Queensland architect Neville Twidale dies

Queensland architect Neville Twidale, known for his significant refurbishment projects, has died.

Twidale began studying a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Queensland, Brisbane in 1965 and graduated in 1970. He played in the Architectural Revue Band from 1967 until 1970, performing annually at the Avalon Theatre in St Lucia as part of the Architecture Student Revues.

While studying, he began working for the Queensland State Government Department of Community Works and was for a time acting principal architect for the Queensland Region, according to the Digital Archive of Queensland Architecture.

While working in the department, Twidale undertook design work on refurbishment projects including the Brisbane General Post-Office and buildings by renowned Brisbane architects Robert “Robin” Smith Dods (1868-1920) and John H. Buckeridge (1857-1934).

In a 2013 interview with Ralph Tyrell, Don Watson and Janina Gosseye, he describes how he developed an appreciation for architectural heritage through his work, despite an education in the 1960s that “completely disregarded” architectural history. “It was treated more or less with contempt, because you weren’t even concerned about keeping old buildings, they could all be bulldozed and something better could be put up,” he said.

“I spent seven years working in the GPO. But, that was something I garnered through the years of working, respect for older buildings, rather than something I actually learnt at university.”

David Cox, director of Cox Architects, who first met Twidale as participants in the Architecture Revues, said Twidale left a “wonderful legacy of architectural practice, humanity and the arts.”

The two worked together as architects and became lifelong friends.

“Our last collaboration together was our submission for the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale which, together with another revue participant Lindy Morrison, we attempted to incorporate the essence of these revues in a new production for the Biennale,” he said. “Unfortunately, it never happened but the spirit was still well and truly there despite the passing years.

“As well as his architectural legacy, his purple velvet suit and wonderful bass guitar sound will be sorely missed by many, together with his great humanity.”

Twidale died of an aneurysm early on Sunday morning, 21 February. He is survived by his wife Carol and sons Zac and Kel.

Neville Twidale | Photographer: Sam Charles-Ginn