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With the City of Griffith celebrating its centenary in 2016, Griffith City Library took on a challenge to introduce locals and visitors to the creative genius of the architect of the nation’s capital as well as the City of Griffith, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife and colleague Marion Mahony Griffin.
Much has been written about the Griffins and their impact on the fledgling nation of Australia, but it was their commission from the newly formed Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area Trust to design the township of Griffith and extensions to the town of Leeton which has been highlighted by this new exhibition.
Sixteen large display panels provided an insight into the personal and professional lives of the duo, as well as featuring some of their major projects, set on a backdrop of art deco panelling. Correspondence between Griffin and the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission, led by Leslie Wade revealed that a figure of 100 pounds was paid for the design of Griffith with a further 25 pounds being offered for the production of a coloured aerial perspective showing what the completed town would look like. This wonderful piece was to be sent to San Francisco in 1915 to be exhibited by the New South Wales government at the Panama Pacific International Exposition to encourage migration to the new irrigation oasis. Griffin outsourced this artwork to his brother-in-law Roy Lippincott, and it was later selected by Marion Mahony Griffin to grace the cover of her (unpublished) memoir “The Magic of America”.
World authority on Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, Professor James Weirick (UNSW) was guest presenter at the evening launch of the exhibition where champagne and canapes added to the glamour of the roaring ‘20s theme.
The three month duration of the exhibition enabled the library to host special events and school visits based on the Griffins, with over 1,000 people taking the opportunity to view the exhibition on one day alone, the 6th August, during the official birthday celebrations.
The exhibition will available to tour. Interested libraries will require around 20 lineal metres of display space, and be willing to pay freight costs. An exhibition booklet is also available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if your library is interested in hosting the exhibition in 2017.