I thought it would be fun to put together, in one blogpost, all the JimmyB (James Barnet) sketches that I did during my 6-week trip. Searching out and sketching the JimmyBs in every town I visited became a big theme of my trip. But this was something that developed en route.
It actually all started with Palladio and this blog! As part of my trip prep, I was doing some Australian architecture research and the Cooma Courthouse (by Barnet) stood out to me due to the design being heavily influenced by Palladio. James Barnet was not a name that I was familiar with (I’m not really up on Australian architectural history but I knew about Greenway, Lewis and Vernon). I sketched the Cooma Courthouse from a photo and then, as I was writing my blogpost (see here), I decided to see if I had sketched other Barnet buildings. I then discovered that indeed I had – quite a number of my favourite buildings were designed by him. Wow! But I still didn’t appreciate his significance.
When in Bathurst, I sketched the courthouse (which I knew was a JimmyB) and then visited the gaol to sketch his magnificent gate (which I had seen a photo of in my pre-trip research). But it was when I was in Dubbo that I realised that both the Courthouse and the Post Office were his work, and with a little research, that he had done many such buildings all throughout NSW. I had an idea – maybe I should sketch as many of them as I could?
But it was after getting a coffee from the Jimmy Barnet Espresso Bar (with a portrait of him as the logo) that I made the commitment to make this a serious project for the trip. And yes, I liked the idea of referring to him as Jimmy! It is possible that I might have started referring to him as ‘Jim’ anyway… but ‘Jimmy’ had a precedent!
As I travelled through NSW I became increasingly interested in Barnet – he had designed way more public buildings throughout the state than I had originally thought.
Since coming home I realised that I missed a few of his buildings (eg. Grenfell and Junee) and in fact, as Colonial Architect he was responsible for the design of 1400 buildings during his term – 1862-1890. Incredible! (Of course, some of these would have been done by others in the Colonial Architect’s office… but still, it’s an impressive output!)
But more importantly, I’ve discovered how very important James Barnet was in the architectural history of Sydney. So I’m a massive fangirl now and you will be hearing more about him in the future. In fact today I had a JimmyB day and will share my sketches with you on Monday.
Okay… enough of the story of my JimmyB obsession. Let’s just get going with all of the sketches. Here they are in the order in which I sketched them.
Dubbo Post Office (Jimmy Barnet Espresso Bar is located in the arcade of this building)
Well, that is quite a lot of JimmyBs – 21 in total! If I counted correctly this collection includes 9 courthouses, 7 post offices, 4 gaols and 1 council building. I might leave it to another article to discuss my favourites…
But in the meantime, I’d love to know if you have a favourite?
(Please leave your response in the comment section below – thanks!)