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D GRAEME LUMSDEN (1915-1995)

Biographical Overview

Born in Malvern on 16 May 1915, Donald Graeme Lumsden was the son of a civil servant.  He is known to have undertaken private architectural work as early as September 1941, when he called for tenders for  erection of a brick veneer house in Dundas Street, Sale.  That year, he was registered during as an architect, by which time he was employed as a draftsman in the Department of the Interior, reportedlly engaged on projects for the US Army.  At some point, he entered into partnership wth semi-retired architect Arthur Purnell (1878-1964), who had been one of Melbourne's leading practitioners in the first third of the twentieth century.  The resulting firm, styled as A W Purnell & Lumsden, proved short-lived and was dissolved in April 1948.  Only one project has been identified to date: a factory in Launceston, for which tenders were called in June 1947.  

By May 1948, Lumsden had already established his own private practice, operating from premises at 92 Toorak Road, South Yarra.  In what may well have been a direct spin-off from his brief partnership with Arthur Purnell, one of Lumsden's first independant projects was another factory in Tasmania.  This not only brought him a number of further commissions in the island state, but also helped establish him as a specialist in the design of industrial complexes.  For the next three decades, factory architecture proved the mainstay of his output.  During the 1950s alone, his office underook large-scale industrial projects for such leading manufacturers as Volkswagen Australia, Lewis Berger & Sons and Nicholas Pty Ltd (of Aspro fame).  

For two decades from 1951, the office of D Graeme Lumsden was based in East Melbourne, in a converted terrace house at 100 Powlett Street.  With staff numbers increasing as the practice expanded to include in-house engineers and other consultants, it relocated to St Kilda Road, later taking up space in a multi-storey office block in nearby Bowen Crescent that the firm had designed in 1972.  A few years before, the name of the practice had been amended to Lumsden, Ashton & Hale. Towards the end of the 1970s, it became simply Lumsden & Ashton, following Hale's departure to establish his own practice.  After Ashton followed suit some time later, Lumsden closed the office and retired to the seaside town of Metung, in South Gippsland, where he designed and built a house for himself.  He resided there until his death on 25 May 1995, barely a week after his eightieth birthday.  

Select List of Projects

Purnell & Lumsden (c.1947-1948)
Factory for Replacement Part Pty Ltd, Mowbray, Tasmania

D Graeme Lumsden (1949-1969)


Lumsden, Ashton & Hale (1969-1979)

Lumsden & Ashton (from 1979)
Donald Graeme Lumsden
Donald Graeme Lumsden, architect 

James Nelson factory Launceston
Factory for James Nelson Ltd, Launceston (1949)
(source: photograph by Simon Reeves, circa 1998)

Nicholas (Aspro) factory, Chadstone
Early scheme for Nicholas factory, Chadstone (1956)

Specialty Press factory, Clayton
Factory for Specialty Press, Clayton North (1959)

Royal Mail House
Royal Mail House, Swanston and Bourke Streets (1963)
(source: photograph by Simon Reeves, circa 2005)