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4 corrections, most recently by AnnieR - Show corrections




Mr. R. T. Baker, Curator of the Technologi- cal Museum, has issued a very fine work dealing with "Building and Ornamental Stones of Australia." The work is beautifully illus- trated with coloured photographs of the vari- ous granites, marbles, and freestones used for building purposes throughout the Common- wealth, and also photographs of tho buildings in which these stones have been used. The book was prepared by the Government Prin- ter and is intended for distribution at the Panama Exhibition.    

The aim of the work is to show that Aus- tralia has an unlimited supply of building and ornamental stones which lend themselves ad- mirably to the purpose of decorative art. With the possession of such magnificent build- ing material, and the gradual development of national artistic perception, there is no rea- son why we should not evolve a very high standard of architectural decoration. The research work carried out by Mr. Baker and his colleagues at the Sydney Technological Museum is of great industrial value, and the circulation abroad of such a volume as the one under review should throw a new light on this country.

Technical literature on the subject of build- ing stones to be found in Australia is limited. In the early days settlers found at hand a convenient substitute for stone in the hard- woods, and in Sydney sandstone was so plen- tiful and so easily worked that no one thought

of going afield to explore for something bet- ter, and even to-day freestone, as the sand- stone is often called, is nearly everywhere employed by architects and builders. Occas- sionally Bowral trachyte in the rough or polished form is introduced into the larger buildings. However, in 1838 mention is made in Mitchell's "Expedition into Australia" of the use of marble. It is stated: "Near the Wol- londilly, and a few miles from Towrang, a quarry of crystalline variegated marble has been recently wrought to a considerable ex- tent, and marble chimney-pieces, tables, etc., now ornament most houses in Sydney. This marble occurs in blocks over greenstone, and has hitherto been found only in that spot." It may be mentioned that since that date it is from this district (Marulan) that Sydney has obtained its stone lime for many years. Of late, however, other districts have supplied new fields for limestone. But, as proof of the polished marble having been used in houses in Sydney erected in the 'Thirties and 'Forties, Mr. Baker, in his work, illustrates a mantel- piece taken from the house known as Barcom Glen, near Darlinghurst (now demolished) be- longing to the late Mr. O. West. This marble was obtained from Marulan, near Goulburn. The next period at which public attention was drawn to New South Wales marble was at the Paris Exhibition of 1855, where the commis- sioners from New South Wales exhibited a white marble from Abercrombie and a green marble from Emu Swamp. Mr. W. Patten, of Sydney, also exhibited a specimen of Argyle marble obtained at Marulan.

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