History of West Australia/Henry Stirling Trigg

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History of West Australia by Warren Bert Kimberly
Henry Stirling Trigg

HENRY STIRLING TRIGG, F.R.I.V.A.

SUCCESS in the professional world is not usually achieved by mere luck or good fortune. The successful man usually possesses qualities which have enabled him to overshadow his contemporaries and assume the responsibilities attached to the higher grades of his particular profession. In architecture as in other professions there are so many men who never rise above mediocrity, while others—few it is true—suddenly step out from the ranks, and become known by some lasting memorial. Such men are called lucky, and are envied by the dreamers who do not recognise that genius is largely persistency and capacity for hard work.

Henry Stirling Trigg HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Barnard & Co.
HENRY STIRLING TRIGG, F.R.I.V.A.

In the van of the army of the prosperous is Mr. Henry Stirling Trigg, F.R.I.V.A., one of the leading architects of the colony, and at the same time the only native born practising his profession. Mr. Trigg comes of the good old stock of pioneers. His grandfather on the paternal side was the pioneer of the Congregational Church in Perth, and his maternal grandfather, Edmund Stirling, was influentially associated with the Perth Inquirer, one of the first newspapers published in the colony. His forefathers were so closely allied to the two great powers, the Church and the Press, that it was fit and proper that Henry should distinguish himself. He was born in Perth in 1860, and is the son of Stephen Trigg. After leaving school, which he attended in his native city, young Trigg entered the office of Mr. T. H. J. Brown, architect, to whom he was articled. He gained a theoretical training at this office, and when his articles were completed he went to Sydney to practise for a couple of years. During his sojourn in the New South Wales capital he had the advantage of seeing some of the best architectural efforts in the Southern Hemisphere, and when he returned to Perth some twelve years ago he possessed a large knowledge of architecture. Perth of 1884 was widely different from the Perth of to-day, with her beautiful buildings and huge warehouses. The city proper had then to be built, and in this work Mr. Trigg has taken a prominent part.

One of the large buildings to be erected was the Daily News newspaper office, the plans of which Mr. Trigg prepared. At the time of its erection it was the only building of special architectural merit in the colony. With the advent of prosperity, people who were previously content with very modest edifices grew more particular, and demanded large houses and immense stores. There was a rush of orders for architects, and particularly for Mr. Trigg. In every part of the city are monuments of his work, and perhaps the most notable is the Congregational Church in St. George's Terrace. The façade is a vigorous treatment in American Romanesque, and shows the magnificent building off to advantage. The acoustic properties are excellent, and the whole edifice is equal to the best ecclesiastical buildings in Australia. Another structure designed by him is the office of the Commercial Union Insurance Company in St. George's Terrace, which is perhaps the handsomest of its kind in the colony. Of other of his buildings are Sandover's, in the Italian style of architecture, the Royal Hotel in French Renaissance, and the Governor Broome Hotel in American Romanesque. Mr. Trigg's practice is not confined to the metropolis; it extends to all parts of the colony. Visitors to Geraldton have to thank him for that splendid structure known as "The Freemasons," which is one of the chief adornments of that port. Mr. Trigg, who was married in 1881 to Miss Rodgers, daughter of Mr. I. Rodgers of Perth, has a charming abode at Claremont, known as "The Grange." Of his own design, the house is built for a semi-tropical climate, with fine broad verandahs, high ceilings, &c.

His faith in Western Australia is abundantly manifested in the valuable real estate he owns in the colony. His buildings just erected in Barrack Street are an ornament to the city. He is a typical Australian—acute, enterprising, and genial.