As a classical musician, I am often occupied with twin aims.  The first is score led: I’m working on an interpretation based on learned knowledge about different styles of playing the clarinet at different periods of time, or the hallmarks and goals of a particular composer.  The second is performance led: what actually happens in the total experience where the score is one element in a bigger tapestry.  In performance, we weave together score and space and sound and listener and in that sense, the completed work arguably is the sum total of all those factors.

So it is with something like the Hyde Park Barracks domes.  The first part of the process – the ‘score led’ part if you like – has been all about the details of the restoration, who would be the architect, how it would be done.  The second part of the process – the performance – is a bringing together of a number of additional elements, which has included bringing the public into a conversation about domes.  Does the symbolism of the domes change if more people know the story behind them, and what they represent to us in terms of their place in a vision for a modern Australia? On one hand, it would be easy to say, “no, it makes no difference”.  Their restoration confirms their significance.  On the other hand my inclination would be to suggest that, “yes, it actually does matter if people are aware of the symbolism of the domes”.  Personal connection to a space or place significantly changes the way in which we view it, and interact with it.  But as with so many other things in this busy life, we tend not to think about things in a what-does-this-mean-to-me way until they are under threat or about to be taken away from us.  Check out our video of our conversation with Head of Programs at the Historic Houses Trust, Dr Sophie Lieberman.

The big picture from Historic Houses Trust on Vimeo.

A dedicated team of passionate people have overseen this restoration project. If you’d like to meet them and find out more about the story of the domes and their restoration, we’ll be there on Domes Day this Sunday, 13 November from 10am – 12.30pm, sharing that story and inviting you to be part of it.  We ‘d love to see you there.