In the 1920s, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Lucy Mahony turned the creative energies from designing Canberra to the suburb of Castlecrag with roadways that hugged the contours of the hills and houses that nestled into the landscape.
They discovered a gully with excellent acoustics and together they designed it as a community theatre site. In the 1930s the new residents with the help of local sculptor and stone mason Bim Hilder came together to construct “ The New Haven Scenic Theatre“ as their first community project. The theatre was resurrected and redesigned by local architect Robert Sheldon in 1976 and a stage installed, then rebuilt in 1992 with an undercroft, 100sq.metre stage. underground power, lighting and seating for over 300 people. A functional theatre.
Have a look at the advertisement for Castlecrag made by the Griffins in 1928.
The Haven Amphitheatre is truly one of the great outdoor treasures of Sydney.
There is a little known character who has played a major role in the construction of The Haven, in fact many would say that The Haven would not be had it no been for Bim Hilder, Bim in fact was the stone mason who was the main stay in the building on the Haven.
Marion Lucy Mahony
Marion Lucy Mahony was the unsung hero on the partnership, they say behind every great man there is an even greater woman, in the case of the Griffins this was indeed the case, Marion it is now understood was very much the creative and artistic mainstay behind the genius of Walter.
After Walters death in 1930’s Marion transferred the title of The Haven to Willoughby city council to be used as an open air theatre for the people. It is still managed by a group of dedicated locals, who are ratified as a committee of Willoughby City Council.