This book is an analysis of nineteenth and early twentieth-century farm buildings dating from Australia’s rural pioneering period. Based on field recording during the 1980s, its historical value is now particularly significant because similar buildings in Australia have since often deteriorated or vanished completely. Construction techniques, the use of materials, mainly timber as slabs or weather boarding, and of galvanized corrugated iron, including the role of recycling, and the ways in which the buildings were adapted to economic and social changes in agricultural production are examined. In particular, the distinctive Australian tradition of making do with whatever was available is considered. The result is a study of humble, utilitarian buildings that have been given less attention than grand houses of the past or public buildings. Nevertheless, they played a vital role in Australia’s past development, and they deserve close consideration.
Graham Connah has written widely on African archaeology, his best-known book being African Civilizations, now in its third edition (2015). He was also one of the pioneers of Australian historical archaeology, publishing The Archaeology of Australia’s History in 1988. In 2000 he was awarded the Order of Australia for his contributions to archaeology.
‘An important contribution to documentation of Australian rural building heritage and socio-economic history.’ Professor Penelope Allison, University of Leicester