Author(s): Zeny Edwards
JOHN SULMAN was a prodigy of his generation. Born in England, the architectural and ecclesiastical foundations of his life are of great value to reflect upon when looking at his transformation from Victorian English architect to visionary Australian statesman. A man of tenacity and purpose, Sulman was at the forefront of the movement for an Australian ‘style’ of architecture. As a town planner, he was one of Australia’s great social reformers, and across a range of prestigious and influential positions in public life, he outshone the lives and careers of many other English architects who journeyed to Australia in the nineteenth century. Driven by ambition, he became the quintessential polymath – architect, artist, lecturer, educator, writer, polemicist, environmentalist, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. John Sulman deserves a special place in Australian history for the outstanding and influential role he played in the development of the country’s cultural identity. The legacy that he bequeathed Australia is multi-faceted and maintains its momentum through the twenty-first century.