Eras of Architecture in Australia

Eras of Architecture in Australia

As a builder, you might choose to specialise in a particular era of architecture or even help bring to life the historic charm of an older style in a new home.

We break down some of the most popular architectural eras in Australia.

Australia may be a relatively young country from a global perspective, but we have seen the rise and fall of many architectural styles in the past 200 odd years. Some of these eras are still very much present in today’s day and age, with many modern dwellings attempting to capture the historic beauty of the very first homes long since gone.

Victorian era (1840-1890)

Most Victoria era homes are over 100 years old and were first built during Queen Victoria’s reign. These dwellings exhibited a simple elegance which has made them a timeless and still very desired look in modern times.

What are the features of Victorian era homes?

  • Slate or corrugated iron roofs
  • Verandas made from cast iron lacework and Intricate stucco facades
  • Double hung arched timber windows

Boom style era (1875-1890)

Image by Michael DG Bailey via Wikimedia Commons

Attributed to the economic boom that followed the gold rush in the late 19th century, this style of housing is still very common in Melbourne.

What are the features of Boom style era homes?

  • Intricate brickwork patterns featuring many different coloured bricks
  • Highly decorated parapets and facades
  • Arched, double hung windows with elaborate decorations

Federation era (1895-1915)

Carrying on with the intricate styles of the boom era, these lavish homes came about during Australia’s independence as a nation.

What are the features of Federation era homes?

  • High ceilings with decorated plasterwork
  • Asymmetrical design with multi-faceted roofs
  • Elaborate verandas that integrate into the roof of the dwelling

Edwardian era (1910-1915)

Image by Sardaka via Wikimedia Commons

These dwellings come across as dialled down equivalents of Federation Era homes and were built during the reign of King Edward.

What are the features of Edwardian era homes?

  • Often built using weatherboards or red brick
  • Corrugated iron or slate roofs
  • Façade is often decorated to emphasize apex of roof

Californian bungalow era (1920-1930)

Image by Bidgee via Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by America, this style arrived during the 1920s and featured lower pitched roofs and often thick columns beneath the veranda.

What are the features of Californian bungalow homes?

  • Interior walls featuring stained plywood
  • Double hung windows with leadlight
  • Veranda held up by large, thick columns

Art deco era (1930-1950)

Image by Matt via Wikimedia Commons

This particular era was very forward thinking for its time and indeed to this day, remains quite striking.

What are the features of art deco era homes?

  • Hipped roofs and the use of terracotta tiles
  • Brick or weatherboard walls to create solid appearance
  • Symmetric and imposing designs or rounded edges

Contemporary era (1950-1960)

This is perhaps one era which we are increasingly seeing a return to in line with the popular minimalist style.

What are the features of contemporary era homes?

  • Low ceiling and open plan interiors
  • Low pitched roofs with corrugated iron or steel decking
  • Big windows often extending across the entire front of the dwelling

Brick veneer era (1960-1980)

This era saw a step back from the previous two eras into a more conservative and economical time.

What are the features of brick veneer homes?

  • Very plain interior with timber floors
  • Sliding timber framed windows
  • Cream, white, or red brick finishes


This article has been updated and republished on 26 April 2022.