A version of this article appeared in the October
2006 edition of Landmark.
Long time stalwart and AILA Fellow Carol Frank-Mas celebrates 50 years in the profession.
Frank-Mas, an American by birth, commenced studies in Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University in 1956. On graduation, she worked in the USA, Venezuela and on the Ivory Coast, Kenya before arriving in Australia in 1970.
In the mid 1970s, Frank-Mas set up practice in Victoria. At Knox Shopping Centre in Melbourne, she approached local nurserymen to supply advanced tree stock for the project. This was a first in Australia. One of these growers, Graham Davis went on to establish the firm, Established Tree Transplanters. Images from a 1979 issue of Landscape Australia, reveal how advanced Eucalyptus maculata provide an appropriate landscape scale and soften the built form of the shopping centre. Like many other projects Carol has worked on, the Knox Shopping Centre has been redeveloped and her landscape scheme no longer exists.
Eucalyptus maculata (Spotted Gum) at the Knox Shoping Centre, Knox, Victoria. These trees were planted from large containers in mid-1978 having been grown by Specialty Trees for the previous four years. In this case, because of the soil conditions, the top of the root ball has been planted some ten inches above the ground level and soil has been mounded up around the root ball and retained with the aid of rocks. Image from Landscape Australia 3/79, p143.
Records from Landscape Australia in 1996 reveal that at she was a prolific designer juggling a wide range of projects. The work includes landscape design and documentation for residential subdivisions, private gardens, institutions, master plans for quarry rehabilitation as well as acting as an expert witness at hearings. To date, the firm have completed around 2500 projects in the Melbourne region. Her workload is still large, with Frank-Mas often putting in an 80 hour week.
Throughout her career Carol has continued her professional development. In 1997 she completed a graduate diploma in Land Rehabilitation from the University of Ballarat. Over the period 2005-2006 Frank-Mas has continued to develop skills in Vectorworks and Indesign and continues to hone her understanding of land rehabilitation, environmental management and sustainability.
Working long hours, Carol doesn’t have the time or inclination to create a garden at her home, however she plans to retire to her property, near Hanging Rock, north west of Melbourne. Twenty five years ago she planted a walnut orchard there, but ongoing droughts and voracious cockatoos have reduced crop production. Although she plans to hang up her shingle in the near future, one suspects she won’t lead a quiet lifestyle for long.
Edwina Richardson AILA 2006