26 November 2017

Historic sketches set foundation for scaled growth in Goulburn

| John Thistleton
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Looking from Cartwright Place to the old Catholic cathedral. Photo: John Thistleton.

A new book featuring exquisite sketches of historic cathedrals, court house and old stone, timber and steel bridges is aimed at Goulburn’s future, not the past.

Its launch next Saturday is timely given a new draft master plan for the central business district is being aired for public comment, and residential projects step closer to the main street. Stand in Cartwright Place and look past the double-storey villas towards Saints Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral and former Saint Patrick’s School hall to see how the new blends with the old.

Architect, author and town planner David Penalver, who has singled out and sketched the city’s best assets in ‘Heralding Heritage within the oldest inland city of the colony of New South Wales – Goulburn’ , says new buildings can complement heritage property.

“Let’s supplement where necessary with buildings of a similar scale, quality, material (not aping the old) so that we have a decent blending of old structure and modern usage that show pride in this city,” Mr Penalver says.
He says Heralding Heritage aims to broadcast outside Goulburn the city’s heritage assets that are taken for granted by the locals, who want to pull down all the old properties and thoroughly modernise the place.

David Penalver with Heralding Heritage. Photo: John Thistleton.

“They simply don’t realise (especially councillors) that it is Goulburn’s unique character that can be an enormous tourist draw card – that no-one will be interested in coming here if we have the same Coles and McDonalds on every street corner as every other sleepy country town.”

Daphne Penalver and Linda Cooper have written the text, recording the context of previous development, celebrating the latest restoration successes and suggesting improvements.

“In cities where wide pavements are being made more pedestrian friendly and heritage buildings being appreciated more and more, light, airy awnings are being introduced once more. Would we like to see this happen here?”

The book’s authors hope it will raise more interest in the city’s own unique history.

Don Coleman, who attended the University of Sydney architecture school alongside Mr Penalver, will launch the book.

Mr Coleman’s architectural survey of Goulburn for his fourth year paper at university, ‘Colonial Architecture of Goulburn and Surrounding Districts’ is still retained as an important research document.

In the late 1950s the young architecture students traipsed inner Sydney with their pencils and sketch books with their teacher, the most precise landscape artist in Australia, Lloyd Rees. Mr Coleman remembers Rees leading them out around Annandale and Redfern to sketch terrace houses.

“Lloyd Rees was a marvellous teacher because he would never criticise anything you would do,” says Mr Coleman. “He would always find a little part of your sketch and say ‘can you try and get a bit more of that over there, that is very good, that really shows that area as being what it is’,” he says.

Mr Penalver’s study of architecture was not due to any interest or knowledge in the design of buildings. It was all about the drawing of them, a desire evident in Heralding Heritage. “We felt that using personal sketches would have warmer appeal than using technically enhanced photographic images,” Mr Penalver says.

“My drawings vary from very quick sketches done more or less on the move – to a set of studies I made years ago of St. Saviour’s Cathedral that require of course a degree of comfort, peace of mind, privacy and helpful shadows; I do not work in colour and therefore tones become very important.”

He has included as wide a range of heritage items as possible – from fairly majestic old bridges to the whimsical old dunny. Stone, timber and steel bridges and the design features that strengthened them reinforce the book’s message on why heritage is Goulburn’s most import asset.

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