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Oldham & Coxoldham

Battye, 1912-1913

OLDHAM & COX, architects and building surveyors, Howard Street, Perth. (C. L. Oldham, A.R.I.V.A., and A. E. Cox, F.S.A.I.A.). This well-known firm, established in Perth in 1905, has witnessed a steady growth in popular favour ever since its inception, and which shows no signs of decreasing with the greater demand for combined beauty and convenience which is one of the marked characteristics of the present era, while for stability and dignity the designs executed by this firm are second to none in Western Australia. Prominent among the public buildings for which Messrs. Oldham and Cox are responsible are the Emanuel Buildings, erected at a cost of £30,000, the great warehouses of Messrs. G. Wood, Son, & Co., Messrs. G. & R. Wills & Co., Messrs. George Wills & Co., Messrs. Dobbie & Co., Copley's Buildings, Wellington Buildings, the Commercial Travellers' Club, and the whole eastern side of Howard Street, besides a large and ever-increasing number of the most important homesteads, hotels, and villa residences in the area surrounding the metropolis. Worthy of special mention is the Geraldton Town Hall, where Messrs. Oldham and Cox designed and carried out a suspended gallery which gives full floor-space when the gallery is not in use. The firm was also the first to introduce into Perth buildings the large steel-girders of 50 ft. span over shop-fronts, doing away with the older methods of pillars, which had been found cumbersome and in the way of future adjustments or improvements.

CHARLES LANCELOT OLDHAM is a son of the late Mr. James Oldham, of Ballarat, Victoria, where he was born on September 22, 1865. He was a student at Ballarat College and subsequently served articles to the firm of Messrs. Tappin & Gilbert, architects, of Sydney, Melbourne, and Ballarat. Having completed his indentures he was sent to Sydney to represent his firm in that city and remained for about three years. Among his earliest works was the supervision of the erection of the famous Riverview College, the Roman Catholic Church in Lewisham, and extensive school buildings, at one time the work entrusted to his hands totalling a cost of £100,000. Mr. Oldham was then offered a position in the Railways Department of the Victorian Government, and designed for it the Maryborough Railway Station, subsequently being given charge of the plans of the extensive and up-to-date Lunatic Asylum at Sunbury, for the Public Works Department. Upon the completion of these and other large public works he began practice on his own account in Melbourne, giving his attention chiefly to designs for private residences, and in 1890 became a partner in the firm of Messrs. Kempson & Connolly. He represented this firm in Ballarat for several years, and when the great land boom burst he retired from the connection, and following u.1) the Steiglib mining boom practically built that town during the two years it lasted. He was then associated with Mr. G. W. Clegg in private practice, mostly in designing homesteads and woolsheds in the neighbourhood of Ballarat and in the Western district of Victoria. In 1896, with Mr. J. Herbert Eales, he commenced professional practice in Fremantle, Western Australia, and during the six years that this partnership continued the firm was responsible for the designs of the Fremantle Markets, Detmold's establishment, and many other well-known buildings. In 1901 Mr. Oldham started on his own behalf in Perth and Fremantle, and entered into partnership with Mr. A. E. Cox in 1905, since when the firm has carried on under the above title. He is a prominent member of the Perth, Fremantle, and Cottesloe Golf Clubs, finding in the pursuit of this time-honoured pastime a thoroughly congenial recreation. He is also a member of the Weld and other prominent Clubs. In November, 1901, Mr. Oldham married the second daughter of Captain Russell, R.N., late harbourmaster, Fremantle, and has two sons and two daughters.


ALFRED EDWARD COX was born in Adelaide on May 21, 1869, being a son of the late Mr. Richard Baxter Cox, of that city. He was educated at Whinham and St. Peter's Colleges and, at the close of his scholastic career, when about eighteen years of age, entered upon commercial pursuits in the office of Elder, Smith and Co., Ltd, in the Broken Hill branch of their business. After serving staff of this firm he resigned and went for an extended tour over the States of Queensland and New South Wales. Upon his return to Adelaide in 1888 he became articled to the firm of Messrs. Evans & Evans, architects and licensed surveyors, and during the term of four years with the firm he competed against allcomers for the designing of labourers' cottages and English farm at the Adelaide Exhibition of 1889, winning both prizes and also being awarded special mention for mechanical invention at the same Exhibition. At the end of 1889 he qualified as a member of the South Australian Society of Arts, and in 1890 was admitted as an Associate of the South Australian Institute of Architects, and five years later a Fellow of that Institute. In the early part of 1893 he left for Western Australia, and landing at Geraldton he proceeded on foot to the Murchison goldfields, where he joined in the search for the precious metal and at the same time practised mining surveying. He soon obtained a footing in his profession and established himself at Cue, the whole of which town he practically designed and built, and erected several of the public buildings on the fields and at Geraldton. About this period he received the appointment under Government of resident architect of all areas north of Perth, with head office at Cue and a branch at Geraldton, and continued in the Civil Service until he joined Mr. Oldham in practice at Perth in 1905. Mr. Cox is a member of the Masonic fraternity, in connection with which he was lodge organist for many years. In the past he participated in most athletic games, including cricket, football, and rowing, but more recently has devoted his attention chiefly to the game of bowls, and was a member of the first interstate bowling team to represent Western Australia in the Central State. In 1897 he married Halle, daughter of the late Mr. John Siviour, of Manoora, South Australia, and has three sons and two daughters.

References and Links

Battye, J.S. 1912-13, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, Cyclopedia Co., Perth.

Oldham, Ray 1984, 'The Oldham family in Australia', Early Days, vol. 9, part 2: 38-64.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 August, 2016 | Now: 12 January, 2022