Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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PLATT, Austin (1912-2003)

PLATT, Austin (1912-2003)

Etching of Geelong College by Austin Platt, circa 1934.

Etching of Geelong College by Austin Platt, circa 1934.

Artist, printmaker and illustrator, Austin platt was born in Perth and educated in New Zealand. He was apprenticed in Sydney at the age of 20 studying commercial art at Cedric Emanuel’s studio. He also studied at the Sydney Art School, the Royal Society, Maud Sherwood’s Sketch Club and East Sydney Technical College. After the Collegiate Etching and Fine Art Studio began selling etchings of schools, Platt moved to Melbourne and commenced a similar business with an early success in his etching of the Scotch College, Melbourne.

By World War II he had completed about 100 plates in a specialisation that particularly focused on school buildings. After the war he continued producing etchings and over his lifetime created an historic record of school buildings of the 1930s and 1940s many of which were subsequently demolished. He returned to Sydney and continued working in etching and commercial art eventually ‘retiring’ in 1977. After his ‘retirement’ he adopted’ Sydney’s Centennial Park and produced a rich variety of work often in watercolour of the landscapes, buildings, plants and animals creating an unparalleled record of the Park and its evolution. A permanent exhibition of his work is on display in Centennial Park.

Platt sketched the Geelong College in about 1934 and produced a series of numbered prints. His illustration of the College viewed towards the East, shows the Main Building (centre right), Norman Morrison Memorial Hall (centre left) with part of the original cricket pavilion (far left) and the chemistry laboratory (far right).

Sources: Susette Cooke, Austin Platt: The Complete Etchings; Tony Stephens-Obituary Sydney Morning Herald 5 August 2003.
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