About Us

What We Do

For people who shape Australian society, The National Press Club is Australia’s most recognised forum, an icon chosen for major statements and for initiating change.
Whether the issue of the day is political, economic, corporate, diplomatic, military or societal, the National Press Club plays a significant role in Australian Society.
The National Press Club is an icon, an institution that reaches the influencers and decision makers of Australia; be they Federal or State Parliamentarians, political advisors, Government Heads of Departments, diplomatic community, academia, legal, health and other professions, journalists including the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery or thinking Australians many of whom are leaders in their own communities.
The televised lunchtime Westpac National Press Club Addresses are held usually on Wednesdays with additional speakers featured on other days of the week.
Speakers such has political leaders, ministers, scientists, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and forums provoke thought and inspire.
The National Press Club is a prestigious venue for events and functions such as boardroom dinners, cocktail parties, weddings, awards and celebrations.
Our award winning Column Restaurant continues to provide diners with premium contemporary Australian Cuisine. The menu changes seasonally and the chef gains inspiration from the available local produce.
The National Press Club has been featuring some of Australia’s best live music on Thursday and Friday nights for members and guests for some time in the Club Lounge.

About Us

For people who shape Australian society, the National Press Club is Australia’s most recognised vehicle, an icon chosen for major statements and for initiating change.
Whether the issue of the day is political, economic, corporate, diplomatic, military or societal, the National Press Club plays a significant role in Australian Society.
The National Press Club is an iconic institution with membership comprising the influencers and decision makers of Australia; be they Federal or State Parliamentarians, political advisors, Government Heads of Departments, the diplomatic community, academia, legal and the business community, and, quite clearly, the foundation members – journalists – including the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery plus everyday thinking Australians – many of whom are leaders in their own communities.
The National Press Club of Australia was established by journalists, based in Canberra, to provide a genuine national forum for discussion of the issues of the day by the personalities who help shape them. Through the National Australia Bank Addresses the Press Club has developed a reputation nationally and internationally as Australia’s leading forum for the discussion of issues and debate on public policy in a lively, informative and entertaining format.
The National Press Club is Australia’s best known institution for informed discussion and debate, and has a history spanning more than 50 years.

History of the Club

The National Press of Australia Club started out as a press luncheon club, the brainchild of a group of journalists over a few drinks in a Canberra pub, the Hotel Kingston. Tony Eggleton and small group of like-minded journalists – Lee Catmull, from the Sun-Pictorial, Harry Keen and Norman Hoffman, Chris Forsyth from the Age were instrumental in the formation of the Club.
Tony Eggleton was head of public relations for the Navy at the time but went on to become press Secretary to both Sir Robert Menzies and Harold Holt and later Federal Director of the Liberal Party.
Lee Catmull was a founding member of the National Press Club in 1963, a former President, and foundation Secretary. In all, he served 17 years in club official roles. He was initially in the Sun News-Pictorial bureau in the Press Gallery, later moving to the CCH office. Lee was a genuine stalwart of the Club, an advocate for it, and a valuable contributor to the board with a genial but forceful style.
The idea was backed by the federal parliamentary press gallery and public service journalists before receiving formal approval from the Australian Journalists Association.
The first person ever to address the National Press Club was Chief Justice and External Affairs Minister Sir Garfield Barwick on 17 May 1963. This luncheon was held at the then Hotel Canberra. On Thursday 27 May, 1976 the then Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser officially opened the new Club premises at 16 National Circuit Barton where the club resides today. In his welcome address, the club President, Max Hawkins made special mention of Tony Eggleton who lead the original committee in 1962, The Rt Hon William McMahon who when he was Prime Minister was instrumental in the approval of the club and the then Minister for the Interior the Hon Ralph Hunt. It wasn’t until September 1964, that the then Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies first addressed the club. He wrote to Tony Eggleton –

Dear Mr Eggleton – As I told you earlier, I had hoped I might be able to give an address at the inaugural meeting of the National Press Luncheon Club some time in February.
However, it is clear that I cannot be with you this month and I doubt March will prove any easier. In the circumstances, perhaps you would like someone else to do the first address, and I assure you I will completely understand should you decide on this.
With best wishes. Yours sincerely, R. G. Menzies.

The lunches were held at the Hotel Canberra – which is now known as the Hyatt – and they cost 30 shillings a head.
In the club’s first year there were just four speakers. That doubled to eight in the second year. Today, of course, we hold around 70 events each year. Over the many years we have produced hundreds of hours of television programming and thousands of column inches of copy.
Over the years the club has hosted Addresses from a vast array of visiting international figures, Heads of State, Religious leaders, innovators and of course our political leaders including every Prime Minster/Opposition leader every year over the past 40 years. We are proud to continue this fine tradition today.
“Over the course of its fifty-year history, the National Press Club has established itself as an integral part of Australia’s mainstream political and media culture. It has become … a national institution. Its role as the pre-eminent national forum for public policy discussion and debate remains of foremost importance. I believe this book captures the significance of that role, and the role it will hopefully continue to play as long as journalism continues to prosper.”

Laurie Wilson, Past President of the National Press Club of Australia