As this is the last occasion on which I shall have the pleasure of addressing you from the Presidential Chair, I should like to take the opportunity of thanking you all for the very generous support and sympathy which has been extended to me during the two years in which I have had the honour of carrying out the arduous duties attached to the honourable office of Pre- sident of our Institute. Your President must be prepared to devote a great deal of time to the Institute's affairs, and at times he is called upon to make sacrifices in order to attend to his duties, and to risk the ill-will _of some members by adopting a course which may not be acceptable to them, but which in his opinion is in the best interests of the Profession. In my own case I would like to assure you that when my actions have not met with your approval they at least have been intended to further the interests of our Institute.
When one looks back on the men who have occupied the Pre- sidential Chair in the past, it is realized more than . ever that the traditions attached to the office are very high and call for the best that can be given by those men who succeed them. Our Institute cannot carry on its work solely by the efforts of its
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IRetfring lAresíòent's aaaress.25
Office-Bearers and Council, and I make a strong appeal to all our members to personally interest themselves in its affairs, and to show by their attendance at meetings, and by their support of its principles, that they are not members just for the sake of what benefits they may be able to derive, but that they are pre- pared to give their best to the organization which has done so much, and is prepared to do more to improve and protect the interests of its members. Let us compare the position of our Profession in the community to-day with that of years ago and ask ourselves whether the Institute is worth while? There should be no doubt of the answer.
In my address to you this evening there are many matters on which I could speak, but owing to the short time available I must confine my remarks to those which appear to be of the most importance. To my mind Registration and Education are vital to us.
Regarding Registration you all know the conditions of the present Architects' Registration Act which was brought into being only after a great deal of hard work by this Institute. It was generally recognized at the time at which this Act was passed by Parliament, that it was not ideal, but that it should be accepted as providing a step in the right direction. At present it is impossible for our members to obtain recognition from the New South Wales Registration Board, and when any one of us is required to carry out work in that State he cannot call himself.
an Architect. This position is largely due to the fact that the Victorian Act provides for "Registered Architects", leaving it open for any unregistered man to call himself "Architect". The public has not learned to discriminate between the "Registered Architect" and the "Architect", and in fact would naturally accept the Architect as the man with satisfactory qualifications, and perhaps regard the "Registered Architect" as one of second- ary importance. The Act, as at present framed, is of little pro- tection to the building public, and I think that the time has arrived when an alteration should be sought whereby the word
"Registered" would be eliminated, and only a practitioner who was registered under the act would be entitled to call himself [ "Architect"
"Architect". This amendment would meet with the approval of all our members, and would be a further step in the direction of affording proper protection to the public. I am glad to tell you that there is good reason to believe that this amendment would receive favourable consideration from the present Cabinet.
Our Institute will give full support to the Registration Board in this matter, and it is hardly necessary to say that the Board is ready and willing to act at once. When the Act is amended in this particular I understand that the main objection of the New South Wales Board to our members practising in that State will be removed. The public in our own State will also be better acquainted with the position as no one will be able to use the word "Architect" unless he be Registered. To my mind the Registration Act and the Chair of Architecture at the Univer- sity are very closely allied to each other, and I want to place before you my ideas in connection with the establishment of the Chair.
As you are already aware, the Degree Course was estab- lished last year, largely owing to the efforts of members of your Council, with the aid and sympathy of the University Architec- tural Board of Studies, and also with the help and the final approval of the University Council, and our thanks are due to all those who assisted the establishment of this Course, and in a few years we shall witness the fruits of this movement in our
"Bachelors of Architecture".
So far as things have gone they are extremely satisfactory, but we cannot rest until the Chair is established. There are pre-
cedents for a Degree Course without a Chair, but there is no reason in our case, except one of finance, that should prevent the creation of the much-needed Chair. Our repeated requests to the Government of the day have always received sympathetic hearing, and have always been refused, because it was felt that the necessary financial requirements could not be provided for Architecture without providing equal facilities for other branches of the University work. It is, therefore, quite obvious that the hope of obtaining our Chair, with its accompanying
'Retiring lpresibettt's Eibbress. 27
Professor, from this source is very faint, in fact to my mind it is not worth while expending any more energy upon it.
We are, therefore, faced with the fact that our efforts must either be abandoned, or else that some other means must be found by which our object may be achieved. And this is the point at which the Registration Act, in my opinion, bears on the establishment of the Chair of Architecture.
There are nearly 600 Registered Architects in Victoria who pay the absurd sum of £1/1/- each per annum for the privilege of Registration. The revenue derived from this source is, after the deduction of the necessary expenses of the Board which administers the Act, paid into the Treasury and goes into revenue, just as any other tax does. My proposal is that we Architects should, ourselves, contribute the larger proportion of the cost of the Chair at the University, leaving the Government to contribute the balance of the required cost.
Let us, therefore, ask the present Government to amend the Registration Act so as to increase the Annual Registration Fee to £2/2/- per annum. This will provide a sum of at least
£600, which added to any surplus under the present fees will form a very substantial proportion of the estimated cost of the establishment of the Chair, which I believe to be in the region of about £1500 per annum. Our request to the Government should be to the effect that the total revenue received from Registration Fees should be used for the establishment and maintenance of the Chair of Architecture, and I venture to say that if this request be made, it will receive a very sympathetic hearing, and in all probability will be granted. I feel sure that the Registra- tion Board will endorse my proposal and will do all in its power to hasten a recommendation to the Government that the neces- sary legislation be enacted as soon as possible whereby the Chair can be established without any cost whatever to the country.
May I commend this proposal to you all, with the earnest hope that you will give it your whole-hearted support, for I can think of no other way in which our object can be
IRettrtng Prestaent's Itaaress. 28 achieved, and I believe that its establishment will do more for our Profession than any other single . act that I can conceive.
Regarding the establishment of an Australian Institute of Architects, you have heard with pleasure our Secretary's Report, in which he informed you that only a few days ago word was received from the President of the Federal Council, Sir Charles Rosenthal, K.C.B., that the New South Wales Institute Council has now agreed to the original proposal as outlined in my pre- vious address, with some few minor alterations. It will be one of the first duties of your incoming Council to go carefully into these suggestions with a view to placing the whole matter before a General Meeting of our members which will be called as soon as possible. One of the proposals is to the effect that all mem- bers of State Chapters should enter the Australian Institute as Members, and that each Chapter should make its own recommen- dations to the Council of the Institute as to which of its members should be nominated as Fellows. I sincerely hope that any dif- ferences of opinion which we may have with the New South Wales Institute may be settled, and that our delegates to the Federal Council Conference in July will have full instructions to accept the Constitution, as already outlined to you, with what- ever amendments (if any) may be decided upon at our General Meeting.
A matter which appears to be of great importance to the Metropolitan Area is the future of the Town Planning Commis- sion. Under present circumstances this body will cease to func- tion at the end of the present year without having had the satis- faction of seeing any of its proposals carried out. There is no doubt that this body of experts, the members of which have un- selfishly given their time and ability to the State in an honorary capacity, has done excellent work and has made recommenda- tions, which if given effect to, would go far towards providing for the future development and expansion of our City on well considered lines. Similar bodies in Great Britain and America have rendered splendid service in this direction, and it is to be hoped that our Government will take steps to put into execution
7Rettrtng IlJrestaent's liabress.29 at least some of the more important proposals of our Com- mission.
The Board of Works has recently been given power to levy a special rate for the purpose of constructing and maintaining Main Drains, so that one would hope that the Town Planning Commission's recommendations regarding the financing of its proposals by similar means will receive the favourable considera- tion of our present Government. The enactment of legislation to give effect to the proposals of the Commission would receive a large measure of support from the people of our City.
A matter to which I draw your attention is that of private Competitions. This method of obtaining designs is gaining favour with Public Bodies and Institutions, and I see a grave danger of abuse in this direction unless our members are loyal to the principles of our Institute. We already regulate the con- duct of Public Competitions, and I think that our powers should extend equally to the regulation of Competitions of a private nature. I know of several cases of recent occurrence where selec- ted members of our Institute have been asked to submit designs privately for contemplated buildings, and these gentlemen have come together and asked the promotors to allow the Institute to handle the conduct of the Competition and to appoint Adjudica- tors. This in my opinion is the right course for members to adopt.
I also know of other cases where the haste shown by some of our members to submit designs in private Competitions under conditions which were extremely unsatisfactory, has been re- markable, whereas by the exercise of a little firmness and dig- nity, much better conditions could have been obtained. This latter attitude on the part of members tends to lower the pro- fession in the public mind, and whilst it may give some indi- vidual members an advantage, it is a matter which I regard in a very serious light and think that it should be taken in hand by our Council. Personally, I see little difference between a Public Competition open to all our members and a Private Com- petition which is confined to a few. The principles are the same
1Rettrtng 1Presíaent's Eabress.30
in each case, and the conduct of both should be on the same lines.
If public bodies find that they can obtain designs from a selected few of our members for ridiculously low premiums, we shall find that this method will be adopted to the detriment of the great majority of our members.
I am strongly in favour of the regulation of these private Competitions by our Institute, and in the meantime hope that members will refrain from associating themselves with any Com- petitions of a private nature which call for designs with small premiums, and no guarantee as to adjudication, or the bestowal of the work on the successful competitor.
You will be glad to hear that at its last meeting your Coun- cil decided to recommend to members an alteration in our Ar- ticles of Association whereby Associates and Fellows would have equal rights in all matters of government of the Institute. For- merly, Associates had no voting power when alterations in our Constitution were contemplated.
Our thanks are due to those members who have worked so hard on the newly created Board of Education, and already their efforts are bearing fruit. This Board will control all Examina- tions for admission to the Institute and will fix standards of Education subject to the approval of the Council on somewhat similar lines to those of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
May I appeal to members to give their sympathy, etc., to the Students' Society and to all the students in their offices. I wish to thank the Vice-Presidents, Messrs. Blackett and Hudson, and the members of our Council for the able and unselfish work which they have done throughout the year, not only by their attendances at Council meetings, but also in the many duties which they have carried out in the interests of our members.
Our Hon. Secretary, Mr. W. M. Campbell, has also earned the thanks of members for the work which he has done in the past, and is still doing in a less arduous manner, owing to the appointment of our whole-time Secretary, Mr.
J.B. Islip. This gentleman deserves the most loyal support from our members
1Retírfng nJrestOent's 7100res5. 31 and has already done great work for us. It may interest you to know that he spends many of his evenings here carrying out work for which he is unable to find time during the day. He is an ideal Secretary and I predict a good future for him.
In conclusion, gentlemen, may I express the hope that you will extend the same loyal support to our incoming President that it has been my honour to receive from you during my two years of office.
P. A. OAKLEY