December 4, 2014

A Snapshot – 50 Years of the Press Club

A Snapshot - 50 Years of the Press Club. Anna Johnston -

In 2012, my first year working at the Pressie, the Club underwent a 2 million dollar refurbishment, the entire ground floor of the Club was gutted and given a beautiful face lift. It was business as usual, just on a much smaller scale. I guess I was a political novice, but in the weeks before building began, when we were sorting through boxes of photos and documents that detailed the history of the Club, that I truly felt I was a part of something special.  I mean seriously folks, how awesome is it to read hand written messages from the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Bill Gates, Ruth Cracknell & the Dalai Lama. #totallyawesome

National Press Club being built

The National Press Club building in Barton, ACT being built – Check out the classic Aussie ‘King G Stubbies’ 

The National Press Club of Australia started out as a press luncheon club, the brainchild of a group of journalists over a few drinks (beer I’m sure) in a Canberra pub. I wonder if this group of people thought their idea would still be going strong all these years later?

Front of National Press Club years ago

Journalists and guests arriving at the National Press Club 30+ years ago 

Each week the Press Club hosts a live broadcast address to the country by visiting international figures, heads of state, religious leaders, innovators and of course Australian political leaders including every Prime Minster and Opposition leader from the last 40 years.

Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard – Australia’s first female Prime Minister

Gough Whitlam (at lectern) 1975

Gough Whitlam at the Press Club lectern in 1975

Signed National Press Club Speaker Book - Gough Whitlam

The National Press Club Speakers Signature Books – Gough Whitlam 1986

National Room

The National Room – The Clubs Function Space in the 80’s

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher – The first female Prime Minister of Britain 

Anna Johnston - George Bush

George Bush – The 41st President of the United States

Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine – American film, television and theater actress and Barry Casey from the ABC

I love how animated Shirley is, for those that don’t know why she is laughing, she was responding to a rather cheeky statement from Barry.

BC: I stand erect in front of you….
SM: You stand erect in front of me? That’s the best offer I’ve had all year, you know….

Steve Lewis - Author of Stand & Deliver - 50 Years of the Press Club

Steve Lewis – Author of Stand & Deliver – The National Press Club Book

Last month, Steve Lewis, the Clubs Senior Vice President and political journalist launched his book ‘Stand & Deliver’, a novel that captures some of the most powerful and entertaining speeches at the Club from the past 50 years. Anyone who enjoys history and is interested in politics, you can purchase the book here. Solid Christmas present right?!

This post is just a snapshot of some of the awesome that has happened over the years. I feel pretty special being able to say I am the Events Manager at the Press Club, it is hands down, one of the most amazingly cool and fun jobs I have ever had. I work with the best bunch of people, I am treated to the most exquisite and delicious foods, prepared by some of Australia’s best chefs on a daily basis, and I get to say, that in a very small way, I am a part of Australian history. #bestjobeva

So tell me dear reader, are you into history and old artifacts, and who is your favourite historical figure?

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shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

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Peter - December 23, 2014 Reply

Nice post 🙂 I lived around the block from the Press Club a while back – it is an amazing hub. Glad you are enjoying and thanks for the memories.

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    That’s awesome Peter, even for me looking at this post, it is fun to see I am a part of such a cool organization and Australian political and media history. Pop in and say hi next time you are back in the Berra. Happy New Year! 🙂

Sophie - December 22, 2014 Reply

What a cool post & very interesting too! Many great names came along there! x

    Anna - January 2, 2015 Reply

    Oh yeah, Sophie. I am very lucky to work at such a great place. 🙂

Jean | Holy Smithereens - December 16, 2014 Reply

Thanks for sharing this with us Anna! Such an interesting job you have and it’s admirable that you appreciate and really enjoy it. You are part of history and that’s amazing! I love Shirley Maclaine’s quip!!! I do appreciate abit of history, and I have a bit of fascination for explorers / conquerors (Cortez, Magellan, Colombus) but on a more contemporary age I admire the female pioneers – Amelia Earhart, Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton.

    Anna - December 17, 2014 Reply

    Yep, pretty darn lucky to have me such a diverse and fun filled job. 🙂
    Shirley Maclaine is awesome, I love that the photographer caught that exact moment when she let loose. LOL!
    Jean, you are a total history buff, had to do a little google on a couple of the names you listed.

Krista - December 11, 2014 Reply

Cheeky comment is right! Hilarious! 🙂 Favorite historical figure? Oh my, I can’t possibly choose just one. I sure liked seeing all those old faces though. 🙂

    Anna - December 11, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Krista! 🙂 And yes, there really are so many amazing historical figures huh? Thanks heaps for stopping in, I very much appreciate your support. Have a fabulous weekend lovely one. xo

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - December 10, 2014 Reply

I want a post where you tell us all about your job, I want all the details!

    Anna - December 10, 2014 Reply

    Haha… Okay lovely Pamela. 🙂
    I am on it, a post about my awesome job coming up.

Kris Johnston - December 8, 2014 Reply

Holy cows.

That is beyond special Anna. I really love history, and all of those people effected it heavily. Especially those political heavy weights. WOW.

Thank you for capturing and sharing that with us.

    Anna - December 9, 2014 Reply

    It’s pretty sweet huh, Nizz. Looking at these pictures really makes me feel proud, I mean how freakin cool is it that I have access to so much awesome. 🙂 Thanks for being a part of my fun journey. xox

Gourmet Getaways - December 7, 2014 Reply

Whoa, I love those once-in-a-lifetime photos! Interesting events in an interesting book. Thanks for sharing, Anna!!

Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways

    Anna - December 8, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Julie & Alesah! 🙂
    Yes, I really am very lucky to have access to such an incredible history. Thanks heaps for stopping by. 🙂

Alice - December 7, 2014 Reply

You are a big part of that history, I’ve no doubt there are some mighty big shoes that needed to be filled and you did so amazingly. I’m fascinated by the history of the Press
Club in what began as a small idea and became an institution. I love how we’ve gotten to know a lot of you, a little of what you do and how it all became a part of who you are!

    Anna - December 8, 2014 Reply

    I am super lucky to say I have been a part of the Clubs amazing history. It really is tonnes of fun.
    Thank you so much Alice for all your love and support. I really appreciate it! Thank you. 🙂 xox

Choc Chip Uru - December 7, 2014 Reply

You are definitely lucky to work in such a prestigious place, I can’t believe some of the awesome guests it has catered to! Amazing 🙂

Choc Chip Uru

    Anna - December 9, 2014 Reply

    It’s amazing Uru, sometimes I have to pinch myself seeing some of the speakers hanging out in my office. LOL! 🙂

Tim | UrbanDuniya - December 6, 2014 Reply

You really do work in such an amazing environment. I couldn’t believe it when we were talking about some of the people that you had served – how cool!!

    Anna - December 8, 2014 Reply

    I am pretty darn lucky to work for the Pressie. Its amazing actually! 🙂
    Teehee, yeah… Especially when I was trying to tell you about that ‘computer guy’. Haha!

Agness - December 6, 2014 Reply

Wow, it’s such a great place to visit!!

    Anna - December 6, 2014 Reply

    If you are ever in town Agness, the Press Club is a must visit. Lots of history! 🙂

The Guy - December 5, 2014 Reply

Wow, what an amazing job to be events manager at such an interesting place. Some of those historic speakers seem fantastic. It must be a heck of a lot of fun arranging with them and their contacts.

Who was your favourite person to meet at all these events?

    Anna - December 6, 2014 Reply

    I say it often, I think I have one of the best event managers jobs in Australia. It really is very interesting, and especially fun when I am lucky enough to meet speakers that are world famous. 🙂 My fave so far is Ita Buttrose, Dick Smith too, oh and Bob Hawke, he is such a character. Who am I kidding, almost all of the people I meet are wonderful. 🙂

My Inner Chick - December 5, 2014 Reply

I must hear more about your job! AMAZING.
I loooove the Dalai Lama. Best interview I’ve ever watched!
My historical Person would be Sylvia Plath!


    Anna - December 5, 2014 Reply

    I LOVE your enthusiasm Kim! Your bubbly nature is brilliant. 🙂
    Yes, the Dalai Lama is incredible, he has spoken at the Club 3 or 4 times, each time he remembers the staff and is so warm and loving. Very cool man!
    Sylvia Plath, that’s cool. 🙂
    Have a great weekend gorgeous lady. xoxox

Mandy - December 4, 2014 Reply

Hand written messages from the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Bill Gates, Ruth Cracknell & the Dalai Lama… just wait darling, you are going to meet some incredibly awesome people!
Lovely sharing in the history with you.
Have a beautiful day hon.
🙂 Mandy xo

    Anna - December 5, 2014 Reply

    Hey Ya Mandy! 🙂
    I have been pretty lucky to meet some amazing people already, it is such a fantastic job. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing in my journey.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend sweet lady.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - December 4, 2014 Reply

The Press Club has had such an immense history! It’s so hard to pick one favourite historical figure but I would have to say Joan of Arc is particularly fascinating to me.

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    It really does huh Lorraine. 🙂
    Ooooh, Joan of Arc is cool. Really cool….The ultimate ‘SheWoman’.

Sue - December 4, 2014 Reply

What a great job you have! Such an impressive history of guests and speakers. Where do you see yourself in the club 5 years from now?

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Its a fantastic job Sue, I am super lucky to be able to be a part of all the awesome that happens here at the Club. 🙂
    Hmmmm…. thats a really fantastic question, I don’t think I will be in Canberra, but if the opportunity arose, id be all for spending some time working at the Washington DC (USA) Press Club.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - December 4, 2014 Reply

What an eclectic list of people Anna, and history is so important. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Yeah, there were hundreds of others to chose from too, Tandy. But this group were all names I recognised. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by, I very much appreciate your support.
    Have a great weekend lovely lady! x

Elizabeth - December 4, 2014 Reply

Hi Anna, fantastic post and a walk down memory lane of a wonderful venue… I hope the get there myself one day to try the menu! I think you should book yourself in to speak, I would come as i’m sure not only would you have something interesting to speak about, but I’m sure I would be in stitches with laughter as well! Have a wonderful weekend! Liz x

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Liz, yeah…. it really is a brilliant place to work. I am very lucky! Heck yeah you do, that’d be awesome if you did come for a feed. Actually…. lets make that a thing.
    Haha, that is very sweet of you to say re speaking at the Pressie. Thank you for saying so, I am very touched.
    Wishing you a super weekend too. xox

Hotly Spiced - December 4, 2014 Reply

What a great job and going to work is always so much more enjoyable if you love the work you do. You must have the opportunity to meet some very interesting characters xx

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    It is pretty darn awesome, Charlie. I am very lucky to have me such a cool job. 🙂
    And yes, I have been met some super interesting characters this past couple of years. Many of which I walk away silently squealing with delight at what just happened. 🙂

Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) - December 4, 2014 Reply

Oh, this post was so interesting Anna – having lived in Oz for 20 years – understand what much of it is about. It is so great when you have a job you truly love – that’s how I felt when I was a cookbook editor – so pleased you have found your right one.

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Awesome to know a little more about you Rachel, I bet it was really cool being a cookbook editor.
    And yes, I am really grateful to have found a job I love. 🙂

Lizzy (Good Things) - December 4, 2014 Reply

What a wonderful ambassador you are for the NPC, Anna… and it certainly does sound like an awesome place to work!

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Lizzy! 🙂
    I was just saying to my colleagues how awesome it is to have access to alllll this, and that we are apart of the Clubs history.
    And yes, it really is a wonderful place to work. I am very lucky! 🙂

Susan - December 4, 2014 Reply

This is SUCH a great post. Wouldn’t it be great if one day you were one of those Pressie speakers! I think we’d all be spellbound.

    Anna - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks heaps love! 🙂 And …. Nawwwwwwh, how crazy lucky am I to have such amazing support from you. Thank you for always believing in me. xox

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