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Ashworth, Henry Ingham (1907–1991)

Professor H. Ingham Ashworth was no stranger to Sydney's architectural debates.

In 1957, when the winning design for a Sydney opera house was announced, Professor Ashworth insisted: "It is a building which will have to stand for quite a number of years and it is the sort of design which will be appreciated in the future."

He and those who chose Joern Utzon's design were subjected to fierce criticism in ensuing years. But they were right.

Time also looked approvingly on his 1963 decision, which surprised some, to leave the University of Sydney and accept Professor Philip Baxter's invitation to join the University of NSW.

Why had he done it? "If you have been in the one job for close on 15 years, as I have been at Sydney, you look forward to the challenge of something fresh," he said.

Henry Ingham Ashworth has died in Sydney at the age of 84.

He was born in Manchester on February 20, 1907, attended Manchester Grammar and graduated with honours in architecture from Manchester University.

After extensive travel in Europe and North Africa and war service as a Lieutenant-Colonel in India and Burma, he came to Sydney in 1949 to fill the University of Sydney's Chair of Architectural Design and History, later becoming dean of the faculty.

His move to Kensington in 1964 brought a major challenge — a bigger school in a young and developing university.

But by the time he retired as Emeritus Professor of Architecture in 1972, he had achieved many of his goals for the UNSW.

The school had become very much involved with the profession and with projects that were of community concern. Exhibitions of students' designs were presented to a number of government and semi-government bodies. Schools of Town Planning and Building had been established.

He continued his professional activity and was a consultant for the Reserve Bank in Martin Place, the Australian Jockey Club at Randwick and various bridges. He is survived by his widow, Ella, and three daughters, Jo, Judy and Carol.

Original publication

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 1991, p 9

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Citation details

'Ashworth, Henry Ingham (1907–1991)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/ashworth-henry-ingham-15498/text27137, accessed 25 September 2017.

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