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Victorian Academic Gothic c. 1840—c. 1890

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  21 St Philip's Church 22 All Saints, Parramatta 02 St. Mary’s Cathedral 
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02 St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral

015 Christ Church St. Lawrence 04 Hunter Baillee Presbyterian Church 
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  020 St Barnabas 02 The Quadrangle
36 Anderson Stuart Building
 
In one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of architecture, the Gothick Picturesque style, a fashionable toy for the amusement of the British aristocracy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, became the Gothic style of the Victorian era, an idiom imbued with a potent mixture of nationalism and morality. Much of the high seriousness of Victorian Gothic came from the passionate convictions of two men: the Roman Catholic convert Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and the nature-loving writer John Ruskin. Through them, Gothic was seen as not just a style of architecture but as a repository of truth and goodness. Working with Charles Barry, Pugin provided all the medieval details for Victorian Gothic’s greatest monument, the Houses of Parliament in London. George Gilbert Scott, G. E. Street, William Butterfield and J. L. Pearson were some of the architects who helped to carry the Gothic torch through to the end of the century.
In the cause of ‘authenticity’, Victorian Gothic drew heavily on the scholarly studies of surviving medieval buildings made throughout the nineteenth century. Architects had no compunction in reproducing motifs and details from the Middle Ages, but this should not blind us to the originality present in the best work of the nineteenth century—for instance, Butterfield’s aggressive polychromy and Pearson’s spatial explorations.

It was fortunate for Australia that some English architects of genuine talent had come to this country and were able to design fine cathedrals and churches in the Victorian Gothic style. The two most significant figures were William Wardell, designer of St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in Melbourne [i6o] and St Mary’s, its counterpart in Sydney, and Edmund Blacket, who completed St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, designed the main buildings at the University of Sydney, and was responsible for dozens of suburban and country churches. In spite of this fine local talent, architects resident in Britain were commissioned to design cathedrals in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. It would be fair to say that these buildings suffered from the fact that their designing architects were half a world away.
In Australia, Victorian Gothic is essentially a masonry style, and interesting contrasts may be seen between, say, the bluestone of Melbourne and the sandstone of Sydney. Internally, churches usually display timber roof construction; stone vaulting was hardly ever attempted. While the style was not completely confined to ecclesiastical buildings, the principal significance of Victorian Gothic in Australia is that it provided the nation with an extensive stock of fine cathedrals and churches which continue to be greatly valued in the late twentieth century.
   
  Quoted from:
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
RICHARD APPERLY, ROBERT IRVING, PETER REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLOMON MITCHELL.
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
 
  St Paul's Cathedral. Melbourne
 
  St Patrick's Cathedral. Melbourne
 
  St Peter's Cathedral. Adelaide. Completed 1901.

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