Friday 28 August 2015

The Perfectionist Architect

Geoffrey Hamilton Gore's obituary described him as having a 'reputation as being an honest and articulate architect, a perfectionist in his profession.' He led an eventful and interesting life but it was through his prowess as an architect that his legacy will live on.

Geoffrey was born in December 1899 at Paddington and moved to Campbelltown in 1910 when he was 11. The family moved to a house in Sturt Street called "Rossmoyne". He attended Campbelltown Primary School. Most of young Jeffrey's spare time was taken up with going shooting with his father. They would walk side by side for miles and miles, around the town and over the hills now so densely populated. He also remembered going around Campbelltown in the school holidays with the local baker helping him deliver bread.

After leaving school he initially thought he would try being a dentist but soon discovered that he had a talent for drawing. He commenced his architectual education in 1916 at Sydney Technical College. His training was put on hold however when he enlisted in the Great War. Geoffrey had an inclination to go to war from a young age. In fact it began as early as Primary School, when during an afternoon game of tennis, the Head Master came to the court and announced that England had declared war on Germany. Of course all the boys were determined to go if the war lasted long enough. He declared that he would like to go as a Drummer Boy, being small, and thinking that would be the only way to get there on account of his age. Highly amused by this idea, his family told him he would have to bide his time until he grew older. At the age of 17 years young Geoffrey did bluff his way into the army and in 1918 travelled to England to support the war effort. He wrote a diary of his time serving overseas which included many sketches of the buildings he saw whilst in the army.

In 1919 he returned to Australia and began as a registered architect. His work lasted from the early 1920s to the late 1970s. Much of his work was designing residential housing, especially in Campbelltown. Many of Campbelltown's well-known families had Geoffrey design their house. He also designed the original Campbelltown Golf Club and the Campbelltown Scout Hall. Geoffrey also designed his own house that he and his wife Jeanne moved into in 1928. This was located at 82 Broughton Street. It was very modern for the time, including a double brick exterior, Italian imported glass, a sunken bath and a dressing room off the main bedroom. It was in this same house in 1978 that he gave an interview about his life. Sadly the house was later demolished.

Geoffrey Gore had many other interests. He was involved in the School of Arts, Campbelltown Scouts and was a member of the Labor party. He was also a supporter of local rugby league. It was Geoffrey that fired a revolver in the air to stop brawling spectators during one memorable game in the 1930s (see my blog post on A day at the Football).

His daughter Bev who passed away recently fondly remembered assisting her father to hold his measuring tape whilst he was surveying local building sites. She also helped him with checking measurements and calculations when she was older. She remembered the family dining room table being covered with architectural plans and measurements.

Geoffrey Gore passed away in March 1985 aged 85 years.

Written by Andrew Allen

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