By Murray Johnson

Alistair Knox had a strong interest in Australian vernacular architecture. In the 1950s when most Australians aspired to a triple-fronted cream brick veneer with wall-to-wall carpet and laminex, Knox yearned for a "real" Australian architecture.

His writings include inspirational accounts of how his aesthetic was inspired by heavy timbers in the shearing sheds painted by Tom Roberts (below), and corrugated iron in books about the outback written by Kylie Tennant.

The famous Australian architect Glenn Murcutt also has a strong fascination with Australian vernacular architecture. Like Knox he was influenced by rural wood-and-corrugated-iron farm sheds... particularly wool sheds and shearing sheds.

Murcutt says of Australia's unpretentious corrugated iron sheds: "This appropriate architecture is clear, it is direct, it is obvious, it is logical, it is also beautiful."

What are your favorite "real" Australian buildings?

To keep Knox's quest for a truly Australian "alternative society vernacular" architecture alive and relevant into the 21st century we offer this web page to your musings or photos on the subject. Send us pictures of buildings and architectural details in buildings old or new, which you think could help and inspire owner builders to design homes with an Australian soul.

I'll kick it off with a few photos of the kinds of rural Australian sheds which inspired the mud brick house I'm building now...

Murray Johnson

Please email your contributions to:


Email: Murray Johnson (

Snail Mail: 106 Liberty Parade, Bellfield 3081 Victoria Australia

Phone: 0417 339 203