31 May 2024

Memorial to thalidomide survivors takes out ACT landscape architecture award

| Sally Hopman
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People looking at glass-like sculpture

The National SIte of Recognition for Thalidomide Survivors and their Families has taken out top honours in the ACT Landscape Architecture awards. Photo: Peter Bennetts.

A site made as a lasting reminder of the nation’s thalidomide tragedy has won an award for excellence at the 2024 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects ACT awards.

The memorial, created near the National Carillon in Kings Park by PLACE Laboratory, was established by the Federal Government to acknowledge the thalidomide tragedy and serves as a lasting reminder to all Australians that the lessons of the tragedy must never be forgotten.

Thalidomide, a medication introduced in Australia in the 1960s, caused severe birth defects and developmental issues when taken by pregnant women. It highlighted the devastating consequences of insufficient drug testing and regulation.

The glass brick memorial on Wendouree Drive creates a space for empathy, emotional reflection and education.

“This memorial is quite simply exquisite,” the awards jury said. “[It is] a sublime response to the pain and suffering of those affected by thalidomide.

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“Every aspect of the design of this memorial has been carefully curated to reflect and impart the story of those people who are thalidomide survivors, who have been affected and who continue to be affected by the drug.”

The jury applauded the design team “for the care, thought, sensitivity and for the excellence of this small project”.

The ACT winners will go on to the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) national awards which this year will honour 11 recipients across nine categories.

AILA ACT jury chair Gay Williamson said this year’s Canberra winners showcased the “vibrancy, diversity and respect for Country present in the capital’s landscape architecture profession”.

“The quality of landscape architecture in our nation’s capital is to be commended,” she said. “The winning projects showcase climate-positive design, gender equity and a connection to Country.

“What stood out for the jury was the genuine, extensive effort to incorporate First Nations people and their knowledge of Country in the design and management of the local landscape. This benefits the whole community and ecology and creates a sense of place.”

Woman walks through the University of Canberra's HUB precinct

The University of Canberra’s HUB precinct was recognised in the Landscape Architecture awards and will go on to the national competition. Photo: Hugh Swann.

The University of Canberra’s HUB Courtyard was also honoured, described as a real-world collaboration between UC’s campus estate and its landscape architectural program.

Created by Free-Range Landscape Architects, the HUB Courtyard was described by the jury as a “well-orchestrated student, teacher and contractor collaboration” that had made a worthy contribution to the university’s campus.

“The courtyard resonates with delight from its bold design, detailing and more importantly, with the people who can enjoy this elegant, comfortable place to meet, talk and take time out from academic endeavours,” the jury said.

The President’s Award went to Ginninderry – a joint venture project developed by the ACT Government’s Suburban Land Agency and Riverview Developments Pty Ltd.

Other ACT winners include: City Renewal Authority for Ngamawari; PLACE Laboratory for the Jarramlee Nature Reserve; Redbox Design Group for Ruth Park; City Renewal Authority for the Salthouse Community Centre; and Joseph Fitzsimmons Hugh Swann for the student awards.

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“…the Federal Government to acknowledge the thalidomide tragedy and serves as a lasting reminder to all Australians that the lessons of the tragedy must never be forgotten.”

unless of course something like covid happens in which case all best are off and big pharma does anything it wants, with not one sensible question coming from the media or politicians, despite the fact that dead beats like me were able to find many genuine wholes in the narrative without any effort at all.

In other words, these are just more empty words from equally empty politicians, with nobody giving a rats about what happened with thalidomide, let alone being driven by some conviction to prevent it from ever happening again.

Case in point, and away from the notice of most people on the planet, the World Health Organisation recently met with world leaders to adopt a treaty that would give it frightening powers in the case of future pandemics, making it possible for them to make what happened during covid look innocent.

thankfully, for now, the treaty has failed .

But what should that matter if it ever gets up, so long as the TV and the papers and politicians say trust the giants, despite their track record of malfeasance? Indeed, thalidomide is just the tip of the ice berg, with some of these pharma companies having paid out some of the biggest criminal fines in word history, making them literally some of the biggest criminals of all time, and yet we stand on the precipice of giving them control over the whole world, all the while mouthing agonisingly stupid platitudes like “never again.”

@Vasily M
“World Health Organisation recently met with world leaders to adopt a treaty that would give it frightening powers in the case of future pandemics”
Is your ‘chicken little’ perspective fuelled by the anti-lockdown community group Reignite Democracy Australia (RDA)? A little digging revealed this report from EMIT, which shows Australia is not at risk of losing its sovereignty under either the proposed changes to the International Health Regulations 2005 or the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Accord.

You did better than me there, JustSaying. I was still trying to figure out the use of synecdoche in “genuine wholes in the narrative” but I think it was all a fake anyway.

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