George Raymond Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

George Raymond Johnson (7 February 1840 – 25 November 1898) was an English architect who designed several buildings in the Australian colonies. Johnson is principally notable for the design of seven town halls that still stand today in Melbourne and other Victorian towns, but he achieved contemporary renown for his theatres[1] and, particularly, his annexes to the Melbourne Exhibition Building.[2]


Johnson was born in Southgate, England (then a part of Middlesex) and at age 13 began working with George Hall, Midland Railway architect. At 19 he moved to London, presumably to continue his architectural career.[1] On 24 July 1962 he married Emma Louise Wood and, nine days later, the couple embarked on a journey of emigration to Queensland.[1] In 1867, Johnson moved to Melbourne, where he produced most of his major works. In 1898, while at sea on return to Melbourne from Perth, Western Australia, Johnson contracted septicemia, and died.[2]

Architectural works[edit]

Johnson's major works are mostly Classical in style, variously described as Renaissance Revival, Free Classical, Italianate, Second Empire or Mannerist.[1][2] Some of his residential buildings were in the Gothic Revival style.[1][3]

A selection of Johnson's notable buildings are listed below. For a complete list of known works, see the database compiled by Johnson's descendent, architect Peter Johnson, included in Hannan (2006).[1]

Building Location Year Type Note
Prince of Wales Opera House Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 1872 theatre demolished 1900 Prince of Wales Opera House Interior.jpg
Eastern Arcade Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 1872 commercial modified 1894, demolished 2008[4] Eastern Arcade 1872.jpg
North Melbourne Town Hall North Melbourne, Victoria 1876 town hall North Melbourne Town Hall 2004-10-06.jpg
Theatre Royal Hindley Street, Adelaide, South Australia 1878 theatre demolished 1962 Theatre Royal, Adelaide.jpg
Metropolitan Meat Market North Melbourne, Victoria 1879 commercial
Austin Hospital for Incurables Heidelberg, Victoria 1882 other demolished c1970 Austin Hospital for Incurables.jpg
Daylesford Town Hall Daylesford, Victoria 1882 town hall DaylesfordTownHall.JPG
Collingwood Town Hall Collingwood, Victoria 1885 town hall Collingwood town hall 1.jpg
Criterion Theatre Cnr Pitt and Park Street, Sydney 1886 theatre demolished 1935 Criterion Theatre, Sydney, ca 1920.jpg
Annexes to Exhibition Building Carlton, Victoria 1887 other demolished 1889 Melbourne Exhibition Building Annexes 1888.jpg
Northcote Town Hall Northcote, Victoria 1887 town hall Northcote Town Hall 01a.jpg
Fitzroy Town Hall additions Fitzroy, Victoria 1887 town hall Fitzroy Town Hall 01a.jpg
Maryborough Town Hall Maryborough, Victoria 1887 town hall MaryboroughTownHall2010.JPG
Bijou Theatre Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 1889 theatre demolished 1934 Bijou Theatre, Melbourne.jpg
Kilmore Town Hall Kilmore, Victoria 1894 town hall Kilmore Town Hall 2011.jpg


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hannan, Bill (2006). Pride of Hotham. North Melbourne: Hotham History Project. ISBN 0-9586111-7-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Peter. Johnson, George Raymond (1840–1898), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 16 August 2011.
  3. ^ Peterson, Richard (2005). "Edgewater Towers". A Place of Sensuous Resort: Buildings of St Kilda and Their People. St Kilda Historical Society. 
  4. ^ Hamish Heard (10 September 2008). "Demolition anger". Melbourne Leader. Retrieved 18 August 2011.