NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
13th October, 1911 – The architects’ institutes of Great Britain, America, and Australia are boycotting the Commonwealth Government’s competition for the design of Australia’s national capital city. The architects are in conflict with the Minister for Home Affairs, King O’Malley, over his insistence on designing the winning design with a panel of one architect, one engineer and one surveyor. The Royal Institute of British Architects wants to include three architects from Britain, America and Australia. Mr O’Malley said he was sure the young bloods of the world, with reputations to make, would ignore the boycott. They would probably better design a city for the sunny and cheerful Australian continent than would men reared in a circumscribed atmosphere, isolated from great continental horizons.
[ O’Malley was right. In May next year a Chicago architect, Mr Walter Burley Griffin won the first prize (£1,750). The Finnish architect Saarinen and French architect Agache won second and third prizes respectively.
One shudders to think what would Canberra look like according to the “vision” of not only staid, unimaginative, institutionalised, but also contemptuous of the colonials, British plodders.
The construction commenced in 1913. Today, thanks to the mindless political correctness, it would take that time to sort out spurious Aboriginal ‘sacred’ rocks claims and another five years to ‘save’ some allegedly endangered piddligooks. ]