Follow in the footsteps of Prime Ministers Ben Chifley and John Curtin

These days it would probably be a security risk, but for Ben Chifley and John Curtin, two political titans of Australian representative democracy and constitutional monarchy, a smooth and uneventful walk in Canberra has become a constitution for the ages. .

Today, the prime minister duo’s regular wartime 750-metre walk between the Kurrajong Hotel and what is now the Old Parliament House has been immortalized in the form of a guided tour.

The ritual walk took place during the Second World War between the two historic sites, opened in 1926 and 1927, with the old Houses of Parliament, now the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD).

The terms of the two Labor Prime Ministers John Curtin (1941-45) and Ben Chifley (1945-49) passed through momentous war and post-war periods in the country’s history, Chifley serving as Federal Treasurer during the term of Prime Minister of Curtin.

While Curtin is featured on the tour, it is officially nicknamed “Chifley’s Walk”. Chifley, a former Eternal train conductor, avoided The Lodge, preferring to stay at the Kurrajong for over a decade. He did so until his death in 1951, when he was leader of the opposition, following a massive coronary in his hotel room.

The tour includes Peter Corlett’s engaging 2011 statue of the couple on the road, with the sculpture based on a 1945 black and white photo by Don Stephens. Once at the MoAD, guests are taken on an exclusive guided tour, complete with anecdotes and stories about Chifley.

Guests have long been able to book a special package to stay in the Chifley room with the hotel filled with Chifley memorabilia.

“We already have historical photographs of Ben Chifley on display throughout the hotel,” says Faisal Sayed, general manager of the Kurrajong Hotel. “Our restaurant is named after him and, excitingly, we have a replica of the brown leather chair that Chifley sat in at the hotel to enjoy his whiskey and cigar every night.”

The “Chifley’s Walk” tour lasts seven days and is available exclusively to Kurrajong Hotel guests. The walking section to the MoAD is self-guided. See hotelkurrajong.com.au; moadoph.gov.au

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