Walking Melbourne

William Pitt

1855 - 1918

No other architect in the history of Melbourne has had a more profound effect on the unique identity of the city than William Pitt. William Pitts bold exploitations of the Neo-Gothic and Second Empire styles (especially in Collins Street) made more extroverted statements of opulence and exhuberance than any other architect.

Australian architect and politician. He began his architectural practice in 1879, having served articles from 1875 with George Browne in Melbourne. His early success came from competitions for commercial buildings in prestigious locations.

He also attended Hofwyl School in St Kilda after his arrival in Melbourne with his parents in 1853. In 1889 he married Elizabeth Mary Liddy and according to family descendants, the couple lost a child due to infection after a nurse accidentally pricked the child with a pin while changing a nappy.

Pitt himself was a staunch Federationist in a political career that spanned twenty years. He was an active member of the Australian Natives Association that campaigned vigorously and successfully for Federation at a grass roots level. No organization did as much to hasten Federation as the ANA formed in 1871 for white Australian-born men. It flourished across eastern Australia promoting debates on issues such as immigration, defence, and votes for women to packed halls. Conferences hosted by the ANA in 1890 at Melbourne, 1893 in Corowa and 1898 in Bendigo fostered the Federation debate and resurrected support at critical times. Many constitutional delegates were ANA members who were then elected to the first federal parliament such as George Turner, Alfred Deakin and Isaac Isaacs.

Responsible for some of Melbournes finest buildings, including the Rialto, the Olderfleet, the Former Stock Exchange and Safe Deposit building, the Princess Theatre and the spectacular, but demolished Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace.

Buildings by this architect