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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Joseland, Richard George Howard (Howard) (1860–1930)

by Patricia Chisholm

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Richard George Howard Joseland (1860-1930), architect, was born on 14 January 1860 at Claines, Worcestershire, England, son of Richard Joseland, wine merchant, and his wife Elizabeth Katherine, née Voss. Howard Joseland was articled to Haddon Bros at Hereford before going to London in 1881 as assistant to George Robinson, art director of the architectural firm George Trollope & Sons. Robinson was an exponent of Pugin's principles of design; this influence was important in Joseland's Australian work.

Because of ill health attributed to overwork, Joseland went to New Zealand in 1886, seeking a better climate, and for six months worked on the Auckland railways. After visiting Australia, in 1888 he settled in Sydney where he married Isabella Alice Taylor (d.1891) on 13 September. Soon after arrival he met Walter Vernon with whom, in 1889, he entered and won a competition to design a model suburb; they worked jointly on other projects. In 1890 when Vernon became government architect he invited Joseland to take over his practice. The depression years were difficult for Joseland. He had little or no work in 1897, although on 6 April he married Blanche Augusta Hay at Coolangatta near Berry; her family was connected with the (David) Berry estates, on which Joseland had first done work in 1892. With a commission for F. Lassetter's hardware store in George Street in 1898, the practice began to revive.

In 1903 Joseland took into partnership his former pupil Hugh Vernon, Walter's son. Although Joseland's work always included a variety of building types, the greater part of his practice was domestic architecture. He built many houses on Sydney's developing North Shore, particularly on the Berry estates at North Sydney and Wahroonga, where for twenty-two years he lived in a house built for himself in 1900. He was in sole practice from 1914 until 1919, when he formed a partnership with Frederic Glynn Gilling, a young English architect. Thereafter he became less active and retired in 1929, selling out to Gilling, who retained the name — Joseland & Gilling is still an important architectural firm.

Joseland was among the first to reject the excesses of late Victorian architecture in Australia. In an article, 'Domestic architecture in Australia', in Centennial Magazine (August 1890), he advocated design for climate, using appropriate materials undisguised, and excluding irrelevant embellishment. These principles contributed to the development of the 'Queen Anne' or 'Federation' style in Australia. A fashionable architect, he had many clients among the prosperous people who were then building substantial houses on the upper North Shore. He had helped to found the Sydney Architectural Association in 1891 and was elected president in November 1893, but the association did not survive the depression and was disbanded next year. In 1906 he became a fellow of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales. Joseland took part in community activities, and belonged to musical societies, including the Sydney Liedertafel. He was a keen angler — which also afforded opportunities for sketching — and was among the first to introduce fly-fishing on New South Wales trout streams; his book, Angling in Australia and Elsewhere, was published in 1921. In 1907 and 1927 he and his wife visited England.

Joseland died of cancer at Darlinghurst on 20 July 1930, survived by a daughter of his first marriage and by a son and daughter of his second, and was buried in South Head cemetery with Anglican rites.

Select Bibliography

  • Cyclopedia of N.S.W. (Syd, 1907)
  • J. M. Freeland, Architecture in Australia (Melb, 1968)
  • A. J. Allen, R. G. Howard Joseland (Architect), 1860-1930 (B.Arch. thesis, University of New South Wales, 1978), and for bibliography
  • private information.

Citation details

Patricia Chisholm, 'Joseland, Richard George Howard (Howard) (1860–1930)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 23 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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