ACT Presidents Message - 30 March 2020


In the last six months, Australia has had catastrophic fires and now is staring at a pandemic. Everyone has been impacted and everyone is affected. For many individuals and communities there has been devastating tragedy and suffering. As a society and culture, Australians are having to deal with some form of loss. We must acknowledge these losses, both the actual and intangible, evaluate the worthiness of reclaiming them and consider how we remodel.

This current situation is a wake-up call and we shouldn’t be rolling over and hitting the snooze button! It is critical we wake up, use our understanding of resilience and connectedness to form new paradigms. There is much we can do in our profession to build new relationships and respect for our ‘landscapes’!

I am quite sure we are ‘glass half full’ profession. Every AILA newsletter from the respective states and National office is about getting on with things and finding ways to support each other professionally. Recently I was contacted by our AILA fresh representative with the idea of recent graduates and professionals mentoring Landscape Architecture students on line. My reaction was one of profound excitement and gratitude! When you are on a steep learning curve some things can be overwhelming; throw social isolation into the mix and it can be very tempting to withdraw from the learning challenge. This is such a great initiative reaching out to students and letting them know we value them. See below if you are interested. THANK YOU!

Entry deadline for the awards has been extended – along with every other state. We do have a jury - Dr Maxine Cooper, current chair of Landcare ACT, previous ACT Auditor-General and Environment Commissioner, passionate advocate for Landscape Architecture!

Melinda Dodson, past ACT and National President of the Australian Institute of Architects, an award winning architect and winner of several design competitions, an architect with diverse, practice and research interests and committed to every aspect of sustainability.

Leonard Lynch, who has a CV that demonstrates the depth and breadth of his experience as a leader in Landscape Architecture, in Australia, across the Asia Pacific, North America and Britain. Leonard’s clear, critical thinking and judgement will be invaluable.

Adam Shirley, 666 presenter, journalist and scientist. Adam has proven his keen interest many times in regard to Canberra’s urban quality and his recent journey’s through the region to visit fire devastated areas attest to his compassion for our local communities.

Steve Kirsu, current ACT AILA President will Chair the panel. Steve has delivered a range of  residential and commercial projects in various localities and countries. Steve is really familiar with the Canberra environment and will no doubt guide the jury with the energy and freshness that he has brings to our small Chapter!

As to how and when the jury will meet we have yet to work out!

Think about what you are doing differently that is working well and perhaps lowering your ecological footprint. Let’s keep those conversations happening, staying connected – even if it is ‘virtual’.

Interested in Being a Virtual Mentor for a UC Student?
AILA Fresh ACT is looking for graduates and industry professionals who can spare some time talking to and giving feedback to the current landscape students at the University of Canberra. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant the university cannot run face-to-face classes, and so our landscape students aren’t able to attend studios, the core unit in their degree. 

What we are asking: 
Review first, second or third year students’ studio work and provide feedback on the project with the student via email. Studio work includes concept exploration, design development and panel presentation. 

AILA Fresh ACT is working with Gay Williamson, the current landscape architecture course convener at UC. Gay will be your first point of contact, outlining the projects so you can elect where you are keen to contribute and how many students you would like to mentor.

From there Gay will provide your email to selected students to ensure a good fit and that you are not inundated by emails. 

Send an email of interest to Gay Williamson at [email protected] with your name, place of work (landscape related), position (graduate, industry professional) and who/what you are interested in mentoring. 

Please consider volunteering some time to work with our current students to help them succeed this semester. Gay has already expressed her appreciation with regard to this initiative and is very grateful for the show of support and solidarity.

Kind regards,


Gay Williamson
ACT Chapter Treasurer