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It was an era of great innovative design at its height in the 1930’s. You know, suave, sophisticated, elegant and sexy. Think beautiful ladies in slinky dresses smoking from long cigarette holders, and guys in tuxes or hand crafted tailored suits with cocktails at the ready.

Think cutting edge architecture never seen before, not a style revival, but a brand new look. Think speed lines, zig zags and ziggurats.

Think long streamlined autos lathered in chrome – BTW watch out for the upcoming “Concours D’Elegance”, the Packards show and shine coming up in Russell Street on 4th May during Heritage Week.

If you are a fan you probably will have been to Napier in New Zealand – the Art Deco capital of the world, where the city fathers and merchants have capitalised on an earthquake, and a wonderful job promoted by their Art Deco Trust. Or perhaps to Katoomba where the main street is solid Art Deco and all the above awning commercial signage has been removed to reveal the glory. 

And yes, somehow Deco architecture made it to country Bathurst, and amazingly still remains. We have a superb example in the Carillon, and nearby in the Knickerbocker Hotel – not just outside, but also the internal foyer and stairwell. Think also Regency Jewellers on the corner of William and Howick where the paint job and signage is so much better than before. Around the corner in George Street are two excellent small examples, one with ziggurats

My mate Mick informs me that ziggurats were a form of temple common to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians of ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest examples of the ziggurat date from the end of the third millennium BC and the latest date from the 6th century BC. Funny what Mick knows.

One of my favourite art deco buildings is this “P & O” style house in upper William Street – have a close look at the detail next time you are passing by.

Thought of the week “our Art Deco heritage – worth keeping”

by a humble heritage advocate – March 2022

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