Abstract >>
This article charts the commission given to architects Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin; the cultural as well as national significance of the Theatre; and its place within Melbourne’s vibrant screen culture since it was unveiled 93 years ago. The article also importantly spotlights the contribution to the theatre’s design by Mahony, whose work as an architect and designer was not adequately acknowledged during her lifetime. 

After years of closure, there are plans afoot for Melbourne’s iconic Capitol Theatre to reopen once again and establish a new life. Built between 1921 and 1924, Capitol House (which includes the Capitol Theatre) has been described as “the most important twentieth century building in Melbourne”.1 However, it has witnessed many openings and closures over its history, despite its outstanding architectural significance, its beauty and ability to function as a world-class cinema space. This article presents an overview of the Capitol Theatre’s history, the commission to architects Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin, the cultural as well as national significance, and its place within Melbourne’s vibrant screen culture since it was unveiled 93 years ago. Also offered here is a spotlight on the contribution to the theatre’s design by Marion Mahony Griffin, whose work as an architect and designer was not adequately acknowledged during her lifetime. 

The Theatre and the City of Melbourne

The Capitol was one of three luxury theatres that opened in the latter part of 1924 in Australia,2 and the first of three grand “picture palaces” to open in the city of Melbourne during the 1920s.3 Leading architect, author and critic Robin Boyd described the theatre in 1965 as “the best cinema that has ever been built or is ever likely to be built”.4 The Capitol opened with a grand launch on Friday 7 November 1924. It was a private function attended by the Victorian Premier, Mr Prendergast, and other dignitaries.5 There was considerable public interest in this event, which was understandable in the context that this was an historic screen culture “first” for the city of Melbourne, which had never before seen a cinema of this scale and opulence. The Argus reported that six police officers were “detailed to control the crowds that sought admittance”.6.

Press interest in the event was also substantial. On the day of the opening, there was a ten-page supplement in The Herald. The Argus noted the £580,000 cost, the luxury of the theatre, the lavish lighting effects, and the impressive Wurlitzer (which was to become an attraction itself). Purchased for £15,000, the Wurlitzer was said to be the largest in Australia at that time and one of only four like it in the world.7 The organ enabled the performance of a special musical score for the opening film: Cecil B. De Mille’s 1923 version of The Ten Commandments.8 According to Julien Arnold, a member of the ‘Melbourne Theatre Organ’ society and one of the people to remove the organ from the Capitol in 1963, it also had a unique and impressive fidelity of sound in that location. 9

Capitol House began a change in the architecture of the city of Melbourne, and thus its look and feel as a modern city. It arguably paved the way for buildings such as the magnificent Manchester Unity Building, erected next door in 1932. In the 1920s, Melbourne had been a substantially Victorian city. It has been described as “The Paris of the Pacific”, with its “wide streets, boulevards, and open spaces” and streets lined with “ornate Victorian and Edwardian facades”.10 The buildings regarded to have architectural distinction had been predominantly of the 19th century but the Capitol House building marks a change. The backers of the Capitol understood modernity in combining shops, offices, accommodation and entertainment, ensuring its life in both the day and the evening. This is significant because this new way of thinking. It is a shift where architecture and the use of buildings was responding to the modern era and is motivated by an alignment to modernity (in the sense of architecture responding to ideas of the experience of an urban metropolis and changes in modern life within a city).

“New Ground” In Australian Film Presentation

The Capitol theatre itself was the prime attraction for the opening, as evidenced by the advertisement in the papers on 8 November 1924; it boasted “Australia’s theatre of wonders: Melbourne’s Greatest Attraction!” Although some early theatre performances are verified by existing photographs,11. However, it is now not online but a copy is held and available through the author of this article. Around 1938 Paramount did feature regular stage presentations as well. American Jack Lester (who worked in dance direction for Paramount) was, according to Miller and Walsh brought in from the US to direct variety acts of up to 45 minutes that were featured with film programs at that time. Natalie and Henry Miller, Michael and Maria Walsh, “The New Beginning: The Capitol Cinema”, document for the launch of their management of the Capitol (July1987), p. 2; held at the AFIRC Collection@RMIT.] “it was clearly and unashamedly meant to be a cinema”.12 Throughout the 1920s the Capitol shifted the experience of cinema-going to unparalleled levels. This is exemplified in a description of the 1926 première of The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin, 1925), where the original 2137 seating capacity proved inadequate to the demand:

The house was practically sold out before the doors were opened at seven o’clock, and the lines of cars that drew up to the theatre as eight o’clock approached was reminiscent of an opera first night. Prior to the commencement of the big feature, Horace Weber on the grand Wurlitzer was heard in several solos, including Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Sing a Song’, and the Capitol Operatic Orchestra, under Stan White, assisted by the organ, gave a spirited rendering … Then as the lights slowly faded out in the auditorium, we were introduced to the first scene in the prologue … The lighting effects, the music and the atmosphere, which is preserved throughout the whole presentation, breaks new ground in picture presentation in Australia … 13

This “new ground” was the unprecedented viewing experience. As Walters has observed: “[t]hese were the days of showmanship [sic.] and presentation, where a night at the pictures was truly an experience to enjoy”.14 Kristin Otto has written that the “‘operatic orchestra’ played live every session from a moveable platform. It would ascend into audience view, descending slowly again when the screening started”.15 The Sun of 8 November 1923 reported that when the twenty performers rose above the main floor level, “cries of astonishment echoed through the building”.16 The lighting design provided emphasis, and was “synchronized with the Wurlitzer organ music”.17 As Ross Thorne has observed, hidden amongst the plaster crystals were thousands of coloured lamps that produced “light that changed through all the hues in the spectral range …”18 In addition, the design provided a democratic approach to film viewing by allowing all spectators comparable access to the screen and the theatre’s surroundings.

Capitol Theatre Ushers 1920s


Capitol Theatre Ushers 1950s (taken Salon/dress circle foyer)

There was also a new approach to service, and from the inception, glamorous usherettes enhanced the luxury feel of the theatre. The initial design was a satin dress with a dropped waist and the men were in black tie (pictured above). This changed over the decades. According to Loraine Wood, who was an usherette in the 1950s, the job was gained on one’s physical appearance. But they were also working to ensure the audience experience, and their role provides evidence of a commitment to this. For example, one usherette would be charged with sitting in the front row of the dress circle, where she would adjust the volume. Another would survey the audience to ascertain their satisfaction, writing down comments. 19

Light from demolished downstairs area

The furnishings, light fittings and golden decorative box office, which were also designed by the building’s architects, contributed to the experience. According to a conservation report written in 1989, the Capitol was considered notable for the vibrancy of its coloured furnishings, with wonderful “curtains in copper velvet, embroidered in peacock blue” and “lampshades of daffodil yellow and copper”. The balconette (the men’s smoking lounge) was “of a modern style. The seats were covered in green silk damask … a peculiar shade running in certain lights almost into blue”.20 The carpet of orange, carmine and green colouring repeated the arrow motif of the original proscenium theatre curtain, which was:

not yellow, […] not red; the trimmings are not green and they are not blue. The effect is one of rich and mystic loveliness. The second set of stage curtains entirely made of gold tissue, another set of silver tissue, another of black satin, and another of pure white, will form a series of stage effects seen in no other theatre. 21

Original box office (demolished) and entrance 

The Commission and the Architects

The business syndicate who commissioned Capitol House, A.J. Lucas of the Cafe Australia22 and the Phillips brothers, made the opulence and extravagance of the building and its furnishings possible. Herman Phillips had experience and contacts in the film industry and the brothers were initially “heavily involved in the day to day running of the theatre”.23 Lucas was an influential man in 1920s Melbourne: he was the Greek Consul General, a philanthropist, and a successful restaurateur. Indeed, he was reportedly “Melbourne’s first millionaire”.24 He had previously commissioned Walter Burley Griffin to design his home, and the now demolished Café Australia. There is evidence that Lucas took a keen interest in film. The wedding scene of the 1925 film Jewelled Nights, starring and co-directed by Louise Lovely (with her husband Wilton Welch), was shot in his Toorak mansion. Lucas’ daughter, Marea, appeared as a bridesmaid in the film and some of that footage still exists.25

The architects for Capitol House were husband and wife team Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony-Griffin (she is hereafter referred to as Mahony). They originally came to Australia from Chicago after he won the Federal Capital Design Competition for Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Both Mahony and Griffin had worked for architect Frank Lloyd Wright in America and it has been observed that Mahony’s “beautiful watercolor renderings of buildings and landscapes became known as a staple of Wright’s style”.26 Later this became true of Walter Burley Griffin’s style as well. According to the film City of Dreams (Mason 2000), the Capitol Theatre got its name from the centrepiece of the Canberra plan: “It was probably the Griffins themselves who persuaded their Melbourne clients to call the proposed theatre and office development the ‘Capitol’”. They had used that name for the monumental centrepiece of Canberra (which was never built) – a ziggurat construction 27 that was intended to crown Capitol Hill.28

According to Lovell’s 1987 conservation study, the importance of the architectural innovations of Mahony and Griffin is that it represents the only examples of the Chicago school in Australia. They were forerunners of early 20th century Modernist ideas from Europe, they innovated in building methodology (for example, a Knitlock concrete block system used in the Capitol), and they created an architectural feat that took the technology of the day to its maximum. For example, the ceiling of the Capitol Theatre opened to the sky in two places (to let the smoke out) – a feature that, according to the Lovell conservation report, ceased to be used in the 1960s.29 They were visionaries in applying ornaments, fixtures and fittings, something that had not happened before in Australia and also gave Melbourne what is described as a “spiritualist vision in architecture”.30

The spiritual philosophy of the architecture also arguably extends to the expression of the ideals of, or the framing of, the story of the nation. This idea was examined in a performance at the 2016 Melbourne Festival called “Cultural Collisions: Ethereal Eye”. The Griffins’ work was described as hoping:

to express, at a crucial moment in Australia’s history, a series of ideas and ideals which might have become – through the buildings and urban fabric of a city itself – an embodiment of aspects of the aspirations of a nascent nation; a representation of a new national ethos or attitude.31

The idea of an “ethereal eye” is Mahony’s view of looking at the world in a manner that was sensitive to the subliminal auras and the subtle but ethereal nature of looking, particularly at the nature of our physical surroundings.32 The 1920s picture palace was well placed to achieve this sense of potential, awe, grand idealism, aesthetic and technical achievement. In addition, the times were right with audiences increasingly interested in motion pictures after the First World War when there was a growth of cinemas, particularly large ones, as part of an effort to rebuild and restore morale.

As a project expressing the aspirations of a nascent Australia (and the city of Melbourne), this unprecedented and innovative building was ahead of its time. The Australian Institute of Architects notes it is important because of its:

aesthetic significance for the innovative treatment of the interior, particularly of the auditorium. In the Australian context the ornament, applied to the interior and the fixtures and fittings, was in a style totally outside any previous or existing ornamental traditions and was extraordinary in concept and execution. The lighting design and technology used in the foyers and the auditorium was unique and highly advanced in concept and design. Capitol House is of technological significance for its highly innovative structural design of steel and concrete which took the technology of the day to its limits. 33

A Social History

The theatre also played a role in the social history of Melbourne, hosting some of its longest running and most popular seasons. Examples include Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean, 1970), which was the last MGM 70mm film released. It “screened into its second year and filled the Capitol every night” and after 10 months and 800-plus screenings, the print deteriorated and the theatre had to secure a new one.34 Another was the long-running America disaster film Towering Inferno (John Guillermin, 1974). It was exhibited with the ceiling lights flashing red to emphasise key scenes. These screenings are well remembered by Melbournians because the flashing lights and theatre ambiance made an impression on the memory of visitors (personal observation from taking people through the theatre). The venue leaves an indelible impression on visitors who recall not only the film they saw, but also what the experience was like – the type of recollection not inspired by a visit to a modern Hoyts or Village venue. The work of Juhani Pallasmaa enables an insight into why this occurs. He has described the importance of sensory experience in architecture.35  The architecture of the theatre in combination with features such as the sound and lighting, and films themselves all secure a ‘sensory experience’ for the body, the senses, and the imagination.

Capitol House more broadly also had a role in the social history of the city. In the 1940s a nightclub, first called The Ambassador Dance Hall and Café, was established in the basement (which is now an arcade). During World War II it became an Allied Services Club operated by the Myer Department Store and was called ‘The Dug Out’. Film buff Paul Harris has said that: “in 1942 that basement area was imaginatively transformed to boost wartime morale and provide practical comfort for servicemen on leave”.36 According to Harris, volunteers offered basic facilities without charge (e.g. a barber, laundry, sewing, and telephone calls). It was renowned for holding the best dances, and troops used to meet there “as a matter of routine”.37

A Feminist ‘Herstory’: Marion Mahony-Griffin

Whist she was a pioneer par excellence in her field, Mahony was also a woman of her particular time and era. Her history is reflective of the way society regarded women and her journey is just one in the social history of women. Mahony’s background and career trajectory were unconventional for the times. According to architectural historian Bronwyn Hanna, Mahony’s mother was part of a circle of intellectual and activist women who participated in social and educational reform. It was this network of independent women who “helped Marion into professional life as an architect – one woman friend paid for her education, while another was responsible for introducing her to the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.”38 She worked for Wright until 1909 and was known in his office for her “extraordinary talents as a draftsperson, illustrator and designer of furnishings”.39

Mahony was also a trailblazer; in 1894 she was the second woman to graduate in architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and she was the first registered woman architect in Illinois. She helped pioneer women’s participation in architecture in the United States, as well as contributing as “a founding member of the Prairie School”, and aside from Frank Lloyd Wright, was its “longest practitioner”.40

Although not explicitly interested in feminist activism, Mahony was nonetheless an advocate for women in her field. A year after she arrived in Australia, she addressed the National Council of Women at the Royal Society’s rooms on the topic of “Women as architects”. According to Rubbo, she “made an impression”.41 The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported her talk on 12 October 1915, and it is clear that she was ahead of her time. She said: “[i]f women wished to succeed there was no reason why they should not, but they had to be prepared to dedicate themselves to the task”.42 Other than this event, it does not appear that Mahony was motivated by feminist insight because she never promoted her own work and was apparently content to remain in the shadow of her husband. Reportedly, Mahony’s “model for being a woman and a married woman is staying in the background and making sure everything ran smoothly”.43 This is likely to have contributed to her lack of visibility. However, a contemporary feminist enterprise is dedicated to elevating her to her rightful status through emphasising her role, career, creative life story, and the continued existence of what she created (and this article makes a small contribution to that project).

Marion Mahony Griffin

According to academic Anna Rubbo, Mahony was a central creative force in many of the projects that have previously been viewed as the sole creation of her business partner and husband.44 Even the commission to design Canberra is now understood to have been equally the work of Mahony: “Although the prize was awarded to her husband, it is now recognized that Marion was also deeply involved in preparing the competition entry as a whole, and not just her exquisitely rendered plans and her perspective views of the envisaged city”.45

Architectural scholars Peter Proudfoot and Graham Pont have noted that one of the:

most striking continuities between the Capitol and the Capital is the exploitation of crystalline forms and imagery. Marion was particularly keen on crystals and her enthusiasm is evident in her dreamy perspective views of Canberra and the astonishing interior decoration of the Capitol Theatre. It is said that she was entirely responsible for the design of the crystal ceiling and this is confirmed by several of the detail sheets with her personal annotations.46

Architect Janice Pregliasco has also observed that the majority of the more than 400 drawings for the Capitol Theatre were signed by Mahony, not Griffin.47 This evidence provides what Gledhill and Knight call ‘material remnants’ of Mahony’s leading and central role in the design of the Capitol, which is significant for a feminist ‘herstory’ of her achievement.48 The architecture itself also provides interpretative evidence; for instance, Vanessa Bird, President of the Institute of Architects (Victoria), has said the theatre contains “tells” of her style and aesthetic approach.49 Despite this, many sources continue to attribute the Capitol Theatre solely to Walter Burley Griffin.50 This is a problem of film history where many women’s contributions to their respective cultures (or film cultures) have often been “uncredited and undocumented”.51

Nevertheless, many contemporary architects and historians have provided descriptions of Mahony’s creativity and innovation in designing the Capitol.52 Mahony’s interest in nature and mathematics informed the originality of her perspective. These aspects of her creativity have been the subject of several recent publications.53 Rubbo has written that today, Mahony has been generally acknowledged in architectural circles as responsible for the Capitol’s brilliant, geometric ceiling.54 Architect Janice Pregliasco has described the 33,000 plaster crystals that “gather and culminate in a huge cloud that pours down the proscenium over the stage” as “Marion turn[ing] a functional necessity – acoustical diffusion – into a work of organic art.”55 For Pregliasco, Mahony’s pièce de résistance is the pulsating sky achieved by the 6000 (it is actually 400056) green, blue and white bulbs inside the crystals that work to intensify them. Pregliasco claims the Capitol’s visual motifs relate metaphorically to its functions, where the “squares of the arcade represent the rational world of commerce, the physical world outside. The sensuous curves of the lobby are an architectural directive to abandon the rational world and enter the emotional one of the theatre, which forms a vast crystal ‘cave’”.57  Writer and activist Lucy Lippard has claimed that there is “a lot of sexual imagery in women’s art – circles, domes, eggs, spheres, boxes, biomorphic shapes, maybe a certain striation or layering … fragments … antilogical, antilinear approach”.58 Using Lippard to think about Mahony’s influence on the design, it could arguably be interpreted as one that leads the visitor from the rational world of men into the world of women’s imagery. For instance, the entrance of the theatre has geometric designs to the street (still visible today), and this leads through to the now demolished circular lobbies, curved stairwells, round archways and crystalline formations clustering jewel-like against bowed foyer ceiling.

Curved foyers

Conclusion: The “Theatre Magnificent”59

The history of The Capitol Theatre is a fascinating story of how two internationally significant architects made an important contribution to Australian architecture and to screen culture in the city of Melbourne. The Capitol facilitated unprecedented viewing experiences and encounters. As stated, the Griffins’ work provides the only examples of the Chicago school in Australia and it is of enormous aesthetic and technological significance. In revisiting Mahony’s contribution, this article has positioned her as the central creative force behind the theatre, including its furnishings, fittings, lighting, innovations—and particularly the utilization of crystalline forms and imagery which most dominantly manifest in the breath-taking ceiling of the theatre.  The Capitol was a site that was a signifier of a nascent nation and embodied the aspirations of modernity. It opened its doors in a noteworthy era for cinema, where ‘picture palaces’ were important to post-war rebuilding, if not national building.

Today the theatre remains an RMIT asset and after a period of closure, it is seeking a new lease of life. Following a public campaign to fund a substantial renovation (announced 21 November 2017), a new vision has emerged to create a hub for the creative industries and the people of Melbourne by night, and one thousand RMIT students a week by day. Through this it will come back to life again in both the day and the evening. This new incarnation aspires to bring together a host of creative activities and key creatives to form important collaborations and within the walls of the Capitol form vibrant communities of practice. This theatre of enormous “architectural, historic and social significance”60 will, if the campaign is successful, be returned to Melbournians by 2019. Visitors will once again be able to experience the Capitol:  “one of those modern age churches in which communities gather to dream: a cinema, one of the greatest in the world.”61

The Capitol Theatre today

This article has been peer reviewed.


This research was originally presented at the conference Screening Melbourne in February 2017 (ACMI and State Library of Victoria). The author advises readers that she is involved in the RMIT reactivation of The Capitol Theatre project, and is therefore an interested party. She would like to thank Martin Bean, the AFI Research Collection (Catherine Gillam and Alexander Gionfriddo), Mark Poole, Marc Morell, Julie Stafford, Martyn Hook, Paul Gough, Tania Lewis, Lucasta Clothier-Fairs, ‘Friends of the Capitol’, Paul Harris, Julian Arnold, Vanessa Bird, Michael Helms, Screening Melbourne special dossier editors (Sean Redmond and Glen Donnar) and Senses of Cinema referees.


  1. Allom Lovell, The Capitol Building: Conversation Study (vol 1), (Melbourne: Allom Lovell & Associates Pty Ltd, 1989), p. 2.
  2. The other two in Australia were the Wintergarden in Brisbane (opened August 1924 and demolished in 1981) and the Prince Edward in Sydney (opened November 1924 and demolished in 1965).
  3. Melbourne’s “picture palaces” were the State Theatre, which opened in February 1929, and the Regent Theatre, which opened in March 1929. Ross Thorne identifies the term “picture palace” as one ordinarily used by “highly decorated city cinemas of the 1920s”, including the Capitol. Ross Thorne, Picture Palace Architecture in Australia (South Melbourne, Sun Books, 1976), p. 4.
  4. Robin Boyd, “Griffin’s Magic Glows Again,” The Australian, 24 December 1965, p. 8.
  5. The rest of the building opened shortly after as it was not fully complete at the time the theatre opened.
  6. Author not attributed, “Capitol Theatre: Official Opening,” The Argus, 8 November 1924, p. 25 http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2065316
  7. Lovell, op. cit., p. 16.
  8. Cecil B. De Mille as Cecil B. de Mille in this film; he also made another version with the same title in 1956. The source for the performance of the special score is: Author not attributed, “Capitol Theatre: Official Opening,” 1924, op. cit.
  9. Lisa French, Interview with Julien Arnold (Melbourne, 17 March 2017). The organ was purchased by the Theatre Organ Society for £1250 and was restored in 1967 and put into Melbourne’s Dendy cinema in Brighton (celebrating 50 years at an event on 30 April 2017). According to Arnold, the organ never sounded the same in its new location. On each side of the screen at the Capitol are rooms containing all the organ’s ‘plumbing’. This was left when the organ was removed and is still there. This means the organ could potentially be reconnected and the original sound achieved. (It is, however, an expensive undertaking).
  10. Lovell, op. cit., p. 11.
  11. There is a photograph of a full stage performance of Jas L. Thornley’s stage accompaniment to Sally: “A Flutter in a Dovecote”. Originally this image was viewed at the webpage: The Encyclopaedia (sic) of Theatre Organs: Capitol Theatre, Melbourne http://theatreorgans.com/southerncross/victoria/capitolmelb.htm (accessed 5 January 2017)
  12. Miller and Walsh, ibid, p. 1.
  13. Author unattributed, article title not given, Everyone’s, 8 May 1926 quoted at The Theatre Organ homepage: http://theatreorgans.com/southerncross/victoria/capitolmelb.htm (accessed 5 January 2017, site now deleted).
  14. Trevor Walters, The Picture Palaces of Melbourne: A History of Melbourne’s Picture Theatres (Cheltenham: T Walters, 2003), p. 15.
  15. Kristin Otto, Capital: Melbourne When It Was the Capital City of Australia 1901–28 (Melbourne: Text Publishing Company, 2009) p. 344.
  16. Author not attributed, The Sun, 7 November 1923, p. 13 quoted in Lovell, op. cit., p. 24.
  17. Harriet Edquist and Elizabeth Grierson, A Skilled Hand and Cultivated Mind: A Guide to the Architecture and Art of RMIT University (Melbourne: RMIT University Press, 2008) p. 148.
  18. Thorne, op. cit., 1976, p. 20.
  19. Loraine Wood, “Front of House at the Capitol,” CinemaRecord 57 (2007): p. 14.
  20. Lovell, op. cit., p. 25.
  21. Lovell, ibid, p. 30.  Unfortunately, the beautiful original velvet drop curtain and stage curtains were destroyed in a fire during the screening of a matinee on 27 July 1925 (along with the screen, its supports and some scenery). However, seventeen hundred patrons were safely evacuated. Graeme McBain, “Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre,” CinemaRecord 93 (2017): p. 8.
  22. The Café Australia was the Griffin’s first architectural design in Australia (1916) and Mahony undertook the interior design, furniture and decoration. The Australian Dictionary of Biography, ‘Griffin, Walter Burley (1876-1937) (accessed 5 February, 2017) http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/griffin-walter-burley-443.
  23. Not long after the Capitol opened both Phillips brothers also became involved in the management of the Palais Theatre in St Kilda”. Lovell, op. cit., p. 15.
  24. Walters, 2003, op. cit., p. 15.
  25. Jeannette Delamoir, “Jewelled Nights: ‘Can Good Movies Be Made in Australia?’” Senses of Cinema 65 (November 2013), http://sensesofcinema.com/2012/tasmania-and-the-cinema/jewelled-nights-can-good-movies-be-made-in-australia-1/. According to Delamoir (2012), the company filmed scenes of a ball and preliminaries to the wedding at “Whernside”, which was the Albany Road, Toorak home of Lucas.
  26. Griffith City Library, “Meet the Griffins: An Enlightening Introduction to Walter Burley Griffin & Marion Mahony Griffin” (July 1 – September 30, 2016), https://issuu.com/westernriverinalibraries/docs/august_2016_-_meet_the_griffins_boo.
  27. A ziggurat refers to an ancient Mesopotamian terraced structure.
  28. Graham Pont and Peter Proudfoot, “From Cosmic City to Esoteric Cinema: Pythagorean Mathematics and Design in Australia” in Architecture and Mathematics from Antiquity to the Future: vol II, Kim Williams and Michael J Ostwald, eds. (Switzerland: Springer Int. Pub, 2015), p. 362.
  29. Lovell, op. cit., p. 27.
  30. Lovell, ibid, pp. 40 and 91.
  31. Jonathan Mills, “Composers Notes” (catalogue for) Cultural Collision: Granger/Griffiths, Performance at Newman College as part of the Melbourne Festival (6–23 October 2016), https://www.festival.melbourne/2016/events/ethereal-eye/
  32. Mills, 2016, ibid.
  33. Australian Institute of Architects, “Capitol House and Theatre,” Nationally Significant 20th Century Architecture (9 January 2012), http://www.architecture.com.au/docs/default-source/vic-notable-buildings/capitol-house-amp-theatre.pdf?sfvrsn=0
  34. Walters, 2003, op. cit., p. 79.
  35. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes Of the Skin—Architecture of the Seven Senses (Great Britain: Wiley Academy, 2005), p.22.
  36. Friends of the Capitol Facebook: message to Lisa French from Paul Harris 19 December 2016.
  37. Peter Dunn, “THE DUG-OUT,” (2015), http://www.ozatwar.com/civilian/dugout.htm
  38. Bronwyn Hanna, “Griffin, Marion Mahony,” Dictionary of Sydney (Powerhouse Publishing: Sydney, 2008), http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/griffin_marion_mahony
  39. Lovell, op. cit., p. 34.
  40. Hanna, 2008, op. cit.
  41. Anna Rubbo, “Marion Mahony: A Larger Than Life Presence” in Beyond Architecture: Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin: America, Anne Jeanette Watson, ed. (Sydney: Australia, India, Powerhouse Publishing, 1998), p. 52.
  42. Rubbo, in Watson, 1998, op. cit., p. 52.
  43. PBS, “Janice Pregliasco” (interview, 1999), http://www.pbs.org/wbgriffin/janetp1.htm
  44. Rubbo, 1998, op. cit., p. 52.
  45. Graham Pont and Peter Proudfoot, “From Cosmic City to Esoteric Cinema: Pythagorean Mathematics and Design in Australia” in José Francisco Rodrigues & Kim Williams, eds., Nexus IV: Architecture and Mathematics, vol 4, 2002, p. 196.
  46. Pont and Proudfoot, 2015, op. cit., p. 362.
  47. Janice Pregliasco, “The Life and Work of Marion Mahony Griffin,” Museum Studies 21, no. 2 (1995), p. 178.
  48. Christine Gledhill and Julia Knight, eds. Doing Women’s Film History: Reframing Cinemas, Past and Future (University of Illinois Press: Champaign, 2015), p. 4. The term ‘herstory’ denotes the feminist politic of this article in putting Mahony back into the history she has been left out of through outlining her life achievements in regard to The Capitol. A ‘herstory’ foregrounds female lives and achievements, and highlights how male dominated histories of achievement have ignored, suppressed or minimized their contribution, in the process revealing the sexist ideology or bias.
  49. Lisa French, Interview with Vanessa Bird (Melbourne, 25 August 2016).
  50. John Adey (compiled from Eric Reed and Don McGregor), “Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre under threat!” Kino: Journal of the Australian Theatre Historical Society 67 (1999): pp. 24–25; Australian Institute of Architects, “Nationally Significant 20th-Century Architecture: Capitol House and Theatre”, www.architecture.com.au:docs:default-source:vic-notable-buidings:capitol-house-amp-theatre.pdf?sfvrsn=0
  51. Gledhill and Knight, 2015, op. cit., p. 2.
  52. Hanna, 2008, op. cit.; Pregliasco, 2015, op. cit.
  53. The ways in which her graphic work is defined by her innovative representations of nature is the subject of the book: Debora Wood, Marion Mahony Griffin: Drawing the Form of Nature, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and Northwest University Press: Evanston, IL, 2005. Her mathematical interests are outlined in Pont and Proudfoot, 2002, op. cit., pp. 195–206.
  54. Rubbo, 1998, op. cit., p. 52.
  55. Pregliasco, 1995, op. cit., p. 178.
  56. References vary in stating there are 4000–6000 globes. However, RMIT maintains the ceiling and have it as 4000. Replacing the globes is very labour intensive. In a personal email (19 December 2016), Michael Helms told me he was the night manager for Paul Coulter in the mid-1990s and he “crawled all throughout that ceiling replacing thousands of globes to restore it back to some sort of glory for the 1996 MIFF” (Melbourne International Film Festival).
  57. Pregliasco, 1995, op. cit., p. 178.
  58. Lucy Lippard, From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women’s Art, (New York: Dutton, 1976).
  59. In 1930 the Capitol was named by Paramount (who took out a ten-year lease at that time) as “The Theatre Magnificent”. According to Cinema Record (2005, p. 17) it was a tag thought to have been developed by an advertising agency and it was used until Hoyts took over and rebranded it in 1941.
  60. Victorian Government, “Victorian Heritage Database Report: Capitol Theatre and Capitol House” (8/9/17), http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/65695/download-report
  61. Otto, 2009, op. cit. p. 344.