Clarke, Patricia: Political journalist Joe Alexander: establishing Canberra’s heritage — Parliament, diplomacy and life in suburbia

Patricia Clarke*

Political journalist Joe Alexander: establishing Canberra’s heritage — Parliament, diplomacy and life in suburbia‘, Honest History, 23 February 2018

Originally a lecture to the ACT Heritage Symposium in August 2017. An exploration of the career of a significant figure in early Canberra – and in Australian journalism and literature, including as the first author of Who’s Who in Australia.

Alexander made a valuable contribution to the ACT’s heritage and history in raising the profile of Canberra as the National Capital through his political journalism. He made two unique marks on Old Parliament House: his expulsion from one Chamber but not the other and his introduction of teleprinter communication. He contributed to the development of Canberra suburban values. He was a pioneer in Australian diplomatic representation. Now the 90 or so overseas embassies in Canberra add a unique heritage through their buildings and their rich contributions to Canberra life. He left an invaluable record for posterity through his diaries and through his editing of Who’s Who in Australia. He contributed to keeping the Canberra & District Historical Society viable, enabling it to house its valuable collection of historical and heritage items and he contributed to the architectural heritage of Canberra through his help to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Narrabundah.

* Dr Patricia Clarke is a writer, historian, editor and former journalist, who has written extensively on women in Australian history and on media history. She has another article on Alexander in the Canberra Historical Journal for September 2017.

fredFrom the paper: the Canberra Press Gallery 1934, with Alexander fourth from right in the front row

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