In 1998 Duncan Richards delivered a lecture to architecture students at The University of Western Australia titled A Journey without Maps: Architectural History Research in Western Australia. He described the approach to architectural history research in the state by quoting Robert Louis Stevenson: “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”. Duncan went on to say, “At present in the field of architectural history in W.A. we have few maps in the form of comprehensive research studies.” He concluded the lecture by saying, “Who are the map makers? We, and others, are the map makers. The work we do must, at least in part, make a difference.”

Over the last forty years Duncan Richards and Oline Richards have made a significant difference to our understanding of Western Australia’s architectural history through their extensive writing on the state’s architecture and designed landscapes. Concern that much of their work existed in scattered sources or was hidden from view provided the impetus for this project.

The establishment of the online Richards’ Writing Collection provides access to a complete catalogue of their writing and presents a number of previously unpublished works. The first of these to be published are the ‘Christmas Card’ essays written by Duncan from 2002 until 2007; a collection of “local stories” and reflections on his experiences as a practitioner, academic and architectural historian.

Leonie Matthews
Lecturer
Department of Architecture & Interior Architecture
Curtin University of Technology

November 2008

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