Well.. that's a wrap!

Update #03: The Grand Section's National Exhibition, 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'

What better way to wrap up the year then to reflect on the home stretch of the Girthy with Slim Edges National Exhibition tour and to look forward to the year that’s to come… with an exciting announcement!

Stop 10: Brisbane

Four Locations (13th -  17th Sep) - QUT, Gardens Point Campus, West End Markets, Northey Street City Farm Markets and Wandering Cooks.

Thanks to Hunter Eccleston (King of the student design committee) we were set up in the quad of QUT for Thursday and Friday, snagging a wide range of students of varying levels of interest. Setting up in a public space like this always allows for excellent interaction with a range of cool cats with broad and unpredictable conversations. The usual market set up followed on Saturday at West End markets. We were in-between the yoga and the food stalls, It was so bohemian! Sandra even flew up from Sydney to come and check out the exhibition. Northey Street Markets on Sunday was an amazing concoction of food, organic goods and locals who do their weekly shop wandering through. And Speaking of wandering….Monday we took over a parking spot at Wandering Cooks, an amazing inner city foody hub where essentially you can rent commercial kitchen space at any time of day/night! That night we took over the place with our good mates ”5 mile radius” (professional architectural scavengers) for a discussion on “How to Design for Australia?”. We had a full crowd with great discussions, along with many people that visited our public exhibitions over the weekend around the city.

LEARNT -  1. Flyers actually work! We handed out some and low and behold people turned up to the talk we organised...USE FLYERS 2. Conversations beyond your own industry are often the very interesting, and always give a broader context to your thinking

Stop 11: Singleton

Three Locations (22nd - 25th Sep) - Singleton Square Shopping Centre, Singleton High School and Ourcare Services.

Bobbie’s home town! The land of the brave…and the coal! Kicking off on a sleepy Saturday in the biggest and brightest shopping mall Singleton has to offer, we had visits from some of bobbie’s old friends, army blokes, coal miners and a three week old baby. The biggest surprise of all was Bill! A man who carried our bags 20kms up the road West of Wallace Rockhole, NT in August 2017 came to see that we made it out alive. We never know how these commercial spaces are going to go but we always end up pleasantly surprised by the people who pop up and the incredible depth of conversations that come out of them. Monday we presented to several classes at Singleton High School starting discussions about architecture and Australia, using trivia and prizes to TRY and interest the kids! It was great to have some one on one discussions with students about ecologies and buildings which felt like it didn’t get to happen normally in school. Our final stop in Singleton was at Ourcare, which provides care, activities and socalising for some of our societies older cats. As Bobbie eloquently described how Utzon realised the structure of The Opera House through dissecting an orange, an old gentleman in the back yelled out “must have been a bloody big orange”!

LEARNT -  1. Don't underestimate people because of the place. 2. One on one chats open up whole new conversations 3. If your audience is older they seem less scared to yell out... you've been warned.

Stop 11.5: NSW Country Chapter Regional Architecture Conference

One Location (02nd Oct) - Crowne Plaza, Hunter Valley.

We were asked to bring our exhibition to the Regional Architecture Conference in the Hunter Valley... they even had canapes! There were some bloody wild architects there with it having a great feel about it - friendly and relaxed with people happy to chat regardless of who you are (particularly useful for our terrifying mugs). Wagga Wagga based Architect Noel Thomson and Mudgee based Architect Cameron Anderson were the creative directors behind the conference, curating a great line up of regional practitioners and work from around NSW… check out TAKT out and DUNN AND HILLAM if you havn’t before now! A big thanks to The legend that is Kim from Cemintel (a sponsor and supporter of the exhibition tour) for her promotion at the event and her eagerness to get a logo picture.

(Final Stop) Stop 12: Blackheath

One Final Location (6th Oct) - The New Ivanhoe Hotel, Blackheath

Owen’s home town and the final stop for the “Girthy; with Slim Edges” National tour! We initially planned to set up in the beer garden but of course, in Blackheath it was raining! And so instead we set up in a NW facing sun-room alongside the accommodation on the 1st floor, overlooking the street. We had a whole bunch of friends, mentors, teachers, parents, scumbags and the usual Blackheath riff-raff show up through the day and then in the evening to celebrate with a night of TRIVIA! We packed out the Ivanhoe Bistro for obscure trivia, champagne, bad jokes and ambitious participants (especially Ben’s ambition with the champagne at breakfast the next morning)! The team that ended up taking home the winning prize of a melted water bottle masquerading as a trophy had about 273 years combined experience thinking architecture, making buildings and working in the more remote parts of this incredible country. A valiant effort was displayed by all during the night, where we couldn’t have wished for any other way to finish the two year long Grand Section journey. Thank you to all whom came.

LEARNT -  1. Obscure trivia brings people, ideas and good times together


After this big TWO year journey, the big question that has been launched at us more than any other…

“What’s next…?”

We would like to answer in two parts;

  1. Nothing! It is ok to not have a next. To say that was that and reflect on the past year. Tim Winton writes about the duality of our “…utilitarian antipodean outlook, married as it is to a strange obsession with productivity…”, maybe we are missing the point of trips like this entirely. It is after all about self discovery, confidence, context and reality: ultimately, agency. Maybe nothing is what is needed somtimes…

  2. Lots! 2019 is shaping up to be a super exciting year with intentionally only a couple of key things lined up for now.

    • The Book collating The Grand Section journey, our thinking, documentation and findings.

    • Designing and building a house in the Blue Mountains. We see this as an opportunity to take the lessons and methodology we developed during the 2017 trip and apply them to an actual building. To walk a section 100kms either side of the side (a mini Grand Section) to understand the context of the place and how we can work with the local ecologies. To study and test local examples of good and bad buildings, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Chatting to locals and professionals who know the place. This is the transition from theory to practice with a definite methodology, providing a testing of ideas in the real world… eek!

    • Now for the exciting announcement…Our exhibition has been accepted into the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery and will be on display July - August 2019. We think this will be a great opportunity to explore new threads of our thinking and trip findings, feeding into the making of the book and practise. We will be collaborating with an excellent mentor, Judy Robinson. Judy has been the driving force behind this and will curate the exhibition as well as a many others next year at the gallery, so get on down!

The winners of the TRIVIA evening. You can tell they are winners by Ruby’s hand gestures bottom right.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement and time, we couldn’t have come this far without you.

Until next time… stay girthy, stay naive, go see some stars and best wishes in slowness! Oh yeah, MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Much Cleaner & Still Thirsty (aliases of Dusty & Thirsty)

Rollin' on and on

Update #02: The Grand Section's National Exhibition, 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'


The car has only a small oil leak and smells a bit but otherwise all is fabulous!

We have just finished at Theodore which was stop #3 on the Grand Section Journey. We thought now would be a great time to reflect on the past few months, 2 states and a territory! It certainly has been a whirlwind, far more intense than a bike but none the less fantastic to see the country through a new perspective and as always meet and re-meet some incredible people.

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Rollin' on...

Update: The Grand Section's National Exhibition, 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'


That's right... we are 'On Tour'; our mighty steed, the beaten up Kelly family subaru with 360,000kms is riding low but getting us around the country.... groupie applications open. 

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You are Invited! - 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'

Presenting The Grand Section National Exhibition, Girthy; with Slim Edges.......

“Girthy; with Slim Edges” is an exhibition showcasing the work from The Grand Section, a year-long study of Australia’s architecture, east to west. Broadening the conversation about architecture and Australia, the exhibition delivers Australia’s innards to its outer fringes. Giving insight into the reality of the regional and remote areas of this country and the connection between environments, people and buildings.

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The Talkin' Circuit

We're somewhat settling back in, but it is strange to be back.....in a room with a bed and the windows so far away. Hustle bustle, slowness seems to be about as forgotten as the inland. 


We've got lots of bits and bobs to share, and we promise it's more than just 'Blah'.

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The Grand Section Guardian #020 - Stop 20 Wooramel Roadhouse

The ferocious southerly October to February trade winds that wrecked countless ships off the Western Australian coast gave us an easy ride into our penultimate stop, Wooramel Roadhouse. Subject to the whim of the tourist seasons…both of them….on and off, the roadhouse is typical of many road side stops across the continent, dictated by the car. However, as the nature of transport evolves so too must the architecture of the road.

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We've just finished our week at Stop #20: Wooramel Roadhouse and so NOW are on our final cycling leg into Carnarvon, the Western Australian fruit bowl. We only have 124 kms to go before we have officially crossed the continent and a great attempt at following Latitude 25. If you can't get to the finish line we understand, so instead you can virtually cheer us on as we have set up a live tracker for you to follow along!!

Click through to the blog post and press the big "LIVE TRACKER" button or go to https://www.thegrandsection.com/ and use the button on the Homepage to follow along online!

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The Grand Section Guardian #018 - Stop 18 Wooleen

Towering Palms and Gums, like so many other sites throughout the trip are the markers of (white fella) inhabitation both past and present. Pushing through days of 40 degree heat, and a persistent hot headwind, the ‘markers’ gave us a goal to pedal for. What we would come to find is brave, bold, a bit stupid and completely inspiring. A cattle property without any cattle.

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The Grand Section Guardian #017 - Stop 17 Meekatharra

Surrounded by open cut mines, with the protective ring of ‘rehabilitated’ earth and small signs urging caution, Meekatharra still has significant deposits of gold, copper and ore to be dug. Meanwhile decade old gaping pits leave locals scratching their heads as to how to utilize these monumental sized constructions to leverage tourism, the scale of modern ruins. The administrative centre of the region, Meekatharra is certainly not for the meek.

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The Grand Section Guardian #016 - Stop 16 Laverton

Littered in history and holes, it almost feels as if no piece of ground has been left untouched. Rusty cans, glass and broken prospector dreams litter the landscape. Manmade mesas and hills rise high above the Mulgas. Behind a clump of Acacias is a century old brick cricket pitch, overgrown. To the unknowing eye, simply, a landscape of ‘nothing’.

One thing to consider: Gold exists in greater abundance in Australia than any other place in the world

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The Grand Section Guardian #015 - Stop 015 Warburton

Ride in, dusty and lunch hungry. Time turns back 1.5 hours so the pre-prepared lunches don’t come out for another hour, delayed further by a drop in internet and EFTPOS services. Camp dogs and dust clouds from ever cycling windowless cars. Lunch when it does come is a surprisingly tasty burger, the only hot and filling option. It’s the off week for fresh food, a couple of sad carrots for dinner. Nothing unusual. 

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The Grand Section Guardian #014 - Stop 014 Uluru

Well shit, the arbiter of the whole Grand Section, the heart of the nation, the spiritual center, the symbol of Aus-bloody-straya,…we made it! This epic place is inhabited mostly in the “township” of Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort), a 1983 purpose built town as a comfortable base for viewing Ayers Rock (Uluru) and The Olga’s (Kata Tjuta) as they were known. Uluru’s massive scale, isolation and abruptness does make this place truly powerful. Light changes on the faces of the rock constantly, revealing hidden cracks, colours and forms day by day. “No day is the same” the rangers tell us and we begin to understand.

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The Grand Section Guardian #013 - Stop 013 Wallace Rockhole

PERMIT REQUIRED, PERMIT REQUIRED says the map at the CLC (Central Land Council). In reality permits are not required and the ongoing battle between community and Policy is fought somewhere in the tangle of red tape. The small indigenous community is only 117km from Alice Springs, down a ‘dead-end’ road, at the edge of the sand hill country and nestled into the red face of the James range. A once strong town caught metaphorically and literally in-between a rock and a hard place.

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The Grand Section Guardian #012 - Stop 012 Alice Springs (Mparntwe)

The landscape is more powerful than most. We cycled through vast horizontality; undulating ancient sea beds and were profoundly moved by the contrasting verticality which meets us in the Alice Springs surrounds. The MacDonnell ranges has a demanding presence, passing through the gap we’re left speechless. Layers of eroded angled strata saying all.

There is an intensity to this place that makes you sit up and take notice. The scale of Alice is graspable by one mind, tantalizingly tangible, you can hold all the complexities and contradictions by their threads and understand how one action reverberates through the web of repercussions.

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The Grand Section Guardian #011 - Non Stops 009-011 -In-between - Marree to Alice Springs

The in-between, just as crucial as the destinations or stops. Through slowness we are fully emersed in the place, people and stuff (architecture). It is through engaging with the broader Australian condition and all it comprises that we are learning the most and blowing many preconceptions to smithereens. Having an in-depth understanding of the value of how place influences in-habitation is crucial to 'good' architecture for people and place.

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The Grand Section Guardian #009 - Stop 07 Birdsville

Birdsville, population 115 (+/- 7000), a place of dynamic flux existing for tourism. Long affiliated locals manage the role of local, tour guide, advocate and pastoralist with apparent ease and have a significant place in the community and surrounds. Stone and masonry buildings were prolific and notably novel compared to the other towns we have been. Our first glimpse of the Sturt’s desert pea, was a graceful sight in contrast to the red blushing earth. 

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