Griffiths, Coulter and Caswell | No. 10

Griffiths, Coulter and Caswell. Illustration: Tiffanie Brown
Griffiths, Coulter and Caswell
Illustration: Tiffanie Brown

Robert Charles Coulter was the principal member of this Australian design team. He arranged the architectural and artistic features and produced the perspective drawings for their competition entry. By 1911 Coulter had visited the Canberra site at least five times and had prepared a paper and perspective view favouring Lake George as the capital site.

Walter Scott Griffiths was a survey draftsman from South Australia, who joined the team as town planner. He had worked with Caswell in the NSW Department of Works in the early 1900s. In 1922 he became Government Town Planner for South Australia.

Charles Caswell was responsible for the engineering features of the design and the comprehensive plans for the sewage system. He began his career as a railway draftsman for the NSW Government, later joining the Water Supply Sewerage Construction branch, which designed sewerage schemes for many NSW towns. In 1909 Caswell had prepared drainage and sewages studies of the various city sites being considered by Charles Scrivener for the capital city.

The design by the Australian trio did not gain a place in the majority report of the Federal Capital Designs Board. However, the minority report of Chairman John Montgomery Coane awarded it first place. The federal government later agreed to purchase the design, resulting in the Australian trio being elevated to de facto fourth place in the competition.

The trio advocated a practical approach to the design of the new federal capital. Almost one-third of the report accompanying their entry was devoted to water and sewage.

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    Plan of the federal capital of Australia, 1911
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    Untitled [Perspective view of the city and surroundings], 1911
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    Untitled [Perspective view of the lake at sunset], 1911
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    Untitled [Perspective view from house of parliament looking south-east], 1911
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    Untitled [Perspective view of monument and house of parliament looking north-west], 1911
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