Happy Birthday Marion Mahony Griffin!

Join the National Capital Authority and other National Cultural Partners as we celebrate a year of Marion in the national capital. 

This year marks Marion’s 150th Birthday, a woman that played such in integral part in architectural designs across two continents.

Marion is known to have produced some of the finest architectural drawings in Australia and America but was also instrumental in the award winning design plans with her husband Walter for the design of Australia’s Capital, Canberra.

We are thrilled to bring together a program that reflects on Marion’s design, paraphernalia, and watercolors, and pays tribute to her works as a world leading female architect.

February and March Program 


Friday 12 February
10.30 am – 12 pm
National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

2000 | G | 55 mins | DCP | Australia| D: Belinda Mason 

Brilliant, creative and fiery, Marion Mahony was one of the first registered woman architects in the world when she married Walter Burley Griffin. Theirs was a remarkable personal and professional partnership that spanned almost three decades, leaving an architectural and design legacy on the Australian landscape. City of Dreams explores their revolutionary design for Canberra, unconventional approach to life and architecture, and their lasting impact on Australian culture. 

Join us at 10.30am for a talk by NFSA Curator Vick Gwyn about Marion’s career and creative vision. The talk will include a screening of the Burley Griffins’ short promotional film about Castlecrag, Beautiful Middle Harbour, and will be followed by City of Dreams

FREE entry but booking is essential. Please visit City of Dreams + Curator Talk | NFSA


Friday 12 February
5.30 pm – 7.30 pm
National Capital Exhibition

Whilst Marion is not as widely recognised as her husband Walter, they both contributed to the Capital design for Canberra. Join us as we celebrate 150 years since Marion’s birth and bring her story to the forefront in this Meeting Marion lecture.

Join Glenda Korporaal, leading journalist with The Australian and the acclaimed writer of the well-researched and accepted biography of Marion: Making Magic, the Marion Mahony Griffin Story as she provides magnificent insight into the enigmatic woman that was Marion Mahony Griffin. Meeting Marion is bound to take the audience on a journey through the life and times of our Marion.

Acclaimed historian and author, Professor Clare Wright OAM will begin the discussion and set the scene for what Australia was like in those heady times of Federation and the international design competition for Canberra. The competition provided a massive platform for Marion’s award winning drawings and set the scene for what would become the nation’s capital.

A birthday cake to celebrate Marion’s birthday, on Sunday 14 February, and light refreshments will be provided.

FREE but booking is essential and limited due to Covid room capacity. Click here to secure your free tickets.   


Sunday 14 February 2021
10 am – 12 pm
The Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Chapter
Meet at International Flag Display (National Library End)

Lake Burley Griffin was a key part of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin’s proposal for Australia’s new capital city. Their vision was finally completed in the 1960s and the lake became an icon of mid-century engineering, which has set the backdrop for the development of key cultural institutions and government functions.

Join the Australian Institute of Architects and Canberra Modern on a stroll around Lake Burley Griffin and the National Triangle while uncovering the history and development of mid-century Canberra, the Lake and the modernist buildings and infrastructure that surround it.

Register now for via Facebook for this FREE event. Places are limited.


Sunday 14 February 2021
4 pm – 6 pm
The Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Chapter
Bowen Park, Kingston

Join a fantastic line up of speakers on Women in Design and the mark they have made on Canberra’s built and cultural landscape. Inspired by Marion Mahony Griffin, one of the first female architects registered in the USA and a woman who has left a lasting legacy on the design of our city, speakers will reflect on contemporary design and the future.

This informal outdoor event will see a series of lightning talks over a picnic in Bowen Park alongside the iconic Lake Burley Griffin.

Register now for via Facebook for this FREE event. Places are limited.

*Bring a picnic blanket and/or chair. Catering can be purchased at ‘On the Lake Café’ until 5pm.


Wednesday 17 February
5.30 ­– 6.30 pm
National Archives of Australia

Join author and leading architectural historian Professor Miles Lewis and architect Annabelle Pegrum for the launch of this beautiful illustrated book that illuminates the art of architectural drawings.

Professor Lewis will shed light on the challenges faced by institutions when collecting, preserving and interpreting architectural drawings.

Annabelle Pegrum will reflect on her role as architect, former CEO of the National Capital Authority and academic on the significance of ensuring this part of our architectural heritage is preserved.

Click here to secure your FREE tickets. Refreshments provided.


Saturday 13 March
2 pm – 3.30 pm
National Museum of Australia

What made Marion’s Hair Stand on End?’ An exploration of Marion Mahony Griffin’s pioneering role as an environmentalist and urban planning

Dr Anne Watson has had a long association with the Griffins including as curator/editor of the 1998 Powerhouse Museum exhibition/catalogue Beyond Architecture: Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin in America, Australia and India, editor of Visionaries in Suburbia: Griffin Houses in the Sydney Landscape (2015) and curator of Paradise on Earth (Museum of Sydney, November 2020-April 2021) celebrating the sesquicentenary of Marion’s birth. She has also written and lectured extensively on the history of the Sydney Opera House including as author of 'The Poisoned Chalice: Peter Hall and the Sydney Opera House' (2017) based on her 2014 PhD thesis.

Covid19 restrictions may have changed at the time of the presentation that differ from the date of purchase. In that case, a refund will be applied at the discretion of the WBGS Canberra Chapter.

Please note the lecture commences at 2.30 pm.

This lecture has been brought to you by the Walter Burley Griffin Society.

Entry $15. For tickets click here.


From March until Tuesday 10 August
Lakeside Walk

Are you walking Bridge to Bridge at lunch time? Noticed some drawings on the pavement?  Why not take time and find the pavement decals that point towards some of the ideas and imagined images ( and a bit of trivia) from the plan that the Griffins envisioned for the city. Enjoy these cameos from Marion’s original drawings and ask yourself: How has it changed? Evolved? Share and like on the NCA’s Facebook page.

Magic of Marion
Magic of Marion_logos institutions