Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

The Architectural Works of Nell McCredie 1923-1938

  • Kirsty Volz
  • Nicole Sully (Principal Advisor)
  • Deborah van der Plaat (Associate Advisor)
Project Timeframe: 1916-1918

Nell McCredie (1901 – 1968) was an early student at the University of Sydney’s Bachelor of architecture programme, completing her studies in 1923.  After graduating she worked as a draftsperson for Longman Door and Co. on the structural design for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. McCredie struggled to find work as an architect in Sydney so in 1925 she moved to Cairns where she worked for Architects Lawrence and Lordan.  After a few months here, she relocated again to Brisbane where she worked for the Queensland State Government’s Workers’ Dwellings Branch.  In this role, she designed houses that were built in Atherton, Montville and in the inner city suburbs of Brisbane.  During this time McCredie also designed houses as private commissions.  While in Brisbane, McCredie commenced lessons in ceramics under the tutelage of Lewis (LJ) Harvey at the Brisbane Central Technical College. When she returned to Sydney in 1932 she started a ceramics business with her brother Rob and worked in that business until she retired in 1965. McCredie continued to practice and identify as an architect; completing designs for several private houses in the suburbs of Sydney’s North Shore area. 

Much of the existing literature on McCredie has focused on her career as a ceramist.  With the exception of Uanda House (1928), discovered in 1998 by Brisbane City Council, none of her architectural works have been previously documented. This primary aim of this thesis is to create a record of McCredie’s architectural works. More broadly, the thesis contributes to history of women in Australian Architectural history.  It also details McCredie’s biographical history and her experiences of working as a pioneering woman in architecture. Through an analysis of McCredie’s work, this research also provides insights into the institutions that McCredie was involved with, including the University of Sydney and the Workers’ Dwelling Branch.