Exhibition Brings Our National Capital to Williamstown

Media Release

8 March 2013

8 March 2013

***** The Hon Nicola Roxon MP Media Release *****

An historical exhibition marking the centenary of the winning design for Australia's National Capital was opened today at Williamstown Library.

'Grand Visions ñ Centenary of the Plan' is the first major exhibition hosted at the new Williamstown Library and includes plans and renderings produced for an international design completion to create a capital city of excellence and modernity.

Local MP Nicola Roxon said the exhibition shows the rich and evolving history of our National Capital - Canberra.

"On 23 May 1912, King O'Malley, Minister for Home Affairs in the Fisher Labor Government announced Walter Burley Griffin as the winner of the competition to design our National Capital," Ms Roxon said.

"The Griffin Plan was contemporary and bold. It was a poetic vision with mountain vistas, wide tree-lined boulevards, community gardens, open spaces and a central lake."

"The winning design was actually a partnership between Mr Griffin and his wife, Mrs Marion Mahony Griffin, whose exquisite renderings are works of art that earn their place as heritage treasures in our National Archives."

The travelling exhibition was developed by the National Capital Authority (NCA) in partnership with the National Archives of Australia.

NCA Chair, Ms Shelley Penn said the exhibition opening has been timed to coincide with the Canberra Day celebrations.

"On 12 March 1913, the foundation stones of the commencement column were laid and the name Canberra was first announced. This weekend, as a nation, we celebrate the centenary of our National Capital," Ms Penn said.

Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Angela Altair said Williamstown Library was selected as one of the locations for the touring exhibition for its historical relevance and reputation.

"There is a Hobsons Bay link to the Griffins with the design of the radiating street layout of The Circle in Altona North believed to be inspired by their work," Councillor Altair said.

Canberra historian, Dr David Headon will talk about the competition for our National Capital at Williamstown Library on Wednesday 10 April from 6.15pm. Dr Headon is the History and Heritage Adviser in the Centenary of Canberra unit in the ACT Government. Last year, he rediscovered one of the original drawings that formed part of the winning entry for Canberra.

Grand Visions - Centenary of the Capital Plan is on display at the Williamstown Library, 104 Ferguson Street, Williamstown, Victoria until 19 May 2013.  Entry is free.