When surveyor Charles Scrivener was charged with finding a suitable site for our fledgling nation’s capital in 1904, little could he have imagined what was to follow over one hundred years later.
Anyone who has ever been on a school excursion to Canberra (and, let’s face it, that’s just about everyone) knows about the Victoria – New South Wales tug-o’-war and eventual compromise, Walter Burley Griffen’s design, Parliament Houses Old and New, Questacon and everything else that makes the Canberra story a rich tapestry of the historic and the modern. What is less well known, however, is that 2015 saw the creation of another important ‘chapter’ in that story.
In the shadows of our nation’s hallowed halls of political power and a stone’s throw from the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin lies King O’Malley’s. An institution in its own right, this old timey Irish pub is a favourite among Civic regulars. On the first Wednesday of each month, though, it plays host to a group of gentlemen burly, civil and – moreover - astute. These gentlemen make up the Canberra Chapter of the Tough Guy Book Club.
Now in its 8th year, the Canberra chapter is overseen by Adam Bartlett and David Murphy. Adam got involved with Tough Guy Book Club when he saw the inaugural Canberra meeting listed on Facebook. He recalls his first meeting as being a lot of fun with like-minded individuals and with a lot of free flowing conversation across a range of topics. Indeed, King O’Malley – a member of the first federal parliament and after whom the chapter’s venue is named - was an ardent believer that ‘cold climates… [produce] the greatest geniuses’. Surely, then, it is entirely fitting that Adam, David and their band of merry men coalesce each month at this particular pub in this auspicious city!
Were you paying attention on that school excursion? If you were, you might recall how Canberra became so named. A bit rusty? “Canberra” of course, was derived from a local Indigenous word meaning “meeting place”. So whether you are an avid reader wanting to share your love of all things lit, been away from books for a while and want to blow out the cobwebs, or still looking for that book that makes it happen for you, get along to O’Malley’s on the first Wednesday of next month to meet Adam, David and company. The fun starts at 7 pm!
Thanks to Adam Bartlett and nca.gov.au/
-Brett Lowery (Port Macquarie Chapter)