Fleur Flanery was a delegate at the first-ever Australian Landscape Conference, held in 2002. Six months ago – and 17 years later – she bought it.
Flanery recalls that first conference, launched by Warwick and Sue Forge to explore thinking about gardens, gardening, public spaces and landscape architecture, as a thrill. “I had studied landscape architecture and gone out into the industry, and I realised how much I missed hearing ideas,” she says.
Since that beginning the Australian Landscape Conference has become an international get-together of great ideas and people in landscape, held in Melbourne every two years. One of the treasured aspects of the conference is its global focus – Australian speakers are joined by others from Asia, Europe, the UK and Americas – so you can discover people and ideas you haven’t come across before.
When the Forges announced they wanted to sell, there was anxiety that the conference would abandon some of the characteristics that have made it so good. But Flanery is keen to stick to the path. “I want the conference to continue to be exploratory, bringing the best of the world’s thinkers together.” Which, she says, is not as hard as you might imagine given the lure of our unique landscapes, flora and fauna, and the opportunity to hang out with some of the most exciting thinkers and creators in the field.