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See also: Story of the Site | Federation Factory?
From Stables and farm buildings: [illustrations and plans taken from various architectural journals] John Horbury Hunt Papers (1860-1903) and Architectural collection of John Horbury Hunt (1870-1936), Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and which include 2 bound collections of illustrations of Stained Glass Windows and Stables from Britain as well his own plans and notes on film. This includes 1884 drawings of the saw tooth roof for the National Fine Art Gallery, Sydney.
"Hunt was trained in Boston, Massachusetts but then migrated to Australia in 1863. He worked in Sydney with Edmund Blacket for seven years prior to pursuing his own practice. His output was extremely varied and included cathedrals, churches, chapels, houses, homesteads, stables and schools.....All Saints Church, Hunters Hill, Sydney (1885).. Public School, Rozelle, Sydney (1877)" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Horbury_Hunt
"Of all the architects associated with Blacket, the one who would become most famous was John Horbury Hunt, who worked with him from 1863 to 1868...One of innovations that he introduced to Australian architecture while working for Blacket was the saw-tooth roof for industrial building..." - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Blacket
74b Trafalgar Street has a saw tooth roof (photo), which maximises the natural light within. According to Heritage Victoria, the saw-tooth factories with canted roof lights, illustrate how English factory technology was imported to Australia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The nearby Hunter Baillie Memorial Church whose steeple can be seen behind 74b Trafalgar Street, is attributed to Arthur Blacket, the son of the famous colonial architect Edmund Blacket. The brick church hall was built before the stone church and used for worship. "It [Church] shows none of the influence of later Victorian modifications of Gothic evident in the Church Hall (1886)" - heritage.nsw.gov.au. Though there are "suggestions of the influence of John Horbury Hunt in the design of the Hunter Baillie Church (source: Heritage Office files)" - www.sydneyarchitecture.com
The Hunter Baillie church is described as "'A misguided architectural extravagance, it may also be regarded as a survival among the prevailing brick and stucco' (p181-3 Architecture in NSW 1840-1900)"..."But after 1850, architects began increasingly to use the elements of Gothic in developing and synthesisising original Victorian Gothic designs. One of these architects was Horbury Hunt. It seems paradoxical that the Blackett Brothers should have designed a 'modern' Gothic Hall but a somewhat old fashioned Gothic Church" '(page 15 Hunter Baillie)
"At Saltaire Fairbairn's sawtooths had the principal rafters of timber, but the ties, and a single strut, were of iron. It was unlike Fairbairn to use timber at all in so significant a position, but when the sawtooth reached the Australian colonies in about 1865 it was translated entirely into timber.
Although there is some doubt about the date, for it was built in two stages, of 1864 and 1867, the first Australian example may have been the Mort & Co wool store in Alfred Street, Sydney. The design was by Edmund Blacket, but it is thought that the innovation is attributable to his employee J H Hunt, who had seen the Saltaire Mill. Miles Lewis, Australian Building: A Cultural Investigation, Section Five: The Timber Frame, 5.4 Roof Framing (Page 14). See Also Mort's Dock, Balmain
In Sydney, the Arts and Crafts movement developed a noticeably local idiom. There was a stylish and regional house type that owed much to the late houses of Horbury Hunt..(Preface pg xii, Pioneers of Modernism, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Australia, Harriet Edquist)....In the late 1880s and early 1890s Hunt developed a radicaly simplified style...(Pg18, Pioneers of Modernism, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Australia, Harriet Edquist)
This Garden Palace Annex was erected with great speed between August and November 1879 [by John Young] and built of iron and timber and contained nine moderately sized galleries. After the close of the Sydney International Exhibition, the Annexe was opened officially by Lord Loftus as the 'Art Gallery of New South Wales'. The building suffered from damp and in 1883 was found to be infested with termites. Lobbying and the fire which destroyed the Crystal Palace eventually convinced the government that an appropriate permanent home, was needed, for the national collection of art. - Art Gallery of NSW (History)
See construction of the Garden Palace, Sydney International Exhibition building, 1879. The accompanying view shows the general arrangements of each court, the manner in which the walls are lighted from above by means of skylights - The International Exhibition 1879-1880 illustrated by original photographs and The British Court, Central Avenue
In December 1885 the collections were moved to Hunt's temporary building, which was nothing more than a series of thick walls with a sawtooth roof, was universally disliked. It was denounced in the press by prominent citizens as the 'Art Barn.' Economic depression, politics and personality clashes eventually robbed Hunt of the opportunity to design the gallery. - Art Gallery of NSW (The Building)
"Early in the twentieth century he [Henry King, (1855-1923)] was commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, (then known as the National Art Gallery of New South Wales) to photograph its major works. In this image gives a sense of depth by framing archways within archways and using the natural light to display the works to their best advantage."- www.powerhousemuseum.com
"COLONIAL HARDWOOD FOR BUILDING. TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD. Sir, - Some few years since I took part in your columns to support the greater use of our hardwood timber in the chief parts of bilding construction, such as beams and posts. Let me now ask those who so loudly condemn our hardwood for such purpose to visit their use in the evening News Office, and see how well the wooden beams and posts have stood the test of fire and water. I am &c J. HORBURY HUNT. November 26 - The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 27 November 1888 Page of 14
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD. Sir, Would it not be very unwise for the Government to hurriedly enter upon the execution of any permanent work in connection with the forthcoming celebration? Mistakes under hurry and excitement are generally very serious ones. Some months ago when 1 ventured to christen our worthy Premier the Haussmaan of Now South Wales, I did not then think it possible for him to be (as reported) a party to such a national misfortune as would be inflicted upon us by forming a road around the foreshores of the Botanic Garden:. Not withstanding the report, I do not believe that Sir William will ever permit such a desecration of the most beautiful public garden of Australia, and I venture to say, from Nature's point of view, that there are few in the world its equal.
The most appreciative of us do not admire these gardens as strangers do. Are we, in the forthcoming demonstration of our entering upon nationhood, to put before the world as an object lesson our want of appreciation in what Nature has so lavishly done for us in these gardens?
Will not our distinguished visitors justly question our fitness for the work of conceiving and building a brand new city to be the capital of Australia, when we set to work and destroy the channing features of Sydney, namely, the desecration of Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens?
I am, &c,
J. HORBURY HUNT. - The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 10 October 1900 page 5
The death took place at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital yesterday morning of Mr. J. Horbury Hunt, the well-known architect, at the age of 67 years. The deceased gentleman who was a strong personality, was born in Canada, and came to this State about 50 years ago. For some years he was in the office of the late Mr. Blacket, who excelled as an ar- chitect for ecclesiastical buildings. Mr. Hunt was a man of recognised professional skill, and had enjoyed the distinction of occupying the chair of the Institute of Architects. Having ample time for the study of general literature, and being actuated by patriotic impulses, he was a frequent contributor to the press. His writ- ings showed that his standards were of a high kind, and it was his ambition to do all that he could to ensure that only the best types of architecture should prevail. Being an intimate friend of the late Mr. James Barnet, for many years Colonial Architect, Mr. Hunt received a shock recently by the death of that gentleman. For the last 12 months Mr. Hunt's health had been failing, duo to the inroads that Bright's disease was making upon hiss system, and whilst the guest of Mr. Weaver at Strathfield he was attended by Dr. Scot Skirving and Dr. Mills, of Ashfield. Less than a fortnight ago the patient was removed to the Sir James Fairfax Ward in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, but the disease had already made so much progress that the end came yester- day. Mrs. Hunt predeceased her husband about 10 years ago, and her coffin was placed in a vault at Rose Bay, designed by Mr. Hunt. His remains will be removed thither to-day from Wood and Company's mortuary chapel, George-street South. - The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 29 December 1904 page 5
Horbury Hunt commissioned special L and T-shaped bricks for the Armidale and Grafton cathederals around 1870-84 and by 1891 a Melbourne company specialised in such bricks - mileslewis.net/australian-building/pdf/bricks-tiles/textured-bricks.pdf
"He [Hunt] crusaded for a return to brickwork and railed against stylistic pretence. - brick_tales.pdf (521 kb)
"As we have seen, the verandah was only part of the definition of a bungalow... In considering contemporary ideas of a bungalow's purpose and form, the first to be built in Australia was the Piddington Bungalow at Mount Victoria in 1876...designed by John Horbury Hunt"- Australian Architecture 1901-51: Sources of Modernism Johnson, Donald Leslie (7.7MB)
HUNT, John Horbury and Lloyd TAYLER, 1889. Architects (Call No.: ON 6/25x30/Box 7)
Australian Biographies Online: Hunt, John Horbury (1838 - 1904)
"Photograph (page 132) of Stables Barrona, Wittingham 1880 Cutts Collection, Newcastle Region Public Library...The gabled stables wing is quite different and unprecedented in Hunt's oeuvre. It is not only eminently funtional but also an architectural surprise....foretaste of the Functionalist Art Deco forms of 50 years later" - Peter Reynolds, Lesley Muir and Joy Hughes (book)
The Photograph of National Art Gallery, Sydney Mitchell Library SLNSW (page 98 of the historic houses trust book) shows similar ironwork downpipes on a brick wall.
Architect extraordinary : the life and work of John Horbury Hunt, 1838-1904, Freeland, John Maxwell
Each book in this series is a self guided historical walk through Annandale. Each walk explores the people and construction of Annandale. Each book covers two decades of Annandales History a hundred years apart. The first book in the series, 1890s Annandale: A Short Walk, covers the 1790s and 1890s.
This page last updated 2 March 2013.