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Griffin Reserves Community Forum

What do you know about our reserves, walkways and road islands incorporated by Walter Burley Griffin into his landscape plan for what is now the Castlecrag Conservation Area, and their ongoing management? Here is your chance to learn about this unique feature of our suburb—as detailed on page x. Willoughby City Council invites all Castlecrag residents to a community forum on Thursday 6 March 2008 at the Community Centre. The Forum will address the significance of the Griffin Reserve System, provide a briefing on the restoration works that have been completed over the past ten years and discuss future management issues. The guest speaker will be James Weirick, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of New South Wales and a leading scholar on the Griffins’ work. This is a special opportunity to become better informed about the Griffin Reserve System and to raise matters relating to their future management. The forum will be held at the Castlecrag Community Centre from 7-9pm on 6 March.

Sally’s Bookshop

Sally Crawford’s bookshop has become a special retreat for many Castlecrag residents and visitors to our suburb since Sally and her team relocated their business here in November 2006. Since then they have become an important part of our community, hosting several book launches, a children’s reading activity at the Community Fair and, most recently, the successful ‘Poet Lorikeet’ event. Sally has recently advised us that she plans to retire from the book and gift selling business and she has reluctantly offered the two businesses for sale. She has asked us to express her gratitude for the support and friendship she has enjoyed here in ‘The Crag’, and her sadness to be leaving at this time.

I am sure that readers of The Crag will join us in wishing Sally all the best in her future endeavours. We are aware that the bookselling business has become very competitive in recent years, but remain hopeful that a local ‘white knight’ may come forward at least to maintain a delightful bookshop in our midst.

Chicago Art Institute Director at Castlecrag

Jack Perry Brown, Director of the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago, was the guest of the Walter Burley Griffin Society on 19 and 20 January. Following a guided tour of Griffin sites on the northern suburbs on the Saturday, Jack was given a tour of our suburb and its landscape setting, and inspected several of the Griffin houses before lunching with members of the WBGS committee on the 20th. He then presented a public lecture at The Haven Amphitheatre on the Art Institute’s exciting project that has published Marion Mahony Griffin’s grand work, The Magic of America, on the net. Completed last August, the web version of this important architectural document collates 1400 pages of text and some 650 accompanying illustrations from the three known copies of the work.

Jack Brown delivered an inspiring lecture, noting the brilliant ambience of The Haven for the subject and focused on the key elements of Marion’s work that relate to Castlecrag. These can be summarised in three key themes: the architecture and landscape planning principles of Walter Burley Griffin; the relationship of the Griffins to our natural environment; and Marion’s care for and love of the children of Castlecrag. Having just received advice from the Institute, Jack was also able to announce to our audience that the 650 illustrations for The Magic of America are now available on line. For more about The Magic of America project and to find the link to the online publication, please visit the ‘News’ page of the WBGS website at:

Nancy Fleming’s 90th Birthday Bash

Some 150 friends gathered at the Castlecrag Community Centre on 19 January to celebrate Nancy Fleming’s 90th birthday and to honour her contribution to our community. Organised by her children Andrew and Lesley, grandchildren and friends Kate Westoby and Mushi Haruska, it was a most enjoyable event. Andrew provided a short audio-visual presentation of Nancy’s career in photographs, followed by short speeches about Nancy’s professional work as a social worker and her many contributions to the Castlecrag community during 52 years of residence here. We learn that Nancy loves music, dancing and a good party, and that she has played a leading role in the formation and work of the Sydney Opera Society. Her house was always open for community activities and it became a temporary refuge for a Sydney tram (now safely stored at the Tram Museum).