About Federation Style

About Federation-House website(s)

Page under construction February 2019

In the Beginning....

In the beginning, in 2009, when working for 'Home Ideas' in Sydney, I managed the Building Bookshop, until we had a recession, and Home Ideas in Sydney closed down. 


In the course of my time there I realised there was nothing current about Federation House style, and I moved house to Randwick, a rich resource of Federation Styles.

My previous career of teaching computer resources became relevant when I decided to start a blog on Federation style which became the Google 'FederationDetails' blog and still remains.

I then extended my writing to found 'federation-house.wikispaces.com' and the blog shadowed my work there.

And then there were Three....

In 2018 Wikispaces decided to close down, and I faced the huge task of moving over 500 files to a new site.

  1. I experimented with www.federationhome.com (a WordPress site) and realised I could copy my web pages there.

  2. www,federationhome.com, became the archive of all the work at 'wikispaces', copied there page by page although the re-formatting left something to be desired.

  3. www.federation-house.com became the new home of my output, with its integrated blog and the enormous resources of wix.com

  4. There are some 'wix' limitations -

    1. no footnotes function, which I was using for academic thoroughness and honesty of resource sources.

    2. only HTML 5 functionality (which allows 'mobile device' reformatting and many other display functions and pleasures), and prevented the copying of wikispaces files straight to this new site, and

    3. I just found out, no ability for backup at 'Trove' - the National Library of Australia electronic archive of my wikispaces site and backup of federationdetails.blogspot.com, held to be of 'national interest'.

    4. The wix menu function is limited to one sub-menu, limiting the number of pages able to be shown on the site without manipulation using buttons and sub-pages.

  5. www.federation-house.info​ became a paired resource for the 'practical' side of Federation Details. So real 'details' are stored and explained here, and the pages on 'styles' are reserved for Federation-House.com.


 So here we are, so to speak. I trust you enjoy and appreciate my work here.

YOU, dear reader can contribute. Send me a message about your idea(s) (see below) and I will arrange for you to work out your ideas here. 



Federation architecture refers to the architectural style of Australian homes built around the decades before and after 1900 AD.

There are significant differences:

From Australian Stories Australian architecture:

  • "The ornate Federation house, built mainly between 1900 and 1914, was a sign of prosperity - an Australian version of the English Edwardian house.

  • Federation houses were detached, with gardens, and with Australian motifs and a roof of terracotta tiles with detailed fretwork in the roof gables and windows.

  • Many houses had a sunrise motif in the front gable as a sign of the dawning of a new century.

  • Add-ons and renovations with heritage restraints were a constant experience of living in a federation house.

  • By the First World War (1914-1918), there was a shortage of tradesmen and materials. The cost of houses had to be reduced, so the ceilings were lowered to create 'bungalows', houses which were built between 1915 and 1940. Gone was most of the detail, and a plainer style lead lighting was put into the front windows."

Picturesque and eye catching houses

Federation-style houses constitute a unique statement of patriotism since Federation details used Australia's remarkable flora and fauna. 

"For the first time, the flowers, birds and animals of the bush were used to decorate plaster, pressed metal, glass, terracotta and fretworked timber. ." Ian Evans "

  • Decorative features such as gables and motifs adorn the roofs of the property.

  • The rising sun emblem that appeared on countless gable ends symbolised the dawn of a new age for Australia and was itself adopted as a national symbol

Leadlight windows are also a common feature and as a result, Federation houses are often very picturesque and eye catching." - Archicentre - see below

  • These rambling homes are regarded as the first design style that embraced the outdoor lifestyle. Blocks were deep to allow for homegrown food cultivation.

Since I live in a Sydney suburb with a rich heritage of these houses, I hope to document the details of these and similar houses in these pages. Eventually I hope this site will be a definitive source of Federation decorative detail.

  • Anyone with similar interests is very welcome to contribute to this topic.

  • You can leave comments on my blog Federation Details. To comment here you need to join this Wiki, please.

Federation Features

The features of Federation style architecture include:

  1. Red brick walls of a deep red or dark brown brick, often with a mix of the two

  2. Exposed rafter ends visible under roofs, a characteristic usually visible, not obscured by gutters

  3. Some times the mortar is 'tuck-pointed" to make a ridge of white mortar running along the joints between the bricks.

  4. Dominant roofs,
    often broken by false gables and capped by terracotta frilled ridges and motifs decorating the exterior of the property.


    Lenoma, (Federation Queen Anne style) 7 Chrystobel Crescent, Hawthorn

  5. Ttimber verandah columns supplemented by elaborate timber decoration, often in art nouveau style -
    "Federation homes are known for their often exuberant timber ornamental decorations.
    Friezes fretwork, balustrades, art nouveau style swirled brackets and arch supports are all common." - Manly Council

  6. Bay windows with shingles, or in large buildings, oriels on upper floors

  7. Leadlight window panes or a set of small coloured glass windows above the main window set.

  8. Low picket fences usually painted white or cream

  9. Large decorative ceilings often of pressed metal or with decorative cornices

  10. Minimal gardens with hedges.

  11. Australiana decorative detail

  12. Outdoor toilets in un-renovated houses

Federation-House Information

Details about renovating Australia's Own Housing Style - latest: Federation Gardens
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