About me


I love seeing new things. Happiness is the moment the plane lands and I think of all the new places, new tastes and new flavours I want to experience. And yet, home is so important to me. Which is why I worked as an interior designer for many years in London and then became a feng shui teacher and practitioner for years after that. Writing has always been at the core of who I am, from the short stories I wrote as a teenager to the eventual publication of my novels ‘Not Always To Plan’ (Pan Macmillan 2013) and ‘Loving Le Corbusier’ (Bookbaby 2016). Writing helps me make sense of my surroundings and of my feelings.

The world of architecture and design has always enthralled me. I studied History of Art at the University of East Anglia, lucky enough to work within Norman Foster’s brand new Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art on Denys Lasdun’s glorious concrete campus. I love Gothic cathedrals and ancient stone circles; Japanese temples and Riviera villas; mid-century Modernism and Middle Ages medievalism.

I have been lucky enough to combine my love of words and my interests in design and all things architectural in my regular pieces for ABC Radio National, first for By Design and then for Blueprint for Living. I have also produced programmes for Future Tense on the future of skyscrapers and the future of cruise ships. You can find links to these in the Podcasts age.

I live in an old timber farmhouse on the north coast of New South Wales, surrounded by birds and beautiful trees. But I  often dream of living in France, or maybe Italy.  One thing I have realised since moving to Australia is just how important the sunshine is to the way I feel.  And yet there’s nothing quite like a rainy day for a good day’s writing…

You can contact me at cbisset@froggy.com.au, or please leave a comment after any piece – I love hearing from readers.


‘I feel the need to comment that since becoming a regular listener to Blueprint, I’ve got such pleasure from listening to your voice! I find it very calming and relaxing, and I think that additionally the topics take me straight into mindfulness zone (short deep dives into obscure or everyday subjects that focus my mind and temporarily block out the thoughts of today or yesterday or tomorrow). A couple of years ago when I was having a period of insomnia, I even had wished that there was an uninterrupted ‘Colin Bisset’ hour on a podcast that I could ‘tune in to’ to sooth me off into sleep! Sorry for this ‘fan girl’ comment but it just seemed a good opportunity to say thank you!’  Christine, 2021

‘A serial clarifier, Colin condenses the wonders of physical icons around the globe in lively, poetic and educational 3-5 minute capsules on the weekend Blueprint for Living. One of my all-time favorite segments from Australian National Radio’s considerable program, Colin’s features continue to surprise and take unexpected turns.’ Ron Mader, Planeta.com


  1. I have just finished reading your novel “Not Always To Plan”. I enjoyed it very much. I much admire your style. It is clear, engaging and very readable. It was a good story. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Graham Egan (your co-star in Habeas Corpus)

  2. Hey there! I just nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Feel free to accept or ignore! 🙂

  3. Hi Colin, I think your site’s got beautiful design and such interesting pieces, so I’m following! 🙂
    I really enjoy your posts and look forward to your next.
    Feel free to check out my writing about publishing: publishinginsights.org

  4. Mr. Collins, I love to read your posts. Your blog is so amazing and impressive. Hope someday I can be a traveller like you. And I was a broadcaster too but I had resigned since ten years ago.

  5. Nothing quite like a rainy day for good writing” indeed..

  6. @”I quite fancy a stint in France at some point.” – bonjour de Toulouse, France, “old Europe”! 🙂 glad to have come across your awesome blog… cheers and have a splendid week! 🙂 Mélanie

  7. Hi Colin, I sorely miss By Design on RN, in particular your little shots of history. What are you working on now? Are you making any more audio stories?

    • Thanks, Kieran, I’m glad you enjoyed them. But all is not lost – I don’t know if you’ve caught Blueprint for Living which took over the slot from By Design? I’m doing a series on Iconic Buildings this year and you can catch up on them by going to my Podcasts or Other Writing pages, or put my name into the RN website and they’ll come up. I’m doing my best to keep design and architecture on the network! Hope you approve.

  8. Hello Colin and thank you for flattering me by following my blog – I will try not to disappoint 🙂

  9. Re your piece on Blueprint for Living 27/08 and comment on Paronella Park. Joe Paronella was not an Italian immigrant. See extract from History of Paronella Park,

    “José Paronella arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. For the next 11 years he worked, cutting sugar cane initially, then purchasing, improving, and reselling cane farms. In 1924 he returned to Spain and married Margarita in 1925. The trip back to Australia was their honeymoon.

    José first saw this 13 acres of virgin scrub along Mena Creek in 1914. He eventually purchased it in 1929 for £120 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public. etc”

    • My apologies, Pam (and Jose!). It’s been a while since I visited Paronella Park and I relied on my (faulty) memory rather than checking. Quite a difference. Nevertheless, I hope newcomers will seek you out. I will ensure the written version is corrected.

  10. Is your email address still working? I get a 550 No Such User Here response.

  11. Colin, have to let you know how much I enjoy your segments on Blueprint for Living. Always spurs me on to search further and I feel quite enlightened. Do you have more places I can find you. Mia

    • Oh Mia, that’s lovely to hear. Thank you so much. I try to put anything I’ve done on this site, if I can – links to my two novels, other radio work under Podcasts, etc. If you follow this by email then you should get notification whenever anything new goes up. Thanks again!

  12. Your work is of a high standard and the enthusiasm is evident in your voice which comes over so well on radio.

  13. While I enjoy your segments on Blueprint, in your post on the Wunderlich family and their tile business, you stated that the company was eventually absorbed into James Hardie. A little research would have identified that it was actually absorbed into CSR. Otherwise, interesting. On a further note, while it might be outside your normal scope of focussing on a single product or innovation, you might be able to determine why it is that while terracotta tiles are much more long lasting, much preferred by the buying public, much more widely used in the cites where most Australians live and do not require the use of hearing protection to live under during a downpour when compared to sheet metal roofs, the latter is overwhelmingly preferred by architects to the point where a house with a tile roof is all but automatically disqualified when it comes to architect-run architectural awards. (stephencoates.wordpress.com)

    • You’re quite right, Stephen, it was only the asbestos side of the business that was taken over directly by James Hardie. And an interesting comment about the current disregard for tiles. I agree that it seems a shame to lose something that has so many benefits. The reason, I suspect, is the reemergence of ‘corrugated iron’ as an Australian symbol in the 1980s, thanks to Murcutt, etc. Plus (more importantly, I suspect) it’s cheaper and quicker to install. Our loss. Where I’m living now, the house used to have a metal roof that totally replicated a brown-tiled roof. I’d never come across such a thing and only realised when a hailstorm battered off much of the finish. I suspect it was seen as being a cut above the tin roofs that most houses in the area have.

  14. Hello Colin,
    I regularly follow Blueprint, and always find your segment interesting, informative too…and I find my self following up some of the subjects.
    I am an artist, live on the south coast of WA, and have an absorbing interesting in MCM, Da Stijl, Bauhaus, NY Minimalism et al. Architecture is also an ongoing interest, particularly the simple – suburban and regional vernacular [sheds].
    best wishes, keep up the fine work

    • Thank you so much, Paul, I really appreciate you taking the time to contact me. Sounds like we’re exactly on the same page re our interests. I wonder if there is a big difference between the sheds of your area and, say, the sheds of the Northern Rivers, where I live? I think it’s so important to keep the vernacular and any vestiges of it alive as Australia (and the world) gets more and more homogenised.

  15. Hi Colin
    I love your whimsy in the objects you decide to discuss in your segment on Blueprint… I was just organising my wardrobe and found a wonderful curved wooden coat hanger for trousers with dowel attached to a thick wire on one end and on the other end the ‘lock’ – the idea to jamb the trousers between both then lock the end. I thought of you immediately and wondered if you had done a segment on coat hangers? I think Van de Rohe’s Farnsworth House only had a couple of pegs to hang clothes (minimalism being the idea I guess) but I may be wrong.

    • Thanks so much, Glenda. I like the word whimsy as much as I appreciate its importance all around us! No, I haven’t done the clothes hanger. In the past I would only write about objects that came out of a defining moment or had a distinct inventor – like who invented the very first clothes hanger? – but now I see there are broader stories to be told so thanks for the nudge. I have a couple of those hangers, too, although I never use them properly. The pegs sounds about right for the Farnsworth House. In fact, I was getting some bathroom fittings recently and I was told that pegs are very now and just as good for letting towels dry… I am slightly dubious about that and suspect it’s just a (Miesian) thing about towel rail clutter.

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