A little Australian Architecture with a Palladian reference

April 9, 2021 | 6 Comments

I’m doing some research at the moment – reading some Australian history and some Australian Architectural history.

I’m very excited to finally get myself a second-hand copy of ‘Freeland’ (Architecture in Australia by JM Freeland) and I’m enjoying reading about the building difficulties of the early British settlers.  I’m also browsing my way through Identifying Australian Architecture by Apperly, Irving and Reynolds.

Over the years I’ve spent most of my non-fiction reading time focused on the architectural history of the Renaissance and Baroque periods (Italy and England) so it’s fun to be learning about things closer to home. And I get super excited every time I see some Palladian influence. 🙂

So today when I came across the Cooma Courthouse by James Barnet with a big Palladian motif at the entranceway  I had to sketch it!

To say that I like this motif is a huge understatement… I wear two versions of it in pendant form around my neck most days (check out this article for a photo of them).

A Palladian motif or a Serliana is a door opening or window divided into three parts. The central one is wider and arch, the sides have two columns with a flat lintel over. Palladio made this design famous in the Basilica in Vicenza (see a collection of my sketches of the building here.)

But back to my sketch… I enjoyed using De Atramentis Document Fog Grey ink in a 45 degree Fude pen. The blue lines certainly give it a different feel than if I were using black ink,

I’m also looking up how many other Barnet buildings I have sketched in Sydney (GPO, Department of Lands Ofice, Australian Museum, State Library of NSW, Customs House, Callan Park and the old Police Station in George St) so that he definitely deserves his own tag here on the blog… and a little further research.

Here is a quick collection of Barnet buildings I have sketched over the years. Most of these are really old sketches… so time to re-do some of them I think!

Ah! it’s nice to get back into a little architectural sketching and research!




  • Jamie C says:

    A little Palladio influence at home! It’s great getting into research isn’t it?

  • Yvonne says:

    Whenever he was lecturing on the subject of early colonial music in Australia, Peter Sculthorpe liked to point out that there are buildings in Tasmania (and I’m sure elsewhere in the country) that were constructed to the letter from British architectural pattern books, right down to the south-facing windows…

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Yvonne – yes! so true!!!!… of course this building is a little later than the colonial period 🙂

  • Laurence says:

    I understand the excitement in which you are at this stage of preparation for your trip because I love this stage there…. We’re already gone! And drawing brings that little more reality to our goal. What happiness in perspective 🙂

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