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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Patrick Taylor's House, Western Australia

Horizonal wattle sticks

I was intrigued with the construction of this house and impressed at its ingenuity. A frame of posts was put up and thin sticks of wattle were placed horizontally close enough together to hold thick mud that was slapped on. Stiffened with soft straw and clay, the mud dried hard and if cow dung was used it was added as a final layer to give a waterproof finish. The inside walls of the house are slightly wavy in places but the overall look is clean and tidy. When you think of the cost of building a house today, the ingenuity of our early settlers is amazing.

On the waterfront in Albany it was built in 1832 and this eleven room wattle and daub home with the original shingles still on the roof is the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia.

Patrick Taylor was born at Montrose in Scotland in 1806 and orphaned as a child. Left a very wealthy young man, it's believed he was sickly and came to Albany for his health. He spent most of his time at his farm but came here to his beach house for holidays. I'm assuming that to have an 11 room holiday home back in those times was an indication of his vast wealth.

He was sensitive, introverted and very religious. When he met Miss Mary Yates Bussell and fell in love, he sent her many beautiful letters and poems.

Patrick Taylor, a true romanic.