Interpretation at Penders Heritage site

Interpretation at Penders Heritage site began with the initial brief of preparing an interpretation plan…“a heritage site of state significance comprising a rare suite of modernist buildings and structures designed by the renowned architect Roy Grounds within a setting of great natural beauty”. Subsequent to the adoption of this plan we undertook extensive research to identify themes, images, stakeholder opportunities, design elements, stories and implementation options.

Interpretation plan – Penders & Myer House heritage site

The interpretation plan’s short term goals aligned with the budget and resulted in the design of interpretive, wayfinding, and regulatory signage. These signs were then installed onto the magnificent 100-year-old wharf timbers, highlighting interpretive elements and enhancing the existing structures.

With such a wealth of cultural heritage, we were presented with countless storytelling opportunities, forcing us to be mindful in our approach. We carefully identified the best locations and orientations for all signage, ensuring they could withstand the coastal environment and resist vandalism while complementing the site’s natural beauty.

Site Overview

Located within the Mimosa Rocks National Park on the southern coast of NSW at Tanja, the Penders site spans 20 hectares. Recognized as a place of state significance in November 2013, it is home to a collection of rare modernist buildings and structures designed by the esteemed architect Sir Roy Grounds. Nestled in a stunning natural setting, Penders served as Grounds’ experimental workshop, influencing the development of modernist architecture across Australia in the latter half of the twentieth century.

The Penders site, which also has a strong association with Kenneth Myer, member of the prominent Myer retail family, showcases his ecological aims and interest in the commercial use of native timbers. This is evidenced by the partially surviving timber plantation and the remains of the experimental shed for the Tanolithic timber preservation process.

Interpretation – Sir Roy Grounds

Sir Roy Grounds proved the inspiration for this suite of signs. The template designs featured his favourite colour – yellow – and geometic shapes – mostly triangular. An interpretive hub was created near the ‘Barn’ and ‘Geodesic Dome’ to reveal some of Roys escapades.

Interpretation – Kenneth Myer

The installation style and design template for Ken Myer (and his associated timber projects) took on a different look and feel.  Installed on CORten frames these signs utilise a different template and colour scheme (Myer theme – green, property theme – orange).

As part of the interpretation plan we also researched, mapped and designed wayfinding and regulatory signage.

  • Date: December 2013 – February 2015
  • Service: Interpretive planning, research, write content, design, mapping, installation design and product sourcing, project manage production and installation
  • Specs:  Interpretive signs only – 20 in total. 2 large interpretive signs to be installed on wharf timbers, 8 small interpretive signs to be installed on wharf timbers, 10 interpretive signs to be installed on CORten. We also created botanical labels, regulatory signage and wayfinding signage.
  • Client:NPWS Narooma

It has been an absolute pleasure working with The Interpretive Design Company over the past 2 years.  The project at The Myer House in Mimosa Rocks National Park was massive and had some delicate issues requiring careful handling.  From concept plans to design of individual sculptural interpretive installations and even assistance with installation the professionalism demonstrated by yourself and your crew was second to none and made my job so much easier.

Every stage of the process has been exceptionally well handled and we really appreciate the your efforts and patience. Thank you for your new ideas and concepts that we have trialled here, particularly in relation to the mapping.  I look forward to working with you all on many more successful projects.

Helen Hayward, Ranger, Far South Coast Region, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service


Interpretive Panels, West Head
Wayfinding Signs, Penders Heritage site