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Colin Frederick Madigan AO (22 July 1921 – 17 September 2011) was an Australian architect. He is best known for designing the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Colin Madigan
Born(1921-07-22)22 July 1921
Glen Innes, New South Wales
Died17 September 2011(2011-09-17) (aged 90)
Bangalow, New South Wales
Alma materSydney Technical College
AwardsSulman prize
1966, 1970

Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal
PracticeEdwards Madigan Torzillo and Partners
BuildingsNational Gallery of Australia


Born in Glen Innes, New South Wales, Madigan studied architecture at Sydney Technical College from 1939 to 1941. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in 1941,[1] and was one of the few survivors of the sinking of the corvette HMAS Armidale off Timor in 1942.

In 1951 Madigan, Maurice Edwards and Jack Torzillo formed the firm, "Edwards Madigan Torzillo and Partners", whose work was mostly on public projects such as public housing, public libraries, schools and offices. A notable building from this period was the Warringah Council Library at Dee Why, New South Wales, which was awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal for architecture in 1966. In 1968, they won the design competition for the National Gallery of Australia. Later, Madigan supervised construction of the High Court of Australia after its designer Christopher Kringas died in March 1975, just prior to the start of construction in April 1975.[2] The unsuccessful design for the new Australian Parliament House in Canberra was one of the shortlisted finalists in the architectural design competition.

He retired in 1989.[3]

Madigan also wrote a book on the sinking of HMAS Armidale in 1942, Armidale '42 : a survivor's account.[4]

In later years, Madigan vigorously opposed plans to build a new entrance to the National Gallery of Australia.[5] He died, aged 90, in Bangalow, New South Wales on 17 September 2011,[6] survived by his wife Ruby (née Court-Rice), their son Guy (born 1952) and a grandson.[7]


Madigan received a Gold Medal from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1981.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours of 1984,[8] and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.[9]


  1. ^ Madigan, Colin Frederick, WW2 Nominal Roll, Department of Veterans' Affairs.
  2. ^ "Papers of Colin Madigan 1900–2002 [manuscript]". Catalogue record. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  3. ^ Pauline Green, ed. (2003). Building the Collection. National Gallery of Australia. p. 341. ISBN 0-642-54202-3.
  4. ^ Madigan, Colin; Watson, Don (2000). Armidale '42: a survivor's account. Sydney: Macmillan Publishers. p. 92. ISBN 0-7329-1039-0.
  5. ^ Musa, Helen (26 September 2006). "NGA architect draws the line". Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  6. ^ Streak, Diana: National Gallery architect dies, aged 90 Archived 10 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, The Canberra Times, 20 September 2011
  7. ^ Angelo Candelapas, obituary: "Sense if place permeated works of great designer", The Age, 22 September 2011, p. 22
  8. ^ It's an Honour: AO
  9. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal