Manning Clark House picLocated in leafy Forrest (11 Tasmania Circle), Manning Clark House was the long-time home of the late Australian historian, Professor Manning Clark and his wife, Dymphna (a linguist) and their large family.

Surrounded by a large garden and designed in 1952 by architect, Robin Boyd, MCH nowadays plays host to a wide variety of functions such as book launches, conferences and seminars. For information see:

Upcoming events include:

  • MCH’s Festival of Ideas – Is democracy in Australia Working? will be held, Saturday 14 October (10am-4.30pm), providing an opportunity for presentations and discussions on contemporary politics, parties, community groups, election campaigns and ways to increase democratic engagement. Bookings: https//
  • Opportunity, merit and Australian democracy, Friday 13 October (6.30pm), The Muse, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston. Speaker Frank Bongiorno, professor of history, Australian National University. Bookings:

Previous events:

  • The Australia Institute’s (and one-time Hawke-Keating government adviser), Mr David Richardson, presented New Economic Directions, with Mrs Caroline Lambert, First Counsellor of the Delegation to Australia of the European Commission. They addressed questions about the relevance of Australia’s mainstream economic policies in dealing with climate change impacts and growing inequality, and economic directions, including policies to redistribute income and address the imbalance between capital and labour.
  • The Guardian Australia‘s political editor, Katharine Murphy, and Dr Caroline Fisher, assistant professor in journalism and News & Media Research Centre member from the University of Canberra, presented The future of quality news in Australia, their informative discussion covering news and social media, redrawing of boundaries and audience polarisation. Various issues emerged: readers’ trust, and news in terms of accuracy, presentation, quality and sources. The importance of attracting advertising and finding where the ‘eyeballs are’ featured, as did anecdotes about journalists doing more work with less resources, older people’s preference for traditional sources and younger folks’ gravitation to social media. We need to get used to the idea of paying for our news, says Katharine Murphy.
  • Mabo Day (3 June) address by Associate Professor Asmi Wood, ANU academic and barrister and solicitor,  on the 1992 Mabo v Queensland (No 2) case where the doctrine of terra nullius (meaning no one’s land) was finally overturned by the High Court. Outlining the background to this decision and the terra nullius doctrine, he cited the 1824 decision in Cooper v Stuart where the Court held that English laws operated in NSW from 1788 and land was said to be practically unoccupied and without settled inhabitants. In that case the Court did not consider that the plaintiff acquired land from local Aboriginal people as it said that they did not have title to it. Assoc/professor Wood referred to the 1971 case of Milirrpum v Nabalco P/L (the Gove land rights case) where Justice Richard Blackburn followed existing case law, ruling against Aboriginal claimants and rejecting the doctrine of Aboriginal title. Later however, Justice Blackburn privately wrote to the then Prime Minister and Opposition Leader saying that the decision was “morally wrong”. After the Woodward Royal Commission into Land Rights, in 1975 the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, drafted the 1975 Land Rights Act, continued in 1976 by the Fraser government. Assoc/professor Wood provided insights into various matters including Aboriginal people’s particular understanding of land ownership, Australia’s Constitution, the possibility of a Treaty and the Uluru Statement.
  • a presentation from one-time federal Opposition Leader and now professor at the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy, Dr John Hewson. His very informative and thought-provoking talk centred on ways to address climate change, including how graphite could be mined and used effectively. He lamented on Australia’s lack of a national energy policy, noting that climate change has seen many “lost opportunities” over the last three decades because of short-term politics. Dr Hewson expressed concern that rising gas and electricity prices and low wages are affecting many people and power-plant closures (South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria) have resulted in thousands of job losses and significant disruptions. He noted that there’s been no strategy to deal with the effects of such closures. Putting forward possible remedies including taking advantage of Australia’s wind, sun and technologies – which would deliver significant domestic jobs and new industries – Dr Hewson emphasised the importance of bipartisan support for an energy policy;
  • launch of historian Judith Armstrong’s biography of Dymphna Clark (held at the National Library);
  • panel discussion on contemporary events and Australia’s involvement with the ANZUS Treaty which included Dr Sue Wareham from Doctors Against Nuclear War and University of New Wales academic, Professor Peter Stanley;