlan Macquarie asked Lawson to be on the board of the Bank of NSW.
"As he was going out of Sydney Harbour Governor Macquarie remembered he'd write a list of names of people who were friendly towards the government and Lawson's name was on that list as someone to trust," she said.
Mrs Sheather said there are accounts of Lawson's fair relationship with the local Aborigines, and compassion for his staff — he did not want one servant whipped as punishment for running away from a foreman who was being vindictive.
"Partly because he was a convict himself originally, he knew that sometimes the law was cruel," she said.
Her son Paul has also developed an interest in the family's history, visiting the vault at Prospect.
"I know all the information I've got will carry on through him," she said.