BA (USyd), MBEnv (Research) (UNSW)

Joanne Taylor is a Sydney-based architectural historian, author, and photographer with a passion for Indian architecture and culture. She has studied Indian History at the University of Sydney (BA), and completed her Masters thesis ‘The Great Houses of Kolkata 1750 – 2006’ at the University of New South Wales.

Joanne’s first visit to India in 1971 left an indelible impression on her. She has returned many times over the years, however in 2004 Joanne was fascinated by the ‘strange, hybrid mansions’ of North Kolkata, the homes of former rajahs, lying neglected or ignored as the world passed by. This was the beginning of numerous visits to West Bengal and Kolkata researching, photographing and interviewing the remaining families.

Joanne’s study became a labour of love as she realised the importance of conserving these heritage buildings. Her books tell her story.

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Joanne has focused on the neglected phase of colonial history that has remained ignored for decades. It is fitting and quite touching that an Australian has seen another side to the city of Calcutta

John McCarthy
Australian High Commissioner 2004-2009