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“Hi this is Glenda Korporaal and I’m reading to you from Marion’s Story.
“It was by no means a case of love at first sight but it was madness when it struck.”
So Marion Mahony would write later of her love affair with her husband Walter Burley Griffin.
So was it love, or madness which saw her standing on the deck of the steam ship Comorin, one April in 1936, waving goodbye to her friends on the dock at Sydney Harbour? She was leaving her home, this time her home in Australia, to join Walter in a far off country where she had never been. Another place a long, long way from Chicago.
More than twenty years ago she had left the world of Louis Sullivan, and cousin Dwight and the others at Steinway Hall and Frank Lloyd Wright of course who’D all had such a passionate vision about creating a new architecture for America, it was an architecture born of the mid-western Prairies. The architecture of democracy. Well maybe not Frank, but that was another story.
It had been a jolly bunch who’d come to see her off at the docks. There were four of her babies, the young children of Castlecrag, including Walters god daughter, Deidre who was now two. They were not really her babies, of course, she just called them that. She and Walter didn’t have any children of their own, they had married too late for that. But Marion loved children and regarded the young ones of Castlecrag, the suburb that Walter had just about carved out of the Australian sandstone, the rather Bohemian community they had both built up together, as her babies. They had brought her bunches of flowers from Castlecrag and boxes of fruit for the journey.
Walter was working on the design for a new library in India. Marion had not wanted to go to India. She had been happy for Walter to go there but she had no intention of going with him. But Walter had written her letter after letter. He needed her help. They were, or had been, a husband and wife team. Architect and architect. Town planner and artist. He was, quite simply, a brilliant man. Whatever she felt about him she had no doubt about that. But things were a lot different now from the time when they first sailed into Sydney Harbour together more than twenty years ago. So full of passion and idealism and love. She was happy in Australia in her home and didn’t want to leave. But finally, when Walter convinced her he really couldn’t do without her, Marion had relented.”
ABOUT GLENDA KORPORAAL:
Glenda Korporaal is a journalist with the Australian newspaper. She has worked as a journalist for several decades both in Australia and as a foreign correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, the Bulletin and the Australian.
She is also interested in cross cultural differences having lived and work in London, New York, Washington, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canberra and Sydney.
She is interested in international affairs as well as Australian history and has an admiration for the work of Frank LLoyd Wright.
“I attended one week live in course at Varuna to work on a manuscript. Met lots of interesting people and enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere and of course Sheila’s wonderful cooking.
It is a truly unique experience and we should all be grateful to Mick Dark for his generous donation.” Glenda Korporaal
Yankee Dollars Allen and Unwin 1986
The Bid How Australia Won the 2000 Games. Heineman 1994. with Rod McGeoch.
An Olympic Life. with Kevan Gosper. Allen and Unwin 2000.
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