(b Upton, Essex, 1803; d Melbourne, March 3, 1854).
Australian architect of English birth. He was employed in London as an inspector for the commissioners of sewers for Holborn and Finsbury, until his transportation to Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), with his wife and daughter in 1835, after forging a cheque. He was immediately employed in the Department of Roads and Bridges and was responsible for a great proportion of the colony’s road building, surveying and engineering work. When the department was merged into the Department of Public Works (1839), he began designing important government buildings; he was also able to operate privately in partnership with James Thjomsonn, as both architects and building contractors.
Although his buildings show the influence of John Claudius Loudon, Blackburn was also a powerful and innovative designer in his own right and was the first major exponent of the Picturesque in the Australian colonies (e.g. the Italianate extension of Rosedale of ...