Hotel Kurrajong

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Hotel Kurrajong
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General information
Location 8 National Cct
Barton, Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates 35°18′25″S 149°08′02″E / 35.30694°S 149.13389°E / -35.30694; 149.13389
Opening 1926
Owner Toga Group/NRMA
Management TFE Hotels (Australia)
Technical details
Floor count 2
Design and construction
Architect John Smith Murdoch
Developer Federal Capital Commission
Other information
Number of rooms 145
Number of restaurants 1
Website
https://www.tfehotels.com/brands/kurrajong/hotel-kurrajong/

The Hotel Kurrajong is a heritage-listed hotel located in the Canberra suburb of Barton, Australian Capital Territory, close to Parliament House and national institutions within the Parliamentary Triangle precinct. The Hotel has a strong association with Australia's political history, most notably as the residence of Prime Minister Ben Chifley throughout his parliamentary career, including his term in office from 1945-1949. In 1951, Chifley suffered a fatal heart attack in room 205[1] at the Hotel Kurrajong.

History

The Hotel Kurrajong was built between 1925 and 1927 as a hostel to provide accommodation for public servants in preparation for the relocation of the Parliament from Melbourne.[2] The building was designed as an example of the Garden Pavilion style by Commonwealth chief architect John Smith Murdoch, in keeping with Walter Burley Griffin's garden city concept for the capital. Amongst others, prominent Australian Labor Party parliamentarian Ben Chifley resided at the hotel from 1940-1951 while in Canberra.[1] When serving as the 16th Prime Minister of Australia, the modest Chifley chose to make the hotel his official residence rather than The Lodge. After declining an invitation to attend a Jubilee Ball to celebrate 50 years since Federation at nearby the nearby Kings Hall, during the evening of 13 June 1951 he suffered a fatal heart attack while in his room at the hotel. Although he was taken to the Canberra Community Hospital, attempts to revive Chifley were unsuccessful.[3]

By the late 1970s, guest numbers had declined and the hotel was closed, reused as offices for Parliamentary staff. The ACT Government signed a 50-year lease on the building in 1993, reopening it as a hotel in 1995.[4] As part of the reopening, the ACT Government established the Australian International Hotel School, with the campus based at Hotel Kurrajong offering accredited graduate qualifications specializing in hospitality and hotel management, operating alongside the hotel.[5] The hotel was sold at auction to a joint venture between the Toga Hotels Group and NRMA for a reported $7.65 million in 2013. The new owners have announced intentions to extensively renovate the Hotel Kurrajong, to be rebranded as "Travelodge Kurrajong" with a 4.5 star fit out, while not compromising heritage aspects of the building.[6] The hotel was closed on 11 July 2014 to begin renovations and was reopened on 11 February 2015.[4]

Heritage listings

Hotel Kurrajong was added to the Register of the National Estate in 1993 and the Australian Institute of Architects' Register of Significant Twentieth Century Architecture since 1984. As the second built of eight residential hostels planned during Canberra's early establishment, the hotel is also protected by the ACT Heritage Register[7] and any alterations must be first approved by the National Capital Authority.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Register of the National Estate". Department of the Environment (Australia). Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  2. "Hotel Kurrajong" (PDF). Register of Significant Twentieth Century Architecture. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  3. "Australia's Prime Ministers - Ben Chifley". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Henry Belot (5 June 2014). "Chifley's hotel of choice seeks reinvention in modern age". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. John A Parkinson (26 September 1996). "Australian International Hotel School - Audit Report" (PDF). ACT Government. 
  6. James Wilkinson (22 March 2013). "Toga buys Hotel Kurrajong". hotelmanagement.com.au. 
  7. "20113. Hotel Kurrajong" (PDF). ACT Heritage Council. 23 February 2005.