Monday, August 19, 2013


New England National Park

Australia has some beautiful bushland that simply astonishes, but there still lingers a doubt and distaste, a fear and hatred, for these native places. Their awe seems to generate much the same response as mountains did in Victorian times. It took Ruskin’s writing and enthusiasm to transform perceptions. Does Australia need a Ruskin?

There remains a distinct aggression displayed towards bushland, an attitude that sees the solution in cutting and clearing. There is little love here. Is this a relic of our colonial past? Does this dislike of natural wonder that sees only threat come from our convict past? – see


 The sign at Ulmarra in New South Wales tells the story. The path the public toilet is signed with a warning that trees are dangerous. Appropriately, the trees nearby have been trimmed. This attitude towards nature envisages only risk. Perhaps it is this same attitude that has shaped this public building too?

We need to learn from nature, not disregard it or treat it so brutally. It can change our thinking, and our architecture too. There is little doubt that this small Ulmarra dunny might have benefitted form leaving the trees to disguise its bland presence.


New England National Park
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