KIMBERLEY, TASMANIA to ALEX NORTH F.R.V.I.A., ARCHITECT LAUNCESTON
This Tasmania Post Card with the red 1d King Edward VII head was the third Tasmanian type of official postcard issued with this sovereign’s head, the 2-line inscription having been removed from beneath the crest of the previous issue. It was issued on a buff colored card with an early date of 4 September 1906 and reissued on a white card, with an early date of 1 June 1912, the latter being scarce. It was postmarked with a fine KIMBERLEY/ OC 4/ 10/ TASMANIA cancel and it was addressed to Alex North Esq., F.R.V.I.A., A.M.P. Chambers, Cameron St., Launceston (Figure 1).
The reverse’s message was somewhat difficult to decipher and the unrecognised words are shown as spaces within parentheses:
Oct 4 ( )
Alex North Esq FRVIA Launceston
Am returning plans by mail to-day our committee beg to thank you for forwarding same. No decision finally arrived at re building but committee men rather favour the plans for Gray Church but recognise they must wait till funds (----) a little stronger. However you may hear from us again sooner than later (-----------)
( ) Peacock
Treasurer (Figure 2).
It certainly sounds that the idea of a new Church has been put ‘on hold’ and a review of to-day’s Churches in the immediate area of the region of Kimberley, Tasmania suggests that the Church was never built. The site of Kimberley is seen the map (Figure 3).
Alexander North was born on 2 October 1858 at Huddersfield, England, son of James a draper and his wife Lavinia. Alexander’s schooling included a period in London at the Lambeth schools of art. In 1876 he helped to prepare drawings for the Islington Union Chapel, and he later travelled to Europe. In 1883 he won a gold medal for his cathedral drawings in the National Competition of Schools of Art.
In 1883 for reasons of health he travelled to Hobart where he married Lucy Morgan in 1885. For 3 years he was employed at the Lands and Works Department, and was permitted a private practice in partnership with L.G. Corrie of Launceston in 1884-93. With a succession of partners he became an outstanding church architect and in 1902 his greatest work the Anglican Holy Trinity Church, Launceston was completed and consecrated. The previous church had been damaged in an earth tremor in 1884 and was limited in use on account of safety concerns. Alexander was an enthusiastic parishioner of that church and involved himself in all details of the construction and the decoration of that church.
He was elected a fellow of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects in October 1902, and hence the appellation of F.R.V.I.A. on the cover and reverse. The next year he initiated the formation of the Tasmanian Association of Architects of which he was president in 1903-05 and 1911-12. He was also known for his designs of other Tasmanian churches, including St Michael and All Angels, Bothwell and Christ Church Illawarra. In 1913North and his junior partner moved to Melbourne where they specialized in church work and North designed a large chapel for Trinity College, at the University of Melbourne.
In addition to the many church contracts in Tasmania and Melbourne, North designed buildings in South Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. North returned to Tasmania in 1920 and continued working until the 1930s, although more preoccupied with his orchard and interest in botany. He died at Holme Lea, Rowella, north of Launceston on 28 May 1945, survived by three children.
Acknowledgment: The biographical data on Alexander North was augmented by the entry in the on-line Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Addendum: An additional postcard addressed to Alex North at the A.M.P. Chambers is seen in Figure 4.