Guide to the Records of the Hotel Canberra

MS 7302

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Records of the Hotel Canberra
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 7302
0.67 metres (4 boxes, 20 folders, 3 folios)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection relates to the management of the Hotel Canberra and includes hotel registers, printed notices, menus, balance sheets and a variety of financial records.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], MS 7302, National Library of Australia, Records of the Hotel Canberra, [box number and series and/or file number]'.


These records were located during the reconstruction of the old Hotel Canberra prior to its opening as the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. They were presented to the National Library by Pak-Poy and Kneebone (consulting engineers for the project) and Darryl Jackson and Associates (architects) in May 1987.

Administrative History

The Hotel Canberra was established in 1924, as a Government owned hostel known as 'Hostel no. 1'. In 1927, the hostel became the Hotel Canberra and was managed by the Government. In 1950, the Hotel was leased to Hotel Canberra Ltd (a subsidiary of Tooheys Brewery, Sydney). For many years it was the only hotel in the A.C.T., and even after the opening of other hotels in Canberra, remained the home of many politicians. Its close proximity to Parliament House and other areas of Government, as well as its 24 hour service, made it idea for politicians. Notable persons who stayed at the Hotel included the Duke and Duchess of York (later George VI and Queen Elizabeth), John Curtin, and James Scullin and Marie Scullin (who chose to stay at the Hotel Canberra rather than occupy the Lodge during his term as Prime Minister). The Hotel stayed in operation until 1974.

In 1974, the lease held by Tooheys expired and was not renewed. The building was then used as Government offices for parliamentary staff from 1974 to 1985. However, the building was retained, as it was an important part of Canberra's and the nation's heritage.

In 1982, it was decided to restore the Hotel Canberra to its former glory if an interested party or parties could be found. In 1983, a $30 million deal with the Sheraton Hotel Group and the Commonwealth Superannunation Investment Trust (C.S.I.T.) was reached to refurbish the older part of the Hotel and to add a new section behind the old to increase the number of rooms. In 1984, C.S.I.T. pulled out of the project, later to be followed by the Sheraton Hotel Group. They were replaced by Pak-Poy and Kneebone (consulting engineers) who also replaced the original engineers Matrix Management Pty Ltd who relinquished the development rights. Eventually the Sheraton Hotels Group was replaced by the current developers, Hyatt International Hotels. The Hotel was reopened as the Hyatt Hotel Canberra in 1987.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Time sheets

This series contains the time and pay sheets used to record the hours worked by staff and to calculate the wages owed to them.

File 1-5. Time sheets for the weeks ending 10 September 1939, 4 November 1941, and July 1941 - Box 1

Series 2. Standard Brewery

File 6. Invoices, receipts, credit notes, and statements from Standard Brewery (Tooheys Ltd), 28 September 1936 and 9 October 1936 - Box 1

File 7. Invoices and credit notes, September 1939 - Box 1

Series 3. Daily revenue documents

This series contains daily revenue statements, balance sheets, and clearance statements.

File 8. 34 daily total (daily revenue) balance sheets, 15 November 1943 to 2 January 1944 - Box 2

File 9. Daily revenue clearance statement, 2 January 1944 - Box 2

File 10-11. Daily statements of revenue, cash register slips, and reconciliation slips for the month of August 1944 and for the 1st and 3rd of September 1944 - Box 2

Series 4. Machine accounting ledger cards

File 12. Machine accounting ledger cards for the months August to December 1944. The accounts covered include debtor's accounts, saloon bar sales, billiards accounts, and cash on hand accounts - Box 2

Series 5. House and hardware stock and costing sheets

File 13. Seven stock and costing records of various household items in use in the Hotel. The records are contained in a cardboard folder and cover the period from January to June 1945 - Box 2

Series 6. Bad debts ledger cards

File 14. Two 'bad debt' ledger cards, April 1937 to April 1938 - Box 2

Series 7. Hotel registers

There are two hotel registers and one accounts register held in the collection of the Hotel Canberra. A photocopy of volume 1 covers the dates from 25 November 1934 to 3 December 1935. Volume 2 (folio) covers the dates from approximately 4 November 1940 to 7 October 1941. Volume three (folio) is the accounts register used to record the number of meals taken by each guest for each day and covers the period from approximately 1 January 1946 to 24 January 1947.

File [unnumbered]. Hotel registers: Volume 1 - Box 3

File [unnumbered]. Hotel registers: Volume 2

File [unnumbered]. Hotel registers: Volume 3

Series 8. Income summary dockets

This series comprises income summary dockets for 2 January 1943, 3 January 1943, 30 November 1943, the month of December 1943, 1 January 1944 - 3 January 1944, 1 October 1944, and 5 October 1944. The menus for each meal were typewritten on the front of each sheet.

File 15-20. Income summary dockets - Box 4

Series 9. Printed notices

File 21. A set of printed notices covering different areas of the Hotel. Tariff notices to guests, public notices and notices to staff are included

File [unnumbered]. Large notice, consisting of a drink price list for the lounge and dining rooms - Box 9