” Rose early according to my custom, and surveyed my new dwelling with a particular sort of satisfaction.”No rent to pay for you, said I. ” No taxes, that,s pleasant, no poor rates, that’s a comfort, and no-one can give me warning to quit, and that’s another comfort, and it’s my own, thank God, and that’s the greatest comfort of all.”

Extract from “Tales of the Colonies”

Charles Rowcroft 1850

Broad verandas and eaves cast an ever changing pattern of light and shadow

The golden age of Australian architecture was in the 1830s with most development centred on the Macquarie towns west of Sydney and in Tasmania. Framed in clear straight lines with an engaging simplicity, buildings of this period were enriched by materials such as stone, mud and timber from the Australian forest.
There are two periods in Australian history that stand out as inspiration for today’s owner builder. The first is the pre-1840’s Colonial period when the discipline of limited resources created a simple robust style of building, which was both delicate in detail and sensitive in scale. Experts in the use of passive climate control, the builders created homes that were very livable, while the alignment of broad verandas and eaves cast an ever changing pattern of light and shadow.

Those first settlers arriving more than 200 years ago depended on the forests and soil for materials to build their homes. With patience and dedication they built homes with a timeless appeal and quality, many of which have endured and continue to serve their purpose well.

The second period began after World War 2, when shortages of material and increased demand for housing saw another surge of owner building, which for the most part was exceedingly dull and utilitarian. There was however, a small band of diggers who had spent part of the war in rural France and England and had decided to use the style and techniques of the peasants and farmers to build their homes. Built from the earth, either pise or mudbrick homes had, if properly constructed, a charm and quality that far outweighed their humble origins.

Post WW11 built mudbrick construction at Montsalvat
Post WW11 built mudbrick building at Montsalvat in Eltham

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