News & Events

Architect Percy Oakley appointed to design Godfrey cottages

June 24, 2019

Percy Oakley was a giant in the architectural profession. He was appointed to design the Godfrey Cottages at Rushall Park in 1920. He set up the company Oakley and Parkes on his return from World War I, a firm which won many accolades for their work in Canberra, including designing the Prime Minister’s Lodge, as well as their designs for Melbourne-based Yule House,  the cylindrical Brighton Municipal building and the semi-Saracenic Equity Trustees Building.

His designs for the Godfrey Cottages in Grice Avenue were simple, compared with other grander commissions. But they were practical, and reflected the architecture of the day and the village. He created a symmetrical design for the pair of semi-detached cottages, identical in layout around a central party wall. The toilet was off the rear verandah, and a fuel box was placed near the back door.

Shortly after this initial commission, which was well received by benefactor Mrs Godfrey and the Association, Oakley joined forces with Stanley Parkes and John Scarborough.

While based in Melbourne, the firm won many private and public commissions in Canberra. These included the design of 150 houses in 13 different designs for public servants in Forrest in 1923 and winning the design for the Prime Minister’s Lodge in Canberra in 1926.

Their work in Rushall Park continued throughout these years. In 1924, they were commissioned to provide designs for nine new cottages thanks to a bequest from D W Harvey Patterson. In 1933, they rather cheekily wrote to the Association requesting to design the proposed Sarah Anne and Ambrose Kyte and Annie Wilson cottages.

In support of their argument, they said that were supervising the building of ten cottages, have designed others in the past, and are privileged to make a substantial donation of a portion of their fees to the Association. Needless to say, Council approved their appointment.

Caption: Percy Oakley standing on the left.

"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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