Honorary Life Memberships are awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Professor Miles Lewis OAM


Professor Miles Lewis OAM with National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Chairman Dr Graeme Blackman

Professor Miles Lewis OAM was awarded Life Membership of the National Trust of Australia (Vic) in November 2013. We profile his career and contribution to the Trust.

Miles Lewis has had a profound influence on the development of the National Trust in Victoria. He has been involved since his early years, when his father Professor Brian Lewis was the first Chairman of the National Trust in Victoria in 1957, and President in the early 1960s. Miles has followed that example by providing five decades of his own service to the Trust in Victoria and Australia.

Professor Lewis made an unbroken contribution to the Trust’s work from the late 1960s by volunteering his time and services to Board and committee work, and through professional architectural advice, the editing and writing of numerous Trust publications, through report writing and expert witness appearances at Planning Panels, VCAT and the Heritage Council.
At various times Professor Lewis was:
• a member of Trust Council, member of the Executive;
• founding Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee;
• founding Chairman of the Maldon Committee;
• Chairman of the Churches Committee; and
• member of a number of other expert and advisory groups, most notably the Buildings Committee.

Professor Lewis is the foremost architectural historian in Australia; he is recently retired as Professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning at the University of Melbourne. His outstanding intellect provided rigour and academic discipline to the Trust’s classification work, and he has provided thousands of hours of expert advice on the acquisition and conservation of Trust properties.

Miles is editor and principal author of Architectura: Elements of Architectural Style published in London and New York in 2008; he is also author of key heritage and planning texts including:
• Victorian Primitive;
• The Essential Maldon;
• Two Hundred Years of Concrete in Australia;
• Victorian Churches, (which he edited on behalf of the Trust)
• Melbourne: the City’s History; and
• Suburban Backlash
Additionally Professor Lewis has published numerous academic articles and papers on architectural and building history, urban conservation, urban renewal and housing policy, as well as the invaluable Australian Architectural Index now available online.

Either alone or with others Miles has written for the National Trust the following:
• Exterior Paint Colours: a guide to exterior colours for buildings of the Victorian period;
• The Collins Street Report (1978);
• The National Trust Research Manual (2004);
• ‘Philosophy of Restoration’, in Heritage and Conservation: the Challenges in the Pacific Basin published by the Australian Council of National Trusts in 1990.

In 1968 Professor Lewis was inaugural Chair of the Trust’s Maldon Committee. Its task was to influence the Town and Country Planning Board in preservation of the town. The Trust’s subsequent report Proposal for the Conservation of Maldon led to an Interim Development Order in 1970 to prevent adverse development and the classification of Maldon as the first Notable Town.

Professor Lewis was a founding member in 1976 of the Australian National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites, and subsequently the Chairman, and Miles substantially contributed to the writing of the Australian ICOMOS Burra Charter.

More broadly we can say of Professor Lewis that he was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Melbourne University; won a University of Melbourne Special Award 1966-1969; and was appointed full-time at Melbourne University from 1970.

Miles was joint recipient of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Robin Boyd Environment Award in 1973, won the Walter Burley Griffin Award in 1982; Royal Australian Planning Institute [Victoria] Award for Excellence in 1994; Royal Australian Planning Institute [National] Occasional Special Award in 1995; Member of the Order of Australia in 2002; was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2003 for service to Australian society and the humanities, and made Honorary Life Member of the Comité International d’Architecture Vernaculaire in 2005.
The Citation for Member of the Order of Australia reads as follows:

For service to architectural history, heritage protection and urban planning, particularly through policy development and professional organisations.

The Board, Executive, staff, members and volunteers of the National Trust in Victoria are delighted to acknowledge the work of Professor Lewis by presentation of a highly-merited Honorary Membership in recognition of five decades of distinguished service.