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Memento : Issue 27
Created in 1911, the Griffin plans for Canberra are now featured in glorious detail on a website called An Ideal City? In partnership with the National Library of Australia and the National Capital Authority, we've created a website about the 1912 competition to design an 'ideal city' for the new nation. The content is based on a joint exhibition by the National Library and the National Archives, also called An Ideal City?, shown in 1995. The website tells a compelling story of the competition within the broader contexts of Federation and international town planning, presenting extraordinary images of all 46 shortlisted plans, each with expert commentary, together with photographs and other records from our collection. Whether you're a town planner or simply interested in Canberra's design and development, An Ideal City? will inform and engage you. Yo u 'll find the website at www.idealcity.org.au. Canberra's blueprint now online Architects of Canberra landmarks designed in the early 1900s would be surprised to know that their sketches and plans are still being consulted almost a century later. Recent events like the Canberra bushfires which destroyed Mt Stromlo Observatory, and the implosion of the Royal Canberra Hospital, have sent 21st century architects back to the original plans for the valuable information they contain. The plans and drawings of early Canberra in our collection cover everything from bus shelters to hostels and homes, capturing a fascinating architectural impression of the development of the national capital between the 1920s and the 1950s. Noteworthy examples are the plans for the Canberra hostel (now the Hyatt Hotel), the Whitlam House (built to attract the Deputy Crown Solicitor and father of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to the national capital in the 1920s), and the Canberra Public Swimming Baths (now known as Manuka Pool). These valuable and sometimes fragile records are regularly consulted by architects, public officials, students, builders, home owners and researchers. Over the last two years we have been preserving and digitising these plans to make them accessible to a wider public. All 14,000 items in the collection have received preservation treatment and then been digitised. The digital images are progressively being added to our RecordSearch database, providing ready access to the public while allowing the originals to be stored and preserved in optimum conditions. To explore the plans online, simply go to RecordSearch on our website, and enter series number A2617. Preserving Canberra's heritage Sketch of the Canberra Swimming Baths (now Manuka Pool), 1930s. NAA: A2617, SECTION 83/3534 NAA: A1818, 13 Spring--Summer 2004 MEMENTO 5