Image: Barnet Wing c.1880s

Barnet Wing c.1880s

Barnet Wing of the Australian Museum on College Street, c.1880s. Photo from the Australian Museum Archives.

J. Fields
© Australian Museum


1861-1866: James Barnet Wing

College Street
Neo Classicism

Alexander Dawson, Colonial Architect, prepared a plan for major additions to the Australian Museum only four months after the building's opening. His conception of a long neo-classical fa├žade to William Street was developed by James Barnet, his clerk of works. In 1861 the Trustees adopted this design.

'Barnet had developed Dawson's design into a grand neo-classical composition with the main entrance behind a columned portico approached by an impressive flight of steps, a tympanum carved in relief, the pediment backed by a dome.' [Proudfoot 16]

The main part of the building was not built. Only the College Street section was constructed, which was intended to be a noble side entrance to a domed palace housing museum, art gallery and library. The stone carving was done by Walter McGill, a local sculptor.

The Barnet wing was opened to the public in January 1868.

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