Stay Tuned for More Events in 2019


Canberra Modern 2019 - Ended 5 May 2019

Canberra Modern 2019 was brought to you as part of the Canberra and Region Festival and with the generous support of an ACT Heritage Grant 

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 - our bus will stop at 6 stops - be prepared for some pop-up activities at some stops and some special guests along the way. 

Pickup/Dropoff Point: at University House, ANU

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

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. 

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 Cherrybomb and enjoy a vintage car show and shine. There’s something for everyone.  

4 Tours of University House will be offered throughout the day:

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 

OPEN HOUSE: Manning Clark House Tours


 Sunday 28 April,

10.00 am, 12.00pm , 2.00pm, 3.00pm 

Monday 29 April, 2.00pm

 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. 

Bookings by email to  

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 Ancher, Mortlock and Murray. Ticket price includes  light refreshments. 

COCKTAILS/TALK: Martinis at Manning Clark House


 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. 

This event is sold out, but see Mannng Clark House tours for access to this wonderful property, 

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. 

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? 

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. 

GALA: The Dressmaker 1950s Vintage Ball at the NFSA


Saturday 27 April 2019 7.00pm

Come dressed in your finest vintage wear for our first event – The Dressmaker 1950’s Vintage Ball on Saturday 27 April.  Catch an evening viewing of The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition and join us for a night of 1950s fashion and fun!  Dress in your finest vintage wear or bring a prized original piece for discussion with an NFSA curator, catch a swing dance demonstration (and learn a step or two) - all to the backdrop of our swinging retro vinyl 

3x10 Speaker Series: Design Institute of Australia


Wednesday 1 May 2019 - 6.00pm

The DIA presents the 2019 annual 3x10 Speaker Series. In the first of three instalments, three superstar speakers from diverse fields such as object, spatial, performance, communication and system design have been invited to share a 10-minute insight into their professional creative practices. Witness first-hand what makes them tick: their experiences, projects, successes and failures.

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the theme for this year’s series is “space”.  

Venue: ANU Forestry Lecture Theatre, Building 48, Linneaus Way

Jenny Edwards, Light House Architecture and Science
Tim Foster, Tim Foster Cabinetmaking
Rohan Nicol, Australian National University


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 supporting 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.

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

Book Now

2017 Events

Talking Points Exhibition - 7-12 November 2017, Torrance Room, University House


Talking points will present recent works from makers connected with the gold and silversmithing program at The ANU School of Art and Design. A boardroom table located in the Torrance Room at University House will function as a backdrop for this exhibition. The exhibition will present a diverse range of dialogues, interests and concerns that have emerged through the gold and silversmithing studio over the last 40 years. The table is an appropriate platform for the interests the exhibition presents, as a place where complex dialogues converge. Themes explored include cross-cultural enquiry, material and sensorial concerns and the intersection of visual languages.     

Modern(ist) Love with Tim Ross 2pm, 11 November 2017, Foyer, Great Hall, University House



Join Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross for a casual chat about modernism, Canberra and anything else he feels like. Tim is a major advocate for the protection and appreciation of Australia’s modernist buildings, most recently lending his voice to the Save Our Sirius campaign in Sydney. Tim’s award winning program on ABC ‘Streets of Your Town’ gave a voice to the buildings which provide the unique backdrop to the Australian lifestyle. 

Modernist Dinner - Saturday 11 November 2017, 6pm, Great Hall, University House


Join us for a dinner unlike any other! 

Established in 1946, ANU was findings its proverbial feet through the mid-century period, and as the University attracted the best of the best in academia, architecture and politics to Canberra, they were treated to grand dinners in true modernist style.  Using an authentic menu from the era for inspiration, University House’s chefs will prepare a three-course meal with wine. 

Dress in your finest modernist garb and be prepared to time travel to a different time and space in history.  The keynote will be acclaimed modernist photographer Darren Bradley AKA @modarchitecture and our MC, who promises to bring the ‘razzle dazzle’, is none other than Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross. 

Modernist Market - 10am-4pm Sunday 12 November 2017, University House


A day out for young and old!

- Traders include vintage clothing, jewellery, books, furniture and homewares!

- From 12pm Join pinup sensation Miss Cherrybomb for vintage hair and makeup demonstrations

- From 2pm Miss Cherrybomb is hosting a best dressed competition with fabulous prizes! - entries on the day- 

- Check out the pop-up food and beverage stalls!  

- Join local swing band In Full Swing have a dance! or grab a picnic blanket and listen under the trees. 

- The Canberra Antique and Classic Motor Club will have some of their best mid-century cars out for a show and shine!

- Grab a snap in the vintage photo booth! 

The market is curated by Three Sixty Style.

Darren Bradley Photography Tour and Workshop, 12pm, Sunday 12 November, University House Foyer


Grab your camera and take a walk around the ANU Acton Campus and surrounds with award-winning photographer, Instagram star and Canberra aficionado Darren Bradley AKA @modarchitecture. Darren will share his amazing tips and tricks for architectural photography with several examples of modernist buildings on and around the ANU Campus. Following the walk and snap, Darren will show you how to make your snaps shine with a brief workshop on post production. 

Silent Witnesses: an exhibition of artworks by Martin Rowney . Sunday 12th Nov - 10am-4pm


One of the first buildings to be constructed by the Australian National University, the John Curtin School of Medical Research was a place of significant medical advancement; of Nobel Prize winning research and of deep investigation into the workings of the human body. When the building was refurbished in 2014, many of the original fittings such as early Bakelite switches and power points, Negretti & Zambra thermographs, pressure gauges, fans and bells were salvaged by ANU Heritage, and repurposed into sculptural assemblages by artist and archaeologist Martin Rowney.  

Featherston by Geoff Isaac, Monday 13 November, 5.30pm, Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU


Grant Featherston is best known for his plywood Contour chairs developed in the early 1950s. However the Contour series just marked the start of a thirty year career in chair design. Working with Melbourne -based manufacturer Aristoc, Grant later joined by his wife Mary, designed hundreds of chairs some of which were so commercially successful that it is no exaggeration to claim that nearly everyone over thirty in Australia has sat on a Featherston chair. Surprisingly, very little has been published on the work of Australia's most successful mid-century designers. In September this year the first monograph was published by Thames and Hudson. This 300 page book features over 250 photographs highlighting the breadth of the Featherston’s designs, focusing on the 13 year partnership with Aristoc an featuring many previously unpublished images from the company's archive.

Author Geoff Isaac will present an illustrated overview of the Featherstons' work in chair design and the will be followed by a book signing.

Presented by ANU School of Art and Design 

The Cocktail Hour Lifestyle - From 5pm, Thursday 16th November, Common Room, University House


5pm-6pm Masterclass 

This exclusive event is limited to 20 people. Join Canberra’s own Martini Whisperer Phillip Jones for a memorable cocktail hour to explore its mysteries, history, and how to craft the perfect cocktail at home. He’ll also share the role of the Martini in adding glamour to the suburban cocktail hour. Naturally, all that talk of Dry Martinis is sure to make you thirsty and you’ll be able to craft one of your own under his expert eye! Tickets include welcome drink and a Martini.

6.30pm to 8.00pm Talk and Demonstration

The Martini is the most iconic of cocktails, instantly recognisable and evocative. Like modernist design, it’s elements are simple but expressive of time and place.

So dress up for a fabulous cocktail party and a very special door prize - a personalised Martini masterclass with the Martini Whisperer himself for up to 6 friends in the comfort of your own home! Talk entry includes first drink, and antipasto, with cash bar available for further refreshments.  

The Other Moderns, 6pm, Tuesday 14 November 2017, Drawing Room, University House


While Harry Seidler is one of Australia’s most famous architects, little is known of his European-born contemporaries. The newly released title The Other Moderns uncovers the work of these forgotten émigré architects, interior designers, and furniture makers working and reveals their ground breaking impact on modernist design. The Other Moderns explores the work of this unacknowledged group of style makers for the first time in a richly illustrated publication including stunning images from Austrian-born photographer Margaret Michaelis and furniture from the collection of Hotel Hotel Canberra. Author Rebecca Hawcroft will speak on her research for the book and focus on some of Canberra’s many fascinating émigré stories and the connections that intertwine with the designers featured in the book and the exhibition ‘The Moderns’, currently showing at Museum of Sydney.