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Commonwealth of Australia Federal Capital competition: City and Environs Theme: Beginnings

Artist: Walter Burley GRIFFIN
Birth/Death: 1876–1937

Title: Commonwealth of Australia Federal Capital competition: City and Environs

Credit Line: National Archives of Australia

In 1908, the Canberra site was chosen for Australia’s National Capital after years of contentious debate over proposals for some 60 locations. The Minister for Home Affairs, King O’Malley, declared it would ‘rival London in size, Athens in art, and Paris in beauty’. In 1912 American Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for the new capital was chosen from among 137 entries received in an international design competition. Second prize was awarded to Eliel Saarinen of Finland, and third prize to Alfred Agache of France. The only Australian entry, submitted by Walter Scott Griffiths, Robert Coulter and Charles Caswell was the choice of the Chairman of the Adjudicators.

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