Walter Burley Griffin

Leeton was the first town built as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and the design of the town was shaped by noted architect Walter Burley Griffin.

Born on 24th of November 1876 near Chicago USA, Walter Burley Griffin is best known throughout Australian for his contribution to the design of Canberra.

At the time of Griffin’s commission to design the urban layout for Leeton, the two main radial roads of Leeton were already in existence (Pine Ave and Kurrajong Ave). In coming years, these two roads formed the primary commercial precinct of the town.

The circular layout of the town centre is similar to the residential configuration of Canberra. Nearly 100 years since Griffin was commissioned to design a town plan for Leeton, the town still proudly bears the foundations set by Griffin.

The urban layout of Leeton has loosely followed the original town design that Griffin envisaged. The town centre, incorporating Chelmsford Place, Pine Avenue and Kurrajong Avenue, is home to a number of significant pieces of Art Deco architecture, including the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission building and the bandstand shown above.

Below is a quote where Griffin describes his vision for Leeton:

The central Town Square, with refreshing shaded promenades, fountains, pool, and music, can set a standard that will tend to induce a high plane of attractiveness in private shows and places of amusement and refreshment that must compete where they do not collaborate. Perhaps the good old afternoon band concerts of the Spanish towns may be revived here, where the environment and the temperament of the people are so well suited. The northern end of this esplanade, which is the actual summit of Leeton Hill, is to be marked by two concrete water towers, plain masses 70 feet high, created with perforated enrichment. One of these is completed, and its twin will be arranged to combine with it as a huge portal giving on to the Town Square.