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Governor-General to honour historic Canberra Services Club

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C anberra S ervices C lub A.C.N. 008 390 896




One of the oldest ex-service clubs in Australia, the Canberra Services Club, has racked up half a century with a commemoration ceremony planned for later this month.

Affectionately known to members and guests as "Shellshock House", the Canberra Services Club in Manuka has been serving the nation's ex-service community since 1948.

The club, which occupies a gracious Heritage-listed building in Canberra Avenue /Manuka Circle has a history going back to the dark days of World War Two.

In 1941, Lady Gowrie, the wife of the then Governor-General, and a group of Canberra citizens raised money to build the Lady Gowrie Services Hut to provide amenities for service people in Canberra.

A determined volunteer effort by the RSL, Legacy, Red Cross and the local Repatriation Committee expanded the operation and a fully licensed club for ex-service people was opened on the Manuka site on 25 October 1947.

Officially opened by the then Governor-General, Sir William McKell, in April 1948, the club has welcomed thousands of service people and visitors. The club has gone from strength to strength over the years.

Its status as a Canberra landmark was enhanced in June 1983 when a Kokoda Memorial was unveiled in the front gardens of the club to pay tribute to the Papuans and New Guineans who helped the Australian troops in their hour of trial as they battled to defeat the Japanese forces on the notorious Kokoda Track.

The sculpture by artist, Helena J. Anderson, and donated by the Kingston-Narrabundah RSL Club, is a rendition in bronze of the famous photograph by Damien Parer of "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel" Raphael Oimbari OBE escorting wounded Australian private, George Whittington, out of the firing line for medical attention for head wounds.

The Governor-General, Sir William Deane, accompanied by Lady Deane, will unveil a 50th anniversary commemorative plaque at the club on Wednesday, 29 April 1998.

(Note editors: The ceremony will begin at 10 am)

For more information, contact Lieutenant Commander David Barnes, RAN Honorary Secretary, Canberra Services Club (Mobile 041 214 7821)

17 April 1998

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