Victorian style house
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The Complete Guide to Australian Period Homes

Period property and homes you might find in the UK will be completely different from those you find in the US, for example. Australia is no different. We have our own rich history in period architecture just waiting to be explored.

We have recently touched on the different styles and types of period home which can be found across Australia in our article ‘What You Need to Know About Period Homes’. In this guide to Australian period homes, however, we will probe a little deeper into some of the country’s most popular styles. Let’s take a closer look.

Colonial (Before 1840)

Colonial homes are those which are heavily inspired by the Georgian era and Regency style. Of all the period homes you’ll find across Australia, these are perhaps the most heavily inspired by those you’d find in England’s prime. Hence the name – colonial.

  • Colonial homes are well-known for being big and roomy. Perfect for larger families.
  • These properties are seen as reasonably simple on the outside but can be surprisingly opulent on the inside. They are primarily notable for intensive brickwork in their facades.
  • These properties are also well-known for having a clean, symmetrical look. That goes not only for window designs but also for the overall construction of fascia, roofing and more.
  • Traditionally, colonial properties will have been designed for occupancy adjacent to a farm or other type of working land.
interior of colonial style house

Queenslander (1840 – 1940)

As the name may suggest, the Queenslander home style is one which originated towards the east of Australia. These homes weren’t perhaps as widespread as those you would find inspired by the Victorian, Edwardian or even Art Deco eras, but it’s not uncommon to see people still trying to make the most of these types of property.

  • Queenslander properties are built to last. It’s well-noted that these are homes built to withstand the weather that Australia is known to face from season to season.
  • Queenslander homes are therefore marked for their high-stump construction and the immense relief this provides during warmer days, and there’s always a large veranda or two to sit out on. To this end, a Queenslander home is somewhat similar to that which you might find towards the south of the US to this day.
  • These homes also have sturdy, reliable iron roofing in place for added protection.

Victorian (1840 – 1900)

Victorian homes are easy to spot across Australia, though they are perhaps not always so easy to group under one umbrella. The Victorian era in England was a colossal period of change in industrial and social values. Naturally, home and properties changed, too. Australia soon followed suit, and Victorian-era homes can be easily split into early, middle and late styles.

  • Generally, Victorian homes make use of iron. That means roofing and verandas in particular, benefit from this type of metalwork. What’s more, they have an attractive, timeless look. You’ll likely find that Victorian homes have interesting façade work that’s not ever considered too opulent.
  • Early Victorian homes are perhaps the simplest. Both early and middle Victorian dwellings make use of picket fences and pitched roofing. These homes may also be referred to as Gothic.
  • When things changed during 1860-1875, there was a greater focus on going decorative. That means Victorian homes, while still simple, started looking a little more lavish and stylised.
  • Late Victorian homes change things up even further. You’ll likely find iron fences and an intense focus on decorative brickwork. There’s a greater focus, in fact, on flourishes inside and out.
old Victorian house

Boom (1875 – 1890)

Midway through the Victorian era were homes emerging along the lines of what is referred to as the ‘Boom’ style. These homes do sometimes cross over with late Victorian looks and styles, though were built to represent wealth, first and foremost.

  • Showing off wealth and opulence is all part of the Boom style. Therefore, lavishness and over-the-top decoration will be found outside and in.
  • Even Boom roofing is meticulously designed! You may also find sculptures, hidden pieces of artwork and intensive patterns nestled within the upper reaches of the architecture.
  • While Boom housing may not be as commonplace as Victorian-era homes, you will still likely find plenty of well-preserved homes across Australia’s more prosperous regions.

Art Nouveau / Arts and Crafts (1900 – 1915)

The Arts and Crafts era of construction and architecture took place at the head of the 20th century. You’ll still find plenty of these home and property styles dotted across the south-east, and they are often effortless to spot amongst older styles and fascia.

  • The Arts and Crafts movement was one which celebrated everyday art. Therefore, these homes are designed with aesthetics in mind, perhaps more so than practicality! They are clear forerunners of the Art Deco movement.
  • These colourful properties kept things simple, but striking and symmetrical. The brickwork was often used to an artistic effect out front, less so from a practical standpoint.
  • Roofing on these properties is pretty outlandish. You’ll likely see plenty of artistic chimneys, gabled roofing and a focus on simple windows in abundance.
Art Nouveau house

Federation (1900 – 1915)

Federation homes are famous for perhaps being the first truly ‘Australian’ homes. The early 20th century was a period where Australia was starting to emerge with its own identity, away from the colonial ideals of centuries past. Therefore, Federation homes are perhaps most sought-after by people looking to seize upon the earliest unique property available nationwide.

  • Federation homes use picket fencing and make liberal use of stained windows, offering a unique, contemporary look.
  • There are elements in Federation properties which hark back to Victorian ideals, such as some of the more ornamental flourishes in the outward design.
  • These homes are often built with an asymmetrical slant, with red brick, timber and terracotta all playing large parts in putting together the greater whole.
  • These homes may often be referred to as ‘Queen Anne’ properties.

Edwardian (1910 – 1915)

Edwardian properties are, naturally, those which came to prominence during the reign of the UK’s King Edward VII. However, these homes started popping up in Australia following the monarch’s death. These homes may often be seen as slightly less opulent takes on the Federation ideal.

  • Like Federation homes, Edwardian properties are built in predominantly red brick and timber for the windows.
  • However, the look of an Edwardian home is altogether more modern. It’s styled more after the British ideal and is often seen to be a reasonably simple take.
  • Roofing comes in many different styles and forms. Largely, you’ll find Edwardian housing opts for corrugated iron, though you may also fit in well with the period with a slate roof.
Edwardian house

Creative Commons Edwardian House by Ian Petticrew is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

American / Californian Bungalow (1910 – 1930)

As the name might well suggest, this period of Australian housing is very much inspired by the US. These laid-back, one-floor properties are unassuming and straightforward, with a focus on welcoming you into the garden or yard to the rear wherever possible.

  • Bungalows have famously low roofs, as well as highly visible columns and extended verandas.
  • While the exterior of a Californian Bungalow may be fairly bright or striking thanks to red brick, traditionally, the interiors of these properties will be fairly dark.
  • These properties may fall in line with some of the more similar Edwardian homes, though there is definite US influence here.

Art Deco (1930 – 1950)

The Art Deco movement was enormous for over two decades. It impacted on art and fashion alike, as well as architecture. In Australia, Art Deco housing focuses on shapes and symmetry, while keeping things nice and practical.

  • The look of an Art Deco property is certainly quite imposing. Its striking straight lines, corners and distinct shapes will give an impression of simple, modern design.
  • Art Deco homes are relatively solid and straightforward to look at, even if they can be slightly overpowering aesthetically. They are a world away from Victorian or Federation flourishes, though they have modernised what worked for architects previously.
  • Lots of white, creamy colours and rounded vertices also run very common to this style of home design.
art deco house

Ranch (1990 -)

Ranch housing is exceptionally modern, at least compared to the Australian period style homes we’ve looked at thus far. Once again, this is a period style inspired by US standards, keeping everything on one level.

  • Ranch properties thrive on big, wide open spaces. There is a focus on glass, and creating as much space as physically possible.
  • This goes for the inside, too. Open plan room designs are traditionally the norm for ranch homes, which became very popular in the 90s.
  • These houses are also well-marked for their extensive roof designs, largely constructed from tile.

Conclusion

This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are many different Australian period homes to choose from. There is perhaps more to the history of Australian property design and construction than many people give credit for.

If you are considering how to renovate a contemporary home, or are looking into Federation home renovation, you should consider approaching an expert for extension and renovation support.

Period Extensions & Designs are experts in Australian period design. Call our team today for a free consultation on 03 9882 5255, or email us if you have a specific query which we may be able to help with.