The twenty or so elegant Georgian buildings designed by Francis Greenway that stand in Sydney today are a civilising presence. Yet these represent less than a quarter of his output. The destruction has been wanton and impoverishing.
Greenway was born in November 1777, near Bristol. His father was a stonemason and builder, as had been generations of Greenways. Nothing is known of his early years, but, judging by his knowledge of literature, he probably had a respectable education. He worked in the Greenway family’s mason’s yard and spent time in London from 1797, attached in some way – maybe as an apprentice – to the architect John Nash. By 1805, Greenway was back in Bristol working with his brothers, and by 1809 he was bankrupt.