About John Beswicke

John Beswicke was a prolific architect during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. He commenced practice as an architect 13 years after a competition was called for the design of the first Government House in Victoria, and 10 years after the Victorian Institute of Architects was formed. The majority of Beswicke’s designs were built before Federation in 1901. Much of his body of work is still standing today, testament to both his skills as a designer and talent as a draughtsman, as well as his ability to supervise the construction of substantial buildings.

Beswicke designed a wide range of buildings, large and small, throughout Melbourne. He designed shops, office buildings and warehouses in the city centre. He designed hotels, shops, and factories in the industrial suburbs of Richmond, Emerald Hill, Newmarket, Collingwood, Carlton, Footscray, Alphington, St Kilda and Elsternwick. His residential work was centred on Hawthorn but spanned the then new suburbs such as Camberwell, Surrey Hills, Malvern, Prahran, Kew, South Yarra, Caulfield and St Kilda.

Beswicke's more notable buildings include the Shire (now Town) Halls at Hawthorn, Malvern, Brighton, Essendon and Dandenong. One of his most significant legacies is the design of over a dozen mansion houses for his family and others in Harcourt Street, Hawthorn, which now constitutes a significant streetscape of Heritage Registered Victorian houses.