Esmond Dorney was a seminal 20th century Australian Architect, who worked for Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony in 1920s Melbourne. Establishing his own practice through the 1930s, Esmond’s unconventional design approaches contributed strongly to the cultural development of Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs and the Melbourne School.
Moving to Tasmania after World War II, he continued to practice in Melbourne with major projects such as Sandringham Hospital. An ex RAF fighter pilot, he loved flight and regularly commuted for work from Hobart to Melbourne by air through the 1950s and 60s.
Esmond’s unorthodox Modernism challenged the natural xenophobia of islanders, but his contribution and influence is now greatly celebrated in Tasmania. His international reputation is growing, published in London and New York in the 1950s, he was largely ignored by the contemporary Australian architectural media and establishment in Australia, though celebrated in the popular media.
Hear Paddy Dorney speak at Walsh Street in celebration of the launch of James Henry Esmond Dorney: Architect.
About the Speaker
Paddy Dorney is the son of Esmond Dorney. He started with CSIRO Forest Research and came via geophysics to Architecture. The oldest student president in University of Tasmania history, a member of the governing University Council, he taught architecture for some considerable time in its halcyon days.
He has written for the Architecture Review, Architecture Australia, Monument and Houses magazine amongst others, consulted/appeared on several ABC television series, and received numerous awards for architecture, strangely none of them for his own work. He practices design quietly, and likes to build the outcome. He writes incessantly and it is a relief to all that he has finally completed this book which, due to the tots\al destruction of his father’s records, has taken 30 long years. His interests are in storytelling and space, which are arguably the same thing.
Image: Dorney House Fort Nelson 1978, Esmond Dorney Trust