The builders of Shoalhaven 1840s-1890s : a social history and cultural geography

  • Roger Hobbs

Student thesis: Professional Doctorate


According to architect Robin Boyd (1952 rev. ed. 1968), 'the Australian country house took its pattern, not directly from the English countryside, but second-hand from the Australian city' in the nineteenth century. This thesis explores the introduction of domestic architectural ideas in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area (LGA) from the 1840s to the 1890s,and concludes that Boyd's premise, including his five principal plan types, applied in general, subject to regional geographical parameters. The Illawarra and South Coast districts dominated New South Wales dairy farming by the 1860s. The transfer of architectural ideas to the Shoalhaven LGA was facilitated by steam shipping lines from 1855,as the dominant vector, which provided access to the Sydney markets. Architectural development began with a masonry construction boom during the 1860s and 1870s,followed by a timber construction boom in the 1880s and 1890s. In the Ulladulla District development was influenced by local stonemasons and Sydney architects from the 1860s-1870s,as well as regional developments in the Illawarra, which also influenced Kangaroo Valley in the 1870s. The Nowra Area, the administrative and commercial focus of the Shoalhaven District from 1870,was where architectural developments in timber and masonry were greatest, influenced by regional developments, Sydney architects and carpenters and builders of German origin and training. A local architectural grammar and style began to develop in the 1880s and 1890s,assisted by the railway, which arrived at Bomaderry near Nowra in 1893. However, the depression and drought of the 1890s resulted in a hiatus in construction, exacerbated by the First World War 1914-1918,in common with the rest of New South Wales.

Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorKen Taylor (Supervisor)

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