Dame Pattie Menzies House, on the corner of Challis and Cape Streets in Dickson, is being demolished to make way for a new apartment building named in honour of Heather Henderson.
Now aged 94 and residing at Yarralumla, Heather is the youngest child and only daughter of Australia’s 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies and his wife, Pattie.
Heather selling agent, David Shi from LJ Hooker Project Marketing, said the spirit of Dame Pattie and the Menzies family would live on in the new building.
He said Heather grew up in Canberra and has seen the city evolve over many decades.
“The whole idea of naming the building Heather was to symbolise the change Dickson, and Canberra as a whole, has experienced,” he said.
“It is transforming into a rather cosmopolitan city and we hope the new apartment building will be part of Canberra’s new history moving forward.”
Mr Shi said Heather had been actively involved in shaping Canberra into what it is today.
“Even when her father was Prime Minister, as a young woman, she was involved in Canberra’s planning vision,” he added.
While there are hundreds of tributes and dedications to Sir Robert Menzies nationally, Heather told Zango she was “very honoured” to have the development built in her name.
“I’ve known and loved Canberra for a very long time,” she said.
When her father was PM, Heather sometimes attended events at Albert Hall and Parliament House, and she accompanied Sir Robert to the Prime Minister’s Conference in London in 1954, spending the weekend with Sir Winston and Lady Churchill.
Heather has fundraised for charities across Australia, including the Red Cross, and is still involved with many charity organisations in Canberra today.
Mr Shi said he was honoured to be marketing a development with such an important and interesting history.
“It’s such a well-known building in a prominent location and everybody has been wondering what is happening at the site,” he said.
“In this instance, it is nice to have a historical story that goes with the development, not just a funky brand that has no real meaning. You can’t get a better story than Heather Henderson.”
Formerly home to ACT Government departments, the last being the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate before staff moved to the new government offices nearby on Northbourne Avenue, it is expected the demolition of Dame Patti Menzies House will take around three months.
The developer is calling for tenders, with the new Heather apartment building expected to be completed in mid-2025.
The new building would have a “quite simple and understated” facade.
“It is replacing a historic building, so the developer didn’t want anything too flashy,” Mr Shi said.
“COX Architects have created a modern facade, mainly using concrete and glass with a sawtooth design which will add a level of visual interest on the streetscape.”
The building will feature three atriums and four private gardens, allowing natural light and airflow into the apartments.
Mr Shi said he has already been contacted by keen buyers who didn’t know the history of the site but were “really interested in a piece of Canberra history”.
He spoke to an older gentleman who was looking to downsize, and it turned out he was a good friend of Heather’s.
Heather is being developed by AIT Properties Group and Merrylin Development and will include one, two and three-bedroom apartments with modern interiors on the doorstep of bustling Dickson.
Jump online to register your interest in the Heather apartments, or contact David Shi at LJ Hooker Project Marketing ACT.