The Australian Colonies

Stuart King and Julie Willis

in Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire

Published in print October 2016 | ISBN: 9780198713326
Published online October 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191781766 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series

The Australian Colonies

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Social and Cultural History


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Australian architecture began with the traditional structures built by its indigenous inhabitants, from permanent stone structures to lightweight impermanent shelters. The arrival of colonists in 1788 introduced British architectural sensibilities to the continent. Architectural influence from the British Isles dominated the next century, periodically refreshed by new architect arrivals. Stylistically, architectural fashions moved from plain-faced Georgian and reductive Greek to Roman, Renaissance, and Gothic revivals, before mineral-driven wealth encouraged exuberant fusions of Gothic and classical modes. The 1892 crash brought a seismic shift in architectural taste towards the Arts and Crafts movement, and burgeoning interest in an ‘Australian’ architecture as the new nation formed in 1901. British influence waned along with the decline of the British empire, with diverse local and international sources informing Australian architecture into the twentieth century.

Keywords: Australia; architecture; British empire; vernacular; colonial; climatic adaptation; architectural education; architecture profession

Chapter.  13893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Social and Cultural History

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