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Gus’ Cafe could lose its name forever

By Chris Mordd Richards - 1 August 2016 31

Gus' Cafe

The owners of the building that Gus’ Cafe – the Canberra cultural icon – sits in, is owned by Certrane Pty Ltd. John Grimble, their principal, has reportedly opened the door to allowing potential new owners to change the name. This could forever assign the iconic name Gus’ (Cafe) to the dustbin of history, after a more than 50 year legacy and history behind the name.

The Canberra Times reports Janice Glenn, the former owner of Gus’ Cafe, as saying the following:

The heritage listing her family secured in 2011 may not prevent another business opening on the Bunda Street site under a different name. “I was under the impression it would continue to be Gus’, but I am unsure now,” Ms Glenn said.

The ACT Heritage Council told her it was a grey area. “I thought it was the name that was heritage-listed, [but] that’s not the case. They can only strongly suggest that it be retained. I don’t understand why it is just the plaque. It has something to do with legalities. The owner of the building objected.”

Ms Glenn said Sydney investors may not understand Gus’ cultural significance. “It doesn’t matter who goes in there, so long as it is Gus’, that’s what I would like to focus on,” she said. “There are so many memories there for a lot of people.”

I have started a petition to urge Certrane and Mr Grimble to commit to keeping the iconic name, you can find it here: https://www.change.org/p/certane-pty-ltd-keep-the-name-gus-cafe-before-it-s-lost-forever

If Gus’ Cafe has ever meant anything to you, or a family member, or a friend, or co-worker, or even just an acquaintance, please consider signing this petition. It is one of the few businesses left from that era still operating under the same name, more so in the same location. We cannot allow the iconic name of Gus’ to just disappear.

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
Gus’ Cafe could lose its name forever
HenryBG 11:02 am 03 Aug 16

bigred said :

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Businesses come and businesses go. There are many business names that we hold fond memories for and which are gone.

Gus’s today has nothing to do with Gus’s in the 1970s and 1980s – it then had cultural value – one of the few places you could go and enjoy a hot drink and a snack in a relaxed and pleasant and quite authentic atmosphere. The only place you could go and sip coffee on the sidewalk (assuming the ACT Govt. enforcers hadn’t confiscated the outdoor tables and chairs that morning).
Nowadays every sidewalk in town is cluttered with tables and chairs, and Gus’s has nothing unique going for it.

No_Nose 10:36 am 03 Aug 16

Maybe the ACT Council could officially gazette that particular Bunda St/Garema Place intersection with the name “Gus’ Corner”, or “Gus’ Place”.

There is already some historical information signage, maybe just make it a bit more prominent and formalised.

Mysteryman 10:34 am 03 Aug 16

Mello said :

I was around when Gus was fighting to be allowed to have outside tables and chairs. He led that movement in Canberra. Until he did that no-one could sit outside a cafe. That’s something we owe him. It seems people here have very short memories, or weren’t around in Canberra then and don’t know the history. From memory the food, etc was ordinary at Gus’, but then so too was it mostly elsewhere in those days too. It would be a shame to see this historical name go, mainly I would speculate because it was before many people’s time in Canberra and the history means nothing to them.

I’m aware that Gus fought to have seats outside. But I don’t care. Some people in Canberra hold on to the notion that we would still only have indoor seating if it wasn’t for him. I think that’s nonsense. The law would have changed eventually regardless of his involvement. I don’t see that as reason enough to campaign for the name to be kept.

Zan 9:28 am 03 Aug 16

Gus’ Cafe first started in Manuka in the mid-60s. You can read all about Gus and his cafe ventures here http://www.library.act.gov.au/find/history/frequentlyaskedquestions/personal_stories/canberra-citizen-of-the-year-1967/gus-petersilka

Maya123 7:08 am 03 Aug 16

The last time I went there was in 2007. It was crap then. Better places around.

Good luck trying to get the business name of the current owners for a decent price. Maybe ACT Heritage Council can pony up for the transfer fee?

The history of Gus’ is older than 2007. I remember it from the early 1970s. This backs up my other comment.

Maya123 7:05 am 03 Aug 16

I was around when Gus was fighting to be allowed to have outside tables and chairs. He led that movement in Canberra. Until he did that no-one could sit outside a cafe. That’s something we owe him. It seems people here have very short memories, or weren’t around in Canberra then and don’t know the history. From memory the food, etc was ordinary at Gus’, but then so too was it mostly elsewhere in those days too. It would be a shame to see this historical name go, mainly I would speculate because it was before many people’s time in Canberra and the history means nothing to them.

Pandy 5:50 am 03 Aug 16

The last time I went there was in 2007. It was crap then. Better places around.

Good luck trying to get the business name of the current owners for a decent price. Maybe ACT Heritage Council can pony up for the transfer fee?

dungfungus 6:57 pm 02 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

bigred said :

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Good luck with that, I have tried to track down a physical office address, phone number or email for them, and so far have come up with nothing. It seems they do not want to engage with, well, anyone for any reason and don’t like people contacting them.

rommeldog56 said :

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Since you found it necessary to moderate out my original reply, I’ll just say this: the past 15 years the service and the food have been lousy. I’m looking forward to something better replacing Gus’.

I presume you are referring to Charlotte, I of course have no ability to moderate anything, so I don’t know what your original reply was. Why can’t we have something better though, and still retain the name?

“Chez Augustine” perhaps?
“Gus” sounds a bit Bogan these days (like the nickname of the NRL commentator named Gould)..

Mordd 6:52 pm 02 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

bigred said :

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Good luck with that, I have tried to track down a physical office address, phone number or email for them, and so far have come up with nothing. It seems they do not want to engage with, well, anyone for any reason and don’t like people contacting them.

rommeldog56 said :

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Since you found it necessary to moderate out my original reply, I’ll just say this: the past 15 years the service and the food have been lousy. I’m looking forward to something better replacing Gus’.

I presume you are referring to Charlotte, I of course have no ability to moderate anything, so I don’t know what your original reply was. Why can’t we have something better though, and still retain the name?

dungfungus 6:11 pm 02 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

bigred said :

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Good luck with that, I have tried to track down a physical office address, phone number or email for them, and so far have come up with nothing. It seems they do not want to engage with, well, anyone for any reason and don’t like people contacting them.

rommeldog56 said :

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Since you found it necessary to moderate out my original reply, I’ll just say this: the past 15 years the service and the food have been lousy. I’m looking forward to something better replacing Gus’.

I could never understand the fuss about Gus either.

Mysteryman 2:59 pm 02 Aug 16

bigred said :

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Good luck with that, I have tried to track down a physical office address, phone number or email for them, and so far have come up with nothing. It seems they do not want to engage with, well, anyone for any reason and don’t like people contacting them.

rommeldog56 said :

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Since you found it necessary to moderate out my original reply, I’ll just say this: the past 15 years the service and the food have been lousy. I’m looking forward to something better replacing Gus’.

Mordd 12:40 pm 02 Aug 16

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Good luck with that, I have tried to track down a physical office address, phone number or email for them, and so far have come up with nothing. It seems they do not want to engage with, well, anyone for any reason and don’t like people contacting them.

rommeldog56 said :

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

At times yes, but most of the time it was good service, good coffee, good food. Don’t let small periods of bad managers running the place ruin what is close to 50 years of excellent service.

Mysteryman 11:21 am 02 Aug 16

Poor service, bad coffee, and average food.

Good riddance.

Masquara 9:09 pm 01 Aug 16

A good friend of mine will be writing to John Grimble and asking him to encourage the new owners to consign Gus Petersilka’s name to the dustbin of history…

Midge 8:36 pm 01 Aug 16

This is how I read the Canberra Times article…
Janice Glenn bought the business “Gus’s Cafe” in 1994. The business traded in a building owned by Certrane Pty Ltd.
In 2011 a heritage listing was granted.
In May 2016 the business closed because Certrane did not renew the lease (why? I’d speculate it’s because they wanted to increase the rent and Ms Glenn did not want to pay). Certrane assured Ms Glenn that it will remain a Cafe (no surprise since the heritage listing on the building will make it hard to convert into anything else).
New tenants have leased the building (obviously they don’t think the rent isn’t too high), but have not taken on the business name (logical since they don’t own the business name!)
So before I would starting taking sides and petitioning people I’d want to know a little more – like is the price being asked for the business name fair?

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