10 June 2009

John Horbury Hunt (1838-1904), Architect

John Horbury Hunt was a Canadian-born architect who trained in Boston Massachusetts and then emigrated to Sydney. His work was considered well ahead of its time, and he is regarded as a significant contributor to Australian architecture. As his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry puts it, “His skill with timber and brickwork was particularly outstanding and he was a master of complexity of form and asymmetrical balance”.

His output included public buildings, cathedrals churches and chapels, schools, homesteads and private houses. They include

- the Superintendent’s Cottage at the Prince of Wales Hospital (1863) – probably his first building in Australia

- All Saints Church, Hunters Hill (1885)

- Fairwater, Point Piper (1881)

- St. John’s Anglican Church, Branxton (1873)

- Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle (1869)

My particular interest in him is that he designed three buildings in Armidale – Booloominbah, the mansion homestead built for Frederick White in 1888, which was generously donated to the State by T.R. Forster in the 1930s to become the centrepiece of the New England University College; Trevenna, the University Vice-Chancellor’s Residence; and St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral.

Booloominbah from the Southern Lawn, 1967.

St. Peter’s Cathedral from Dangar Street, 1999

St Peter’s Cathedral from Tingcombe Street, 2003

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