NSW News & Media

News from the NSW Executive Member Emily Forrest - 16 February 2021 | Into the swing of 2021

No doubt we’re all back in the rhythm of work for 2021 and many of us are hopeful that the challenges of last year are over and prove in the long-term to be a positive experience. Many State, Local government and private practices were able to continue with ongoing projects and benefit from stimulus seed funding through the various government funding channels. We anticipate that 2020 has seen a collection of interesting, unique and award-worthy projects delivered, which we may be privileged to preview in the 2021 AILA Awards. Entries are now open and the NSW Jury has been announced - you can find more information here . Last year’s live-streamed ceremony was a success AILA is keen to repeat, although we all love to meet in person so details of the event will be forthcoming.

In 2021 so far AILA NSW has held two webinar discussion forums for members, including January’s ‘NSW Exploring the NSW Building Regulation’ with the Australian Institute of Architecture’s Kathlyn Loseby, and the ‘Where Will all the Trees Be?’ phase three national benchmarking report card from the Greener Spaces Better Places collective (former 2020 Vision), presented by Jess Miller. Please remember that recordings of these events are now standard practice and available to AILA members, NSW and beyond.

Don’t forget to keep informed with AILA’s Advocacy interests – a full list of submissions is provided on the AILA NSW Advocacy Webpage.

Emily Forrest
NSW Executive Committee

News from the NSW Executive Member Carlo Missio - 2 February 2021 | Awards entries opening 10th Feb

Budyeri kamaru
, Hello in the Gadigal language, AILA members,

As 2021 moves into February we look forward to a new chapter for the global environment led by the USA on climate change policy and will ensure that our work and representation of the membership reflects the pressure required to ensure our legislators are on board with sustainable thinking at levels of government.


With Covid-19 still dictating many aspects of movement around the country and some of our cities and regions; remember to stay safe and follow all necessary precautions in the workplace and out on site.  The post Covid recovery and the impact of social distancing on public spaces and streetscapes is evident and will continue to be so as we evolve to respond to the shifting conditions and necessities of working from home and its viability long term.


Along with covid recovery plans, we can’t forget that a year ago much of Australia was devastated by bushfire and that while in a ‘la nina’ cycle we must maintain awareness of the risks during the bushfire season, but also not forget that many people are still living with the devastation and loss, coupled with covid. It is important to reach and talk to your peers, friends and relatives and remember that we are all in this together.


The executive would like to remind the membership that 2021 Award entries open on the 10th February and we are looking forward to seeing the amazing work you are all doing across the state and Australia.

Carlo Missio
NSW Executive Member

News from the NSW Executive Member Jason Cuffe - 19th January | Welcome to 2021

On behalf of AILA NSW I would like to welcome everyone back to the office, virtual or physical, and hope that you all had a refreshing break over the Christmas and New Year’s Period. As a newly appointed member of the Executive Committee I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing advocacy of the profession and representing the members of NSW.


Over my 10years+ of practice AILA has provided the foundation for the way in which I practice, the growth of my professional knowledge and the building of strong friend, client and colleague relationships. The opportunity to give back and be involved in these activities was a key motivation for joining the Executive Committee. Critical to this is the continued recognition of the profession through registration and engagement with junior to mid-level landscape architects. For me, this represents the prospect of increased membership but more importantly knowledge leadership and mentorship of the junior/ mid-level members of the profession. Equally, I would encourage registered junior and mid-level landscape architects to put their hand up to actively be involved in AILA and have a voice at the table of the profession. To be leaders in their own right and to champion the next generation of design, practice and advocacy of the profession.


I am extremely humbled and excited to be part of the AILA NSW team and drive representation of its members at a state level; to listen to and to learn from the extraordinary depth of knowledge that you as landscape architects have; and to share this knowledge with other disciplines, organisations and state bodies.


Thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to working with all of you in 2021.


Jason Cuffe

Executive Committee

To our partners, volunteers, members, AILA NSW would like to thank you for your on-going support, for your commitment to us, for the countless hours of online events you attended supporting AILA NSW’s program. We congratulate you on the amazing work you do every day to support our communities, creating inspiring sustainable designs and healthy places to live !
As we look forward to a brighter new year and exploring the many opportunities 2020 has opened up for our industry, we wish you a restorative and festive Christmas holiday with your loved ones close and we look forward to socialising a bit more in 2021 face to face!
Please note our NSW Chapter will close this Friday 18th Dec and will reopen 18th Jan 2021

AILA NSW welcomes new Executive Committee Member

AILA NSW is pleased to welcome Jason Cuffe to the NSW Executive Team. Jason is a Senior Associate and Landscape Architecture Team Practice Leader at HASSELL, and we're excited to have him as part of the Committee. AILA NSW thanks all volunteers who responded to our call and nominated to step up!

News from the NSW Executive Advocacy Committee Member Gareth Collins - 8th December | Our role in 2021

In the future when something bad happens we’ll be able to say “that was so 2020”. Of course 2021 could be the new 2020, but I’m hoping not. I also expect we’ve become a bit more used to ‘big news’ over the last 12 months.

I’d like to think that 2021 might become the year of action. This year we’ve had lots of introductions – unprecedented fires, pandemics, the rediscovery of parks, a popularisation of the concept of place and a step up in terms of respect for Australia’s First Nations.

Next year perhaps there will be a bit more substance around what to do about these things. If that happens (and we can help it to happen) then we should have a big role to play. For example:
- employing our knowledge of landscape management to help address the fire, flood, erosion challenges we face;
- taking a lead in understanding the lessons we’ve learnt from Covid and perhaps reviewing the form of our hitherto Pandemic friendly cities;
- helping integrate parks (of all types) into the built fabric as well as improving their function and attractiveness;
- turning the word ‘place’ from an idea into a three dimensional design outcome;
- incorporating Aboriginal knowledge, design and care for country into our landscape assessment design and management processes; and
- using our landscape training and principles to help make regenerative not just sustainable cities.

Some of these things were picked up in a presentation from the NSW Landscape Heritage Committee last week, at an end of year AILA Committee get together. Presented by Matthew Taylor and Annabel Murray with support from Craig Burton, oi Chong and Prof. Helen Armstrong, the Committee’s proposal is for a ‘Landscape Convention’ for Australia, building on the heritage of our profession and Australia and the things we have achieved, and setting down a ‘position statement’. It is, I think, a way of standing up for ourselves in our suddenly contested space, and reminding people of our proven role in achieving a successful built environment. The NSW Chapter looks forward to sharing more on this in the new year!
Finally a word about a recent event that was a partnership between AILA and Transport. We had two walks around the Botanic Gardens with Uncle Jimmy Smith, a Koori knowledge holder with a mine of information around the landscape and its natural and cultural stories and processes. After nearly nine months of distancing and Zoom meetings it was great to get outside with like-minded colleagues, to take a walk and have a friendly yarn. Numbers were limited hence the two walks, but speaking for Transport at least, we should do more of these next year in both metropolitan and regional areas. Big thanks to Tessa, Georgiana and Sara for organising.
I hope you have a good holiday and a relaxing time with family and friends.

Gareth Collins
Advocacy Committee

News from the NSW Executive Member Grace Mansour - 24th November | Approaching the end of 2020

It’s been another exciting month following the Land-e-scape conference and AILA Awards; this month we enjoyed NAIDOC week that has yet again provided us with many great events, and the sharing of stories and resources. The event has further fueled conversations of our roles as Landscape Architects in acknowledging and integrating our Indigenous history in what we do, as well as advocating for Designing for Country. The Walking On Country tour led by Jimmy Smith was extremely successful with both tours selling out, and due to its popularity we will be sure to program more similar and complementing RAP events in 2021.


As we move closer to farewelling this strange year that was, we would like to thank everyone for their contributions and support over the year, in particular that of the committee. As you may know we have just farewelled Emma Washington, whose contributions have been too many to name, and we would also like to congratulate  AILA NSW  executive Adam Jeffery on his recent wedding.


Unfortunately, due to COVID this year, we are unable to come together for our Christmas party however we hope that you all find some creative way to come together and celebrate the challenging year that was and the comradery that COVID has unknowingly created and enhanced.


Kind regards,

Grace Mansour
NSW Executive Member

Farewell to NSW Advocacy Chair and Exec Member Emma Washington
, a valued member of our Executive Team and Advocacy Committee. We are quite sad to say goodbye to Emma Washington, we thank her for her enthusiasm, her commitment and the positive contributions she brought to AILA NSW over the past year. Please see below a short message from Emma as we congratulate and wish her all the best in her exiting new role!''Some of you may have already heard that an exciting opportunity has come my way this week with my appointment as Acting Commissioner in the Land and Environment Court. I am honoured to be able to represent the profession in this specialist environmental court, and am genuinely touched by the supportive messages I have received from the Landscape Architecture fraternity. Unfortunately this also means I have to step down from my positions on the NSW Executive and as Chair of the NSW Advocacy Committee. My tenure has been all too brief and I’ve only just begun to get a full sense of what we can achieve as an institute- which is a great deal. Thank you to the stalwarts in the Advocacy group for their dedication and energy, and to the Executive for their support in my relentless drum-banging about the climate emergency. I can’t wait to see what this fabulous group of committed professionals will achieve in 2021 for AILA members and the profession. Thank you for letting me join in for a while!''  Emma Washington.

Always wanted to join the NSW Executive Team? Now is your chance! AILA NSW is looking for highly motivated, committed member to join our group of dedicated Executives in our mission to make the NSW Chapter as amazing as it can possibly be! If you are passionate about Landscape Architecture, looking for a new challenge and keen to gain experience in areas outside your normal day job, we need you! Been there done that, it's now your time to recommend a new member you think would be a great contributor to team NSW! We count on you too to help us grow our executive committee. Email [email protected] any questions, to recommend someone or send us your EOI. EOIs close 30th November 2020. 

News from the NSW Executive Member Carlo Missio - 10th November | Celebrating NAIDOC Week

Budyeri kamaru, Hello in the Gadigal language, AILA members,

As the tumult of 2020 draws to a close with Covid still front and centre, dictating the way we get around, access and use our public spaces, operate in work and life it is difficult to process just how much has occurred in in such a short period of time this year.

The imminent loosening of border restrictions across Australia and the change of leadership in the United States has brought some relief to the conversation with climate change and environmental issues back on the agenda. This is an important time for everyone to take a stand and advocate a positive direction for our collective future moving forward.

Closer to home we are celebrating NAIDOC week across Australia and AILA hosted an amazing tour on Friday the 6th “Walking on Country” with Yellomundi (storyteller) Uncle Jimmy Smith. There is another tour on the 26th 11am-2pm and it is a worthwhile experience, no matter your level of engagement with first nations culture and appreciation of country, there are still spaces available. There are many events celebrating NAIDOC week and it is a great opportunity for landscape architects to show their support for fist nations peoples across Australia, who have successfully managed and lived on our country’s diverse landscapes for tens of thousands of years. This year’s theme: “Always was, always will be”

The executive would like to once again congratulate all award winners from both the state and national awards that showcased the quality of work and practitioners across the state, the country and internationally. On that note the executive is seeking expressions of interest (closing Friday) for the 2021 Jury.

Keep an eye out for the many CPD events and activities heading into the last 7 weeks of 2020 and keep in mind that while working remotely has advantages for many of us, some people struggle with the disconnection from colleagues and a collaborative environment. Mental health issues are not just for a special day or week of the year, reach out, listen up and check in on your colleagues, friends and family.

Didjurigura Yirabuwabu, Thank you and bye in the Dharug language
Carlo Missio
NSW Executive Member

A discussion with the Hon. Paul Keating | Barangaroo's fifth anniversary

AILA NSW had the privilege to speak with former Primer Minister the Hon. Paul Keating in an exclusive one on one interview at his office at Tusculum, Sydney. On the occasion of the 5th year anniversary of Barangaroo, Mr Keating reveals his vision for the site, the key design elements he values about the headlands and the legacy of this outstanding and iconic Sydney project. Tune in as he also answers a few questions we put to him!
View the video above or on our YouTube channel now. 


AILA NSW welcomes two new Fellows

Sara Padgett-Kjaersgaard, FAILA

AILA Fellowship has be awarded to Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, in recognition of her distinguished leadership and service to the Institute at both state and national levels and for her outstanding contributions to the landscape architecture profession in Australia through her teaching, research and advocacy.
Read more

Mike Horne, FAILA 

The AILA Board has awarded a Fellowship to Mike Horne for his exemplary contributions to the profession of landscape architecture and his tireless commitment to the design and delivery of excellence in urban landscape design.
Read more.

News from the NSW Exec Member David Moir – 24th September | Over the Divide

Between the monthly Exec meeting, the NSW AILA Strategy meeting and the NSW AILA Advocacy meeting this month a consistent theme has been a focus on increasing advocacy for Landscape Architecture in regional areas and reconnecting with practicing Landscape Architects who are outside of metropolitan areas.

In local government areas up and down the coast Landscape Architects are a known and utilised resource however over the dividing range and onto the plains and tablelands of western NSW, particularly outside the larger centres, the capabilities and value of our profession is less known and understood.

It is interesting times for the towns in the west. New opportunities are arriving in the shape of large scale solar and wind farms which bring huge and ongoing windfalls for hosting farmers and significant injections of money into local community funds. Since COVID there has been an increasing interest and enquiry for people seeking a tree change to places where social distancing is a way of life while the closing of international and state borders has boosted local tourism and demand for accommodation and services.

These towns are also experiencing the full brunt of our changing climate. Between fires, floods and extended periods of drought the impact on the communities and the landscape is dramatic and raw. The communities ride the roller coaster of feast and famine and the landscape shrinks and diminishes through the droughts bursting back to life with the rain for periods that are becoming shorter and less reliable pushing both the remaining bush and the farmers to the margins of existence.

In the face of these challenges there is great opportunity and desire for a renaissance for our country towns and communities and I believe that Landscape Architects have a great role to play in guiding this renewal along our key principles of sustainability, protection and celebration of communities and their cultural values and greater environmental stewardship.

This will require significant effort in advocacy in regional areas with local governments but also in our engagement with state and federal government to encourage investment and support that is not tokenistic and is reflective of the enormous contribution that these communities make.

Over the next few months the NSW Executive will be seeking to (re)connect with Landscape Architects practicing in regional areas to work together in developing strategies for advocacy with local councils and community organisations.

If you are reading this and are a regional Landscape Architect or are just interested in assisting with advocacy, please contact [email protected]

David Moir
NSW Executive & Advocacy Committee Member 

News from the NSW Exec Member & Advocacy Chair Emma Washington -  15 September 2020 | Biodiversity Month


Did anyone realise that September is 'Biodiversity Month'? I didn't, which for someone who is constantly banging on about the biodiversity emergency isn't ideal. So we have sprung into action. In a couple of weeks we will be hosting a short session  on the challenges facing species as their habitats change and shift, and how this relates to us. With the help of the fabulous Phillipa McCormack from UTas, we will learn more about the necessity for LAs to take a multi-species approach and design for species on the move. Stay tuned for updates.


As well as this, the Advocacy group is continuing with a flurry of submissions to government. We recently submitted comments on the Greener Places Design Guide  produced by the NSW Government Architect, highlighting some key issues in the delivery of open space across the state. This was bolstered by a joint submission, co-signed by AILA, Greener Spaces Better Places, AIA, PIA, PLA, Turf NSW, TLA, NGINA, The Total Environment Centre, Cancer Council NSW and Junglefy. It's great to have such diverse, industry-wide support for action on issues facing open space planning and implementation in NSW.


We have also submitted a position paper  to the NSW Government on the re-thinking of golf courses. This is particularly pertinent in this time of COVID, where un-crowded outdoor space is essential for our respite and sanity. I encourage you to read our submission on this nuanced and topical issue and- particularly if you're a golfer- let us know what you think! Many thanks to the newest member of the Advocacy Committee, Sophie Zaccone, for raising the issue and crafting this letter. 


You can find all submisisons on the Advocacy page  of the website, along with our updated Terms of Reference  (ToR). The ToR tells you what the Advocacy Committee does and why we do it, helping members to understand how to engage with us. AILA is nothing without its members, and we are here to represent you so please come along to our monthly meetings if you have a burning issue. Please contact Tessa Faucheur  for meeting dates. Hope to see you there!


Emma Washington
AILA NSW Advocacy Chair and Executive Member

News from the NSW Exec Member Emily Forrest -  1 September 2020 | A new strategy

The AILA NSW Executive team convened on Monday 31st August to begin our preparation for the strategy for the coming year. The NSW Exec. benefits from a number of new members who all have a new perspective depending on their experience within the realm of landscape architecture, and they have input new ideas, energy and perspective for the coming year.

AILA's four pillars continue to be the strength and focus of the organisation’s Strategic Direction, being Advocacy, Membership, Profile and Sustainability - with Education under discussion at National level as being an area for development for a fifth pillar. As we move into the second term of this current 2-year Exec. term our strengths are building, and the interests that are emerging are aligned with the key areas of advocating to Government on policy impacting the profession, engaging our Regional members which should be a natural step now we are so comfortable with remote systems, and following through on Climate Action post AILA acknowledgment and declaration of a Climate Emergency. We remain focused on Heritage and building on Connection to Country momentum building within the profession, and the broader issues of gender equity. Our tasks now are to map out our objectives for each, targets, actions, supporting programs and responsibilities, and support systems for succession planning. It is an enjoyable forum and I look forward to further discussions with the group as we work through the planning for the year ahead.

Regards, Emily.
Emily Forrest

News from the NSW Vice President Tanya Wood -  20 August 2020 | AILA Fresh NSW Update

None have embraced the transition 2020 has delivered quite like the AILA Fresh team. As the future leaders in our field we have seen Fresh quickly recognise the opportunity of online operations and implement effectively. The AILA NSW ‘Out of Print’ online session was held in July and attracted a strong cohort of students and graduates from both UNSW and UTS.

With the aim to generate greater cross university relationships all whilst being a fascinating insight into current students work, the Out of Print forum for Fresh members to connect and present projects and ideas saw an energetic level of passion and enthusiasm. Please do keep your eye out for the next Out of Print online event!

Fresh are currently working in collaboration with Aspect and Planting Seeds, developing designs for pollinating gardens in primary schools in Sydney. Introducing landscape architecture and biodiversity at this early educational phase to primary level students is a wonderful opportunity.

There have also been keen discussions around linking Fresh with practicing registered landscape architects in a mentorship program – watch this space! Another exciting Fresh event in preparation is the new Fresh logo design competition, with details coming soon.

If you would like to get involved in all things Fresh, please contact [email protected] For upcoming events connect on social media:


Tanya Wood
AILA NSW Vice President

News from the NSW Advocacy Chair Emma Washington -  4 August 2020 | Welcome to our new Advocacy Chair

This year in Australia we have seen fires, drought, flood and plague in biblical proportions and in response, AILA has joined a growing chorus of organisations declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency.

Each of us know and understand the particular skill set of landscape architects, with expertise not just in landscape design and construction, but in our deep understanding of natural systems and how to protect, harness, enhance, support and interact with them as humans. And now, when our house is on fire, it is not just an opportunity- it is an obligation for us to rethink, promote and offer these skills to face the climate crisis.

As the incoming chair of the AILA NSW Advocacy Committee, I believe we must harness this sense of obligation and opportunity. We must adapt, as a profession, to the challenges we face and proactively engage to effect positive change. We must continue to promote the incredible skills of landscape architects, making our voice heard wherever possible. Above all, we must respond to the emergency we have declared.

To this end, we are calling for expressions of interest to join the Advocacy Committee. If you are a keen writer, communicator or advocate, we want to hear from you. If you have specialist skills within the profession such as conservation, urban design, bush regeneration, visual impact analysis, public art and so on, we want to hear from you. Equally, if you just want to help us advocate for the profession on any level, we want to hear from you.

For further information, please contact the AILA NSW Advocacy Committee on [email protected]

Emma Washington
NSW Advocacy Chair

News from the NSW Advocacy Chair Gareth Collins -  21 July 2020 | A Fond Farewell 

Advocacy is a great word, it sounds grand and noble with its Latin origins (meaning aid + vocal), and a touch of refinement with a Dutch alcoholic drink named after it (an essential pairing). It means pleading or urging for a particular cause of action. Interestingly there’s no aspect of the word that implies anyone has to listen to you, so consequently it’s also a judgmental word. If you’ve failed at urging something to happen, you can feel it’s totally down to the lack of your persuasive argument. Of course that isn’t true and at any point in time there is an enormous amount of advocacy going on, particularly in Sydney, so you are essentially very lucky if you get heard and responded to.

The other aspect of advocacy is understanding who or what you are representing? Individually we can advocate for whatever we want, but as a formal role, representing a group of people, it’s a little different. It may seem obvious that with AILA advocacy you are advocating the AILA Landscape Principles, however landscape architects are practical, optimistic people and if we can’t achieve the landscape ideal we always want to help make things better. So you may find yourself advocating for something that’s contrary to the work some hardworking landscape architect is doing their best to influence or improve (usually at very little recompense too).

So being involved with advocacy can be rewarding, frustrating and potentially upsetting. Over the 5 years or so I found it more rewarding than frustrating and hardly ever upsetting. Whether that means I and the Committee did a good job, I’m not sure. I do have some thoughts on it though, that I’m happy to share.

Avoid trying to advocate on too many things. You may find yourself having long phone conversations with AILA members, but I think making a few points forcibly is better than a squeaky wheel.

Tap people on the shoulder to help - in AILA there’s usually an expert of some type or area who is more than happy to get involved. People like to be asked to do something – it makes them feel valued - but a generic call for help to the membership often doesn’t elicit a great response.

Get your timing right. Being ahead of the zeitgeist is almost as bad as being too late. There’s a sweet spot just before everyone starts talking about something, but not too soon that they think you are mad. When we raised the idea of a better designed Western Sydney called the Parkland City (in balance with an Eastern Harbour City), it came when Rob Stokes was in his first stint as Planning Minister and the Greater Sydney Commission was being established, so it struck a chord and was helpful. 

Don’t overthink things. Sometimes a fast, simple response is effective. An announcement about a project followed by a quick submission can be effective in raising the profile of AILA and improving things. I remember a former AILA Chapter manager not happy at the Executive agonising for days in responding to a Barangaroo issue, while the AIA President nipped in with a quick pithy comment.

Try and advocate in person. A meeting with someone can be very effective and persuasive but be wary of politicians. When we were working on the Living Cities initiative I once travelled to Canberra and sat for an hour in Parliament House waiting for a politician who wanted to speak to AILA, only to be told he was in Sydney. Yes, just like the tv show.

Take the opportunity to comment when asked to. It is easy to be cynical with our planning processes, but a comment made at the moment it is asked for, has a much better chance of being addressed than when an initiative is in full swing and no one wants your opinion. At the right moment there are a whole bunch of people being paid and sitting there waiting to address submissions. Also a project or policy is on hold until the comments are in and addressed. The Council amalgamations are a case in point. We made a submission when asked and advocated to the local government Minister on how vital Council landscape architects are. I am not sure how much we helped (you often never know with advocacy) but I hope it was positive, even in a small way.

Similar to the above, adjust your advocacy to the stage a project or initiative is at. For example advocating for a different land use is perfect at a strategic planning stage, but when a developer is half way through implementing something, it is unlikely to be as successful as advocating for a design improvement to the ongoing project. The former will make an incumbent landscape architect weep, but the latter will energise them.

This is a difficult one, but try and be practical. It is good to seek the best, but sometimes money, timing, politics or just a different perspective, makes the best unattainable. Engaging in advocacy that is unattainable is not productive and has an opportunity cost. That said it may be that well timed and publicised advocacy can be the straw that broke the camel’s back and there are several current examples out there.

Finally advocacy is a bit like the newspapers, make your point, don’t look back and move on, which I’m now doing, but I’m still around if anyone wants to tap me on the shoulder.


(With thanks to many involved in the Advocacy Committee over the years including Julie Lee, Noel Corkery, Suellen Fitzgerald, Adam Fowler, Adrian Collins, James Grant and many guests and helpers.)


News from the AILA Fresh NSW Chair Faid Mazin -  7 July 2020 | A new conversation series

During these unprecedented times of social distancing, Fresh NSW, like other states have embraced everyone’s online engagement to start a virtual lecture and seminar series.

Amidst the struggle to work from home we as a group found it hard to stay motivated feeling disconnected from study and work culture. Our new OUT OF PRINT series showcases student and graduate research and projects commenting on climatic conditions and ecologies.

Our first event was held over Zoom with students presenting their fantastic projects. Max Molinia and Fraser Dovell of UTS and Lily Odins and Elda Esho of UNSW shared their drawings, process and challenges surrounding the themes of fire and drought. As a group of 35 we discussed and debated the differences in design approach between digital and analogue methods, and reflected on the outcomes gained from each project – what was successful, what parts were challenging, and what could have been done differently given more time and resources. We had great suggestions from the audience on what they would like to see and speak about. The talk gave us valuable insight into what each university was up to and marks the start of a greater cross university conversation as we plan our next discussion theme and invite new speakers. We aim to build an archival blog to showcase projects and discussions in order to maintain a sense of community while we are separated. Additionally, this space will be publicly available for students to share their work, critique one another, or share their inspirations.

Fresh is also collaborating with ASPECT studios and PlantingSeeds in a design for a B & B highway. Currently we are developing designs for pollinating gardens across primary schools in Sydney to also keep the future generation educated and aware of the importance of biodiversity. These projects are to create a habitat for birds, bee, butterflies and other pollinators. In regards to upcoming events, we are currently working on developing a mentorship program to help connect practicing Landscape Architects with current students.

If you would like to get involved in either the talk series or mentor program, please contact us at [email protected]
Find more of our upcoming events on our social media!



Faid Mazin
AILA Fresh NSW Chair

News from the NSW Chapter Manager Tessa Faucheur -  23 June 2020 | Awards Season Wrap-up!

After many weeks of envisioning, planning, organizing, and hard work I am delighted to hear that this year’s new digital ceremony was so well received by our members, nominees, winners and by the public! Over 250 tuned in live last Wednesday to be the first ones in the know, and our ceremony has now been viewed over 1000 times! This new format clearly highlights its benefits: a wider reach of our events as well as a more inclusive and accessible medium for our stakeholders.

The 2020 AILA NSW Awards Jury awarded 13 Awards of Excellence and 20 Landscape Architecture Awards as well as 4 new Regional Achievement in Landscape architecture Awards.
AILA NSW Awards Jury Chair Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard says ‘’landscape architects are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our communities, which is reflected through the awards. The awarded projects demonstrate thoughtful and ambitious responses to repairing and improving our Australian landscapes,” Sara says. “They distinguish how design excellence can enhance local communities and their connection to place. This is of critical importance at a time of increasing urbanisation and climate change.”The awards reflect the broad scale of projects designed by landscape architects.

The annual awards program celebrates the growing impact of landscape architecture on the places we inhabit. COVID-19 and the isolation that comes with it has shown us it is now more important than ever to connect to nature, landscape and to each other.

On this note, once more, I wanted to thank our volunteer Jury led by Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, Tanya Wood, John Newman, Georgina Reid, Marc Deuschle and Clarence Slockee, all our entrants for submitting their unique projects in this challenging transitional time, all our members for their ongoing support and congratulate all our outstanding 2020 AILA NSW winners!

Georgiana and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

Tessa Faucheur
AILA NSW Chapter Manager

News from the NSW President Lee Andrews - 12 May 2020 | A NSW update

Please excuse the lack of a video, I cannot compete with Gareth’s Academy worthy Indi production – well done Gareth.

As we know COVID is having profound impacts upon us all, AILA NSW is taking a leading role in informing and influencing the changes we are hearing about, some of which I have shared below. There is much to do, I would greatly encourage you to consider getting involved.


Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 shut-down and social distancing, thanks to the hard work of Tessa and Georgiana, the AILA NSW Awards Reveal event is on track for this Friday 4pm. It will be a 30 or so minute zoom event to launch the promotion of our entries. The Executive would love to have you join in to celebrate a record 63 entries. If you haven’t yet, please register and spread the word.

The Chapter is excited to announce the first Round Table - NSW Bushfire. Join the AILA NSW Advocacy Committee chair Gareth Collins as we invite guests speakers, Catriona Glanville, Susan Bell, Leigh Trevitt and Craig Burton to discuss in digital round table format the NSW Bushfire response to the Independent Bushfire Inquiry with submissions closing 22 May. If you are keen to hear more or want to add your voice, please register and come along this Thursday 3:30pm. Also see AILA’s  Submission – Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, and similar responses from AIA  and PIA .

Behind the Scenes

A major shift gone mostly unnoticed by the industry is Draft Design and Building Practitioner's Bill 2019 (DBP Bill) being prepared by the NSW Government – a big thanks to Kathryn Loseby, AIA NSW President for getting AILA involved. The Bill is in response to the Opal Tower and Mascot apartment and other similar construction disasters. The Bill has been drafted and the accompanying regulations are quickly being developed, see links below, and is certain to pass into law toward the end of this year. AILA NSW needs to ensure the Landscape Architecture profession is adequately represented and protected under this new system. The Bill is being based on primarily on BCA requirements. Some initial questions include: how much of what landscape architects do is informed by the BCA; is our current registration adequate or should it be similar to the AIA registration; and, what do we give up by not having a recognised registration system. Emma Washington, AILA NSW Secretary, with help from Ingrid Mather, JMD Design, Julie Lee, Tract Consulting, and Michael White, MWLA, have formed a working group and are preparing AILA NSW’s response to the draft Bill. NSW is ahead of other states in drafting similar bills, the working group is providing assistance to AILA National office on how this may impact the industry as whole. There is a lot of work yet to be done so if you can help please contact Tessa. More detail will be shared as they develop, in the meantime the draft Bill can be found here, with an explanatory note here.

Building on our new found relationship with zoom, I am very pleased to say David Moir, from Newcastle, has agreed to join the Executive. David brings to the table the voices and issues of our regional members. Having regional representation at the Executive level is an exciting change, one that has been pursued for many years.

I look forward to catching up at the Awards Reveal.

Lee Andrews
AILA NSW President

News from the NSW Advocacy Chair Gareth Collins - 28 April 2020 | Connections amidst troubling times

Firstly I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land. The first custodians of our landscapes and really the first landscape architects.

Here where I’m sitting in my makeshift office, is Wangal country and nearby is Iron Cove and Callan Park, rich with stories of the deep past and more recent Australian history. I’m really lucky to be able to get out and about into this landscape and I know there are many around the world who have been homebound or who don’t have access to places like this. Seeing all the people using our humble local parks and walkways, and the stark contrast with pictures of our empty city spaces, is a sharp reminder of the importance of our neighbourhood green spaces. 

Also it’s a reminder of the importance of our landscape maintenance workers and the landscape architects and planners that promote and look after local parks. Many of us our lucky in that we live near parkland but there are plenty of places in Australia where there isn’t adequate green space. Now is definitely the time for us and communities in general, to push for more. But I think it is worth also reviewing how well our existing parks deal with the large numbers of people using them at the present time. Down on the edge of Iron Cove bay is the Bay Run. It’s really popular, but now so busy at times that it feels uncomfortable. It’s a 7km long loop and fairly wide but all around are hectares of underused open space. The Bay Run isn’t unique and it seems that many parks can’t accommodate large numbers of people that well. We often have thousands of people flocking to a particular hot spot or walkway, which is perhaps not achieving the respite we need and giving the local authorities and police a real headache.

We may have to endure the virus for longer than we think, but even if things lift, we’ve all had a taste of how nice a good park is, and we will keep up our interest and need  in using them – especially if working from home becomes more normal. So there is definitely a need to get more out of our green infrastructure. More pathways would be a great start – and they could help open up areas of our parks we don’t often visit. So many of our public spaces have one or two main walkways that are great, but can get clogged with people. Informal narrower secondary pathways would be a valuable addition. 

Linking up individual parks is another thing we can do and with open space the whole really is greater than the sum of the individual parts. More cycleways and walking loops can help create a series of interconnected spaces and better accessibility to our homes. Sometimes just a short connection is sufficient - a fence removed or a gate opened. The spatial qualities of parks are often overlooked too. A series of smaller intimate spaces, can create a sense of seclusion. Even large multiple playing fields can be broken up with trees into different size areas, with a more interesting human scale and shade for the supporters. The most obvious improvement is more trees. We all know the many benefits of trees, but we mustn’t forget their ongoing maintenance, the need for a safe space for them to grow and the need for adequate soil volumes.

This brings me to another recent crisis – the horrendous bushfire season and the current Government review of how we managed it and what we can learn from it.
Some will say there’s a conflict between landscape, trees and safety. And in some ways the virus has been useful in correcting the concerns around trees and greenery felt at Christmas. But, as we know, bushfires are an ongoing condition of our country, and it isnt the presence of landscape that is the issue in and around our towns and transport corridors, but a lack of design and management.  If we are to create towns and settlements in the bushland (or vice versa) then we need to work collaboratively with our Aboriginal communities and experts, and create landscape that is valuable as a health resource, recreation space, defence against the elements and is also safe and protects us from fire and flood.  

In a few weeks AILA NSW will be having a round table discussion about the value of landscape in relation to bushfires and other crises and our response to the Government, in which we will seek your involvement.


Thanks and take care

Gareth Collins
Fellow, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

News from the NSW Executive Grace Mansour - 16 April 2020 | A NSW update

Another week down, and we hope that everyone is finding ways to deal with and ‘survive’ our current circumstances; perhaps even finding some rhythm and form of normality, as temporary as it may be. If there is anything we can do to support those of you who may be facing difficulties or have been hard-hit, please reach out to us at the AILA Executive Committee at [email protected] .

Despite the uncertainty we are all facing and the distractions it brings, we have had a record number of entries for the AILA NSW Awards, with a total of 64 entries, exceeding last year’s by 15. Entries closed last Tuesday, with judging currently underway and due to be finalised on May 22nd and our new digital Awards Night in June. Details of the Awards Reveal will be available soon!

Thank you all for prioritising your award submissions and all your efforts in doing so. Particularly in this time, running these Awards ensures that we are able to continue to shine a light on our profession, the complexity and diversity of what Landscape Architects do, as well as celebrate our achievements and continue to encourage design excellence. The NSW Chapter is looking forward to bringing its members new digital ways to engage, connect, learn and network so stay tuned with more details coming soon.

Take care,
Grace Mansour
AILA NSW Executive Team

News from the NSW President Lee Andrews & past President Gareth Collins - 31 March 2020 | Looking to the future

There is much being said during this pandemic so I will not add to it except to say the AILA Executive and Chapter Manager’s office trust you, your families and work colleagues are safe and healthy.

While we have seen significant disruption across the country with the health crisis and closure of businesses and job losses and so on, the construction industry remains a strong and vital economic force, one which the landscape architecture industry is a critical player. I would like to thank Ben Stockwin who, in response to this crisis, took up the AILA CEO ahead of his original start time and is now working hard with the Board to prioritise the sustainability of AILA as well as provide guidance how AILA can support the construction industry. Gareth Collins also penned some thoughtful words on this subject, which I am delighted to share with you here.

Working from home and going for my daily walks (along with half the neighbourhood!), and ‘bumping into’ (as much as 1.5m allows) I am hearing a lot of ‘RUOK?’ So please consider this as a friendly ‘bumping into’ and hope you are OK.  
Lee Andrews – AILA NSW President

Building a Green Bridge to the Future

In these suddenly dark times it is vitally important for our members to think to the future. As well as being healthy, to aim to come out of this crisis with our jobs, roles and initiatives intact, if not revitalised.

The virus has shown us that the little things in life - playing in parks, enjoying culture and music, visiting cafes and joining in with street life - that we normally take for granted and were only available a few short days ago, are now what we desperately wish for.

We need to make sure we continue with our work - in making our cities greener, richer, better connected - in our thinking and work at home, in our emails and virtual meetings and in our drawings and reports so that we build a ‘bridge to the future’ as our Prime Minister has said.

We mustn’t let our work come second in the essential work to keep things going. If we are positive we can make sure there is a renewed focus on what we stand for, not waste this sobering pause, and create a better future, which doesn’t take our environment and culture for granted.

The Government has stressed the need keep things going, work differently from home if possible, but be productive and keep the work flowing for everyone involved in the short term and the long term. Landscape Architects in Government are still working hard and will make sure that their private sector colleagues and partners stay engaged, working and continuing to improve environments.

Stay safe, stay at home as much as possible, and keep working and looking to a better future.

Gareth Collins – past AILA NSW President

News from the NSW Vice President Tanya Wood - 3 March 2020 | International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a day for recognition. Recognition of how far we, as women, have come and acknowledgment of how far we have to go. As AILA is taking a leadership role to ensure the landscape architecture profession is as inclusive, progressive and modern as it can possibly can be, the NSW Executive is committed to delivering AILA's Gender Equity Next Steps and whilst in its draft stages from the Gender Equity Working Group (GEWG), the items for action are strong. 

Some of these items include a review of communication of membership fees for those working part time or taking a career break, consideration of AILA event times and CPD program to ensure maximum participation, inclusion of more webinars and recording of events to allow members ease of access and engagement, and conducting an education campaign about pay equity to AILA and the wider landscape architecture community. 

The facilitation of a network for small practitioners has also been flagged as an area for action by the GEWG and as such the NSW Small Practice Meet has been organized for Friday 13th March, 12pm-130pm at Brickworks Design Studio. This event is a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and offer support to each other as colleagues in our field. I look forward to attending this meet and strongly encourage your participation. 

International Women’s Day is important because simply put, we are not there yet. We recognise the past, the 15,000 women who took to the streets in 1908 in New York amidst shocking working conditions and exploitation and put in motion a global movement. We recognise in 1911 only eight countries allowed women to vote. Now women lead countries. We recognise how far we have come and we look to the next generation of female landscape architects. Your access to your university education makes you a minority in this world. It is this education, your qualifications and your connections which will get your foot in the door and get you a seat at the table. 

Tanya Wood  AILA NSW Vice President 

News from the NSW Executive Adam Jeffery - 18 Feb 2020 | Bushfire crisis

If I were to write this message one month ago, I would have described the devastating impact of the bushfires on our natural environment and local communities. However, in stark contrast today, I write about how our fire-ravaged state of New South Wales received much needed torrential downpours that doused active bushfires, reducing the total number by approximately a third.
Many areas of the east coast of New South Wales have received up to 200 millimetres of rainfall over the weekend, with tens of thousands of residents waking up without power after the most substantial rainfall event since the 1990s. It has been a definite welcome change and has provided many people across New South Wales with an enormous reprieve. While New South Wales has suffered the most from this season's bushfires and more recent rainfall event, now is the time to be better prepared for a changing climate and readiness for increasingly severe weather events. 
We are best placed as landscape architects to provide leadership in all aspects of management, planning, and design that mitigates the onsets of a changing climate, protect our natural environment and assist our communities in adapting to our changing circumstances.
Adam Jeffery NSW Executive Committee

News from the NSW RAP Committee Chair Sara Padgett-Kjaersgaard - 4 Feb 2020 | AILA NSW RAP

Worimi Ngani? The recent Australia Day long weekend would have allowed many of you to reflect upon the ‘truth telling’ that is needed for the continuing reconciliation process to occur with the traditional custodians of this country. As a non-Indigenous Australian, I personally find this time of year very powerful. For me, it allows deep listening into many Aboriginal perspectives, the impact of colonisation and the subsequent resilience of Aboriginal people. AILA’s RAP enables the state chapter to create opportunities for AILA members to formally connect with local Aboriginal people of the Sydney region.
For this reason, I’m thrilled that the first AILA RAP event for 2020 will be held at the multiple award winning Yerrabingin Rooftop Farm in Redfern. Hosted by Clarence Slockee and Christian Hampson, this event will allow opportunities for truth telling, the exploration of Indigenous design processes and narratives and a tour of the farm. Registrations will open soon and places are strictly limited and will sell quickly.

Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, RLA AILA, NSW representative to AILA National Connection to Country committee

Lecturer, Landscape Architecture - UNSW Sydney

News from the NSW President Lee Andrews & Advocacy Chair Gareth Collins - 21 Jan 2020 | Catastrophic Bushfires

Returning home from visiting family in the US over the Christmas holidays, I was privileged to sit next to one of twenty US fire fighter on their way to assist the RFS in fighting the catastrophic fires. Despite being professional fire fighters, all were volunteering 4-5 weeks of their time to help us! In my thanks to him, my friend was quick to point out, Australian fire fighters too have unselfishly and without hesitation helped his colleagues in California and elsewhere. From our airplane chat, I was reminded, this new paradigm is not a national issue, it is a global one that demands a global response. From the social and other media platforms, other AILA members clearly think the same.

As frustrating as it is not being able to help right now, Shaun Walsh, current AILA National President, and Gareth Collins, past AILA NSW President, both offer salient advice and a possible reveille respectively, something AILA NSW Executive feel is worth repeating and sharing in this newsletter.

Read the message from AILA's National President here
Read AILA's Bushfire Policy Statement here

Lee Andrews, Acting President

This Season has been ‘Bushfiregate’. Traumatic and sobering. 

This year we will need to take a good hard look at how we as a country manage our landscape in our climate.

First and foremost is the big picture. Irrespective of whether it makes a short term difference, we need to set our house in order and improve our approach and sense of pride in dealing with our changing climate. As Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency advised Australia, let’s take the emotion out of the issue and just get on with it. Phase out coal - quickly. Phase in alternate renewable power - proactively and quickly. Create the infrastructure for electric vehicles of all types. Tax the the big causers of carbon emissions - not the people suffering - to pay for the damage we are experiencing. 

Secondly we need to have a hard debate. Clearly we are living in 232 years of generally unmanaged forest which now being very dry is releasing the stored energy of centuries. 

For tens of thousands of years landscape management was the way humans coexisted with the Australian bush. An ongoing year on year stewardship. But that all ended in 1788. 

The government must listen to people like Bruce Pascoe and Bill Gamage, collaborate with our Aboriginal experts and become more of a nation of landscape managers, which includes fire management. 

We need to plan ahead in decades, not each season. Hard decisions will need to be made regarding bush regeneration, land clearing, managing landscapes in and around settlements and along transport corridors to keep trees but remove flammable undergrowth. The scale of bush fire protection zones needs to be discussed. Can we have a sustainable balance between cleared zones and ecologically viable landscapes. New settlements and growth areas in bush land landscapes should be reassessed.

The devastation of these bushfires on our towns and communities is not dissimilar to the bombing in wartime and I suspect similiar amounts of energy released. 

This event needs to be harnessed in making us rethink our relationship with the landscape and the wisdom of the first peoples of Australia. 

Gareth Collins, Advocacy Chair

News from the NSW AILA Fresh Chair Brittany Johnston - 4 Dec 2019 | Fresh Update

With a year full of climate events; our headlines swinging from uplifting, motivating tales of school aged strikers to the devastating unprecedented fires sweeping the state.

Looking back at the year, AILAs climate declaration was a timely and necessary shifting point for our profession, with momentum growing. 

Climate discussions have seemingly dominated the second half of this decade and with its turn; I am hopeful that 2020 will be filled with positivity and action; with AILA, Fresh and Landscape practices across Australia at the forefront. 

Brittany Johnston
AILA Fresh NSW Chair

News from the NSW Heritage Committee Chair D. Matthew Taylor - 7 Nov 2019 | Heritage Update

The AILA Heritage Committee continues to act in the interests of landscape architecture in general and the members of AILA in particular in providing an important role in the awareness and vital role that landscape architecture undertakes in the shaping and forming of our environment.

Before I report on current activities it is important to note industry recognition for the AILA Landscape Heritage Report, authored by Christine Hay, Colleen Morris and James Quoyle, including the 2019 National President’s Award at the National AILA Awards held in Melbourne recently.  

Issues that have been raised include the awareness of the Cumberland Plain as a place of multiple heritage and ecological values. At the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan meeting attended by Annabel Murray, these issues were highlighted to provide part of the framework for the ongoing evolution and development of the place as a working and living environment. Values expressed in this submission include:

  • ensuring LA engagement throughout the process, guiding integrated planning
  • conservation of landscape heritage 
  • improved biodiversity 
  • healthier open spaces
  • connected Green and Ochre Grids
  • holistically designed urban tree cover.

Further, representations have been made in relation potential heritage listing of the Lindfield Learning Village,  a Bruce Mackenzie landscape of the 1970s and 80s that epitomises the Sydney Bush School values and reflects the environmental awareness of the time. This seminal landscape has been extensively altered where the landscape structure and values have been minimised and reduced so that the interpretation of the landscape design is now difficult and diminishes the values of place. The proposal for heritage listing seeks to maintain and recognise the place as a valuable expression of the Sydney School, designed by a preeminent practitioner Bruce Mackenzie.

At Sydney Olympic Parklands, Murama Cultural Facility, proposal is under consideration for National Disability Insurance Scheme assistance enabling wide community engagement within a heritage landscape of world significance.   Bicentenary Park and the 1999 Olympic Park, Homebush Bay, Sydney are listed as Significant Landscape Design in Appendix I, (Burton, C. 2015) of the award winning AILA Landscape Heritage Report (Hay, Morris and Quoyle 2018), supported by Heritage NSW.

D. Matthew Taylor, Chair, Heritage Committee, NSW Chapter.

News from the NSW Secretary - 24 Sept 2019 | RAP and Position Statement

I was recently fortunate enough to spend some time in Spain and Portugal, and my holiday read this year was Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’. I was late to the party – I’m sure many of you have read this enlightening work and not only devoured the content but referred back to the comprehensive reference list for follow-up reading. With a profound sense of loss for the damage done to the continuance of songlines, story and culture visited on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, compounded by a sense of disquiet that so much of the content was new to me, I’m encouraged by the groundswell of recognition confirmed by moves such as AILA’s continuing and growing advocacy for reconciliation through the Position Statement and Reconciliation Action Plan (2018). AILA’s position statement recognises landscape architects’ professional responsibilities to the land (‘Country’) and its people. AILA respects their wisdom, insights and connections to the land – the same land - ‘country’ - which is the central focus of our profession.

Landscape architects are in a unique position to advocate for adoption of Makarrata (2017). (Uluru Statement From The Heart).

While looking at monuments and reading testaments of the great ‘colonisers’ of the world of centuries past – Spanish, Portuguese and other – I could see through the lens that throughout history colonisation came at the significant cost to first peoples of another time and place. We’ve much to learn to improve our meaningful understanding of ‘Connection To Country’, and ensuring that the physical evidence still found in our landscape is afforded the protection deserved. Becoming familiar with AILA’s RAP and the developing Ochre Grid is just a start.

Emily Forrest NSW Secretary

News from the NSW Executive Adam Jeffery - 12 Sept 2019 | NSW Update

The AILA NSW Executive Meeting was held on the 4th September and marked my second meeting as a new member of the State Executive. I was impressed to see that we had strong attendance by our members and representatives of both our National Committees, Working Groups, and AILA Fresh. This meeting reiterated to me the importance of AILA and its role in sharing knowledge, ideas, and action for both our members and the wider profession of landscape architecture.

The Executive Committee welcomed new AILA NSW President Joshua Zeunert who has ‘hit the ground running’, after returning from extended leave. We look forward to Joshua’s leadership and the strategic approach he will bring to AILA NSW.

The next three months will be a busy time for AILA, and I am excited about the upcoming events that will advance the profile of our profession. The first is the Gender Equity Breakfast  to be held on Thursday 3rd October at the University of Technology. We will hear insights from professional surfer Layne Beachley on the AILA Gender Equity Census Report and comments by our industry experts’ panel who will be sharing their personal and professional perspectives, experience on work flexibility. In a month we will also be celebrating the 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture – The Square and the Park in Melbourne from 10 – 12th October. Make sure you purchase your ticket to secure your seat at both the National Landscape Architecture Awards and International Festival of Landscape Architecture.

Last month, AILA declared a Climate and Biodiversity Loss Emergency. The declaration acknowledges the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss as the most serious issue of our time.  It outlines a plan which commits AILA to take more action through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and resource development which we look forward to engaging with all our members on.

Just a friendly reminder that we have entered a new year of membership. If you haven’t already renewed, it's now overdue. To renew your membership simply log into your AILA account to pay or contact AILA.

Finally, I encourage you all to join the State Executive Committee. There are still several positions vacant, so if you are interested please contact our State Chapter Manager - Tessa Faucheur for more details.


Adam Jeffery

AILA NSW Executive 

News from the NSW President Josh Zeunert - 29 August 2019 | Welcome to our new President 

Hi All,


I'm very honoured to be writing this introductory message as the incoming AILA NSW President.


A big thanks goes to Mark Tyrrell for his work as the outgoing President, and to Lee Andrews (Vice President) and Emily Forrest (Secretary) for their continuing contributions (and for holding everything down while I was away). As Lee and Emily have mentioned, Adam Jeffrey has also joined us on the Executive, welcome Adam. Thanks also to all of our NSW Committee members, Reference Groups, Reps, Working Group members and the like. And of course, to our Sponsors.

I’m rapidly getting up to speed with the intricacies of AILA NSW and the National Board. 

As noted in the 'Message from the Board', I'm pleased that AILA has declared Climate and Biodiversity Loss Emergencies. I'm sure many members, including myself, are keen to follow-up these commendable announcements with effective actions at national, state and local levels. I know AILA NSW has a legacy of innovative climate work dating back almost 15 years, and biodiversity work even further. In spite of underwhelming State and Federal Government 'leadership' on these intergenerational issues, here's to resurrecting fresh energy to propel initiatives and actions within our professional body.

Shaun's Board message also lists several other priority areas likely to be of interest, which will flow down to State level events and actions. One of these is a High School Engagement Program, seeking, amongst other things, to reverse the alarming decline of domestic enrolments into LA programs nationally. Part of this is seeking ambassadors (particularly younger members) to attract school students to enrol in Landscape Architecture. Keep your eyes peeled for more announcements.

In terms of upcoming events, we soon will be holding a Gender Equity Event on the morning of 3rd October. We're aiming for equal gender representation and balancing participants' career stages. Watch for more details very soon and do come along to take part in the discussion.

The new Exec. term presents opportunity to check-in with our Members and Committees to understand current needs, and to anticipate horizons in coming years. I'm keen to collaboratively understand and strategise NSW priorities for the next two years from a broad perspective, and to gauge NSW alignment with AILA's Strategic Plan and National Board/Director's. 

Part of this is recasting our monthly meeting as a NSW Chapter Meeting. These are usually held on the first Wednesday (8:30am—10am) of each month at Brickworks in the harbour city CBD. The next meeting is on 4th September (with Exec/Advocacy/Fresh). Feel free to come along and/or send through an agenda item or discussion point.

Contact details for Tessa Faucheur, our State Manager, are: [email protected] / 0499 245 222. Tessa is doing a wonderful job of getting up to speed with everything NSW.

Also feel free to call or email me to share your thoughts, or for anything you'd like to discuss or put to the Executive/National: 9385 7304 / [email protected]. Or catch me at the Festival in Melbourne for a chat.

I look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks and months at the various upcoming events—please come and say hi.

Warm regards,


Josh Zeunert AILA NSW President

News from the NSW Chapter Manager - 12 March 2019

With the 2019 Awards season now upon us, AILA NSW is looking forward to seeing what we know will be a fantastic array of projects presented. With so many incredible entries behind us in 2018, this year is sure to bring us only more examples of new and exciting landscape architecture.

Read more

News from the NSW Secretary - 26 February 2019

Protesting for open space is like protesting for fresh air. We should never have to! This past weekend, I attended a local rally protesting the ‘over’ development of a metro station site. The community accepts that development and growth are necessary, but they ask: how to better accommodate this growth other than simply increasing building height, the Sydney default?


Read more

News from the NSW Vice President - 12 February 2019

Last Wednesday morning the AILA Exec. met for the first time this year to plan ahead for the year’s events and initiatives, and to ensure that our position as key advocates of open space, greening, urban design issues and projects, and AILA member representation continues.

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News from the NSW President - 30 January 2019

Welcome to 2019 and Happy New Year from the NSW Executive. Sadly, the break is by now a vague memory, but what does remain memorable were its climatic extremes. The intense heat and tropical storms contrasted somehow more absurdly than usual with the ‘snow in a can’ celebrations of the season. Under such severe heat peaks, even a dyed in the wool climate change denier might find their molten mind wandering towards the benefits of green infrastructure.

Just as the joys of one season pass, another is upon us, and you would likely be aware we are now in the throes of state election season. This provides an opportunity for AILA to advocate for green infrastructure funding commitments, and to that end, AILA’s Advocacy Group has assembled a questionnaire for major political parties to identify their commitments to the range of open space and green infrastructure agendas which have emerged in NSW.

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News from the NSW Chapter Manager - 18 December 2018

As the year draws to a close, on behalf of AILA I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our NSW Partners below for their contribution to the profession:
Principal PartnerAndreasens Green
Major PartnersCo-Ordinated Landscapes, Fleetwood Urban & Gosford Quarries
Supporting PartnersSESL Australia and The Hills Bark Blower

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News from the NSW President - 6 December 2018

Last week we had a fantastic day at the Ochre Grid ‘Designing with Country’ Forum. This forum was instigated by AILA NSW as a follow on from last years ‘Connecting to Country’ event. The credit for the event goes entirely to the Government Architects Office NSW who took the suggestion on and made the event happen. AILA NSW combined this event with the launch of the ‘Reflect’ stage of our Reconciliation Action Plan. AILA is showing great leadership in its advancement of the RAP and the attention to detail shown in the process so far. 

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News from the NSW President - 20 November 2018

Last Friday, AILA NSW headed to Newcastle for the Cool Street Workshop. With 60 people in attendance there was a good mix of members and non-members discussing a range of initiatives important to both urban and regional practitioners. This was followed by the tradition of AILA Regional Christmas drinks at the Merewether Surfhouse. Thanks to Darren Mason and the team at Andreasens Green for sponsoring this great event.

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News from the NSW Vice President - 6 November 2018

The countdown to the end of the year appears to be on with a feeling of urgency surrounding projects coming to their peak to meet those deadlines, meetings and consultations wrapping up, last workshops and conferences, and best of all - social events lining up.

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News from the NSW President - 23 October 2018

The Executive continues to review and comment on a number of policies: Mark Tyrrell and Margot Streater participated in the leadership forum held on the Gold Coast the day before the recent AILA Festival; In NSW, the launch of the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan will be combined with the Sydney Ochre Grid event on 29 November; comments on the CPD Framework are due end of this month and discussions on the Strategic Plan 2018-2022 and High School Engagement continue.

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News from the NSW President - 9 October 2018

The NSW Executive Committee and the Advocacy Working Group are looking to undertake a proactive rather than reactive advocacy strategy. To this end, the group will be meeting with Rod Simpson, Environment Commissioner at our next meeting. The group recently met with Fiona Morrison, Commissioner Open Space and Parklands (OSAP), to define a deeper understanding of the key priority focus areas for the OSAP team since its inception in October last year.

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News from the NSW President - 25 September 2018

The NSW Executive welcomes our new National Board and looks forward to creatively and constructively working together to further support, promote and embed the values of landscape architectural practice into public life. Congratulations to each of you and thank you for devoting your time and knowledge. We look forward to getting to know you.

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News from the NSW President - 13 September 2018

Things are looking busy for AILA as we leave winter behind and head towards the end of the year. I’m looking forward to catching up with you all at many of the upcoming AILA CPD Events and at the Gold Coast Conference now only 4 weeks away.

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News from the NSW President - 30 August 2018

Following the release of the AILA Strategic Plan 2018-2022, over the coming months the NSW Executive Committee will be developing the 2019 strategy and action plan for the NSW Chapter. Thank you to all those who have volunteered their time over the last 12 months participating in many different ways to advance the profession.

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News from the NSW Vice-President - 14 August 2018

AILA values the generosity of it’s Corporate Sponsors and last Tuesday 31st July over 30 AILA members were able to directly benefit from a visit to the Gosford Quarry sites at Mt White Central Coast, north of Sydney. Hosted by Gosford Quarries, the free half-day visit included bus travel from Central Station, viewing quarry extraction operations first-hand, a drive-through a second quarry site, then back to the head office to witness the many differing sawing operations before lunch.

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News from the NSW President - 31 July 2018

The launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan is a great achievement for the AILA which sets a new position and direction for the Institute. The ‘Connection to Country’ Committee should be congratulated on guiding this initiative. As the Plan notes ‘this is the beginning of a national journey to encourage all members of our profession to better understand and respect the intrinsic values of country and spirituality.’ It’s a great privilege to be involved with AILA and practicing at a time when this journey is commencing.

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News from the NSW Vice President - 17 July 2018

The 2018 AILA NSW Awards have now come and gone, congratulations to those who were recognised for the outstanding examples of landscape architecture across a diverse range of projects. The current two-step process which includes the preview evening, this year held at The Coal Loader Waverton, is a fantastic way to review all entries beforehand and include and celebrate with those who are interested in the projects but may not be in a position to have entered.

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News from the NSW President - 3 July 2018

The state awards event is the pinnacle of the AILA NSW events calendar. This week we will gather again to reflect on the work of the profession and announce the winners of the 2018 NSW Landscape Architecture Awards.The event will be held once more at the Ivy Ballroom and this year we are particularly fortunate to have Tim Horton of ‘Australia by Design’ as our master of ceremonies for the evening.

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News from the NSW Secretary - 19 June 2018

Recently, a number of members approached me concerned by the lack of NSW events. With a new executive team, a new state a manager and a new CEO, all appointed around the same time, some settling in time is only natural. Notwithstanding, for those who attended the NSW AILA 2018 Awards Exhibition at the Coal Loader site, Waverton, would appreciate what a wonderful evening it was.

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News from the NSW Treasurer - 5 June 2018

The recent AILA Fresh Meet was another fantastic and welcomed event in the AILA calendar, with over 40 AILA Fresh members mixing it up with a number of senior professionals. It was great to see that AILA’s version of speed dating still packs a punch. It was no doubt an event that everyone took something away from, regardless of what side of the table that they sat on.

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News from the NSW Vice-President - 21 May 2018

I’ve heard it said recently that it is a great time to be a landscape architect right now – if nothing elseit is a busy one, and our AILA Jobs pages are a testament to the demand and opportunities forquality skilled landscape architects. My weekend reading seems to be less personal interest andmore preparation for reviewing draft policy documents and studies that outlay the future for ourcities, and over time, the workpath for our profession.

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News from the NSW Executive - 8 May 2018

The Landscape Australia conference took place at UTS over the weekend, with a focus on the ‘Asian Century’ and what it may mean for landscape architecture in our part of the world. It was a thought provoking day, my personal favourite was Chang Huai-yan from Salad Dressing, Singapore. His philosophical meandering through the topics of his tightly structured talk perfectly fit the subject matter as he explored the tension between wild nature and human control. He delved into our relationship to place and in his case, the tropics. His work explored making room for nature and meditated on the meaning of human interaction with plants and their characteristics.

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News from the NSW Executive - 24 April 2018

YOUI insurance offers forty reasons, or ways to save on insurance:Reason #11: No tall trees (over 2 storeys) within 20 metres of home buildings”.My first reaction toReason 11was to brace for further reduction in Sydney’s tree canopy and the sound of urban lumberjacks and their chainsaws. We witnessed a similar onslaught with the NSW Rural Fire Service 10/50 rule - provided you are within a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area, you do not need approval to remove canopy trees within 10m of a home.

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News from the NSW Chapter - 11 April 2018

It’s time to pause for thought and celebrate our city in a wonderful landscape. Last week, stakeholders were briefed on a vision for “A Metropolis of Three Cities”, the Greater Sydney Region Plan designed for Sydney’s growth, connecting people and enhancing the region’s status as one of the most liveable global cities, with linkages to our regional hubs of Greater Newcastle and Wollongong.

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News from the NSW Executive - 27 March 2018

Across different levels of government the dealings I’ve had with different professions charged with delivery of the infrastructure for growth, show there is a real appetite for positive change, and quality outcomes delivered through good design. An example of this is the newly created Office of Open Space and Parklands, and their first project delivering on the universal design guidelines for future playspaces.

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News from the NSW Executive - 13 March 2018

We are living in fast paced times. As populations grow, and original infrastructure ages, business as usual models of city building are buckling under pressure from all sides. Across the state, questions are surfacing about the best way to prepare our urban environments for an uncharted future. The answer, as you all know, is landscape architecture both as a protector of the natural environment and as a projector for new ways of living. The opportunities are vast and at all scales. They lie in our potential to recast our work more accurately, not as a ‘nice to have’ but as essential city infrastructure to guide and provide for large scale change.

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News from the NSW Executive - 27 February 2018

AILA National’s President, Linda Corkery’s update in the last newsletter (more like a tome, but a very important one) highlighted the value AILA brings to the national debate. To be represented at the national Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Citiesis timely, especially here in NSW. I was also interested in the National Advocacy Pillars: Healthy Communities, Green Infrastructure and Liveable Cities. I think this offers an excellent foundation for members, committees etc when framing responses, comments and so on. My understanding is the pillars are in development so, as Linda asked, what do you think?

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News from the NSW Executive - 13 February 2018

As the new year starts to gather pace we are starting to get back into the working groove. I thought it would be good to have a little recap on what’s confirmed in the AILA NSW calendar for the next few months.

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News from the NSW Executive - 24 January 2018

Welcome to 2018 and for many of you – back to work with the benefit of a rewarding break behind you, and hopefully a line-up of interesting and exciting projects ahead. I hope many of you were able to get out and enjoy the diverse and spectacular landscapes that Australia has to offer. For me – the country towns of western NSW, north and western Victoria beckoned and I enjoyed not only a complexity of rural and natural landscapes but also micro-climates ranging from a still tinder dry 42degrees at Edward River via Deniliquin through to ‘I haven’t got anything warm left to put on’ at Forrest in the Otway Ranges. While the coast is the destination over summer for many of us the rural inland offers rich rewards as well.

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News from the NSW President- 18 December 2017

The AILA NSW end of year celebration was a good chance to catch up with friends and colleagues and reflect on what has by all accounts been a huge year for landscape architects practicing in NSW. It was a chance to say thank you and farewell to both Cath Scheen and Carly Wood, who have managed the NSW business of all things AILA with passion and dedication. Cath and Carly have left AILA NSW in a good position for growth in membership and with a solid base of sponsorship. We warmly welcome Margot to the team and look forward to building a new momentum next year.

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News from the NSW Executive - 4 December 2017

I recently had a flick through the 2017 AILA Salary Survey Report, which prompted me to have a look at a few other salary surveys in closely aligned professions. One review of an industry survey, that I thought was particularly relevant was Dr Gill Mathewson’s review of the Australian Consulting Architects (ACA) 2017 National Salary Survey.

In the review of the 2017 National Salary Survey, Dr Gill Mathewson identified the continuing trend of a gender pay gap and some practices persisting in paying under Award minimums, both these issues are relevant and exist within our profession.

The recent release of the AILA Salary Survey Report, generated a much needed conversation regarding gender inequity within the profession, with Cassandra Chilton’s recent contribution to Landscape Australia clearly identifying the current gender inequity.

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News from the NSW Executive - 21 November 2017

Landscape Architects internationally and locally have a strong history of foreseeing the need and planning for new open space as populations grow: Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City, and Fredrick Law Olmsted and Central Park, NY spring to mind. At home, the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme’s ‘Green Belt’, the Sydney Harbour Trust’s repurposing of federal defence lands for open space, Western Sydney Parklands and more recently Millennium Parklands display this visioning. Even the NSWBLF (Mundy, Owens and Pringle) in the early 1970s realised the importance of socially equitable development and open space, and ushered in the ‘Green Ban’.

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News from the NSW Executive - 6 November 2017

This week we received the news that our very capable AILA NSW Chapter Manager and NSW Event Manager, Catherine Scheen and Carly Wood will be leaving us for a new role where they will continue their job-share partnership. We wish them all the very best.

In saying goodbye, it is worthwhile to acknowledge the outcomes and achievements that have been realised since they joined AILA over four years ago.

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News from the NSW President - 23 October 2017

The 2017 Festival of Landscape Architecture ‘The 3rd City’ has drawn to a close. As it closes, it is timely to reflect on how it started. As a creative directorate, we took some time arriving on the 3rd City theme, finally landing on it when we realised that we needed a flexibility in our theme that was at once local and global, connected to past and future and offering a strong bridge between theory and practice at a full range of scales.

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News from the NSW Executive - 3 October 2017

Last Monday night the AILA NSW advocacy committee we met to discuss many of the issues that require further advocacy action from AILA such as the M4-M5 Link, Parramatta Light Rail, Draft Crown Land regulations, the draft biodiversity conservation regulation and many more. Whilst these are significant issues that need to our due consideration and input as a profession, I was personally impacted by another chance meeting later that week.

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News from the NSW Executive - 18 September 2017

Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge by train it has become my habit to pause, and take in the spectacular, elevated view of Sydney’s magnificent harbour; the ancient ria revealing itself slowly like a dance of the seven veils, drawing the eye to the persistent low bank of ‘blue clouds’ resting on the horizon of the Cumberland plains. What could possibly ruin this view?

Recently, on an early morning train ride it happened. Out of the valley that is Parramatta River a great golden globe appeared; was the sun rising from the west; had Barajiklian turned the state around, literally; was this nature's revenge for the anthropocentric era described by Richard Weller just 12 months ago? 

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News from the NSW Executive- 4 September 2017

The last day of winter was a perfect sunny day for exploring the latest parkland projects at the Western Sydney Parklands. Hosted by AILA and LGLDF (Local Government Landscape Design Forum), the team from the WSPT lead by Sarah Christie and Josh French lead us through three significant sites that have proved to be well-loved by both western-Sydney families and also those drawn from across Sydney.

The first stop was Bungaribee Park –a newly constructed playground set in broad-scale setting which encourages kids to roam and run between play areas. The design acknowledges the scale and ‘big sky’ horizon of the park setting, and you are impressed with the sense that the park extends forever and has unlimited potential.

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NSW Message - 21 August 2017

The Better Placed launch on Friday was appropriately held in the new Bankstown library. It's a lovely airy public building in a park in the centre of town with beautiful high traditional book shelves, vast windows and natural dappled light, grainy timber flooring recycled from the old Bankstown dance hall on the site and a great green wall throughout the whole space used to circulate oxygenated air to the library users - keeping them focused! Better Placed is the NSW Government's new overarching design policy. Produced by the Government Architect NSW and assisted by many design friends including AILA NSW, it is refreshingly straightforward and normal in its language and our 23rd Government Architect (and team) is to be congratulated.

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NSW President's Message - 10 July 2017

The largest ever AILA NSW Awards program is almost complete. It has been a fantastic process in 2017 with a diverse and experienced jury of practitioners and academics deliberating at length over a competitive field. Last week’s exhibition of entries was extremely popular with over 200 guests cramming in to review many exceptional entries proudly showcasing the work of our NSW group. The culmination of this process is the Awards night on the 27 July at the Ivy, and once again it looks to be a great night. There will be a quick ACM briefing prior to starting the proceedings for the Awards program so if you are interested, please arrive early to hear an update from Josh French. 

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Reflecting on Connecting to Country - 26 June 2017

The connecting to country forum hosted by AILA on Friday 16 June 2017, will remain for me, a pivotal day in my ongoing education as a landscape architect. The event occurred at an auspicious time, as conversations within our company had recently begun about how we can practice in a more culturally aware manner and have a deeper understanding of the land that we shape through our work. 

The Utzon room in the Opera House was a powerful setting for the forum, with the tactility of the interior materials contrasting to the view of the harbour, and was soon filled with a sense of hopeful expectation from the audience – we sensed we were about to be part of something memorable.

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NSW President's Message - 14 June 2017

Well this is it. My last newsletter. Number 64 (I think). A little like John Clark at the end of ‘The Games’ my presidency will end with me flying out of Sydney. I’m off on leave on 24 June at 5.15pm. I think at that point Mark Tyrrell, Emily Forrest, Lee Andrews and Adrian Collins will technically take over, so all questions to the new executive from 5.15pm onwards on that day...

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NSW President's Message - 29 May 2017

I was at a round table meeting last week arranged by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) at which around 20 of us from various organisations discussed the need for broader business cases for major infrastructure projects. It was an excellent free ranging discussion questioning the narrow focus of the current system and the pros and cons of including more urban design factors into measuring the economic value of projects.

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NSW President's Message - 15 May 2017

After a beautiful autumnal weekend in the Blue Mountains, I thought I would indulge myself, with only three newsletters to go, to a small note of respect to all my landscape architect colleagues and friends who have worked on the Great Western Highway upgrade in the Blue Mountains. This has been a major project built over several decades, primarily to save lives on the highway. Landscape architects have been prominent. As of June last year the project (from Lapstone Hill to Katoomba) was complete and driving on it this weekend you can see the significant effect those designers have had...

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NSW President's Message - 1 May 2017

I'm very pleased to let you know the next AILA NSW Executive team. From July, Mark Tyrrell will be President, Emily Forrest will be Vice President, Lee Andrews will be Secretary and Adrian Collins will be Treasurer. It's a great team representing the public and private sector and a wide range of experience and I'm really pleased that Mark, Emily, Lee and Adrian have stepped up to take on the roles and lead the State chapter. Josh Julie and I will continue to have a role and be available but we wish the new team all the best. However, I still have a few newsletters to go and our last event will be Connecting to Country.

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NSW President's Message - 18 April 2017

Easter weekend. A much needed break. With public holidays, architect days and flex days (if you have them!) the weekend was able to be extended to a long break with only a few leave days used. Or if you're self-employed, hopefully you factored in some down-time into your charge out rates. Where I live it was particularly restful weatherwise, the lower sun at this time of year and the rain soaked vegetation from the previous month gave a golden glow to the healthy green of the landscape. Whatever your Easter spiritual persuasion, hopefully it was a moment to reflect and gain some perspective.

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NSW President's Message - 3 April 2017

Friday was the deadline for the District Plan review comments and with thanks to the review team of Noel Corkery, Julie Lee, Adam Fowler, Joshua French and Suellen Fitzgerald as well as comments sent in from David Martin, Kurt Henkel, Annabel Murray, Martin O’Dea and Crosbie Lorimer, AILA NSW made a good submission.

We have had a positive role in the development of the plans, in particularly through the Parkland, River and Harbour City ideas but also through our push for green infrastructure and involvement in the initiation and development of the Green Grid. I am sure the Greater Sydney Commission will get a plethora of comments but I think ours will be heard and used constructively.

My last newsletter reflecting on the past and speculating on the future of landscape architecture fits in well with the District Plans and long term nature of the changes afoot in Sydney and NSW.

Julie Lee, Director of TRACT Sydney, AILA NSW Secretary and AILA Fellow has followed up on this with a thoughtful piece on what the world might hold for us over the next 20 years...

NSW President's Message - 20 March 2017

My presidency is quickly coming to an end. We have had nominations for the new executive and shortly Julie, Josh and I will have completed two and a half years and handed over the reins.

A lot has changed in NSW in this time. Newcastle and Wollongong have become more important partner cities to Sydney with new housing growth and infrastructure. The country towns have become more and more desirable alternatives in which to live and work. But it’s been all about Sydney really...

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NSW President's Message - 6 March 2017

It’s frustrating working on things that you know are important to the community, when those things aren’t well valued (or at all valued) as part of cost benefit calculations. (If you are not aware, cost benefit calculations underpin most work that is happening these days. They influence the scope of a project and are popular and powerful in high level decision making, particularly in the spending of public money).

There are several design problems that arise with relying on them. Two that spring to mind...

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NSW President's Message - 20 February 2017

When at school you sometimes wondered why you need to learn certain things. Calculus, quadratic equations, who Titania and Oberon were or thermodynamics. I looked it up. Thermodynamics is the study of heat and energy and atoms. It turns out that that moving atoms make something hot or energetic. Atoms move slowest in solids and fastest in gases. So to make a solid or liquid turn into a gas you need to add energy to speed up the atoms. When you add energy to something you are taking it away from somewhere else. (still with me?). 

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Call for Nominations - NSW Elections - 6 February 2017

The two year term by the current NSW Executive team: Gareth Collins (President), Josh French (Vice-President) and Julie Lee (Secretary) is almost up. Are you interested in taking on one of these roles driving AILA NSW further forward as a powerful voice championing quality design for public open spaces, stronger communities and greater environmental stewardship? Please send all nominations to [email protected] by Friday 3 March 2017 along with a completed Nomination Form. Voting will take place in March.

Email your confidential nomination

NSW President's Message - 6 February 2017

The design of the wall - in its sense as an artefact in the landscape - is firmly in the domain of the landscape architect. Some of the most beautiful walls were built as part of the stately homes and civic buildings of the 18th and 19th century by landscape architects. They were thought of as expressions of the grandeur of the estate, a means of channelling visitors through even grander gateways, a defence of the property from intrusion from the weather, noise, populace or wildlife, or a simple demarcation of property owned. In some cases the wall wasn’t visible from the building and a retaining wall and ditch, called a ha-ha wall, provided the effect of the estate extending forever into the landscape. The name came from the mildly humorous effect of discovering the hidden wall. “Ha ha!” as Alan Partridge would say.

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NSW President's Message - 23 January 2017

Happy New Year

A recent bid I have been reviewing got me thinking about the quality of design teams and the inclusion of the calibre of landscape architects that will give stakeholders comfort that they are getting the best outcome. Experience, manner and the consistent production of good quality projects is what counts. Yet so often, even with all of these qualities, the recognition is hard to gain. There’s a lot to be said for quiet achievement, but if it’s too quiet then it can be problematic to secure that stakeholder confidence so needed in delivering projects today.

I think this is where our institute comes in...

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NSW President's Message - 5 December 2016

The year is drawing to a close. I can tell because everyone wants to have a meeting before the 15th December!

Thank you all for your input over the year. Whether you are a member quietly going about your own business or someone involved in the committees, events, review panels or awards – your contribution is greatly valued...

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AILA Fresh x AILA NSW Parramatta Cruisin' 2016 - The Wrap Up

It was a balmy 24 degrees in sunny Sydney Friday 11th November when 120 landscape architects, students, graduates and seasoned professionals alike set sail from Kings Street Wharf for the 2016 Cruise!

We made our way west up the Parramatta River hearing from 8 studios on a range of significant projects, with a focus on the environmental impacts of design and construction on the river.

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NSW President's Message - 21 November 2016

The 9th Urban Design Conference was held in Canberra on the 7 & 8 November, a week after the Landscape Festival. The broad theme was ‘Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia’ and there was an eclectic mix of talks and diverse professions represented over the two days.

It's an important conference for landscape architects. To achieve our Green Infrastructure objectives we need to work with urban design processes and policies. It's also a chance to hear from other professions and design challenges. Landscape Architects and AILA were well represented at the conference with several in attendance and also talking. Jon Hazelwood, David Vago and myself spoke on a range of topics from sustainable urban food production, the nature in developing Chinese cities and automated vehicles and the impact they may have on our cities.

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NSW President's Message - 7 November 2016

In July 1945 the first nuclear bomb was tested in New Mexico. This is widely considered to be the first day of the Anthropocene - the start point of the epoch where the Earth’s climate and environment is being shaped and changed by humans. When we look back, the radioactive layer from nuclear fallout will mark the geological calendar as the end of the Holocene (the previously thought current geological epoch).

How we shape the Anthropocene for good or bad, (assuming we can) is down to humans. The Anthropocene - the epoch of human influence of the landscape - is by definition “the age for landscape architects.”

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NSW President's Message - 24 October 2016

Last Friday marked 50 years since the Aberfan disaster in South Wales. It was a terrible catastrophe caused by next to no consideration of the practice of disposing of coal mine waste. 116 school children were killed and 28 adults, when at 9.15am, a saturated spoil heap liquefied and flowed down the mountain, engulfing a school and row of terrace houses. My interest in this story stems from my background and place of birth, but as a landscape architect it has always interested me as a very practical aspect of our need to learn from, and work with, nature.

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NSW President's Message - 10 October 2016

It was World Habitat Day on Wednesday. A few of us managed to attend a United Nations Forum called the ‘Future we Want’ at the Mint in Sydney. I was asked to attend and speak about the importance of the landscape in SDG 11. I was overshadowed somewhat by a presentation from Ron Garan. He gave a very moving talk about his journey to the International Space Station, his 6 months’ work there and time spent gazing down, and his return to Earth with a new perspective on life. His talk about our ‘pale blue dot’ was very relevant to landscape architects and our way of thinking.

The Government Architect has recently asked us to comment on the new 'Better Placed' draft Architecture and Design Policy for NSW. As part of the role of our NSW Advocacy Committee (current members are Adam Fowler, James Grant, SueEllen Fitzgerald, Noel Corkery, Linda Corkery and myself) we will be preparing feedback to this. If you would like to contribute to this consolidated AILA NSW response please send through your feedback to [email protected] byThurs 20 October.

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NSW President's Message - 26 September 2016

I think there is a case for all government departments to renovate old unused public buildings rather than paying rent. The benefits to the areas in which they are located are significant: it frees up office space for companies who don’t own buildings; it is a wiser use of public money; it makes heritage fabric useful and hence protected; and it is potentially more sustainable than constructing new buildings. The same could be said for old open space. There are a lot of parks that are poorly designed for today’s needs - not being used to their fullest, lacking trees and shade, lacking flexibility for mixed uses. It would be good to invest in improving existing public space as well as public buildings.

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NSW President's Message - 12 September 2016

There’s usually an element of the visionary about budding landscape architects. I remember friends who variously wanted to take over all studios and change the design world; redesign the south west of England; design golf courses all over the Middle East (he did); or implement the Dutch Woonerf system across Northern Europe (why stop there?). My naive wish was to be asked by NASA to help design a space habitat - think the rotating world-let that Matthew McConaughey wakes up in at the end of Interstellar. (I'm still interested if anyone needs help!)


David Vago pays tribute to a flamboyant friend

It was with sadness that we heard that Made Wijaya had passed away in Sydney on 29 August 2016. A true inspiration to the profession, mentor to many and supporter of AILA, read David Vago's beautiful tribute below.

READ the tribute here

NSW Presidents Message - 29 August 2016

Firstly Happy Birthday. We are now 50 years old. For those who could make it, I hope you enjoyed our party at Austral Studios.  A lot has been happening this month - AILA NSW hosted key leaders from a range of government private and institutional bodies at an engaging series of presentations and discussions at the Living Cities Summit.   The plan covers the recognition, funding, implementation, improvement and assessment of green infrastructure initiatives with the ultimate aim of improving the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Australian cities.  An innovation workshop was held last week focusing on the White Bay Power Station area, the key recommendation was that the district should be part of the city fabric not a separate campus.  AILA NSW is involved and providing high level feedback to UrbanGrowth on the Bays Precinct generally.


NSW Presidents Message - 15 August 2016

I’m enjoying Game of Thrones - I'm a little late in taking it up. Aside from all the violence and nudity, it’s very urban design. Firstly the locations are a landscape architects dream and secondly the setting is only part of the urban design story.The politics is the other dimension. The alliances that the different characters form are essential to achieve their goals. Now is the time to pursue our agenda and get things done. Before the politics and economics inevitably picks up a different thread, a well-loved character is brutally murdered...

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NSW Presidents Message - 4 July 2016

I heard with dismay at the AIA Built Environment Committee last night that the decision had been made to locate the Barangaroo Hotel / casino on the foreshore blocking views and requiring public space to be located away from our harbour and behind the new building.

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NSW President's Message - 6 June 2016

We are coming up to 18 months since the new AILA NSW executive started. Superbly managed by Catherine and Carly, that’s about 39 newsletters, 18 executive meetings, over 50 AILA NSW committee meetings, 18 AIA Built Environment meetings, 40 or so AILA NSW and AILA Fresh events, $90,000 in sponsorship revenue, 30 or so new members, two award programs, two profitable years for AILA NSW, two new fellows (Phil Coxall and Graham Fletcher) and one Christmas party.  Find out about our advocacy achievements here... Read More

NSW President's Message - 9 May 2016

Landscape architects are the conductors of our built landscape (cities). We have been taught to think big and consider our whole built environment and how we and nature coexist in it. We need to be strategic to both make sure our cities are improved and also set guidelines on the detail by others. Our value and strength is in understanding the whole picture and making sure the individual parts integrate and contribute. A recent new ‘conductor’ that has joined AILA is Rod Simpson – as well as his role in education, Rod is the new Commissioner for the Environment in the Greater Sydney Commission. I recently asked him why he joined... Read More


NSW President's Message - 26 April 2016


Australia’s first Future Transport Summit was held April 18 at which it was announced a self driving or Autonomous Vehicle (AV) car testing laboratory would be built in Western Sydney. If AVs take off in Australia there will be fundamental changes to our built environment and it is important we as landscape architects get involved in the debate.  So what will change?

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NSW President's Message - 11 April 2016

At the Landscape Architects conference in Melbourne, the Welcome to country by Auntie Diane made a big impression on many of us. Daniel Bennett raised it in his very first newsletter as president. Her simple but profound words about the landscape, as she thought of it, and the call she made for us to take our shoes off and go and walk on the grass. It jolted me into thinking about the deep and clear understanding the Aboriginal people have of country and place. It made me wonder whether we were doing enough to tap into that deep knowledge, to improve our understanding of the landscape and hence improve design outcomes.

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NSW President's Message - 29 March 2016

The AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Committee held its first workshop for the landscape heritage listing project on Monday 14 March. The project, initiated by AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Committee now funded and overseen by the Office of Environment and Heritage, is a vital piece of work to identify landscapes of importance to the future of NSW. Historically there has been a stronger focus on the built rather than landscape heritage and this study is an effort to redress this imbalance.

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NSW President's Message - 14 March 2016

On Friday last week the prime minister firmly placed the quality of our cities as one of the top economic drivers and priorities for government. That’s good news for landscape architects, green infrastructure has got to be pretty high up on any city’s ability to attract and maintain a thriving, productive and happy population. AILA is calling this a living city. So how do we achieve it? Shaping work to ensure it isn’t a stand-alone inconsiderate land use but a beneficial contribution to the whole - called a conscience and also more directly a ‘license to operate’.

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NSW President's Message - 29 February 2016

Someone recounted a story to me this week - we were talking about Western Sydney and what makes a city. The dry practical player in the story claimed that cities need to start with sewerage, clean water supplies - the usual essentials. The more creative player was saying that cities need to start with parks, green infrastructure - the things that make a city pleasant and liveable. The thing to do is get both right We have drafted a position to the Department of Planning that calls for Western Sydney to be a Parkland City. A city in balance with the eastern harbour city. By coincidence, Bruce Mackenzie sent me a photo story about the Headland Park at Barangaroo, showing people enjoying the space, the views, the shade, the clean air and water.

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NSW President's Message - 15 February 2016

Last week was an important week for AILA. The Living Cities Summit was held in Canberra on Wednesday and on Thursday we met with the NSW Minister for Planning (Rob Stokes) and we welcome Fleetwood Urban as AILA NSW new Major Partner. I would also like to talk about the Light Rail project and our position on it.

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NSW President's Message - 2 February 2016

Last year with all the work going on in NSW, especially Sydney, I wanted to write something that would express how I and perhaps others, might feel about the landscape. A statement from AILA NSW and maybe something that might act as a precursor to other comments from the Institute.

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NSW President's Message - 7 December 2015

2015 has been a good year for AILA NSW. The AILA Executive and the Committee Chairs have been putting their time, talent and energy into developing AILA NSW and ensuring it works for the members. Our sponsors have been incredibly supportive with events and the awards.We will build upon this progress in the coming years and below is a link to our draft Strategy for the year for your information and feedback. Remember next year will be the 50th year of the institute so please get involved and remember to get in early with the Festival and any events that are planned...

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NSW President's Message - 23 November 2015

The State President’s job is quite time consuming. It’s hard work at times, but also fulfilling. One of the nicest things I am required to do is present awards and medals. This isn’t a frequent duty, but this week I had the pleasure of handing Graham Fletcher his Fellowship medal.

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NSW President's Message - 9 November 2015

October the 21st 2015 was back to the future day. Everyone must have seen this film, but in a nutshell a zany scientist and his sidekick travel 30 years into the future from 1985. Some of the advancements portrayed in the film have occurred - the television screens have exceeded expectations and the fax machines superseded. However apart from a few improvements to the park in the town square, there was no reference or mention of landscape architecture....

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NSW President's Message - 15 September 2015



Friday night was the NSW Awards night at the Frank Gehry building on the newly opened Goods Line. Congratulations to all the winners of the NSW awards and a big thank you to all those who made a submission. The awards were diverse and representative of NSW, private and public sector projects and landscape architects from all areas of our membership. The Jury did a great job with fantastic nominations. It was a sell-out evening with 200 attendees and there were many comments made that it was a friendly, enjoyable and positive evening for the NSW Chapter. Thanks to all our members and partners for a great night and a great year of work.

We will be exploring the possibilities of a party towards the end of the year to celebrate 2015 and will be in touch soon.

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NSW President's Message - 31 August 2015


The NSW Advocacy and Profile committee had it's first meeting to discuss the NSW approach to advocacy and profile building and establish objectives for the future.  The AILA strategy is to 'build the profile of landscape architects and successfully advocate for well-designed open space and green infrastructure, leading to recognition in government policies, legislation and funding'. AILA NSW will build on this strategy within the NSW context, focusing on the work of landscape architects and ensuring an equitable approach to the benefit of all members.


Next week is a busy one. On Tuesday 8th the Lighting Institute and AILA NSW have teamed up to host a talk by Leni Scwendinger and a panel discussion on Lighting in the Landscape. This is an important growth area for landscape architects.  Then on Friday 11th the Awards Night!  Held at the Gehry Building next to the Goods Line - find out who the 22 winners are...

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NSW President's Message - 17 August 2015



AILA has just published its submission to the federal government on Green Infrastructure. This submission is particularly relevant to NSW with unprecedented infrastructure development and urban growth in greater Sydney ("another million people every 10 years"). Have a look at the linked submission and think about what you and AILA NSW can do to contribute. On the social front, the NSW Awards Presentation night has gone live and you can now buy tickets! The Fit for the Future event is also on next week, Wednesday with a great line up of speakers. Read More.





AILA NSW Heritage Landscape Committee Update - 5 August 2015

Congratulations to the AILA NSW Heritage Landscape Committee who recently applied for funding for the‘AILA Heritage Landscape Conservation Listing Project' and have been successful in receiving a grant from the Minister of Heritage. This pilot Study is intended to be the first step towards establishing an ongoing program by AILA NSW to identify significant cultural landscapes and landscape conservation areas in New South Wales which should be nominated for listing in the NSW State Heritage Register. We are now seeking interested consultants to provide their submission by 14th August. Read More.







NSW President's Message - 4 August 2015


If you haven’t done so already it’s time to renew your membership and also an excellent time to ask around and encourage your colleagues and staff to join AILA. (Maybe as part of your Professional Development Reviews?).  Joining AILA provides many benefits to landscape architects. Read More





NSW President's Message - 21 July 2015

It has been a sad few weeks as we farewell 2 great friends of AILA and of many of our members. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Clive Dodd, pioneer in the play industry and Phillip Walbank, Senior Associate with Moir Landscape Architecture. They made some important contributions to the Landscape Architecture industry and projects during their time and will be fondly remembered. Read More








NSW Vice-President's Message - 6 July 2015

Many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief that the end of financial year has arrived. This magical date can have an impact for both private and public practice landscape architects.  Thanks to all those who got submissions in for the 2015 awards, we received a total of 44 submissions which is excellent. With all the work that has been occurring across the State there will be a lot of competition this year. Read More





NSW Vice-President's Message - 23 June 2015

Gareth is away at the moment, galavanting around the UK so it’s my turn to update you all on the goings on of AILA NSW. Some of you may have heard that GAO are going through a significant restructure giving it a more strategic role in providing direction for Metropolitan Sydney. Read more







NSW President's Message - 25 May 2015

The Bays Precinct Leadership Forum was held on Monday last week. Part of the Forum was the announcement of a ‘Call for Great Ideas’. Large or small. Strategy or implementation. AILA NSW will submit its own ‘Great Ideas’ and we would like these to come from the members.The forum was also an opportunity to reflect on what leadership means. All the projects and initiatives happening in NSW require landscape architects to be leaders. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 27 April 2015

I wasn't able to attend the Barangaroo Point Vision to Reality sneak peak and must be content with waiting until the opening date, but I have had excellent feedback on the day and the value of the event. Clearly, visiting projects and seeing how real practical issues have been dealt with, has a great attraction. Did you also miss out? See the video from the day here. It’s been a sobering few days in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle area. One of the key issues has been the damage trees have caused to infrastructure and property. Read more





NSW President's Message - 13 April 2015



It feels like a good time after the Easter break to start talking about some important things on the AILA NSW agenda.  The NSW Chapter meeting will take place on the 23rd April and we urge you to come and have a say!  It's also a good time to start thinking about the AILA NSW Awards and what projects to submit. Read more



NSW President's Message - 16 March 2015


2015 is the International Year of Soils. This week is Global Soil Week and December 5 is the annual World Soil Day. Clearly soils are important - for supporting natural vegetation, agriculture, designed landscapes and for the benefits of soil itself. But perhaps soil is taken for granted? Read more.



NSW President's Message - 3 March 2015

According to the 2014-15 Budget, the state infrastructure allocation for the next four years is around $61 billion. This is a large amount of money that we all have a stake in funding. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 16 February 2015

James Grant and the previous executive (Roger Jasprizza & Vikram Mukherjee) and team have done a superb job over the last two years and left AILA NSW in a great position. Read more.




NSW President's Message - 9 December 2014

Change is in the air and this is my last update to you as the President for the NSW Chapter. Thank you to those who came along to the ACM last night and those who cast their votes prior. Read more.




NSW 2014 ACM and Executive Team Read more.




NSW President's Message - 25 November 2014

AILA NSW is mourning the loss of a friend, Dick Clough. We were lucky enough to spend some time with him two weeks ago and the video should be out in the next few weeks. Read more.