1959-66 THE DESIGN INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (ACT) A social initiative in the ACT by DFW on behalf of the federal body of the DIA

The website heading of the ACT branch of the DIA since ~2015

As you may have read elsewhere I initiated the formation of the Society of Designers for Industry in NSW in the early 1950s but around 1958 it was felt that a more representative body should be formed called the Industrial Design Institute of Australia (IDIA). However, I had moved to Canberra in 1957 so I initiated the formation of the IDIA (ACT) around 1959.

Initial members were Fred Ward, myself, Harry Sprintz, Arthur Robinson, and a few graphic designers John Pitson (largely employed by the Government Printer in Kingston – other names escape me).

Canberra was only about 30,000 population in those days and, to be realistic, we didn’t have the critical mass for success, so we lasted only a few years.

I tried to revive it again around 1980 and the same thing happened.

However, in 2001 with a population of around 300,000 and a much more diverse range of occupations the critical mass had perhaps arrived and the DIA has been alive ever since with a wide range of design specialisations and with young people with energy.

I have kept loosely in touch with what is going on but find that increasing age and my divergence of design interests have not meshed well with a (much) younger group of designers whose view of design has changed from my experiences.

I had coffee with the new President who opened the DIA.ACT function Fashionfest early in 2015 and met after many years my old colleague Tone Wheeler from my New Millwrights days. We are both still engaged with environmental design matters which was good to discuss, but for us both we have slowed down despite the rich density of designer blood that still flows around the aching bodies. Design, I am glad to say, is still an exciting passion to us, but….