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Inter-War California Bungalow c. 1915—c. 1940

As the twentieth century progressed, Australia was increasingly influenced by the many aspects of American life and popular culture which were promoted by the movies, radio, gramophone records and magazines. For many Australians, Hollywood provided a glossy image of an American way of life; jazz was the people’s music of the twentieth century, and California was seen as a model for what Australia might one day become. California and south-eastern Australia had certain similarities of climate, topography and vegetation (the eucalypt being an Australian ‘export’ to California). There was also a historical parallel: almost simultaneous discoveries of gold in the mid- nineteenth century had boosted the development of both regions.
During the first decade of the twentieth century a distinctive brand of domestic architecture evolved in the suburbs of Los Angeles, especially in Pasadena. The leading exponents of the style were the brothers Greene, and their houses eloquently expressed the outdoors-oriented, relaxed lifestyle favoured by Californians. Timber was used with an almost Japanese expressiveness, together with ‘earthy’ materials such as rough clinker bricks and smooth, water-worn river stones. Roofs were low- pitched with spreading eaves; sleep-outs, pergolas and breezeways encouraged free movement from indoors to outdoors. Elements of the Greenes’ sophisticated style were taken up by other architects and by speculative builders. By the outbreak of World War I the single-storey bungalow was the standard unit of US West Coast suburbia.
At much the same time, the California Redwood Association was building an exhibition house in the new Sydney suburb of Rosebery and some Australian architects were designing their own interpretations of the California Bungalow. By the early 192os, speculative builders had embraced the Inter-War California Bungalow idiom, and it reigned supreme in the suburbs until the Great Crash of 1929. During the 19205 the virtually standardised Australian version of the style was usually built in brick rather than in timber, and it featured a range of chunky carpentry details applied to houses which in other respects were not greatly different from those of the preceding decade.

Aldrea, Fullarton Road, Highgate, SA. Architect unknown, C.19 5. These spreading roofs have unusually wide gables.
Belvedere, Cranbrook Avenue, Cremorne, NSW. Alexander Stewart Jolly, architect, 1919. Here the dynamic asymmety and abundant covered outdoor spaces are conupicuous.
House, White Street, Balgowlah, NSW. Architect unknown, 1925. The earthy, homely and unpretentious character is typical.
  Quoted from:
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
  Californian Bungalow, Preston, Victoria.