Sydney & the Southern Highlands: Art, Architecture & Design – 2023

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17 May – 22 May 2023

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Sydney & the Southern Highlands: Art, Architecture & Design – 2023
Tour Highlights

Photo credits
1: Smart Design Studio, Alexandria, Sydney – photo by Romello Pereira.
2: Bathroom, Seed House, Castlecrag – home of architect, John Fitzpatrick – photo by Ben Guthrie.
3 & 5: Angophora House, Waverton. Photo courtesy of Richard Cole Architecture.
4: Stealth Pavilion, Caerleon, Bellevue Hill – designed by Plus Minus Design. Photo by Prue Ruscoe.
6: Caerleon, Bellevue Hill. Photo by Anthony Browell.
7: Seed House, Castlecrag – home of architect, John Fitzpatrick – photo by John Gollings.

With architecture and design writer Stephen Crafti explore contemporary art, architecture and design in Sydney and the Southern Highlands.

  • View projects that were winners in the NSW Architectural Awards 2021 including Birchgrove House by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, and Rily’s Terrace by Adele McNab Architects.
  • Meet with gallerist, Sally Dan-Cuthbert who will host us for drinks at her home in Rose Bay where we may view her private art and design collection.
  • Tour the Seidler Penthouse at Milsons Point, and Harry and Penelope Seidler’s House in Killara.
  • Meet William Smart for a tour of his home and Design Studio which received the top NSW award for commercial architecture.
  • Meet Phillip Arnold, founding director of Plus Minus Design, for a tour of Caerleon, built in the Queen Anne Revival style for the Sydney Morning Herald proprietor Charles Burton Fairfax, grandson of the newspaper’s founder John Fairfax. We also view the Stealth Pavilion, designed by Plus Minus Design which cleverly sits within an existing grove of trees.
  • In Kangaroo Valley visit the home of Nick Turner, Principal and Founder of Turner+Associates Architects, and learn how his home survived the November 2020 bushfires. We also visit Robinsons Run by Bennett Murada Architects which received a commendation in the 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards.
  • View Angophora House by Richard Cole Architecture which featured in ABC’s Dream Build series.
  • Tour Redfern Warehouse, a creative conversion of an inner-city warehouse by Ian Moore Architects, and the award-winning Little Napier House by SHR Bureau.
  • Meet Neil Durbach, founder of Sydney’s Durbach Block Jaggers, for a tour of the spectacular Lavender Bay House which featured in Vogue Living.
  • At Castlecrag overlooking Middle Harbour, view award-winning Seed House, the home of architect, John Fitzpatrick, which featured in Habitus Living.
  • Meet Joe Agius, Director of Cox Architecture, for a tour of his home, Courtyard House, which featured in Australian Design Review.
  • Accompanied by interior designer, Belinda Brown from Renato D’Ettore Architect view the GB House recipient of the coveted “Wilkinson Award” in 2019 and featured on Open Homes Australia.
  • In Bowral visit Retford Park, gifted to the National Trust by James Fairfax. We tour the Victorian-Italianate mansion, the Pool Pavilion designed by architect Guilford Bell in 1968, and the gardens including the Green Room containing Inge King’s bronze sculpture Euphoric Angels.
  • Stay at the Paramount House Hotel where Breathe Architecture has transformed the former headquarters of film studio Paramount Pictures and adjacent warehouse into a boutique hotel.
  • Spend 2 nights at Bundanon’s new accommodation complex, The Bridge, which offers simple, eco-friendly accommodation surrounded by stunning natural landscapes; and enjoy a private architectural tour of Riversdale Art Museum designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects. The museum includes artworks by Arthur Boyd and his family, Sidney Nolan, Brett Whiteley, Joy Hester and Charles Blackmam.

Overnight Sydney (3 nights) • The Bridge, Bundanon (2 nights)



The following itinerary describes a range of private projects we plan to view, and a number of key designers we hope to meet. At the time of publication (July 2022) most visits had been confirmed, however a number of visits may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure in 2023. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary, together with their tour documents, prior to departure. The tour includes meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=Breakfast and L=lunch.

Sydney – 3 nights

Day 1: Wednesday 17 May, Sydney: Paddington, Redfern, Alexandria & Rose Bay

Please meet in the foyer of the Paramount House Hotel at 9am.

Following a short welcome meeting, we transfer to Paddington where we meet with Simon Robert Hanson, principal architect of Bureau SRH, to view his Little Napier House which received the RAIA NSW Chapter Architecture Award for a Small Project in 2012. Here two heritage-listed terraces houses were combined to create a larger home for a growing family, and the footprint of the two houses was reduced in order to include a pool in the backyard.

Next, we visit Redfern Warehouse, a creative conversion of an inner-city warehouse by Ian Moore Architects completed in 2018. “This adaptive reuse of a former warehouse has maintained the exterior almost untouched, with only a few new windows inserted into existing openings. This soft-touch has been extended to the interior, where original brick walls have been exposed and the large timber roof trusses highlighted as the starting point for the conversion to a family home. The brief called for a 4-bedroom home, with self-contained guest accommodation, a home office, to be used as an equine genetics laboratory and a large garage space to store a collection of classic sports cars.”

In the late afternoon we meet with William Smart, Founder and Creative Director of Smart Design Studio. His buildings have received critical acclaim, many prestigious awards and have been widely published in architectural and other publications. His approach to design is holistic, combining both architectural and interior design with a passionate attention to detail. Since 1997 William has been directly involved in each project, and is continuously exploring ideas in his work relating to flexibility, contemporary living and the merging of art and architecture.

We end the day with a visit to the private home of gallerist, Sally Dan-Cuthbert in Rose Bay. Sally has most generously agreed to host us for drinks and nibbles at her home where we may view her private art and design collection.  (Overnight Sydney)

Day 2: Thursday 18 May, Sydney: Bellevue Hill, Rushcutters Bay, Milsons Point, Lavender Bay & Waverton

This morning we meet with Phillip Arnold, founding director of Plus Minus Design, for a tour of Caerleon, an early example of local domestic architecture in the Queen Anne Revival style. It was built between 1885-87 for the Sydney Morning Herald proprietor Charles Burton Fairfax, a grandson of the newspaper’s founder John Fairfax. The original plans of the house were drawn up by Sydney architect Harry Kent, but were extensively reworked by Maurice Bingham Adams (1849-1933). Caerleon boasts red brick walls with stone dressing, terracotta shingles, balconies, bay windows, verandahs, lead light windows and elaborate chimneys. The interior includes elaborate chimney pieces, door cases, wainscots, friezes and ceilings, leaded lights and stained glass. Many of the fittings and materials were imported from England.

Within the heritage-listed gardens lies the well disguised Stealth Pavilion, designed by Plus Minus Design who were previously engaged for restoration works on the house proper and the relocation of the gates within the grounds. This private gym features external cladding of bronze mirrors which allow the structure to reflect the surrounding foliage, and cleverly sits within the existing grove of trees. A video of the pavilion may be viewed at The Local Project.

By appointment we visit Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert which opened in 2019. The gallery focuses on both important visual art and collectible design, representing some of the finest contemporary artists from Australia and New Zealand.

Following a light lunch at Marta Osteria we transfer to Milsons Point where we meet with architect, John Zhao from Seidler & Associates, for a private tour of the stunning penthouse apartment. A description of the penthouse is given by Sydney Living Museums: “Entry to the penthouse is into a space two storeys high, with a presentation theatre and facilities for entertaining. A half-elliptical Indian granite dining table allows guests to sit at the curved side of the table so that they can see the splendid water view; the hosts sit on the opposite side, facing their guests. A curved stair leads to the upper floor lounge, study and master bedroom suite. Within the straight outline plan, flowing curves enrich the open interior. Only the artworks (by Albers, Stella, Lichtenstein, Mais, Perry and Noland) are colourful in contrast to the neutral grey, white and black interior.” Please note: Photography, both inside & outside, of the Seidler Penthouse is strictly prohibited!

Next, we meet with Neil Durbach, founder of Sydney’s Durbach Block Jaggers, for a tour of Lavender Bay House which was completed in 2020. The interior was styled by author and product designer Sibella Court. The house featured in Vogue Living in May 2021:

“We wanted it to look like this almost-solid cube of stone, but then inside, it feels as if water has been percolating through the structure, eroding it organically,” explains Durbach. “Then floating above that is this friendly shadow of a roof, which we wanted to feel like a cloud.” If the architect’s poetic description doesn’t hammer it home, this Sydney residence is, for want of a better word (because no word feels quite capable of encapsulating the sheer beauty of this place), spectacular. A four-storey structure layered with garden terraces that overflow with predominantly native foliage, it’s a once-in-a-decade (or once-in-a-lifetime) type of project for the team who brought it to life.

In Waverton we meet with Richard Cole, of Richard Cole Architecture, for a tour of Angophora House which featured in ABC’s Dream Build series and in Better Homes and Gardens on Channel 7. This light-filled two storey home was built for his retiring parents on a block which featured magnificent angophoras and district views. (Overnight Sydney) BL

Day 3: Friday 19 May, Sydney: Redfern, Glebe, Birchgrove, Killara & Castlecrag

We begin this morning with a visit to Adele McNab’s Riley’s Terrace which was the recipient of the NSW AIA Award for Residential Architecture (Alterations & Additions) in 2021. The jury citation states ‘Riley’s Terrace is an example of the successful balance between a tight inner-city site, modest budget, and desire for maximised flexible space. Through inventiveness, adaptability and a strong understanding of the site, the architect has delivered a small and beautiful home for herself and her family. Spaces are versatile and changeable with time and requirement, creating a distinct series of interconnected rooms which optimise their use through cleverly designed joinery, storage and materiality. Simple and elegant materials in warm muted tones carry through the home, imparting an atmosphere of calm and retreat. A tight budget has been thoughtfully allocated, with a restrained and consistent approach. A spiral stair allows for greater storage, reduced circulation and enhanced usability of the rooms.’

From Redfern we journey to Glebe where Joe Agius, Director of Cox Architecture, takes us inside his reconfigured terrace home in Glebe which references Moroccan riads and the pleasures of a central garden. “The design for the house embraces the ideal of adaptability – it is designed to ‘transform’ easily between three modes – single generous 4-bedroom home, two 2-bedroom homes, and a large 2-bedroom home with a separate studio. This adaptability is designed-in – including all building services – it challenges the ‘fixed’ way in which design our housing stock, potentially addressing challenges of housing affordability.” His home was featured in Australian Design Review in March 2021. Joe has been a Director of COX since 2005 and has led the design of many award-winning buildings including the Sir John Monash Centre, and more recently has worked on the Australian Museum’s Project Discover (a collaboration with Neeson Murcutt + Neille), and the University of Sydney’s new Faculty of Engineering Building.

Next, we meet with Colebee Wright, Project Architect for Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, for a visit to the Birchgrove House which received the AIA NSW Architecture award for Residential Architecture (Houses Alteration and Additions) in 2021. The clients approached Brian Zulaikha, several months after a visit to his home in Balmain. Drawn to the house’s rich materiality and connection to the natural environment, the couple asked Brian if he would design their own home; a run-down, Victorian era, harbour front in neighbouring Birchgrove. Despite the house’s dilapidated and slightly ramshackle appearance, its character shone through to the clients and a brief was developed to retain as much of the original fabric as possible. This respectful embrace of the existing building’s quirks defined the project’s conceptual framework and construction methodology. The house itself is a rich, textural composition of charred timber, concrete, brick, copper and spotted gum timber panelling and cannot be understood without reference to its garden. Tiered landscaping on every level enables cascading Australian native vegetation to drape over intricately detailed balustrading; working with the vision of minimising “house” and maximising “landscape”.

Following some time at leisure for lunch we visit the Harry and Penelope Seidler House located in Killara. Designed in 1965 and completed in 1967, this monumental house sits beside a creek and is surrounded by lush gardens. Split over four half-levels, the house is accessed by a suspended concrete bridge. Each half-level provides glimpses to the next level and to the garden beyond. Concrete walls with exposed timber grain beckon to be touched, as do the exquisite bluestone feature walls encasing fireplaces. This house is without doubt one of the most captivating homes not just in Australia, but also worldwide. Recipient of numerous awards including the Wilkinson Award, it is one of many architectural legacies left by architects Harry and Penelope Seidler. Please note: Photography, both inside & outside, of the Seidler home is strictly prohibited!

We end the day with a visit to Seed House in Castlecrag, the home of architect, John Fitzpatrick. This award-winning home which featured in Habitus Living is positioned on a typical Castlecrag steep bushland block overlooking Middle Harbour. Surrounded by rocky outcrops and angophora trees, the home grows out of its natural surroundings which informed it choices of materials – stone, timber, steel and concrete. (Overnight Sydney) B

Bundanon – 2 nights

Day 4: Saturday 20 May, Sydney – Coogee – Thirroul – Illaroo – Bundanon

This morning we transfer to the coastal suburb of Coogee where there will be time at leisure to enjoy lunch at one of the alfresco cafes.

A short walk takes us around to Gordon’s Bay where we meet with Belinda Brown, an Interior Designer for Renato D’Ettorre Architects, for a tour of the ‘GB House’. In 2019 this project was the recipient of the coveted “Wilkinson Award”, the most significant residential architecture prize awarded in the state of NSW. “Above the clear blue sea, this house embodies the spirit of seaside living in response to a magical site – endless ocean, rocky headland and the ideal north-east aspect.  The design is discreet in scale, has a quiet focus and layered materiality, and is sensitive to both site and neighbours providing mystery and privacy along one of Sydney’s busiest coastlines.”  This spectacular house was featured on on Open Homes Australia.

Mid-afternoon we journey south to the seaside suburb of Thirroul where we visit the private studio of Trent Jansen. Trent is a multi award-winning designer and Lecturer at the University of New South Wales Art & Design. He designs limited edition one-off pieces for the Molonglo Group and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, and exhibits internationally with Gallery All and Galleria Rossana Orlandi. He also designs products and furniture for Moooi, DesignByThem and Tait. Trent has also exhibited at numerous national and international galleries and design events including the National Gallery of Victoria, London Design Museum, Design Miami, Art+Design in New York City, Art Gallery of South Australia, the Triennale Di Milano and The Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

We end the day with a private tour of Bundanon’s historic homestead, the home of painter, Arthur Boyd. Boyd purchased Riversdale on the banks of the Shoalhaven River near Bundanon in the early 1970s and proceed to add buildings to create a home and studio. It was here that he painted a series of large, iconic Shoalhaven images based on the river and surrounding bush.

From the homestead we make the short journey across to Bundanon’s new accommodation complex, The Bridge, which offers simple, eco-friendly accommodation surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. (Overnight Bundanon) BD

Day 5: Sunday 21 May, Bundanon – Kangaroo Valley – Bundanon

This morning we visit Kangaroo Valley House, the home of Nick Turner, Principal and Founder of Turner+Associates Architects. The project was filmed in 2019 as part of the ‘Designer Notes’ series produced for AWS to showcase Australian design. Originally designed over 15 years ago, Nick expanded the property by adding a stunning new ‘wing’ which ensures that the surrounding landscape is the undeniable star. During our visit we hear the incredible story of how in November 2020 when the area was engulfed by fire, the house was saved thanks to its carefully designed ‘halo’ watering system which covered the home with an umbrella of water, powered entirely by the robust off-grid power system.

Nearby in Bellawongarah we visit Merindah Park House designed by Richard Cole. This beautifully crafted house, centred on a courtyard garden, has a strong sculptural feel.

Lunch will be provided at the Cambewarra Estate Winery which lies at the foothills of the majestic Cambewarra Mountain in the Shoalhaven Coast wine region.

This afternoon is devoted to visiting Bundanon, the home of painter Arthur Boyd. In 1993 Arthur and Yvonne Boyd gifted Bundanon (which included three properties: Bundanon, Riversdale and Earie & Beeweeree) to the nation and the Bundanon Trust was established. This afternoon we visit the new arts complex, situated on the Riversdale property, which was completed in late 2021. Designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, the complex includes a light-filled contemporary art gallery – partially buried into the landscape. This new art museum was designed to house the Trust’s Arthur Boyd art collection which includes an extensive collection of artworks by Arthur Boyd and his family, Sidney Nolan, Brett Whiteley, Joy Hester and Charles Blackmam.

In the late afternoon we return to Kiama where the evening is at leisure. (Overnight Bundanon) BL

Day 6: Monday 22 May, Bundanon – Bowral – Sydney Airport

This morning we depart Kiama for Joadja. En route we take a short coffee break in the historic village of Berrima. Featuring a number of colonial sandstone buildings, it is considered one of the best-preserved Georgian villages in Australia.

One of the highlights of our program will be this morning’s visit to the Harry Seidler-designed Berman House (now referred to as the ‘Seidler House’) which was built for Mr and Mrs Peter Berman in 1999 at an estimated cost of around $6 million. This award-winning home sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Wingecarribee River, its living room views stretching over forest and the rippling valleys of Joadja. This was one of the last private residences Harry Seidler worked on before his death in 2006. Internally the house uses a range of exquisite materials including local stone, Alta quartzite, Verde marina granite and Norwegian stone. There is also a massive expanse of glass used to frame the magnificent surrounding views, open fireplaces, spacious decking areas, landscaped gardens and a large outdoor swimming pool.

From Joadja we continue our journey north through the Southern Highlands to Glenmore House where we will enjoy a farewell long table lunch hosted by Mickey Robertson. Formerly an interior designer, Mickey has established incredible gardens which surround a Victorian homestead which she and her husband, Larry, purchased in 1988.

From Glenmore we continue to the Sydney Airport where our tour will officially conclude at approximately 5.00pm. BL



  • Surrey Hills, Sydney (3 nights): 4-star Paramount House Hotel – situated in the trendy Surry Hills suburb, Breathe Architecture has transformed the former headquarters of film studio Paramount Pictures and an adjacent warehouse into a boutique hotel. Rooms reserved: mixture of Everyday and Sunny rooms. paramounthousehotel.com
  • Bundanon, Southern Highlands (2 nights): The Bridge offers simple, eco-friendly accommodation surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. All rooms contain a King-sized bed (which can be separated into 2 single beds on request), and an ensuite bathroom. www.bundanon.com.au

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double room for single occupancy throughout the tour. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate

Commencing from November 2021 it will be a condition of travel that all group leaders and ASA travellers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All participants must send ASA a copy of their vaccination certificate at the time of submitting their Reservation Application Form. For information on how to obtain either a Covid-19 digital certificate or a certificate in PDF format please view the Australian Government Services Australia “What types of proof there are” web page.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags  is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 6-day tour involves:
  • A moderate amount of walking often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs.
  • The daily schedule often involves an early-morning departure (between 8.00-8.30am), concluding in the late afternoon (between 5.30-6.00pm).
  • You must be able to carry your own luggage. Hotel porterage is not included in the tour price.
  • A moderate amount of coach travel.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the Terms and Conditions section given below.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $3790.00 Land Content Only
AUD $790.00 Single Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities
  • Meals as indicated in the tour itinerary where: B=breakfast and L=lunch
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach as outlined in the tour itinerary
  • Lecture and site visit program
  • Entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Use of audio headsets for site excursions
  • Tips for the coach driver and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Sydney, Sydney – Australia
  • Porterage
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply.

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions or services of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products, services, terms and conditions. If a service provider cancels or does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, and does not give a refund, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (e.g. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, border closures, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any tour service provider or authority however caused (contingencies). You must take out such travel insurance as is available against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour cancelled or changed will be limited to the partial refund of amounts you have paid, less an administration fee of $500 and other costs and charges of third party service providers. No compensation will be payable to you by ASA where ASA cancels or changes a tour, or any part of a tour.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate and in the best interests of health, safety and wellbeing of tour participants. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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