Initially two local roofing materials were available – thatched reed from the Cook’s river and bark peeled off in large sheets. Methods of heating and flattening the bark were used by the Aboriginal people and these were quickly assimilated by the convict builders.
Once a few consistent building methods were established, we reached what is now referred to as ‘old colonial’ style: imagine a collection of ‘shacks’ nestled in the bush, imported corrugated iron roofs sheltering the verandas, often held in place with what looks like thick branches.
Decades later grand public buildings constructed with light clay bricks provided examples of ‘colonial regency’ and ‘colonial Georgian’.
Colonial architecture often resembled what was seen in England at the time, with European settlers heavily influenced by their motherland. This was particularly noticeable after 1793 when the landscape became increasingly influenced by English culture thanks to the writers, musicians, architects and other creatives that began flocking to the country on migrant ships.
However, buildings constructed during this period were still predominantly built according to the availability of materials and requirements of the environment, while importation of glass and bricks became more frequent from 1790–1840.