Canberra modern 2019

2019 program

BUS TOUR: Iconic Bus Shelters of Canberra with Trevor Dickinson


Saturday 13 April - 10am - 12pm. 

Join artist Trevor Dickinson on a bus tour of Canberra's iconic bus shelters - be prepared for some pop-up activities at some stops and some special guests along the way. 

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TALK/EXHIBITION: Australian Odyssey: Marion Hall Best and Interior Design in the Space Age


Saturday 13 April 2019 - 2.00pm - 3.00pm

Australian designer Marion Hall Best created avant-garde ‘space-age’ interiors, drawing on the most innovative designers and materials. What constituted ‘space age aesthetics’ in Australian interiors? Join design historian, Catriona Quinn as she traces the evolution of the style from 1950s atomic patterns to 1960s and 70s interiors. 

The exhibition is open from 

March 23-June 15 2019

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BOOK SIGNING/EXHIBITION: Total Design: Derek Wrigley and the ANU Design Unit 1954-1977


Saturday 13 April 2019 - 3.30pm-4.30pm

 Explore the Total Design exhibition then join architect and designer Derek Wrigley for refreshments in the CMAG foyer. Derek will answer questions about his work in the exhibition and sign copies of his new book,  The ANU Design Unit 1954-1977: Design Awareness in the Modern University. 

 The exhibition is open from

 March 23-June 15 2019 


GALA DINNER: Modernist Dinner at University House


Saturday 13 April 2019 - 6.00pm

 Step back in time at Canberra Modern's Modernist Dinner at University House (1954). Eat, drink and dance in your best vintage outfit with a mid-century inspired menu. Join guest MC - Ms Modernism, Annalisa Cappuro and artist Trevor Dickinson, locally known for taking our humble bus stops to icon status. 

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MARKET: Modernist Market at University House


Sunday 14 April 2019 - 10.00am - 3.00pm

 Do you love all things mid-century? The Modernist Market is the place for you! Join us for food, entertainment and stalls of clothing, jewelry, home-wares, furniture, books, records and more.  Discover your inner pinup with Miss Cherry Bomb and enjoy a vintage car show and shine. There’s something for everyone.  


TALK: Design Nation with Tim Ross


 Sunday 14 April - 2.00pm - 3.00pm

Comedian and design nerd Tim Ross brings Design Nation Live, his acclaimed talk to the National Gallery of Australia. Exploring the fascinating and often surprising stories of the invisible icons of Australian design, revealing how our unique design histories have helped shape our national identity 

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OPEN HOUSE: Manning Clark House


Monday 15 April, 2.00pm - 2.45pm

 Manning Clark House in Forrest is a delightful example of modernist architecture. The house stands as used by its original inhabitants. Designed by architect Robin Boyd in 1952, Manning Clark House was the home of eminent historian Professor Manning Clark, his wife Dymphna, herself a linguist and historian, and their family. 

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TALK: Australians and the Marimekko Mystique 1954-75


Monday 15 April 2019, 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Interior design historian and curator Catriona Quinn explores the fascinating history of how Australian’s mid-century passion for Marimekko fabrics made us one of their earliest and most important markets. Experience modernist interiors originally designed by architect Bryce Mortlock. Ticket price includes drink and light refreshments. 

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COCKTAILS/TALK: Martinis at Manning Clark


 Friday 3 May 2019 - 5.30pm- 8.30pm

Experience Manning Clark House at cocktail hour! Take in this Robin Boyd designed home with a chilled Martini, crafted by Canberra’s own Martini Whisperer. Enjoy a tour, light refreshments and a talk about the life and times of this mid-century modern architectural gem. A non-alcoholic cocktail option will also be available. 

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OPEN HOUSE: Urambi Village


Saturday 4 May 2019 - 10.00am - 1.00pm

Join Canberra Modern at one of our suburban gems, the 1977 cooperative housing community of Urambi Village, Kambah, Designed by Michael Dysart. Enjoy a behind the scenes look into several housing types and chat to owner/residents and meet the original architect. A BBQ lunch will then be held in the Village Centre. 

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TOUR: Modernist Classic - The National Library of Australia


 Saturday 4 May 2019 - 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Join Erin Dampney and Grace Blakeley-Carroll in exploring one of Canberra's most recognisable buildings. Designed by architect Walter Bunning and opening in 1968, the Library contains numerous modernist architectural and design features. You be the judge - is the building Stripped Classical or an example of New Formalism? 

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OPEN HOUSE: Benjamin House with Roger Benjamin


Sunday 5 May - 11.00am - 12.00pm

 Join Roger Benjamin for an exclusive tour of his childhood home and a talk about its Czech architect, Alex Jelinek, who designed the house for his parents Bruce and Audrey Benjamin in 1956. Listed on the ACT Heritage Register since 2005. 

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12 & 13 February 2019, 6.30pm

Univeristy House, ACT

Road trips without air conditioning, collapsing folding beds, Paddle pop sticks stuffed down the back seat of the car, minor injuries from tripping over a guy rope, variety packs of cereal, sunburn on sunburn, a banana lounge for a bed in an annexe, Chinese restaurants in country town, a room key and a carton of milk.

Canberra Modern are proud to be supproting Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst for a sentimental MOTEL journey in an exploration of Australia at leisure. MOTEL, the new show from the creators of the award winning Man About the House.

Limited tickets available, book now to avoid missing out.

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ACT Region Heritage Symposium




Date: Saturday 18 August 2018

Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm

Venue: RN Robertson Building (46) Science Road ANU 2601

Cost: $75 full registration; $55 members host organisations; $35 concessions, fulltime students

To register visit:


Download and complete the form below.

This symposium explores Canberra’s Modern/Modernist architecture and planning, widely employed in the city in the mid-20th century,  of international standing and embodying the aspirations of a young nation. 

The diverse program features local and interstate perspectives, exploring Canberra's modernist heritage from different angles: design for learning; conserving the marble facade of the National Library; a creative approach to engagement with Northbourne Ave's at risk public housing precinct; working with planning legislation; managing Canberra's mid century landscapes; lessons from Sydney, Hobart and Armidale about valuing, conserving and celebrating our mid century spaces and places. 

Take a tour of ANU's mid-century architecture; get involved in a panel discussion on key issues; end the day with a light-hearted look at the symbiotic relationship between cocktail culture and mid century life in the capital.

Come along to check out the amazing architecture and interiors of the R.N Robertson Building at ANU - originally designed as the Research School of Biological Sciences by Hely and Horne with Macdonald Eggleston and Secomb in 1972, the space was recently refurbished by CCJ Architects (who won an award for this project from the Australian Institute of Architects).

Canberra Modern is proud to be a supporter of the 2018 symposium. At Canberra Modern we are committed to building awareness and understanding of Canberra’s unique modernist heritage places and spaces and encouraging conservation through participation. 

Stay tuned to Canberra Modern’s Website, Facebook and Instagram pages for event updates and speaker profiles. 



Symposium Flyer and Registration Form (pdf)


2018 Heritage Symposium Program (pdf)


Convening Partners




The Mid Century project at the national library of australia

Join Canberra Modern in supporting this fab event!



Following a sell out season as part of Melbourne Design Week and the London Festival of Architecture, Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst invite you to join them for The Mid Century Project at the National Library of Australia. For the past five years they have been skillfully blending storytelling, music and design in a mold breaking format and are thrilled to perform at the National Library as part of the building’s 50 year celebrations.

Tickets include a night time viewing of the Library’s exhibition 1968: Changing Times covering the momentous year the National Library was opened, a mid century inspired film installation and the latest version of Tim Ross’s hit show Man About The House performed with musician Kit Warhurst

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