|List||Commonwealth Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (22/06/2004)|
|Place File No||8/01/000/0110|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
The Lodge is the official residence constructed in 1925 -27 to house the Prime Minister of Australia and his or her family.
It has historic importance for the association it holds with the lives of its fourteen resident prime ministers, the national politics with which they were involved, their personalities, the impact they had on The Lodge, and the official guests that the Prime Ministers and their wives hosted at The Lodge.
It was conceived at a time when other significant Federal buildings were also being constructed, such as the 1927 Parliament House.
It is accessible from one of Griffin's radiating arteries centred on the Capitol (now Parliament House) and is in close proximity to Parliament House.
The Lodge recalls the early isolationism of Canberra as Australia's capital city and the need to provide elected representatives with suitable accommodation according to their status.
It is significant as a unique place in Australia (Criterion A.4; Australian Historic Themes: 7.4 Federating Australia, Criterion B2)
The Lodge is important for its exceptional richness of cultural features that were acquired to create the home for the Australian Prime Minister's family and display Australian art and crafts to important visitors. These features include the house with its architectural stylistic features and fine interior detailing; the garden with its array of garden areas including memorial trees and the Bettina Gorton memorial native garden; and the extensive and notable array of movable cultural heritage items created by Australian craft specialists that include paintings, china figures, silverware, ceramics, furniture, sculptures, memorabilia and artefacts collected by or donated to past Prime Ministers (Criterion A3; Australian Historic Themes: 8.10.4 Creating Visual Arts).
With its studied proportions and finely executed details, the two storey rendered brick building is an important example of the official residences built in Canberra in the 1920s. The building is Colonial Revival in style, with refined Georgian detailing. Its symmetrical facade, simplicity, use of arches, round headed windows, and delicate corner porches are characteristic features of the inter-war Georgian Revival style. As a building developed for the new Federal Capital, The Lodge also reflects the designers' appreciation for the importance of its setting. Significant fabric in the building includes stucco finish to the external walls, slate roofing, timber internal stair cases, wrought iron work, timber panelling, picture rails, exposed ceiling beams, built- in furniture and, windows and doors, including their architraves and fittings. (Criteria D.2 and F1)
As a purpose built building it has retained its integrity as the residence of the Prime Ministers of Australia and their families since its construction. Although designed as a family home reflecting 'ideal' home styles of the 1920s it has required periodic adaptation and renovations to suit the changing needs of the families and the operational requirements of Prime Minister's wives, many of whom managed the household, carried out official entertainment and greatly influenced alterations and renovations. Alterations, additions and internal finishes to public areas carried out in the 1980s have significance as a well executed refurbishment to bring the place into a condition reflecting a 1920s residence. (Criteria D.2 and F1 Australian Historic Themes: 8.10.4 Designing and building fine buildings).
The Lodge is significant for its close association with fourteen of Australia's twenty-five Prime Ministers, their wives and families (as at June 2002). Although not designed for official functions, members of the Royal family, dignitaries and heads of governments have been entertained at The Lodge. It also has an association with the Melbourne architectural firm of Oakley and Parkes, highly regarded in Canberra in the field of residential design, following their success in the FCAC Competition with the design for The Lodge in 1926. (Criterion H.1).
The Lodge remains to this day one of the primary landmarks in Canberra symbolising the presence of the Prime Minister, his importance demonstrated in the location of the residence on a main road near Capital Hill (Criterion G.1).
The residence and grounds are valued by many, as one of Canberra's features as a nationally important and attractive property. The garden is open to the public a few times each year and is particularly valued for its aesthetic qualities of the design, plantings, memorial trees and art works. (Criterion E.1).
The Lodge is significant as a site of research value. The domestic, personal and political histories and events within the Lodge are comprehensively recorded, and serve as a lasting record of the Lodge in files, photographs, film, newspaper and magazine articles (Criterion C2).
Work was begun on an official residence for the Prime Minister in December 1925, before the Federal Parliament moved to Canberra from Melbourne. It was built as a temporary measure to be '...occupied by him until such time as a permanent monumental Prime Minister's residence is constructed and thereafter to be used for other official purposes such as for the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives'. The designer for The Lodge was the private Melbourne firm of architects, Oakley and Parkes. Oakley and Parkes had become highly regarded in Canberra in the field of residential design following their success in the FCAC competition. They rose to the occasion with their plans for The Lodge, which was designed in Georgian Revival style (Apperly et al, p152) and constructed between 1925 and 1927. It was built under the direction of James G. Taylor of Glebe, NSW, at a total cost of 28,319 pounds. This included furnishings, decorations, and landscaping as well as a tennis court and croquet lawn.
The Lodge, being constructed during 1925-1927, reflects the scale and style of the official residences built at Duntroon to house senior military officers. The house and garden are typical of the style of design that prevailed in the early Canberra years, also known as the Federal Capital style.
Mrs Ruth Lane Poole supervised the interior decoration of the house and the purchase of fashionable, late 1920s furnishings. The architect, Desbrowe Annear assisted in the designs for the furniture. Australian timbers were used throughout in timber panelling, mantel pieces and fine furniture. The Federal Capital Commission's brief for the purchase of houshold linen, and silver, china and glassware for the Lodge was 'British and first quality throughout'.
From the outset it was clear that the Lodge was the business of the Prime Minister's wife. The Prime Ministers' wives had unpaid duties associated with running The Lodge. These duties included the weekly arrangement of menus with the chef and of household requirements, official dinners, Royal visits and hospitality for foreign heads of State. The first occupants were Stanley M. Bruce and his wife on 4 May 1927. Ethel Bruce was responsible for changes to the design of the building during construction including additional rooms.
In 1929 the Labor successor to Bruce, J.M. Scullin, refused to live at The Lodge, declaring that it was too grand. There was talk of letting the building but no tender was received, so the house remained empty while the Prime Minister lived in a hotel. It was also suggested that the building could become the home of the National Library or perhaps a private hospital, but nothing came of these suggestions. Prime Minister J A Lyons moved into The Lodge with his large family in 1931 (the younger 6 of their eleven children) and stayed until his death seven years later. The house was adapted to accommodate the large family.
The grounds were developed from bare paddock to an effective garden including lawns, plantations and shrubberies with a tennis court and croquet lawn, covering approximately 2.8ha. The Gardens that developed reflected the contemporary style of the time with distinct garden areas expanses of lawn surrounded by trees and hedges although retaining the original eucalypts of the site.
The gardens were developed quickly with roses and other plants ordered from a Sydney nursery in huge quantities. Apart from roses there were phlox, zinnias, asters and petunias. A tennis court and croquet court were also established in the grounds. By 1950 the gardens had changed little. The southern part of the grounds included a fowl yard, clothes line, shed and a small orchard. Picking gardens were on the site of the present service yard.
Robert Menzies, his wife Pattie and their two children were residents at The Lodge from 1939 -1941 during which time Pattie Menzies redecorated the building using the decorator Dolly Guy Smith.
Elsie and John Curtin moved into The Lodge in 1941, although Elsie Curtin spent many months of the year at the family home at Cottesloe. The Lodge became a work place during the war years and the billiard table was returned from storage so that a game of billiards could round off the day. John Curtin died in The Lodge in 1945. When Ben Chifley became Prime Minister, Elizabeth Chifley spent most of her time at the family home in Bathurst. There were no changes to the building during the time of the Curtins and Chifleys.
Robert Menzies and Pattie Menzies returned to The Lodge and lived there from 1949 - 1966. During this time, redecorating and minor additions and alterations were carried out to the building. Robert Menzies commenced the Prime Ministers XI cricket matches at Manuka Oval in 1951, entertaining the players afterwards with dinner at The Lodge. This tradition ceased with Menzies but was revived by Bob Hawke. The Menzies converted the Billiard Room into an extra Drawing Room, removing the billiard table and installing sets of low bookshelves. Several commemorative trees were planted in the gardens and Pattie Menzies extended the gardens below the tennis courts for vegetables. The Menzies lived continuously at the Lodge and it became a second home for their grandchildren.
After Robert Menzies retired Harold and Zara Holt lived at The Lodge for less than two years from January 1966 to December 1967, but during this time major renovations were undertaken under the detailed direction of Zara Holt. All main rooms on both floors were completely and dramatically redecorated, including painting the wood panelled walls white. The corridor between the former Billiard Room and the Sitting room was removed and changes to the upstairs corridors gave direct access from bedrooms to bathrooms forming three self-contained bedroom suites. An extensive array of new furnishings and fittings were installed.
John and Bettina Gorton moved into The Lodge in 1968 with their adult daughter. The Gortons had the tennis court improved, a heated swimming pool installed, a double carport built and new awnings and blinds fitted to the exterior. John Gorton used The Lodge for Cabinet and other official meetings. Bettina Gorton worked with Dick Ratcliffe on the design of an Australian garden in the remote northern corner. Dedicated to her after her death in 1983, it is known as the Bettina Gorton Native Garden.
With the widening of Adelaide Avenue in 1968 the site was reduced to approximately 1.8ha and a painted masonry boundary wall was erected on the two street frontages. At the same time, some features of the grounds such as the fowl yard, which had persisted since The Lodge's early days, disappeared allowing the removal of hedges and the general opening up of the garden spaces. The vegetable garden remained but new picking gardens, rose beds and an orchard were added. At that time, Adelaide Avenue was realigned and upgraded. Major changes to the driveway were made during the late 1970s. Previously, the drive to the front door turned around an island, which was lost in the change.
From 1971 -72, Sonia and William McMahon were residents of The Lodge but retained their Sydney home and spent most of their time there. Gough and Margaret Whitlam lived at The Lodge from 1972 - 1975 undertaking only a few minor changes.
Malcolm and Tamie Fraser occupied The Lodge from 1975 -1983. They lived at the Lodge but their children were at boarding school and they frequently spent holidays at their property Nareen, in Victoria. The Dining Room was extended in 1978. The architect Guilford Bell remodelled the service wing, cellars, kitchen and dining room, and redecorated the main rooms in classic colours and styles.
Tamie Fraser was impressed with the idea of the Americana Fund an initiative of Jackie Kennedy. She noted that there was no memorabilia from previous occupants and that it was not very Australian in its character. In 1978 Tamie Fraser founded The Australiana Fund. The non-political, self-governing body raised funds and purchased items of Australiana to furnish the Commonwealth's four official residences - The Lodge and Government House in Canberra, and Admiralty and Kirribilli Houses in Sydney. Since then other Prime Minister's wives have continued this role. The Australiana Fund now possesses a collection of decorative objects and memorabilia relating to previous Prime Ministers which illustrate Australia's heritage for the benefit of visitors to the houses. The Fund also conducts open days at The Lodge for the public to view the house and its fittings, and the garden is frequently open to the public. An Official Establishments Trust was set up in 1976, to co-ordinate planning for the four official residences.
Fire protection and external repairs were carried out from 1980 - 82.
Bob and Hazel Hawke moved into The Lodge in 1983. They had their two grandchildren living with them at The Lodge for a long period. During Prime Minister Hawke's residence, renovations were undertaken on several rooms. In 1985 following major repairs and maintenance, the State areas of The Lodge were redecorated in the style of the 1920s to reflect the historical significance of the house. Interior designer David Spode, under the direction of the Official Establishments Trust, prepared the interior design scheme. During the course of the work many items of original furniture and fittings purchased for The Lodge in 1927 were located and re-installed. Hazel Hawke became the second President of The Australiana Fund. Hazel Hawke, a pianist, took a keen interest in the restoration of the original Beale baby grand piano. Bob Hawke created a new billiard room upstairs to replace the room converted to a Drawing Room by the Menzies. Hazel Hawke appointed an official House Manager to assist in managing the affairs of the house. Redevelopment of the pool courtyard took place in 1990-91.
Paul and Annita Keating and their young children, occupied The Lodge from 1992 -1996. Annita Keating chose decorator Ros Palmer for refurbishment which included sending some furniture into storage.
In 1992, a carport, brick paving, walled service yard and pergolas were added in the south western corner of the property. In 1994 brick paving was added along the rear drive, completing the redesign of the driveway for modern standards. Other changes to The Lodge and grounds have been minor, such as repairs to the slate roof in 2000, and the installation of a satellite dish in 1999.
By 1994 efforts were growing to have the residence for the Prime Minister removed from the current facilities to a new structure, possibly located near the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. During his term of office, Prime Minister John Howard (1996-) chose to divide his time between The Lodge and the Sydney residence, Kirribilli House.
Although designed as an 'ideal' home of the 1920s, the Lodge has not suited the requirements of many of its incumbents whose family needs varied. For some it was too small, for others too large and for one too grand. As a result it has required adaptations and renovations. Fourteen Prime Ministers have lived at the Lodge (Bruce, Lyons, Menzies, Fadden, Curtin, Chifley, Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard). The Prime Minister's wives have had a major (unpaid) role in the day-to-day management of The Lodge and in organising official hospitality. Many of the Prime Minister's wives spent more time at The Lodge than their husbands and, depending on their personalities and interest in the place, strongly influenced renovations and alterations of the building and the garden.
Compared with some official and vice-regal residences in Australia The Lodge is modest in being designed as a home, not for offices or official entertainment. However, The Lodge, its interior and its garden are fine examples of the contemporary design style of the time. Designed and built as the national residence for the Prime Minister, it has no equal in Australia.
The two storey rendered brick residence is essentially Colonial Revival in style, most evident in the hipped roof and pavilion like massing, along with refined Georgian detailing. The symmetrical facade of the two storey residence has a central loggia on each level, delicate corner porches and dark painted windows, with large paned lower sashes, all of which are characteristic of the way these architects used the vocabulary of the style. A closer examination reveals moulded plaster decorative motifs, such as the shield, half hidden by the boxing over the central arch and swags between the upper windows on the sides. Wrought iron balusters are decorated with restraint, both externally and internally. The slate roof is hipped and consoles support the eaves.
The building's interior has an American Colonial character, with stained wall panelling and exposed upper floor beams under the ceiling. The ground floor entrance opens into an entrance hall. To the left of the entrance hall is the dining room and service wing. To its right are the formal reception rooms - a drawing room, study and sitting room/library (originally designed as a billiards room). The staircase rises to a landing, then divides into two flights leading to a hall opening onto a loggia above the entrance. On the first floor are the private apartments and guest accommodation, consisting of a study, five bedrooms, one bedroom/sitting room, a sitting room, and a sewing room. The first floor also contains three terrace areas and two balconies.
The 1985 restoration works included the tapestry chairs and clock in the entry foyer, and the Beale piano in the morning room. The Lodge currently contains paintings and sculptures on loan from the National Gallery of Australia, as well as items of historic interest donated by The Australiana Fund. As part of the 1985 restoration of the interiors, the blackwood timber panelling of the entrance hall was stripped and polished and the original leadlight glass lamps re-hung.
The Lodge contains numerous movable items of cultural importance. These belong to The Australiana Fund and are frequently moved between rooms but are, from time to time, relocated within the building.
The major feature associated with the drawing room is the piano that was made in Sydney by the Beale firm and purchased for The Lodge in 1927. From 1977 to 1985 the Beale piano was used for practice by the students of the Canberra School of Music. It was restored in 1986 by staff and students of the Preston TAFE in Victoria. The piano has a particularly fine Queensland walnut case. Other notable pieces of furniture associated with the drawing room include a huon pine piano stool, c.1845; a Jarrah bookcase of Western Australian origin, c.1860; a cedar music canterbury, made in NSW, c.1850; a cedar music stand, made by F.B. Dale, Sydney, c.1845; an oval cedar folding table, originally purchased for The Lodge in the 1920s; and a cedar side table of NSW origin, c.1835.
The Lodge is set amongst gardens currently covering 1.8 ha of ground. Its reduction in size from the widening of Adelaide Avenue in 1968 had little effect on the character of the gardens close to the house. To the west of the house are a swimming pool and the western gardens. A carport, brick paving, walled service yard and pergolas occupy the south western corner of the property. There are lawns to the north, south and east of the house. To the east of the east lawn there is a croquet lawn, tennis court and vegetable garden. In the south east corner is an orchard, while the native garden, pool and rockery are features of the north east corner. The Lodge grounds also house a complex of services including sewer, stormwater, water, irrigation, gas and electricity. These services have little visual impact.
The grounds feature many trees planted by Prime Ministers, their wives and distinguished guests. The north lawn, for example, is planted with one Incense Cedar (CALOCEDRUS DECURRENS) and two Tulip trees (LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA), the western one of which was planted by Queen Elizabeth II. Some of these tree species are unusual for Canberra.
The garden features one sculpture, "Moonbird", by Inge King. It was loaned to The Lodge in March 2001 by the Australiana Fund to commemorate the Australian Centenary of Federation.
Over the years the garden has matured, been reduced in size and to meet the desires of its Prime Ministers and their wives, undergone a number of changes. The garden in 2002, while retaining much of its early character also retains the imprints from its various residents. It requires a continual degree of upgrading as well as maintenance to meet modern requirements. A conservation and management plan for The Lodge gardens was prepared by the Department of Housing and Construction in 1986. The plan sought to ensure that all developments should typify gardens of the late 1920's as a correct setting for the house. It included rationalisation of materials, plant species, furniture and structures, with a view to giving the gardens an overall aesthetic unity. One comment made by the plan was that gardens of the 1920s era relied heavily on exotic, rather than native species, and that this rationale should be continued and reinforced.
In 1992 renovations were conducted on part of the grounds, including a new carport, pergolas, walls and paving. In 1994 the driveway was modernised. Many of the original plantings have been replaced as they age, such as one of six English Elms which was removed in 2002. The garden also needs to accommodate extensive security services such as security lighting and a security guard house. In 2000 The Lodge's perimeter fencing was upgraded to reflect these security concerns.
(Information in this report is compiled from sources noted in the bibliography)
|History Not Available|
|Condition and Integrity|
When Adelaide Avenue became a major thoroughfare, it deprived The Lodge of a large section of the gardens and brought the traffic noise into the house.
A wall was built round the boundary to deaden the noise and to improve security. The service wing has now been modernised and the dining room extended. Nonetheless, The Lodge remains
essentially a family house.
Though the house and grounds have been considerably altered over the years, none of the changes have yet threatened the heritage significance of the place. (1995) |
(2002) Condition: good
|5 Adelaide Avenue, corner National Circuit, Deakin.|
Apperly, R., Irving, R., and Reynolds, P.
Identifying Australian Architecture: styles and terms from 1788 to the present. Angus and Robertson,
North Ryde, NSW. |
The Australiana Fund (c.1999) "The Lodge: Catalogue of furniture and works of Art". Unpublished report, AHC file.
Charlton, K., Garnett, R., and Fowler, M. (1984) Federal Capital Architecture: Canberra 1911-1939. National Trust of Australia (ACT), Canberra.
Committee on Official Establishments. (1979) "Final report, May 1979." Canberra: AGPS.
Department of Housing and Construction and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (1986) Conservation and Management Plan for the Prime Minister's Lodge, Landscape Architects for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Canberra: Department of Housing and Construction.
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1985) "A guide to the works of art and items of historical interest in The Lodge, Canberra". Unpublished report, AHC file.
Peter Freeman Pty Ltd and Coltheart, L. (2001) The Lodge, Canberra, Conservation Management Plan. Volume 1, The Plan. Draft report prepared for the Official Establishment Trust by Peter Freeman Pty Ltd in association with Dr Leonre Coltheart.
Report Produced Sun Sep 21 08:48:35 2014