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Nahum Barnet (1855–1931)

The announcement of the death of Mr. Nahum Barnet, one of the oldest practising architects of Melbourne, which occurred at his home in East St. Kilda yesterday, will be received with general expressions of regret. Many fine buildings in Melbourne were built under Mr. Barnet's supervision.

Mr Barnet was the eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Barnet, of St. Kilda, and was born in Melbourne. He was educated at Scotch College, and graduated at the University of Melbourne. He was articled to the architectural firm of Terry and Oakden, and with the late Mr. Percy Oakden won the competition for the design of the Working Men's College, Latrobe Street. Mr Barnet's two finest buildings are the Auditorium in Collins Street and his latest construction, the new Melbourne Synagogue in Toorak Road, South Yarra. He was also the architect for Aberdeen House and Clyde House, Collins Street, the Young Women's Christian Association building in Russell Street, the Melba and Britannia theatres, among the first picture theatres erected in the city; Lancashire House and Reliance House, in Flinders Lane; the Kalizoic Building, in Elizabeth Street; the buildings of Francis and Co, in Bourke Street and of Zercho's Business College in Collins Street; while among numerous factories and warehouses designed and erected by him are the factory of Wertheim and Co. and the warehouse of the Barnet Glass Rubber Company.

A friend before whom the claim was once made that there was a building designed by Mr. Barnet in every street and thoroughfare of Melbourne promptly challenged it with the nomination of Carpentaria Place, a byway without a building running from Spring Street to Parliament Place. "You are wrong," replied Mr. Barnet. "You have overlooked the cab-men's shelter, the gift of an anonymous donor. I built that."

A lover of art and a connoisseur as well as a collector Mr. Barnet claimed as his protege Mr. Isaac Cohen, winner of a National Gallery travelling scholarship and now a noted artist overseas. Mr. Barnet was a member of the council of the British Empire League. He married Miss Ada Rose Marks, of Sydney, who died about two years ago. He leaves four daughters.

The funeral will leave his late residence, 117 Alma Road, East St. Kilda, at half-past 2 o'clock this afternoon for the St. Kilda Cemetery.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Barnet, Nahum (1855–1931)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


16 August, 1855
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


1 September, 1931 (aged 76)
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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