ⓘ John Gorton Building

John Gorton Building

ⓘ John Gorton Building

The John Gorton Building is a heritage listed government office located in the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra, Australia. The building was first planned 1924, with construction breaking ground soon after in 1927. However, due to budgetary constraints and substandard foundation construction, the project was delayed indefinitely. It took until 1946 for construction to begin with a modified Art Deco design. It took a further ten years for the building to finally open in 1956. The entire construction project took place in the context of a large post-war expansion effort within Canberra. When first opened, it was occupied by the News and Information Bureau, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Health, and the Department of External Affairs. The DEA and succeeding departments remained the buildings primary occupant up until the late 1990s when the Department of Finance moved in. In 1999 the building was renamed to the John Gorton Building, after Australias 19th prime minister, John Gorton.


1. Bunker

In 1974, construction began on a communications centre for the Department of Foreign Affairs previously the Department of External Affairs, who were now the primary occupant of the building following an expansion during the cold war. The existing structure did not have the security nor space to house the communications equipment. In order to prevent spying and protect against foreign attacks, it was constructed with steel lined walls and a concrete super structure. Despite being often referred to as a "bunker", it is not nor has it ever been a bunker.

By 2000, due to the modernization of the computer systems and their subsequent move to the main structure, the bunker was abandoned for several years. In 2003, the bunker was renovated and turned into office space for the newly occupying Department of Finance and remains in use today.

Despite the fact the existence of the bunker has always been public knowledge and today is openly visible from the outside, the bunker is the subject of urban legend in Canberra to this day, being speculated to be in several different locations.