19th Century portable buildings in Australia - Miles Lewis

19th Century portable buildings in Australia - Miles Lewis

The portable building in Australia - Presented by Professor Miles Lewis, AM, FAHA.

Friday 27 October 2023
5.30pm - 8.00pm

WA Chapter Office
33 Broadway
Nedlands WA 6000

Australia’s 19th Century Portable Buildings; A World Heritage Collection?

Join RAIA and ICOMOS members for twilight drinks and meet one of Australia’s foremost architectural heritage experts as he leads a truly unique project; the attempt to list Australia’s nineteenth century portable buildings as World Heritage Sites. Professor Miles Lewis's list of accomplishments is staggering, and his contribution to heritage protection is internationally renowned.  He is a highly entertaining speaker who will be in Perth for just a few days as he studies Perth’s unique moveable buildings collection for UNESCO World Heritage listing.  Hear how modular architecture helped facilitate settlement in Australia and take way lessons for the future.
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Such an extraordinary range of ‘portable’ (or prefabricated) buildings reached Australia in the nineteenth century that the survivors are being proposed for World Heritage listing, as a group.  These display a variety of construction systems, and materials including oilcloth and papier mâché (which do not survive) timber, zinc, slate, cast and wrought iron, and steel.  Professor Lewis will discuss these generally with a focus on Western Australia from the earliest Henry Manning houses to the London & Hamburg Assay Office Kalgoorlie (now part of the Kalgoorlie Hospital) and the Cable Station in Broome (now the Broome Courthouse). 

Professor Lewis, emeritus professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at Melbourne University, is a prominent architectural historian, an international authority on urban conservation, and an honorary life fellow of the Comité International d'Architecture Vernaculaire.  He has been a referee for a number of World Herjtage sites internationally. He has received numerous awards including the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Robin Boyd Environment Award, the Walter Burley Griffin Award and the Royal Australian Planning Institute Award for Excellence. He was a founding member of the Australian National Committee of the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). In 2002 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to architectural history, heritage protection and urban planning, and in 2003 received the Centenary Medal for the study of architectural history. He has an extensive range of publications including the internationally published Architectura: Elements of Architectural Style (2008).

In 2021, he was instrumental in establishing a task force to promote UNESCO World Heritage Listing of Australia’s collection of unique nineteenth century portable buildings. This project was launched in Melbourne in April 2021. To date work has included site visits to many of the buildings identified across Australia. The WA visit by Professor Lewis is part of this process. 

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