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Walter Burley Griffin and the Competition for the Capital
A Capital Competition
Setting the scene
The Australian Government declared the new capital of Australia would be the finest capital city in the world and an international competition for the design of the capital was announced on 30 April 1911. A total of 137 entries from fifteen countries were submitted and, on 23 May 1912, it was declared that Walter Burley Griffin, a Chicago landscape architect, had won the competition. The story of the design competition is an intriguing one, full of controversy, lively debate and eccentric characters. It is an important story, one often overlooked in the history of Australia.
What to do
Submit a 1,000 word report on the international competition held to find a suitable design for Australia's National Capital.
Key points within your report should answer the following questions:
- Which events in Australian history led to the announcement of the competition to design Australia's National Capital?
- Why was there a public controversy when the competition was announced?
- Who won the design competition?
- Do you think the competition was judged fairly?
- Do you think it was fair that someone from outside Australia won the competition?
- Where are the winning designs located in Australia?
If you were a judge in a competition for the design of an Australian National Capital in 2005, what would you look for in the winning entry? What would the overall design symbolise and which vital buildings and public places would be included?