Robert Percy Cummings LFRIBA FRAIA MAPI



Mr Deputy Chancellor

Fifty years ago Robert Percy Cummings was appointed by this University as Lecturer in Architecture within the Faculty of Engineering. Twelve years later, in 1949, he became the Foundation Professor of Architecture. 

The University course began as a part-time Diploma, but under Cumming's guidance it grew to a degree and later developed into postgraduate work. 

For a person who had left school at the age of 14 this was a prodigious performance. 

His own career had begun through evening classes at the Central Technical College. At the end of 1919 he obtained his first architectural employment as a draftsman working on houses for returned servicemen. 

In 1921 he was awarded the Diploma of Architecture of the Central Technical College. 

Among his many subsequent honours were the Queensland Wattle League Scholarship to study architecture at the Architectural Association School in London, the Archibal,d Dawnay Scholarship (which he won twice), and the Rome Scholarship for Architecture. 

The end of 1929, when he returned to Brisbane, was hardly a propitious time to launch an architectural practice. Robert Cummings managed to do so, notably ih association with Bruce Lucas in the partnership of Lucas and Cummings later - The Architects Group.

Among their many award-winning designs was the First Church of Christ Scientist on North Quay. 

Cummings was in demand as a teacher of architecture, not only at the Central Technical College but also for radio and adult-education courses in architectural history. 

During the years he dedicated to the University of Queensland he served as chairman of the Darnell Art Committee (from 1950 to 1966); as President of the Queensland Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects; as a member of the Greater Brisbane Planning Committee and its successor, the Brisbane City Council Planning Committee (from 1958 to 1968); as a member of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Subscribers' Committee (from 1955 to 1958); and as a Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery (from 1944 to 1969). 

Born in Brisbane when Australia was still a colony, creating by his own efforts the circumstances of his education in pioneering condition, Robert Cummings has spent a long life promoting educational and cultural excellence in our State, the last fifty years in close association with the University of Queensland.

Mr Deputy Chancellor, I present to you Robert Percy Cummings, Diploma of the Architectural Associa­tion of London, Honorary Bachelor of Architecture of this University, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Member of the Australian Planning Institute, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 


AA Dip London