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date: 20 August 2019

Boom stylelocked

  • Rory Spence

Extract

Term apparently coined by Robin Boyd in Australia’s Home (1952) and loosely applied to highly ornate architecture in a classical idiom that was fashionable in the eastern states of Australia between the late 1870s and early 1890s. The style was made possible by, and is to some extent an expression of, the financial boom that followed the discovery of gold in 1851. The climax of the boom was in the 1880s in Victoria, where the richest goldfields were located. The buildings most commonly associated with the Boom style are the richly decorated Italianate villas and speculative terrace houses of Melbourne. The English picturesque Italianate fashion had been introduced to Australia by the early 1840s but only reached its sumptuous apogee in Victoria in the late 1880s. The architecture is characterized by asymmetrical towers, balustraded parapets, polygonal bay windows and round-arched openings and arcades, though the terrace houses often lack the more elaborate features. The buildings were usually stuccoed and enriched with mass-produced Renaissance-style elements in cast cement. They frequently incorporate cast-iron filigree verandahs, prefabricated in sections. A typical stuccoed villa is ...

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