Tasmanian emigre architect Edith Emery on Designing a Legacy


Edith Emery (Image Source: Michael Emery)

Following an investigation of their new project by architects Mat Hinds and Poppy Taylor in Launceston,  a tale unraveled of the role of one of Tasmania’s most important female architects – as told to Tim Ross on ABC TV’s Designing a Legacy

Born in Austria in 1909, Emery studied under the renowned educator Franz Cižek – the academic responsible for numerous prolific careers of Australian emigres recently profiled in ACAHUCH’s exhibition New Horizons. Initially studying Medicine, and qualifying as a doctor in 1934, Emery soon fell victim to the rising Nazism in Austria after the occupation in 1938 – firstly with her partner being arrested and interned at Dachau Concentration Camp, and secondly resigning her post in her medical career.

Following numerous moves to various international locations – Hobart, Sudan, Paris (to birth her first child with her new husband, Englishman John Emery) before finally relocating back to Tasmania in 1948, Emery soon faced the fate of many of her emigre peers – her medical qualifications were not recognised in the antipodes.

A keen learner, Emery commenced studying architecture at the University of Tasmania, graduating as the first sole practitioner in the state. As ACAHUCH member Dr Stuart King notes “Her training, entry into the profession, and advocacy in the 1950s make for a compelling architectural career”.

For more information in Georgia Hitch’s article, click here.