Artefact has completed research for the upcoming Hearing. The research delves deep into the history of Church Square and its many connections to historical events at the beginning of Victoria. If it were not for a particular art movement of the time, the picturesque, then Charles Swyer—architect of Church Square—would not have had a vehicle through which to apply his unique experience as a railway Engineer to Church Square.
The picturesque is known as one of the more egalitarian of art movements. It enabled broad participation simply by those willing to learn to discern whether a scene carried the prerequisite of being ‘picturesque’. Walking tours were devised to find ‘that’ scene. Watercolours became the picturesque’s medium du jour, as they could be easily wielded in any wilderness without the fuss of oils, turpentine, a pallet and numerous brushes for separate colours.
The most sympathetic redevelopment of the former Bishop’s Residence would be to build an Arts and Architecture library as a facility made accessible to the general public outside academia, where a layperson can discover the wondrous history of our own Arts and Architecture.
The reason why this would be the most sympathetic redevelopment, is that if a historical understanding of Church Square had been known beforehand, a carpark proposal for the back of Christ Church would never have seen the light.
Church Square’s history is an art history, which is perhaps why it remains unknown to this day.