The Lodge

From Academic Kids

The Lodge is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia in the national capital Canberra. It is located on Adelaide Avenue, Deakin.

It was built over the period 1926-27, and intended as one of a suite of official residences for prominent ministers. This house was the first to be built, and was originally intended for the Treasurer. It was reallocated to the Prime Minister when work on the other residences was cancelled due to economic constraints.

The first Prime Minister to live in the lodge was Stanley Bruce, who moved in a few days before 9 May 1927, when the Old Parliament House was officially opened and the national capital changed from Melbourne to Canberra.

The Lodge is a large, two-storey house, located in 18,000 square metres of landscaped grounds. It underwent some renovation in the 1960s with the installation of a swimming pool, and substantial restoration in the 1980s when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister.

Most Prime Ministers since 1927 have used The Lodge as their primary place of residence. Ben Chifley preferred the Kurrajong Hotel where many Labor politicians of the era stayed (and where he later died).

John Howard, the current Prime Minister, attracted much adverse comment when he announced at the beginning of his Prime Ministership in 1996 that he would not use The Lodge as his principal home. He would stay there only when he is in Canberra for parliamentary or government business, but he would live primarily at Kirribilli House, Sydney. This is a residence maintained for the official use of Prime Ministers when they need to perform official duties and extend official hospitality when in Sydney, but is not one that was ever intended to be the Prime Minister's (or anybody's) primary place of residence. Howard said that he had made this decision so that his family could remain together while his three children lived at home and one son attended university in Sydney. A considerable amount of costly renovation was necessary to enable a family of five to live there on a permanent basis. Howard's explanation left open the possibility that once his children had left home, he would then take up residence in Canberra at The Lodge. However, after his children had all left home, Howard chose to remain at Kirribilli House. He sometimes said that The Lodge was effectively his main residence due to his work requiring him to be in Canberra more often than in Sydney, but he never retreated from his decision in principle to base himself at Kirribilli House whenever he was not needed in Canberra.

The Lodge is not normally open to the public, except for limited access on special 'open days' once or twice a year.

The Governor-General's official residence is Government House, Canberra, known as 'Yarralumla'.


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