Alexander North


Launceston Post office in 1905 (AOT, PH30/1/7855)

Alexander North (18581945), a most original Australian architect. Born in Huddersfield, North trained in art and architecture in London, working with James Cubit, architectural theorist and Nonconformist church designer. North innovated in Gothic styles, increasingly influenced by Arts and Crafts ideas. His three major Launceston churches, Holy Trinity (18881902), St John's (190138), and the chancel and crossing of the Church of Apostles (1888), imaginatively translate Gothic principles; at the Apostles, and St Michael and All Angels, Bothwell (188791), he favoured plate tracery over revivalist imitation. His decorative use of native flora and fauna can be seen in the Launceston Post Office (1886) and St John's. A pioneer of concrete construction, he designed the dome of St John's (1901) and St Margaret's Hospital and silos at Ritchie's Mill (1912). North also designed an arts and crafts Anglican church in Wynyard, in association with the Launceston architect Frank Heyward.

Further reading: J Maidment, 'Alexander North 18581945', National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) Newsletter 76, 1982; B Andrews, Australian gothic, Melbourne, 2001; ADB 11.

Barry McNeill and Eric Ratcliff