University House, the ceremonial heart of Australia’s National University, and a boutique hotel with a university vibe. Set in the ANU’s tranquil grounds next to the city’s stylish New Acton precinct, University House is truly one of Canberra’s unique locations and experiences.
From its beginnings solely as a residential college for professors and graduate students, University House has grown to host a vibrant hotel, with fine and casual dining, functions and events spaces, and an excellent bar and cellar. It is the place where the University meets and celebrates, and where guests and visitors experience the benefits of a boutique hotel with immediate access to the rich cultural and intellectual life of Australia’s National University.
With a history rich in academic prestige and ceremony, University House guests and visitors are treated to a unique, club-like experience that was once the exclusive privilege of distinguished academics and celebrated dignitaries. Our heritage-listed architecture and décor, period accommodation, stylish venues, and academic presence echo University House’s Oxbridge origins; our dining and meeting spaces, and the buzz of world-leading research and learning, speak to life of the contemporary university and city.
History of University House
University House was opened on 16 February, 1954, by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, as the first building on the campus of the newly-formed Australian National University. It was home to all of the research students and professors of the University at the time. Very much styled on the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge it was, for a time, referred to as “Oxbridge in the Bush”.
The complete history of the first 50 years of University House is documented in Jill Waterhouse’s engaging book, University House, As They Experienced It: A History 1954-2004. Copies are available at University House reception.
In its first year, Canberra Modern is an annual program of interconnected events which aim to showcase Canberra’s unique mid-century heritage places. Centred in 2017 around the mid-century buildings and landscapes of the Australian National University, the events aim to increase awareness of Canberra’s unique character, highlighting both public and private places and the spaces that link them. Through engagement, Canberra Modern aims to promote conservation, protection and appreciation of the places which make an irreplaceable contribution to Canberra’s historic urban and designed cultural landscape.
The Canberra Modern team are passionate heritage and design practitioners with a shared interest in the celebration of Canberra’s significant history and design heritage. The team have collaborated with the ANU and design industry members to curate an exciting program of events that follow the Canberra Modern theme. The iconic mid-century University House functions as the primary backdrop for the events, keep an eye out for accommodation packages to accompany these events.
The Canberra Modern program can be viewed here