It’s time

This project takes its appearance from demise. The demise takes the form of a square that no longer exists with any formal boundary in the maps of Sydney but yet forms the political folklore of a politician about to disappear. Dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s rally on the corner of Oxford Street and College Street created a political stance that later became known and signed as Whitlam Square. On the steps of Old Parliament House Canberra in 1975 a famous decree was to be said across the divide of the political arena: “Well may we say God save the Queen as nothing will save the Governor General.”

Gough Whitlam’s stance was behind the man who was speaker for the Governor General Sir John Kerr; a man firing a government via a rule that originated 16000 km away. The Queen’s stance was no-where to be found as was her figurehead Sir John Kerr who would soon flee the country.

In power and working with the Attorney General Lionel Murphy, the government under Gough Whitlam passed from 1972 to 1975 a series of laws that went beyond the defined concepts of boundary creating the massive shift in the cultural, racial and gender landscape of Australia placing the country at the forefront of democratic re¬form. This project is about those laws, about Gough’s stance and about the structures that came to symbolize the temporary demise of democracy and representation.

- Dr. Benedict Anderson

This project was done in collaboration with ThinkBuild Architecture – Berlin.

This proposal for Whitlam Square was an accepted but unbuilt submission for the 2012 Sydney Architecture Festival. It was designed as an ephemeral structure that would regenerate idea and opinions about a part of Sydney’s urban landscape that has lost its title.