Queenslanders: Their Historic Timbered Homes

Author(s): FISHER, ROD

Australian History

In a single timely tome, Rod Fisher packs a lot of what’s known about the history of the timbered house in Qld – the sum of research, writing and practice over 4 decades. While breaking new ground on its origin and development, the first 4 chapters concern several key themes:


1. the evolution of a Vernacular class of housing in the north of Australia: from aboriginal to modern day, comprising a series of styles and the means of identifying each one by era and attribute


2. the historical context to traditional housing: using census data and contemporary testimony to amplify its configuration which reflects cyclical condition, personal choice and social acceptance


3. the human dimension to the main varieties of habitat and its environment: specifically the pros and cons of observers and occupants of the day followed by resolution of their discrepancies


4 whether Brisbane was in any way different from the rest of the state: examining which varieties made the greatest imprint, from elite and multiple types to the predominant gabled, hipped, pyramidal and later multi-gabled dwellings of the Vernacular tradition


The next couple of chapters are casestudies illustrating those aspects, particularly the evolution of traditional housing and the impact of historical change. Though set in Brisbane they reflect larger issues:


5. the early inner suburb of Petrie Terrace: which exhibits not only changes in timbered housing over time, but also the effect of road improvement, shopping centre diversion, stadium development, building renovation and gentrification more generally


6. a timbered dwelling of nearby Bowen Hills: which, being modified several times in its lifetime and finally removed elsewhere, demonstrates change, as well as the influence of the locale and the impact of transportation improvements on housing and community


At the same time, this volume serves as a guide and reference, partly by information, advice and example, but more specifically by means of the handy classification of Vernacular styles in the 1st chapter, and ultimately by instructions for researching any house in Qld:


7. a step-by-step guide to historical investigation and exposition: using a dwelling in Annerley/Tarragindi as the example


That practical purpose is reinforced in the final 3 chapters by a Supplement of related material, Glossary of requisite terms and Bibliography of relevant sources on both the history and heritage of timbered housing – plus plentiful illustrations of course.


As there hasn’t been a work on this intriguing subject for a long time – nor anything ever like this one – it will serve general readers, professionals, researchers, writers and academics on the one hand, and owners, occupants, renovators, restorers and vendors on the other, whether in Brisbane, Qld or elsewhere in Australia. To all and sundry, its core message is conveyed by one of Joni Mitchell’s bygone ballads:


Don’t it always seem to go


That you don’t know what you’ve got


‘Till it’s gone


They paved paradise


And put up a parking lot

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781925522235
  • : Boolarong Press
  • : Boolarong Press
  • : January 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : FISHER, ROD
  • : en
  • : 304