Otto Johnannes Wilhelm Juncken was born in Lyndoch, South Australia on 22 June 1865. He trained as a carpenter under his German-born cabinetmaker father. Together they undertook simple building work throughout the Barossa Valley before Otto left home at the age of 18 to move to Port Adelaide.

In 1885 he moved to Melbourne, found lodgings in Richmond and began working with Clements Langford, one of the city's major builders of that period. During his employ he honed his skills studying at the Working Men's College attaining first class in architectural drawing in 1888 and carpentry in 1889 and 1891.

In 1918 he left Clements to start a partnership with Lauritz Hansen. This partnership was the begining of the firm Hansen Yuncken, which built some of Melbourne's most memorable buildings, including the Collingwood Football Club Grandstand, National Bank in Collins Street and the Port Authority building in Market Street. They also conducted major renovations to Myer Emporium and built the new spires at St. Patrick's Cathedral. In 1929 Otto devised an innovative suspended scaffold to replaster the domed ceiling at the State Library of Victoria. Other projects included the United Kingdom Hotel in Queens Parade, Clifton Hill (now a McDonald's), The Sun Theatre in Yarraville and Mitchell House in Elizabeth Street. The company is still going strong today, having completed Australia's first six green star office building in 2006, the Melbourne City Council's CH2 on Little Collins Street.

Otto married Bertha Abrecht at Eastern Hill in 1901, and settled in Richmond before moving to Hawthorn. The couple had six children. In 1924 Otto changed his surname to Yunken. Otto died in November 1945 at the age of 80.

References:
http://www.hansenyuncken.com.au/who-we-are/history, viewed 12/12/2009.

 

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