Australia House, London

Victory March, 3 May 1919; Australia House, London

The First Eight Project is a collaborative project between the Australian Parliamentary Library, Australian Studies Institute (ANU), National Archives of Australia, National Museum of Australia, and the Victorian Parliamentary Library. This event is presented by the Victorian Parliamentary Library and also forms part of the Foundations: architecture with influence series.

About the Event


Australia House, London is unique. How it was conceived, designed and built is a story of ambitions and achievements ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­--­­ as this seminar will reveal.

The building of Australia House began following Federation as the fledgeling Commonwealth was emerging and asserting itself on the world stage. Building it, along with a new Navy, was the new nation’s most spectacular reach to the World.

A powerful symbol from the outset, Australia House was read through two (often converging) prisms. One was Australia’s need to tell its own story to itself and to the world. The other was London’s ongoing story.

A landmark building, it is Australia’s first diplomatic mission and is London’s first purpose-built foreign legation. Being London’s first Dominion embassy building, it led and inspired the other Dominions which would later follow its example. A model for London, it defined London as an Imperial capital.

About the Author

Dr Eileen Chanin is a Research Associate at the Australian Studies Institute (ANU). She has recently been Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Menzies Institute for Australian Studies, King’s College London (2016-2017), where she was also Menzies Foundation Fellow (2015) and Rydon Fellow (2014).

Books that Eileen has written include

  • Capital Designs: Australia House and Visions of an Imperial London (2018)
  • Awakening, Four Lives in Art (2015)
  • Limbang Rebellion: 7 Days in December 1962 (2013)
  • Book Life, The Life and Times of David Scott Mitchell (2012)
  • Degenerates and Perverts, The 1939 Melbourne Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art (2005)

Eileen reads history broadly and writes about Art, Cultural, and Urban History; turning-points in Art and Society; and Visualising Modernities.

Updated:  4 April 2019/Responsible Officer:  Institute Manager/Page Contact:  Institute Manager