Arthur W. Purnell (1878-1964) was a Geelong-born architect who built a thriving practice in Melbourne. He designed hundreds of buildings, including the Olympic Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Rosebud Yacht Club, and many factories, offices, shops and warehouses. Many of these still exist, including Melbourne landmark Michael’s Corner on Elizabeth Street. Purnell had a close client-architect relationship with Alexander George (‘Alec’) Barlow (1880–1937), a trailblazing Melbourne car dealer. Car show rooms, racing stables and this house were amongst the work completed by Purnell for Barlow.
The University of Melbourne Archives is the custodian of Purnell’s architectural drawings, which provide a unique view of architecture and life in Melbourne during the first half of the 20th century. The University Library recently partnered with Arts Victoria to provide information on the Purnell collection on its Culture Victoria website. See www.cv.vic.gov.au/stories/the-architecture-of-arthur-purnell.
Above: Arthur W. Purnell, Residence at Punt Road South Yarra for A.G. Barlow esq. (construction drawing), 28 November 1924. Arthur Purnell Collection, University of Melbourne Archives.