Architectural distinction was conferred upon most Australian towns and cities in the nineteenth century. This was achieved largely through the construction of public buildings designed by architects employed within colonial works departments – a practice that regrettably does not exist anymore. Town halls, post offices, courthouses, hospitals, lunatic asylums, and jails were the product of highly skilled public servants who shared a common view that civic decorum was best expressed through the architecture of the Classical Tradition. Within the pantheon of these government architects, there are famous names of Australian architecture. Francis Greenway, Mortimer Lewis, James Barnet, William Wardell, Charles Tiffin, F.D.G. Stanley, and Walter Liberty Vernon are the best known among a host of others. All in some way bequeathed a certain seriousness to the endeavour of building in a place where such structures had never before stood, and in doing so contributed to defining the future mood and character of that place.
An unequalled contribution to Australia’s civic architecture
JJ Clark: Architect of the Australian Renaissance
by Andrew Dodd
NewSouth Publishing, $59.99 hb, 271 pp, 9781742233055
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Philip Goad is Chair and Professor of Architecture at The University of Melbourne. He co-edited The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture (2011).
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