At the recent Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers book fair held at the State Library, the Library was fortunate to acquire the first known book on architecture ever published in Australia. Published in 1885 this exceptional copy is the only known non-defective copy to have survived with all the original text and drawings and moreover was the illustrator’s own copy, acquired thanks to the Harbeck Rare Books in Brisbane, from a direct descendent.
The illustrator in question was G.H.M. Addison who was the draftsman (and the possible author according to some research) for Terry and Oakden, the architectural firm from Melbourne who produced the book. Addison would go on to write An Australian style of architecture, published in 1909 (naturally also held in the Mitchell Library).
The book deals with domestic and ecclesiastical architecture and contains 86 illustrations covering work by Terry and Oakden around Australia with one example in New Zealand and two from the USA. The content also covers and shows examples of decorative art and internal embellishments of buildings as well as the needs of light, heat, ventilation and sanitation of the time.
The book is currently being processed for eventual location in the Mitchell Library rare books collection at MRB/F74.
Alexander Sussman, Coordinator Collection Development & Acquisitions