Does Canberra’s Design Have Occult Origins?

Ever since the city’s plans were unveiled, rumours have swirled.

In the early 1900s, a competition was held to design a city plan for the Australia’s new capital city, Canberra. The winner was Walter Burley Griffin, an American architect and town planner.

At the time Parliament House was designed, Burley Griffin was associating with people in the theosophical movement, an occult society started in the 19th century that sought divine wisdom through contact with God and other spiritual beings.

His unique geometric designs and links to mysterious groups have led to speculation that the city plan is filled with occult symbols and messages linked to everything from Freemasonry to Kabbalah.

Believers say Parliament House represents the all-seeing eye pyramid of the Illuminati and the double ring around Capital Hill mark the area as a consecrated temple.

Scholar Peter Proudfoot, has suggested there was a “secret plan of Canberra”, based on the “cosmic canon of the ancients”.


An aerial view of Canberra [Image: CSIRO]

So what’s the truth?

James Weirick, an expert on the work of the Burley Griffin and his wife, says their background may have given them a spiritual awareness, but their work was not consciously occult-related.

The fundamental idea I think was that the ultimate authority of spiritual development was the soul itself,” he told ABC’s Compass program.

“And this idea that there is an inner quality and inner mystery is something which lies at the heart of everything that the Griffins do.”

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