Spanning a number of varying styles, Australia’s period architecture boasts distinctive designs that are full of character and charm.
Much of the residential architecture built in the early 1900’s owes its development to the prosperity of the gold rush era. However, period homes began evolving considerably from around the mid 1800’s.
Influenced by both English and American styles of architecture Australian period homes were shaped by the way of life and the economic climate of the time. From the steady advancement after World War II, to the California bungalow which reflects Hollywood’s influence on Australia, to the boom of the gold rush days, Australia has developed a richly eclectic urban landscape of houses that are innately beautiful.
From 1840 – 1980, we have researched extensively into the different types of period homes to bring you a guide to the top eight iconic styles that characterise Australia’s neighbourhoods today. Learn more about these styles below.
Victorian Era Homes 1860-1880
Victoria era homes are often over 100 years old and were built between 1840-1890 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Simple elegance is the centre feature of these homes, making them timeless and still very appealing to this day.
Victorian style terrace houses are very common in suburban Melbourne and Sydney.
Some key features of Victorian Era Homes are:
- Intricate stucco facades and verandas sporting cast iron lacework
- Arched and double hung timber windows
- Roofs made from slate or corrugated iron
Boom Style Era 1875-1890
Boom style homes came to the forefront during the economic boom of the gold rush during the late 19th century.
These homes are noted for their intricate brickwork and lavish style and building became endowed with excess columns, balustrades and exaggerated entrances.
This style of housing is quite common in Melbourne, thanks to the gold rush era.
Some key features of Boom Style homes are:
- Intricate Brickwork featuring complex patterns of different coloured bricks
- Highly decorated facades and parapets featuring sculptures and intricate designs
- The roof is often as well decorated as the walls, featuring slate tiles arranged in polychromatic patterns
- Arched, double hung windows with elaborate decorations
Federation Era 1895-1915
These lavish home came about during Australia’s coming of age as a nation.
Federation Era homes are reminiscent of Old English Tudor style homes and also known as “Queen Anne Style”.
Carrying on the intricate style from the boom era, these homes often feature red brick and steep pitched roof with the occasional Tudor style weatherboard.
Some key features of Federation homes are:
- Elaborate verandas which are integrated into the roof of the home
- Asymmetrical design with multi-faceted roofs.
- Victorian era homes often feature red bricks
- Stucco chimneys topped off with a terracotta chimney pot
- Timber framed windows with intricate leadlight
- High ceilings with highly decorated plasterwork
Even in today's modern times, the Federation style has remained extremely popular and continues to flourish in Australia's new build homes.
Visit our article about the Story of Annette's Home to step inside a Federation style home.
Edwardian Era 1910-1915
Edwardian houses were built during the reign of King Edward and often come across as a toned down version of Federation Era homes.
Some key features of Edwardian homes are:
- The home is often built with red brick or weatherboards
- The roof is often made from slate or corrugated iron
- The facade may often be decorate to emphasize the apex of the roof
- Timber framed windows that may feature leadlight glass
Visit our article on Rich Glen Olive Estate to discover a home that beautifully blends a mix of Edwardian, Bunglow and Tudor style architecture.
Californian Bungalow Era 1920-1930
A style that arrived from America during the 1920s, which became very popular.
These homes featured lower pitched roofs when compared to previous era homes and often featured thick columns beneath the veranda.
Some key features of Californian Bungalow homes are:
- Low pitched roof
- Veranda held upright by large, thick columns
- Interior walls featuring stained plywood
- Double hung windows with leadlight, similar to federation and Edwardian style homes
Visit the articles below to step inside a gorgeous Californian Bungalow or discover more about about the Californian Bungalow Style.
Art Deco Era 1930-1950
Art Deco style was extremely forward thinking and modern at the time and are still quite striking to this day.
Architects aimed and creating something completely different from previous eras and used different materials and shapes to achieve a unique style.
Some key features of Art Deco homes are:
- Weatherboard or brick walls to create a solid appearance
- Rounded edges and occasionally symmetric and imposing designs
- Hipped roofs and the use of terracotta tiles
- Use of whites and creams
Contemporary Era 1950-1960
Contemporary architecture hasn’t stood the test of time as well as previous eras and often looks very dated in the modern era.
These homes usually featured open plan interiors and featured brown and cream brick finishes with low pitched roofs.
Designs of the houses can be quite unusual and in a lot of ways are similar to the art deco style that preceded it.
Some key features of Contemporary homes are:
- Low pitched roofs featuring corrugated iron or steel decking
- Open plan interiors and low ceilings
- Big windows often extending across entire front of the house
- Cream, brown or light coloured bricks. Alternatively vertical weatherboards were also used.
Brick Veneer Era 1960-1980
This era of homes saw a step back from the ambitious designs of the Art Deco and Contemporary eras and ushered in the conservative and plain brick veneer, which was easy to build and relatively affordable.
It is not uncommon to see entire streets of very similar brick veneer homes.
Some key features of Brick Veneer homes are:
- Homes often feature hipped roofs with simple concrete tiles often in bleak or low profile colours
- Sliding timber framed windows
- Very plain interior with timber flooring
- Red, cream or white brick finishes
In Australia we are blessed to be surrounded by so many beautiful examples of period style architecture and landscapes that not only reflect our culture, but also remind us of our rich history and the important era's gone by.
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