John Doyle in a scene from the TV series Building Australia.
John Doyle in a scene from the TV series Building Australia. David Harbutt - Contributed by Foxtel

New History Channel series is nailing Aussie style

THERE'S a lot more to a Queenslander than timber, nails and plaster.

There are stories behind the stilts, stained glass and wrap-around verandas, as John Doyle discovers in the new History Channel series Building Australia.

Across six episodes, the actor and comedian best known for his role as Roy Slaven opposite HG Nelson explores a different style of home and how its architecture reflects the evolving needs of its time period.

For the Queenslander episode he travelled from Clayfield in Brisbane's north to Bundaberg, Rockhampton and west to Outback Queensland.

"It was a great pleasure really to get around and see the regional variations in what people have come up with," he told The Guide.

Building Australia - The History Channel - Tuesday at 8.30pm

"The two observations I can make about the Queensland housing is that's portable, so you can follow the railway lines, and takes into account the climate with cross ventilation and the veranda, an idea from India."

But adapting to the environment wasn't considered by the early settlers who built Sydney's terrace houses.

"When Europeans arrived they tried to recreate Europe," he said. "It was quite accidental they're (terrace houses) quite well insulated. They only gradually took into account the climate," he said.

Doyle also visits a more unconventional type of terrace home in Burra, South Australia, where early copper miners dug out their own homes in the steep sides of a dry creek bed.

In each episode Doyle talks to experts, enthusiasts and home owners about the stories behind particular homes.

The series was made with the support of the Australian Council of National Trusts, and also features the homestead, the weekender, the Federation house and the project house.