Walking in the Footsteps of Political Giants
CANBERRA: Australia’s 16th Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, is the man credited with giving Australia the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme; establishing QANTAS, the Australian National University, and the CSIRO; and assisting General Motors Holden to build Australia’s first iconic Holden Car.
Perhaps not as widely known, is Chifley’s Government was instrumental in establishing the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) at the start of the Cold War, and in giving Australia a domestic airline carrier in the (now defunct) Trans Australian Airline.
It’s fair to say Ben Chifley was a man who made his mark. And whilst a stay at the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra has always offered a brief glimpse into Chifley’s world – ‘Chif’ himself was a resident of the hotel for 11 years refusing to let taxpayers fund him to stay at The Lodge – history buffs now have a chance to retrace the footsteps of the man who was instrumental in shaping the development of Canberra and Australia.
Chifley’s Walk, which launches this Friday, July 22, is the brainchild of teams from Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) and the Hotel Kurrajong, and the perfect accompaniment for those who’ve sampled a Benny’s Double in Chifley’s Bar & Grill or spent a night in the hotel’s carefully curated ‘Chifley Room’ in Canberra.
The 45-minute tour starts with a 750m stroll retracing the footsteps of then Treasurer Ben Chifley and his PM, John Curtin, as they walked from the hotel to Parliament House each day – a habit that was captured by photographer Don Stephens in 1945 and immortalised in bronze by sculpture Peter Corlett in 2011. When Curtin died, Chifley continued the tradition.
MoAD’s Andrea Garcia explains that Chifley’s Walk allows visitors to deepen their understanding of Old Parliament House by exploring the places where important decisions were made – King’s Hall, the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister’s Office – and key events that took place in the context of the 16th Prime Minister of Australia.
“The synergy between Hotel Kurrajong and Old Parliament House helped inspire the walk,” she said. “Hotel Kurrajong first opened in 1926 and Old Parliament House in 1927 – both were designed by John Smith Murdoch providing a residence and a working place to Members of Parliament in the nation’s capital.”
Did you know that Chifley was the only Australian PM to qualify as a train driver? Or that he died whilst he was Leader of the Opposition? Guests are warned to expect engaging and, at times, rather entertaining commentary.
“History well and truly comes to life as we retrace the well-worn path that Ben Chifley walked during the 11 years he resided at Hotel Kurrajong, including the time he served as Prime Minister, and the route other parliamentarians have since followed during the 61 years Old Parliament House housed the Parliament,” Andrea said.
Available exclusively for guests of Hotel Kurrajong for a nominal $20 fee for adults and included as part of the hotel’s Chifley Experience package, the experience offers rare insight into the man behind the PM, and the institution that shaped the man he was. Chifley’s Walk runs every Monday to Sunday at 10am. Book via the hotel’s website. #chifleyswalk
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jodi Clark – TFE Hotels (Director of Communications)
+61 499 900 658 / [email protected]
Image Credit: Sydney Morning Herald. Chif’s morning walk.
• Historical Images of Curtin and Chifley must be credited as per the captions.
• Historical images available on request. Current Day Images of Hotel Kurrajong.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY AT OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House is a living museum of social and political history, located in a nationally listed heritage building in Parkes, Canberra. The Museum helps people to understand Australia’s social and political history by interpreting the past and present and exploring the future. They achieve this by:
• Bringing alive the importance of Parliament in the lives of Australians;
• Interpreting, conserving, and presenting the building and our collections;
• Providing entertaining and educational public programs; and
• Providing a range of other services that enhance the visitor experience.
ABOUT COLLECTION BY TFE HOTELS
The Collection represents beautiful hotels hallmarked by authenticity and provenance, each designed with individual character and charm. With a collection of properties that encompass striking design and attention to the individual such as The Calile Hotel Brisbane, Melbourne’s The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, and Hotel Kurrajong Canberra. The Hotel Britomart embodies these concepts while remaining proudly a product of its unique location.
WHO ARE TFE HOTELS?
TFE Hotels (TOGA Far East Hotels) is Australia’s International Hotel Group – headquartered in Sydney and operating in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Singapore… and opening in Switzerland in 2023. TFE has a portfolio of seven hotel brands – A by Adina, Adina Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Quincy Hotels, Travelodge Hotels, Rendezvous Hotels and Collection by TFE Hotels which includes The Calile Hotel, The Hotel Britomart, Hotel Kurrajong and The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, with more in the development pipeline.