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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Day 48

The Pavilion Building, or West Portal Cafeteria as it was formerly known, was a purpose-built cafeteria for public servants working in the ANZAC Park West (and I suppose also ANZAC Park East) office building, to take a break from national administration and dine on roast beef sandwiches, sausage rolls and scones - it is no wonder I have always admired the building. Built in 1969 it is a 535sqm single level rectangular structure comprised of brick walls on three sides of the northern end, which house the facilities and service areas including once a kitchen, and full length windows with a wide verandah to the three sides of the southern end, around the former dining area. It has a copper tile clad roof with concave cantilevers that extend three meters along all four sides, and a curved spire with a lantern positioned central over the dining area. The verandah and dining room ceilings are battened with Western Red Cedar and the northern wall in the dining room is clad with Queensland maple battens laid vertically, which conceal the doors into the facilities and service areas. Interestingly, it is one of eight hospitality services that existed to accommodate public servants in the ACT during the 1970s and which operated until 1988; today It is one of three surviving buildings constructed for these services (another being ‘The Lobby’ opposite Provisional Parliament House). For these unique architectural features and its specific operations tied to life in the developing days of Canberra, it has been heritage listed. Currently it is being used as a display suite for ‘The Griffin’ complex being constructed next door and is listed for sale by expression of interest, advertised as being “suitable for hospitality, office & more.” I doubt it’s future potential though as it certainly wouldn’t suit its original purpose anymore: it faces the completely wrong direction and has sweeping views of a major roadway, Parkes Way. In fact, I don’t understand why it was ever built facing south in the first place, as even in 1969 it would have had the same poor surroundings. Though a beautiful building nonetheless.