Highlands Placemaking

The Robertson Shed




The Robertson Community Information Centre (RCIC) project aims to provide a focus for community pride as it presents a coherent narrative about what is so special about the village of Robertson, its deep heritage, environmental, social and economic history, its tourism/hospitality offerings and attractions, and current local information.

PCD focused on creating an accessible, human-scaled installation which invites exploration and engenders positive learning experiences, whilst providing information about the village and its heritage and current businesses, identification and direction to its many attractions, and spatial orientation to both the town and the region.

Physically, the Centre takes the form of a group of integrated, but free-standing structures that individually carry eight specific categories of information – Community, Event, Local Visitor, Regional Visitor, Environmental History, Pre & Post Settlement Social History, and Emergency. The main structures carry the most immediately useful information for travellers, whilst the secondary, smaller structures have more fine-grain, supporting information that adds value to the visit by instilling a higher concept of what the little town of Robertson was, is and can be in the future. 

The Heritage of Robertson features on two of the panels. Local Village Information is provided the form of a pair of panels, linked visually by virtue of their physical shapes. The larger carries a comprehensive town map showing all businesses, facilities, parks and attractions; the second provides a key to an alpha-numeric grid on the main map, locating each business and heritage feature in town. The main map includes a high-level overview of the heritage items in town, including a numbered icon, a photograph and short statement about each. This locks directly into the ‘Heritage Trail’ shown on the map (starting at the important ‘You Are Here’ identifier) so visitors can easily see the extent of the trail, and the important landmarks that it reveals. 


When first asked to undertake the design of the RCIC we were a new arrivals in the Southern Highlands and knew Robertson only as a place of heavy mists, rich soil and tasty potatoes. 

Early research into the PLACE of Robertson became an adventure in geology, botany, social history – both pre- and post-contact, agriculture and industry, and the discovery of a wonderful community of people dedicated to spreading the word about the place in which they live.

The master plan for the site, the materials and forms of the structures and poles were designed to reference the physical features of the escarpment, and the ancient rainforest which once covered the district. This unique habitat was, from the earliest days, called Yarrawa Brush. 

As the design of the RCIC evolved Peter Campbell began to feel that it needed a focal point, and the idea of public artwork expressing this habitat might be the way to go.
Working with a number of community members with expert knowledge of the geological and botanical history of Robertson, the idea developed into a concept in which the geology of the region, (laid dowm between 298 and 5 million years ago), was shown to be fundamental to the evolution of the rainforest. 

ROCKS / RAIN / ROOTS has a strong materiality as it is fabricated from water-jet cut, powder coated aluminium and orbitally linished stainless steel. The region's botanical history is expressed as organic forms growing out of the rock-like shapes, and then the overlays of fully recognisable rainforest flora growing in profusion over what lies below. The glowing, silvery surfaces reflect the misty moist environment that engendered growth. 


Creative Director/Designer: Peter Campbell
Steel Design: Mark Tatarinoff
RCIC Chairperson: Jenny Kena
RCIC Sectetary: Don Dyer
Head Contractor: Ray Foster
Structural Engineer: Steve Newton
Steel Fabrication: JCA Steel Fabrication
Landscape Design: Daniel Thomas
Electrical Contractor: Brendhan Waters
PLUS: Many talented and enthusiastic volunteers from the Village of Robertson