Immigrant stonemasons within Sydney and other parts of Australia

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2010
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The subject of this thesis has received limited attention in building construction literature: Australia's stonemasonry industry, and specifically, immigrants within this trade. Although a few exceptions exist, generally, Australia's immigrant stonemasons have only been briefly commented on in building construction studies or in the histories of stone buildings. It is asserted within this work that increased information on Australia's immigrant stonemasons, specifically where they came from; who they were; why they were attracted to work in Australia; and what stonemasonry skills they had to offer would assist in a greater understanding of their completed construction projects within Australia. The time period of the study is the commencement of permanent European settlement in Australia, in 1788, to the present day. This thesis argues that a mixed group of stonemasons, from a variety of countries, worked in Australia, like other developing countries in the 19th and 20th Centuries; such as Canada and the United States of America. This is illustrated by examples of individual immigrant stonemasons. Although, individual stonemasons, from a variety of countries, have worked in Australia, the thesis also argues, through the use of examples that, notwithstanding Australia's isolation from its main historic workforce sources in the Northern Hemisphere, specific immigrant stonemasonry groups were actively recruited by Australian companies and organisations because of their stonemasonry skills. This successful practice wasn't solely supported by the collective migration factors that affected the immigrant groups, to which the stonemasons belonged. The success of this approach was also due to the historic transient nature of the stonemasonry trade. Since the Middle Ages, stonemasons expected to travel to construction projects. Medieval masons travelled to; observed; and learnt from the completed works of other master masons. The industry required and benefited from such practices. These practices are still evident in the stonemasonry industry today. To facilitate a greater understanding of the skills the recruited immigrant stonemasonry groups could offer Australian construction companies and projects, representative individual immigrant stonemasons have been identified and investigated, including, in some cases, their own former dwellings that were constructed in stone.
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