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Whither Australian Hill-Station creation : re-writing Adelaide Hills narratives about the architectural imperatives that crafted their establishment

conference contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by David Jones
This paper explores the historiography of the Adelaide Hills and offers a new perspective as to the reasons behind hill-station residence constructions that crafted this distinct cultural and designed landscape. Australian hill-station communities, and their major architectural edifices, were extensively established in two periods: the 1870s-1890s and the 1920s-1930s. Sites in the Darling Ranges, Adelaide Hills, Macedon and Dandenong Ranges, Blue Mountains and the Tamborine Mountains were favoured summer retreats for both the new and established wealthy families, who erected grand residences that have come to be celebrated in recent heritage assessments, and architectural and social histories of these environments. The majority of these studies and discourses have echoed an agenda that celebrates the architectural significance and personal associations of these structures, and thereupon have made a range of assumptions about the societal rationale for their establishment, construction and associated landscape plantings.

Taking examples from the Adelaide Hills, this paper argues that both architectural and social historians have ‘mistakenly’ concluded that the rationale behind these hill-station residences was based primarily on the provision of a ‘pleasant’ summer that echo the British Raj hill-stations. Further, it is argued that this conclusion constitutes a myth, or fabulation, about South Australian (SA) design, heritage and social histories, as many of these owners consciously sought out and selected hill-station allotments on the basis of their horticultural properties and possibilities, and that house-siting and construction were actually subservient to these imperatives.



Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand. Conference (29th : 2012 : Launceston, Tasmania)


435 - 456




Launceston, Tasmania

Place of publication

Launceston, Tas.

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Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2012, SAHANZ


S King, A Chatterjee, S Loo

Title of proceedings

SAHANZ 2012 : Fabulation : myth, nature, heritage. Proceedings of the 29th Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand Conference

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