The Queenslander

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The Queenslander
Chapter 5
The Verandah/Cast Iron

decorative iron work on Queenslander

balustrades & bracketsThe balustrades lent themselves to a variety of decorative treatments where panels of cast iron tracery under the handrails of verandahs and external staircases added a welcome touch of opulence to what is otherwise a fairly stark and utilitarian building.

The original panels, exclusively imported from the foundries in England, proved immensely popular with everyone, so much so that the Australian foundries jumped onto this lucrative market and began production on an extensive scale.

The balustrades and brackets of this Toowoomba house combine to present a unified design.

Australian ironwork
They not only reproduced some of the original geometric patterns imported from overseas, but added their own designs which reproduced a great variety of forms derived from the Australian bush and wild life. The richness of these panels of native leaves, flowers, and wild life, included the kangaroo, emu and koala.

embellished roofline
These designs were later carried to the tops of columns which spread and opened up as fitting caps to the posts and embellished the underside of the verandah roof line. The use of the cast iron panels declined after World War I and has now been revived as part of the nostalgic return to the past, with its fine craftsmanship and intricate detail and its emphasis on individuality and elegance.

Text from: Balwant Saini and Ray Joyce, The Australian House: Homes of the Tropical North. Landsdown Publishing, Ltd, (Sydney), 1982.

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