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.
ZENY EDWARDS is a consulting architectural historian and an acknowledged author, biographer, and curator. Her publications include the biographies of photographers Harold Cazneaux and Max Dupain; monographs on architects B J Waterhouse, the Vernons, Howard Joseland and Leith McCredie; and architectural histories of The Women’s College, Eryldene and Caerleon, among others. She completed her doctorate in Architectural History at UTS in 2006.
Zeny was the past president of the National Trust of Australia (NSW), 2006-08. In 2006, Zeny was awarded the Trust’s highest honour of a Gold Honorary Life Membership. She is the recipient of National Trust Heritage Awards and in 2009 was given the Sustainability Award for Outstanding Leadership as President of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) in promoting the sustainability of cultural heritage of Australia.
Zeny was chair of UN Women Australia (NSW) in 2012 and in 2013 joined the United Nations Association of Australia and now serves as Director of the UNAA Peace Program.
The first biography of John Sulman, one of Australia’s first high-profile architects of the ‘Australian Style’ and
one of the first to view town planning as an aspect of architecture.
• A comprehensive, full colour biography, with over 150 photographs of his work, sketches, drawings and
• Contains chapters on his major work such as: The Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital in Sydney,
Wahroonga on Sydney’s upper north shore, The Macarthur-Onslow houses, Laurel Park and Bishop’s Lodge in
country New South Wales, and his many churches in Australia and the UK.
• Residents of Sydney will know Sulman for the Sir John Sulman Medal which was the first architectural award
in Australia and for the Sir John Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.