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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
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Holden Caulfield 12:21 pm 11 May 17

Any news/gossip on the latest happenings with this space?

Maya123 7:22 am 07 Aug 16

pink little birdie said :

Canberra doesn’t have a long history, and a lot of the older parts of town end up disappearing either by accident or design. It’s good for our city’s heritage and identity to have a few relics of the past, lest we begin to think the entire city began in the late 1990s.

It’s obvious from here that some people appear to think that.

creative_canberran 1:56 am 06 Aug 16

I have never heard anything good about the food or coffee here. Gus’ stand against a silly ordnance (that would have been overturned anyway) has given this cafe an odd longevity and place in Canberra folklore. The original plan for Canberra always envisaged an outdoor focus, and French style boulevards. That and Melbourne’s lane-way culture would always have put the tables on the footpath one day.

Ironically for the cafe that forged ahead with outdoor tables, sticking it to the man, they recently enclosed most of their once outside tables in some odd contraption with windows.

Mysteryman 4:07 pm 05 Aug 16

pink little birdie said :

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

Canberra doesn’t have a long history, and a lot of the older parts of town end up disappearing either by accident or design. It’s good for our city’s heritage and identity to have a few relics of the past, lest we begin to think the entire city began in the late 1990s.

Absolutely. But that alone doesn’t make Gus’ worth saving.

madelini 2:28 pm 05 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

This is the “new” Canberra. It should be knocked down and replaced by high rise apartments for the inner city, latte sipping, tram using hipsters to enjoy.

To give a nod to tradition and history – call it “Gus’s Apartments”.

Its the Canberra way.

The inner city hipsters won’t use the tram – where are they going to go, Gungahlin?

madelini 2:25 pm 05 Aug 16

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

Canberra doesn’t have a long history, and a lot of the older parts of town end up disappearing either by accident or design. It’s good for our city’s heritage and identity to have a few relics of the past, lest we begin to think the entire city began in the late 1990s.

madelini 2:24 pm 05 Aug 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

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)..

I’m pretty sure just about anyone called Angus or Augustus would disagree with you there. I personally adore the name – for people, as well as cafes.

Zan 9:35 am 05 Aug 16

Charlotte Harper said :

Zan is on the money. Gus’ first outdoor cafe seating was in what was then Thetis Court, Manuka …

er… so that would be indoor seating, rather than the outdoor sidewalk seating he had in Civic…

No it was outdoors as Thetis Court did not have a roof then.

HenryBG 11:16 pm 04 Aug 16

Charlotte Harper said :

Zan is on the money. Gus’ first outdoor cafe seating was in what was then Thetis Court, Manuka …

er… so that would be indoor seating, rather than the outdoor sidewalk seating he had in Civic…

TOF 5:49 pm 04 Aug 16

Zan is on the money. Gus’ first outdoor cafe seating was in what was then Thetis Court, Manuka (now Manuka Court) – Roughly where the Rendezvous cafe is now. Gus may not be remembered for good food but for pioneering the outdoor cafe seating we prize (except in mid winter). He was also into making the place a hang out for conversation, listening to live music and reading – no rush to get a big turnover. He wanted to create a Viennese style cafe.

dungfungus 12:05 pm 04 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

This is the “new” Canberra. It should be knocked down and replaced by high rise apartments for the inner city, latte sipping, tram using hipsters to enjoy.

To give a nod to tradition and history – call it “Gus’s Apartments”.

Its the Canberra way.

I like that.

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