National Library of Australia

The National Library Reading Rooms are now open at reduced hours. Find out more to plan your visit.

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Papers of Colin Madigan, 1900-2002 [manuscript]
Bib ID 759843
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Madigan, C. F., 1921-2011
Related Online
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1900-2002] 
27.8 m. (27 boxes) + 7 medium folio boxes + 9 large folio boxes + 7 outsize phase boxes + 3 elephant folios + 4 map folios. 

The papers in MS 9863 comprise correspondence, plans, drawings, reports and photographs, the majority of which were produced by Colin Madigan in the pursuit of his architectural work. The drawings and plans are from all periods of Madigan's creative life including his earliest student drawings. Some of Madigan's most important architectural projects are well documented in the papers, particularly his work on the National Gallery of Australia. The only material not related to Madigan's architectural work is the series covering his war service and the sinking of the HMAS Armidale in 1942. Within the plans series (Series 8) there are also a number of drawings and plans produced by Frederick Madigan, Colin Madigan's father. Correspondence and other papers relating to a proposed biography of Madigan by Geoffrey Serle belong to Series 13.


Architect. Colin Frederick Madigan was born in Glen Innes, New South Wales, in 1921. His father, Frederick John Madigan, also an architect, had a practice in Inverell at which Madigan began working as an assistant at 14 years of age. Madigan began studying architecture at Sydney Technical College in 1939. However, he interrupted his studies during the Second World War by enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy, in which he served until 1946. In December 1942, he survived for ten days in open seas after the sinking by Japanese military forces of his ship HMAS Armidale. Madigan qualified as an architect in 1950 and, in 1954, became a principal within the architectural firm of Edwards Madigan Torzillo, later named Edwards Madigan Torzillo Briggs International or EMTBI.

Madigan designed a number of houses, but worked between 1950 and 1967 predominately on a range of public buildings including libraries and colleges. The major projects he worked on, completed between 1968 and 1982, were the National Gallery of Australia and the High Court of Australia, both of which are in the parliamentary zone of Canberra. Madigan commenced work on the High Court of Australia after its designer Christopher Kringas (of Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Briggs) died in March 1975, just prior to the start of construction in April 1975.

Working on these two buildings, Madigan became particularly interested and involved in the planning and design of the entire parliamentary zone. In the 1980s he was a finalist in the Parliament House competition and worked on a Parliamentary Zone Development Plan. From 1982 he also served on the National Capital Planning Committee and lectured and corresponded widely on the subject of Canberra. Madigan won a number of architectural awards, including the Sulman prize for 1966 and 1970, and was RAIA Gold Medallist in 1981. After declining a CBE, he was created an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1984.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 9863.

Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Colin Madigan. 
Index/Finding Aid Note Finding aid (23 p.) available in the Special Collections Reading Room. 
Subjects Madigan, C. F., 1921-2011 -- Archives.  |  Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Briggs Pty Ltd.  |  National Gallery of Australia.  |  Architects -- Australia -- Archives.  |  City planning -- Australian Capital Territory -- Canberra.  |  Architecture -- Australian Capital Territory -- Canberra.  |  High Court of Australia (Canberra, A.C.T.)  |  Public buildings -- Australian Capital Territory -- Canberra -- Designs and plans.  |  Canberra (A.C.T.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Time Coverage 1900-2002 
Occupation Architects.


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    MS 9863 Special Collections Reading Room
    Access details ... more

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.