Welcome to Canberra, Australia’s capital city, where tales of history and the charm of a bygone era await your discovery. Nestled within this captivating city is the Hotel Kurrajong, a beloved establishment that stands as a testament to the rich political and social heritage of the region.
Join us as we explore the captivating story of the Hotel Kurrajong, a place where notable political figures, including Prime Ministers John Curtin and Ben Chifley, once called home.
A Garden Hotel with Vision
Built in 1926, the Hotel Kurrajong was designed in the style of a Garden Hotel, in line with the visionary ideas of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, the architects behind Canberra’s distinctive urban design. The hotel seamlessly blends into its natural surroundings, embodying the Griffin’s vision of a harmonious relationship between architecture and nature. Today, the Hotel Kurrajong retains its original allure, enveloping guests in a serene and garden-like atmosphere that transports them to a bygone era.
The Residence of Prime Ministers
During the tumultuous years of the Second World War, the Hotel Kurrajong became a favored accommodation choice for Labor politicians, including two influential figures: John Curtin and Ben Chifley. When Ben Chifley assumed the role of Prime Minister, he made the unconventional decision to make the Hotel Kurrajong his official residence, opting not to move into the customary Prime Minister’s residence, known as the Lodge.
Throughout his time in Canberra, Chifley resided in the hotel, making it a significant hub for political activities and discussions. The Hotel Kurrajong witnessed the formulation of policies and the forging of alliances as Chifley guided the nation during crucial post-war years. However, tragedy struck on the fateful evening of June 13, 1951, when Chifley suffered a massive heart attack in one of the hotel’s rooms. Despite efforts to save him, he passed away before reaching the awaiting ambulance at the hotel’s Portico. This poignant event forever etched the Hotel Kurrajong into the annals of Australian history.
Evolution from Hostel to Timeless Elegance
Over the years, the Hotel Kurrajong has undergone various transformations, reflecting the evolving needs of the city and its visitors. In the 1960s and 1970s, the hotel served as a hostel, offering budget-friendly accommodation to travellers from all walks of life. Memories of those years remain with the narrator of our video, who fondly recalls staying in the building as a child.
Later, the hotel was transformed into a training facility, further diversifying its history. Today, the Hotel Kurrajong has been lovingly restored to its 1920s splendour, paying homage to its rich heritage while offering modern comforts. The elegant blend of classic design elements and contemporary amenities creates a truly memorable and refined experience for guests.
The Ideal Location for Exploring Canberra
Situated halfway between the main city center and the iconic Manuka Center, the Hotel Kurrajong enjoys a prime location, making it the perfect base for exploring Canberra’s cultural and political attractions. The hotel finds itself nestled within the heart of the city’s political offices, offering guests a glimpse into the intricate workings of Australian democracy. Whether you’re an enthusiast of history, architecture, or simply seek a delightful and historically significant stay, the Hotel Kurrajong promises an unforgettable experience.
As you plan your visit to Canberra, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance and rich history of the Hotel Kurrajong. Step into the footsteps of Prime Ministers and experience the charm of a bygone era blended with modern comforts. Whether you’re a history aficionado, an admirer of fine architecture, or a traveler seeking a unique and memorable stay, the Hotel Kurrajong promises an extraordinary journey through time.
When you choose Canberra Guided Tours, the longest-running tour company in the ACT, you open the door to a world of captivating stories and intriguing destinations. Join our top-rated tours across the Canberra District, where we weave tales of fascinating people, places, and remarkable buildings. Come and discover the wonders of Canberra with us, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. We also conduct custom private tours and services, like a step-on tour guide for those who already have an itinerary in mind.