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Dictionary of Unsung Architects   return to DUA index
LINDSAY BUNNETT (1920-1995)  

Biographical Overview

Born in Melbourne on 11 June 1920, Linsday Harold Bunnett was the son of Harold Ernest Bunnett (1891-1965) and the former Evereld May Treweek (1898-1959), who married in 1918.  Himself an architect, Bunnett senior went into partnership with Joseph Plottel in 1921.  Matriculating from Scotch College in 1936, Bunnett junior followed suit, entering Plottel’s office as an articled pupil. By his own account, he completed his articles in 1941, whilst concurrently undertaking evening classes at the Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT). 

Bunnett’s studies were interrupted by the Second World War; in August 1940, he enlisted with the Australian Army and (as was the case for many young servicemen with architectural inclinations) became attached to the Royal Australian Engineers, serving with the 15th Field Company until he was discharged in December 1944 with the rank of Sergeant.  In June of that year, Bunnett became engaged to Miss Janet Kay Picken (1922-1997) of Beaumaris; the couple married two years later, on 4 June 1946.  Returning to civilian life, Bunnett spent another eighteen months in Plottel's office and then took up a position in the Architectural Department of the Myer Emporium, under Staff Architect Don Ward.  
During this period, he and his wife were residing in Mount Eliza; electoral rolls listed his occupation as “architectural draftsman”. 

In 1948, Bunnett was elected an associate of the RVIA and
became registered as an architect in Victoria, thereby allowing him to undertake architectural commissions under his own name.  It remains unclear, however, whether he formally established sole practice at that time or simply returned to his father's office, by then known as Plottel, Bunnett & Partners.  In any case, he is known to have undertaken a number of residential projects under his own name in the later 1940s and early 1950s, all of which were located in Beaumaris.  His first, for a house in Deauville Street, was completed in 1948 and published the following year in the weekly column of the Age/RVIA Small Homes Service.  He went on to design a house in Lang Street for himself and his wife (who had grown up in the suburb), which was followed, two years later, by a larger house in Point Avenue.  Bunnett's final Beaumaris project appears to have been a house in Anita Street for lighting designer Don Brown (of Beco lighting fame), whom he had consulted for the lighting scheme in his own house.  When published in 1955, Brown's house was credited to Lindsay Bunnett of Plottel, Bunnett & Partners, which suggests that the architect was indeed still employed in his father's firm.  After Harold Bunnett's death in 1965, his son established his own practice as Lindsay Bunnett & Associates Pty Ltd.  Later renamed Bunnett & Munro Pty Ltd to acknowledge the admission of another partner, the firm ceased in 1994.

Lindsay Bunnett and his wife Kay had three children: son Christopher (1946-2012) and daughters Robyn and Katharine.  The Bunnetts remained living in Beaumaris for many years, during which time they were members of the Beaumaris Conservation Society.  Kay Bunnett was also active in the Beaumaris Art Group; known for her oriental-inspired paintings, she published a book on Sogetsu Ikebana in 1979 and released an instructional video on the same topic in 1985.  

In later years, the Bunnetts both suffered declining health.  In November 1995, following an argument, Kay stabbed her huisband to death with a ceremonial Scottish dagger.  At 73 years of age, she became the oldest women ever charged with murder in Victoria.  After her own death two years later, her memory was perpetuated by the Kay Bunnett Award for Painting (awarded by the Beaumaris Art Group from 1999) and a memorial seat on Rickett’s Point.  To date, a local memorial to her late husband has yet to be contemplated.


Select List of Projects

1948
1951
1953
1955
1967
Residence for Norman Salter, 22a Deauville Street, Beaumaris
Residence for self, 3 Lang Street, Beaumaris
Residence for self, 9 Point Avenue, Beaumaris
Residence for Don Brown, 22 Anita Street, Beaumaris
Block of flats, Newstead Road, Maribyrnong
Salter House Beaumaris 1948
Salter Residence, Deauville Street, Beaumaris (1948)
(
source: Australian House & Garden; Reeves Collection)


Bunnett House Beaumaris 1952
Bunnett Residence, Lang Street, Beaumaris (1951)
(
source: Australian House & Garden; Reeves Collection)


Bunnett House Beaumaris 1952
Interior of Bunnett Residence, showing Kay Bunnett
(
source: Australian Home Beautiful; Reeves Collection)


Brown House Beaumaris 1955
Brown Residence, Anita Street, Beaumaris (1955)
(
source: Australian Home Beautiful; Reeves Collection)




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