ALIA House

sALE OF alia hoUSE

As previously advised, ALIA’s property at 9-11 Napier Close, Deakin – ALIA House – was listed for sale in September 2020. On 9 December, an unconditional contract of sale was signed with Barwon Investment Partners, for a total of $6.2M with completion on 22 December 2020.

With its headquarters in Sydney, Barwon Investment Partners is a fund manager, with institutional healthcare properties across Australia, including the John James Health Care Campus which adjoins ALIA House. Acquiring ALIA House will provide the Health Care Campus with additional office space or room for future expansion of its community health facilities. There are no plans for ALIA to move from Canberra. The Association will remain as tenants for a five-year period, and the building will retain the name of ALIA House during this time. ALIA will have $6M to invest in an alternative asset base.

There are no current plans for ALIA to purchase a new property. Owning another property that is right-sized for the future needs of the Association is one of the possibilities that can be considered in the medium term. However, at this stage, ALIA will be looking into ethical and socially responsible investment options to create a flexible asset base, to have as a reserve, not for operational use.

If you have any questions about the sale, please contact


Architect Phillip Cox Richardson Taylor and Partners 
Builder Kell and Rigby
Project manager Baillieu Knight Frank
Location 9-11 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT 2600
Construction period February 1989 to November 1990
Cost of construction Approximately $3 million

The decision to construct ALIA House and relocate the Association's National Office to Canberra was taken in November 1988, after 12 months of investigating the options.

In November 1988, an Association Building Project Team was constituted, consisting of the then President, Alan Bundy, Ian McCallum, Alex Byrne and the Executive Director, Sue Kosse. In 1989, Averill Edwards replaced Alan Bundy as the incoming President, Eoin Wilkinson replaced Alex Byrne.

Baillieu Knight Frank was engaged to project manage the construction of ALIA House in December 1988, led by Bill Rushton.

Phillip Cox was employed as the building's architect in early 1989 after the Association conducted a competition between four architects. Phillip Cox's design was felt to show the most vision and the most understanding of the concept of libraries and their future.

Construction of ALIA House commenced in February 1989. The Foundation Stone was set in October 1989 by the Governor General, Bill Hayden. Mr Hayden removed his jacket, spurned the gloves offered, grabbed a shovel and personally dug in and mortared the Foundation Stone, into the ground in what is now the conference room. All ALIA Members were invited to this ceremony. About 200 people attended, and Mr and Mrs Hayden stayed on after the ceremony for the reception that followed.

The Honourable Ros Kelly, Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories opened the building in November 1990. All Members were invited, and again, about 200 people attended.


The foyer was carefully considered. The design represents symbolism of libraries: it is circular, the floor is of marble, and it has a glass dome above it. The gallery level is similar to a gallery in a library, where there would normally be bookshelves. The marble floor was designed by Brian Sadgrove of Melbourne. Mr Sadgrove had also undertaken projects for the National Bank of Australia and Mobil Australia. The design is from a series of four designs, based on his original artwork, and depicts 'Litter on the Forest Floor'. The marble is Italian, as Australian marble was much more expensive.

The construction of the glass windows at the front of the building was designed to represent ends of book stacks. The roof cone and barrel vaults were symbols of the future.

The layout of the entrance foyer, conference room and courtyard were designed to operate, when required, as a single unit for functions.


Canberra Centenary Time Capsule

In October 2013, organisations and individuals representing the Canberra community were invited to contribute to the Canberra Centenary Time Capsule, to be sealed on the last day of the centenary year, 11 March 2014. One hundred sets of objects were included, one of which was from ALIA. This comprised a sketch of ALIA House by the architect Philip Cox, photographs of the building at various stages, and historical notes.

The Time Capsule is contained in the Canberra Centenary Column, on City Hill, and is scheduled to be opened on 11 March 2114.


This page is accurate as of 14 December 2020 and will be updated as needed