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 watercolours, and pays tribute to her works as a world leading female architect.

July - August Program


From July 2021
FREE, Temporary exhibition
National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point

The exhibition reveals Marion’s varied interests and accomplishments. Besides being a noted architect, Marion was a gifted painter, community organiser and sometime believer in fairies and elves.


The workshop has been postponed for early 2022.

Sewing workshop
Paid public program, $20pp + GST
National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point

Marion was an advocate for sensible, comfortable dressing. Bring your machine and fabric to Regatta Point and join a workshop to learn how to make the famous 1920s ‘One Hour Dress’. 
Register interest at nce@nca.gov.au


4pm – 6pm, Saturday 7 August 2021
Family activity, all ages 
National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point

Farewell the 'Magic of Marion' festival by coming on a lantern workshop and walk with us, from the National Capital Exhibition to Rond Terrace at dusk, to view the Griffins’ iconic design symmetry. Return to Regatta Point via Commonwealth Park for some fairy spotting and magic along the way.

Upcycle your 2 litre or 3 litre plastic milk bottles into fantastic lanterns, which links to Marion’s love of children, theatre and the magic of the fairy realm. Simply pop in a battery operated tea light and wait for your winged friends to fly inside. Battery operated tea lights will be provided by the National Capital Exhibition at the time of the event.

Or come along at 5pm with your own homemade lanterns. Find out how to make your own Marion's Magical Lantern on: Family Activities

HEY KIDS, if you are at home making this, for your safety, make sure not to use an open flame tea light. Work with mum and dad to get a battery operated tea light only.

To make sure to grab a place, book through Eventbrite


Until late August
FREE, Lakeside Walk
Lake Burley Griffin Central Basin

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.

February and July Program


June - July 2021
FREE, School holiday acti
National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point

Take a walk around Lake Burley Griffin’s Central Basin to discover what the Griffins had planned for our National Capital.
You may like to pause at the MARION MARKERS (Pavement Stickers) and imagine something different to what is here today.

PDF icon Imagine That!_A3_PrintNFold.pdf


From Tuesday 6 April 2021
FREE, Online talk

The National Capital Exhibition team dive into the story of Canberra.
Roslyn Hull asks: How much do we owe Marion Mahony Griffin?


5.30 pm - 7.30 pm, Friday 23 April 2021
FREE, Book Launch
National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point

This publication tells the story of the two mid-20th century Canberra architects, Heather Sutherland and Malcolm Moir. Come and learn about their lives and ‘Functionalist Style’ architecture in the Canberra of that era and when Marion popped in unexpectedly and met them.
In 2019, Peter was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to architecture and literature.
FREE, for tickets click here.


7.30 pm, Thursday 29 April 2021
7.30 pm, Friday 30 April 2021
2 pm and 7.30 pm, Saturday 1 May 2021
Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank

Presented by Liz Lea Dance Company and Belconnen Arts, this new full length dance work explores and celebrates the interconnections in design, movement and music. Created and performed by a multi-national company of 12 dancers from across Australia and India.
Taking inspiration from the designs of Walter and Marion Griffin and the notion of ‘Bindu’ – the point of creation in Hindu mythology – The Point explores connections between place and people through a stunning installation of light by award winning designer Karen Norris.
$45 Adult, $35 Concession.


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. 


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. 


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.


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.
*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.


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.
Covid-19 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.

Magic of Marion
Magic of Marion_logos institutions