Walter Burley Griffin and his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, brought with them from America not only a distinctive and fresh approach to residential design but also a strong belief that a house must respect its natural environment and that architects must address and contribute to the needs of a whole community.  This section of the website is intended to assist secondary school students with an interest in the emergence of Australia’s architecture and its urban development.  Tertiary architecture and design students will also find the site useful in introducing them to little-known resource material - see also Note For Researchers.

Broad Overview

Students will find it most useful to read the site’s Introduction section for an overview of the fascinating story of the Griffins, the development of their “ideal suburb”, Castlecrag, and the creation of the Fishwick house which many consider to be Griffin’s most important Australian residential building.

There have been a number of excellent documentaries produced which introduce the house.  For example, the Foxtel TV documentary, "Building Australia" uses segments on individual houses as a way to explore the country’s architectural and social history.  The producers chose the Fishwick house to represent the arrival of modern architecture in this country.  The Australian Broadcasting Commission produced two radio documentaries.  Recommended is
"The Idealists: Creating Castlecrag" which was recorded in the house and featured interviews with its owners.

Historical Material

Excellent information on the Griffins’ lives and works in the US, Australia and India can be easily accessed through two dedicated Griffin websites: that of the Australian society at and of the American society at

This site contains many attachments detailing historical material which is otherwise unobtainable.  See for example: Social History of the House , House’s Changing Fortunes and The Griffins’ Changing Fortunes.

Heritage Importance

The heritage value of the house is extensively protected.  It has been listed at federal, state and local government levels.  See the NSW Heritage Office’s State Heritage Report for a thorough documentation of its assessment.  Other interesting aspects of its heritage value are detailed on What Experts & Authorities Say and On Restoring a “Work of Art".


Please note that the house is a private dwelling and not open to the public.  Also, copyright is held over all images on the site.