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Recognition for Marion Mahony Griffin

Recognition for Marion Mahony Griffin

From ABC 8 April 2013

A view from the summit of Mount Ainslie will be named after Marion Mahony Griffin to commemorate her contribution to the design of Canberra.

Marion Griffin was the wife and professional partner of Walter Burley Griffin who won a competition for the design of the new capital city in 1912.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says many believe Marion Griffin’s drawings swayed the judges in their decision to award the design prize to her husband.

“Marion’s drawings, which are now on display at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, are even the more remarkable given that neither she, nor Walter, had yet been to Australia to see the site,” Ms Gallagher said.

“Their entry was completed, sight unseen, from their studio in Chicago in the United States.

“Perhaps Marion’s most spectacular drawing is the triptych, View From Summit of Mount Ainslie, and so it is most fitting that this view will soon be named in Marion’s honour for all time.

“I think probably Marion would be quite flattered to be remembered 100 years on for her contribution to the development of this city.”

Marion Griffin’s 16 drawings are currently on display at the National Archives of Australia.

Assistant curator Amy Lay says Marion was instrumental in ensuring the Griffin plan was submitted completed and on time.

“Marion was the one who was telling him to hurry up,” she said.

“[She said] ‘you need to get the plans done because its up to me to make it look beautiful. I’m the one who has to bring these drawings to life. It’s going to take a lot longer than it is for you to plan it.’.”

Historian David Headon says Marion’s hard work definitely paid off.

“You’d have to say in terms of sheer beauty, splendour and elegance, the Griffin renderings done by Marion and her extraordinarily talented design team in Chicago, that their 16 renderings are the most significant,” Dr Headon said.

“They surely would have helped Walter to win that competition 100 years ago.

“It boggles the mind for a lay person like myself that she could come up with something that, that’s so visually accurate in the context of what she imagined and what we have today.”

A naming ceremony in honour of Marion will be held at the lookout later in the year.

The original drawings were listed in 2003 as the ‘Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin Design Drawings of the City of Canberra’ in the Australian Memory of the World Register, endorsed by UNESCO.

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