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Robin Boyd: Australian Ugliness


In this very special event, we celebrate the legacy of Robin Boyd (1919–71), arguably Australia’s most influential architect.

Fifty years after its first publication, Boyd’s bestselling The Australian Ugliness remains the definitive statement on how we live and think in the environments we create for ourselves.

‘The basis of the Australian ugliness,’ he wrote, ‘is an unwillingness to be committed on the level of ideas.’

The re-release of this Australian classic will be celebrated at the Wheeler Centre with a discussion of Boyd’s seminal work and its continuing relevance.

Chaired by Michael Heyward, the speakers will be Karen Burns, Gideon Haigh and Brenda Niall.


Karen Burns
Karen Burns

Dr Karen Burns lectures in the Department of Architecture at Monash University (Caulfield). She writes architectural history and criticism for Australian and international publications. With Harriet Edquist she convened a conference on Robin Boyd and was a contributing editor to the 1992 publicatio... Read more

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist 32 years, published 32 books and edited seven others.  His latest is book is Stroke of Genius: Victor Trumper and the Shot That Changed Cricket published in 2016 by Penguin Random House.

Michael Heyward

As well as being an author and editor, Michael Heyward is the managing director and publisher for Text Publishing, a multi-award-winning independent publishing company in Melbourne. Text publishes Australian and international authors, including Barack Obama, Kate Grenville, Helen Garner, Tim Flann... Read more

Brenda Niall

Melbourne author Brenda Niall has combined her career as an academic in Monash University’s English Department with that of biographer and literary critic. She now writes full time. She is the author of four award-winning biographies: Martin Boyd: a Life (1988), Georgiana (1995), The Boyds: a Fami... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.