Neville Quarry Biography

Neville Quarry

Pictured: Neville Quarry obituary.

Born in 1933, Neville Quarry grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg, describing it as, “the artisan district trimmed by the iron foundry (producing mainly CIF cast iron toilet cisterns), Pentridge Jail and Chinese market gardens." Coburg endowed Neville with the need for social justice, a grasp of the practical and modern, a love of vernacular architecture - and an ambition to widen his world.

Find out more about the Neville Quarry Travel Scholarship

Neville satisfied these urges with education, family and travel. He met his gregarious wife, Peg whilst studying at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Together, they travelled to Curaco, London then Texas where Neville earned his Master of Architecture in 1961. When the family returned to Australia (via South Africa) that year, he became senior lecturer in the School of Architecture and Building at Melbourne University, remaining until 1970.

Typically, Neville’s wide ranging interests were not limited to lecturing. After Joern Utzon’s dismissal from the Sydney Opera House in 1966, Neville was at the forefront of the move to reinstate him. He also edited ‘Cross-Section’, a monthly, critical (some said abrasive) journal, reviewing buildings, projects and environmental issues. In what spare time Neville found, he managed to design and build ‘a fine, spare modernist, brick home’ for his family.

In 1971 it was time to travel again, Neville set up the inaugural School of Architecture at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology at Lae. Here he developed courses sympathetic to the needs of a developing country and designed modern campus buildings, (with a nod to traditional materials and methods). In 1975 he was awarded the Papua New Guinea Independence Medal, in recognition of his services.

Returning to Australia, Neville served as Professor of Architecture in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney from 1976-1996. During his tenure, he created a reputation for educational initiatives, including the ‘International Series’ of lectures (conducted jointly with RMIT) in the 1980s. These lectures brought renowned architects including Frank Gehry and Michael Graves to Australian shores.

His academic work brought many accolades. In 1981 he was awarded the prestigious Jean Tschumi Prize by the Union Internationale des Architectes’ for his work training young architects and fostering professional international collaboration. He received the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in recognition of his ‘most valuable contributions to architectural education nationally and internationally’ in 1994 and became a Member of the Order of Australia the following year.

At the time of his RAIA Gold medal, Neville said:

"When I began my academic career, I had some utopian notion that it would be possible, like Boyd, to combine practice, writing and teaching. I have grasped what opportunities arose for the first two, but the third, teaching - or more accurately, the exchange of ideas and information and the promotion of enquiry - has dominated, and this has been a continuing personal nourishment."

"Teaching - or more accurately, the exchange of ideas and information and the promotion of enquiry - has dominated (my academic career), and this has been a continuing personal nourishment."

In the last decade of his life Neville Quarry undertook a number of personal projects. He photographed, "every brick house in Bondi" to illustrate a planned book on the suburb's famous red roofs and red-brick buildings. He had also partially completed, ‘The Architecture of the Annunciation’, a study focusing on the scenography in Italian Renaissance paintings.

Neville Quarry was a true Renaissance man, being an architect, writer, critic, educator, TV presenter, family man and football fanatic (The Swans). He died after a short illness on Thursday 28 October 2004 and was survived by his wife Peg, his children Penny, Kit, Tim and Bill and his grandchildren.

Recently, the new Frank Gehry-designed UTS Business School provided a perfect backdrop for the commemoration of a man widely credited with bringing a global perspective to Australian architecture. The event officially launched the Neville Quarry Travel Scholarship recognising Neville’s passionate advocacy for the importance of travel and international exposure as part of a student’s education.

How can you help?

Neville Quarry is well remembered for his educational initiatives and with your help he can be remembered in perpetuity.

“This scholarship is one important way to remember, and value, his contribution,”says Professor Desley Luscombe. Further contributions are welcomed to ensure the perpetuity of the scholarship, and of Quarry’s vision.

Please consider making a donation to the Neville Quarry Travel Scholarship to help continue his lasting legacy. Your tax-deductible contribution to the program will help provide a life-changing travel experience to a young Architect.