Cranbrook School Rotunda

Cranbrook School Rotunda

Cranbrook School Rotunda

Cranbrook School Rotunda designed by John Horbury Hunt

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, the son of a builder,[1] Hunt was trained in Boston, Massachusetts but then migrated to Australia in 1863. He worked in Sydney with Edmund Blacket for seven years prior to pursuing his own practice. His output was extremely varied and included cathedrals, churches, chapels, houses, homesteads, stables and schools. Probably his first building designed in Australia was the Superintendent’s Residence at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, designed in 1863. A few years later he designed the Catherine Hayes Hospital, which was also built at the Prince of Wales Hospital, with the design modified by Thomas Rowe. Hunt’s other works include the Convent of the Sacred Heart, now Kincoppal-Rose Bay, School of the Sacred Heart, Sydney, in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse; and Tivoli, now part of Kambala Girls School, in the suburb of Rose Bay. In Armidale, New South Wales, he designed St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral and Booloominbah and Trevenna which are now both part of the University of New England.

Hunt’s distinctive, radical architecture was considered to be twenty years in advance of his peers, some of it unequalled in the world at that time, and sowed the seeds of some aspects of modern architecture in Australia. It has been said that “Undoubtedly men such as Hunt… have, through their buildings and their ideas, stiffened the intellectual backbone of Australian architecture.”[2]He was instrumental in bringing the North American Shingle Style to Australia. The outstanding example of this style was Highlands, a two-storey home designed by Hunt and built for Alfred Hordern in 1891. Situated in Highlands Avenue, Wahroonga, Sydney, Highlands is listed on the Register of the National Estate.[3] Another notable example is Pibrac, designed by Hunt for Frederick Ecclestone du Faur. Pibrac is also on the Register of the National Estate.[4]

Hunt died in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital,Camperdown, eleven days after admission suffering from Bright’s Disease. His personal effects, recorded in the hospital Admission book consisted of a metal box, three gold rings, a silver pencil and a pair of spectacles. He is buried at South Head Cemetery, in the tomb he designed for his wife. Several of his pets are also interred there including his pet pony. He was close to destitute at the time of his death. His own house, Cranbrook Cottage had been repossessed by the Mortgagor and was subsequently demolished in 1925, to make room for the widening of New South Head Road. The site is marked by a small garden, named for him.
[edit] Partial List of Works

The following Hunt buildings are listed on the Register of the National Estate.[5]

Camelot, Narellan (1888)
Highlands, Wahroonga, Sydney (1891)
All Saints Church, Hunters Hill, Sydney (1885)
Pibrac, Warrawee, Sydney (1888)
Public School, Rozelle, Sydney (1877)
Catherine Hayes Building (completed by Thomas Rowe), Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Sydney (1867)
Superintendent’s Cottage, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Sydney (1863)
Sir John Robertson Memorial, South Head Cemetery, Sydney
Additions to Cranbrook School, Bellevue Hill, Sydney (1874-75)
Cloncorrick, Darling Point, Sydney (1884)
Fairwater, Point Piper, Sydney (1881)
Sacred Heart Convent, Vaucluse, Sydney (1888)
Church of the Good Shepherd and Rectory, Kangaroo Valley (church 1870, rectory 1879)
Osborne Memorial Church of St Luke, Dapto (1882)
St Matthias Church, Denman (1871)
St Paul’s Church of England, Murrurundi (1872)
Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle (1869)
Belltrees, Scone (shearing shed) (1907)
Church of St James, Jerrys Plains (1875)
Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton (1881)
Christ Church Cathedral Church Hall, Grafton (1890)
Public School and Headmaster’s Residence, Frederickton (1880)
Booloominbah, University of New England, Armidale (1883)
Saint Bartholomew’s Church of England, Ollera Station, Guyra (1876)
Extensions to Havilah Property, Mudgee Area (1890)

Other buildings by Hunt:

St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral Church, Armidale, NSW (1871)[6]
St James’s Church, Morpeth (partly designed by Hunt), has Local Government Heritage listing.[7]

Sacred Heart Convent, c. 1930s, Vaucluse, New South Wales

Cloncorrick, Darling Point, New South Wales

Highlands, Wahroonga, New South Wales

All Saints Church, Hunters Hill, New South Wales

Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales

Pibrac, Warrawee, New South Wales

Public School, Rozelle, New South Wales

Superintendent’s Cottage, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales

Catherine Hayes Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales

Sir John Robertson Memorial, South Head Cemetery, Vaucluse, New South Wales

Church of the Good Shepherd, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales

Rectory, Church of the Good Shepherd

[edit] References

^ Dictionary of Australian Biography
^ A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture, Apperly (Angus and Robertson) 1994, p.17
^ The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/26
^ The Heritage of Australia, p.2/33
^ The Heritage of Australia, p.96
^ Armidale Dumaresq Local Environmental Plan, 2008
^ State Heritage Site

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