Beaumaris Modern: Modernist Homes in Beaumaris

A Beaumaris Modern compendium by Fiona Austin


Beaumaris Modern: Modernist Homes in Beaumaris is a collection of mid-century modern Beaumaris houses, beautifully documented by Jack Shelton, a bayside local now living and working as a professional photographer in LA.

Some are original in their design and are the architects’ own homes from the 50s and 60s and other homes have been sensitively restored and renovated.

All the houses have a back story, fascinating interiors and architectural details, particularly the houses in which the owners have lived for over 50 years. Each house features a history, written by Fiona Austin, a Beaumaris resident, interior designer and local Beaumaris heritage expert, and Alison Alexander, a Beaumaris mid-century home owner, writer, editor and daughter of prominent architect Ross Stahle, from the architectural practice Mockridge Stahle Mitchell.

Each house includes a biography of the original architect, written by mid-century expert and architectural historian, Simon Reeves. A detailed floor plan also accompanies each house.


Fiona Austin grew up in a mid-century house in Sydney. Her early exposure to all things mid-century was engendered by her parents who had a strong appreciation of contemporary design.

After studying fine art and then design, Fiona worked for on staff for three years at Home Beautiful Magazine and then went on to edit The Period Home Renovator magazine, whilst studying restoration and conservation at RMIT.

While her children were small, Fiona freelanced for three years, writing about design for the then “Home” section of the “Age” newspaper and Home Beautiful Magazine as well as working as an interior designer for various companies. Fiona established her own interior design practice, Austin Design Associates, in 1999.

In 2001, Fiona and her husband, Craig, and their two sons, purchased a mid-century house in Beaumaris. Over time, Fiona became distressed at seeing many mid-century houses being demolished. Fiona started photographing Midcentury houses and interviewing the owners, then started the Beaumaris Modern Facebook page in an effort to link up possible purchasers of mid-century houses with houses for sale in Beaumaris.

Fiona has operated her design practice for over 20 years and specialises in residential design, with a particular interest in mid-century homes. Fiona is a Chapter councillor and Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia.

Title: Beaumaris Modern
Author: Fiona Austin with Alison Alexander and Simon Reeves
Publisher: Melbourne Books, 2018
ISBN: 9781925556407

Where to buy?

Beaumaris Books

South Concourse,

Our members receive 12.5% off all books


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20 hours ago

Beaumaris modern


As we find ourselves in lockdown 2.0, to provide some online distraction, we are pleased to present another round of ‘Images from the Inside’. Today we bring you the sunken loungeroom of the John Baird designed ‘Philpott House’, one of the 5 houses that featured in our inaugural BM Open House event in 2018.

It’s easy to see why this spot has become a haven for owners Jo Pritchard and Ian Wong during iso, with its north-facing window wall and open fire, and it was love at first sight when they viewed the house nearly 20 years ago. As Jo reminisces, “the very first time I entered this house I looked down into what I now call ‘the sunken loungeroom’ and something clicked– I knew this house was ‘the one’. It’s funny though because over the years this wasn’t the room that we spent the most time in. We navigated to the kitchen/dining/lounge room where our lives revolved around children, school lunches, cooking, puppies and homework.”

But as COVID has descended, Jo and Ian now find themselves ‘empty nesters’ with a much quieter home and an elderly hound who sleeps a lot. With both of them working from home, and Ian’s regular overseas travel on hold for the foreseeable future, the room has emerged as their hub and their hearth.

“The suns streams through making it the warmest room in the house. At night we light the open fire, sit back with a glass of wine and snuggle our gorgeous dog, who has recently gained ‘couch rights’.”

Plus, there’s the sense of iso-achievement they gain when taking in the view. “From this room we overlook our first ‘iso-project’ with pride – a crazy paved courtyard which we have been meaning to do for the past 10 years. At least something good has come out of this,” says Jo.

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Mission Statement

Beaumaris Modern is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to celebrate, educate and promote public awareness of the importance of preserving the mid-century architecture of Beaumaris.