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26 January 2011

Learn about Australia House

Another national day is upon us, for today is Australia Day, so let's examine Australia House on the Strand, the High Commission of Australia. When they were handing out High Commissions, Australia certainly lucked out, with a huge building begun by Dove Brothers in 1913, and finally opened by King George V, in the presence of the Australian Prime Minister, Mr W. M. Hughes, after the First World War Armistice, in summer 1918.

Designed by Scots architects, A. Marshal Mackenzie and Son, the building is certainly impressive, and apparently its interior has the dubious honour of having been used as the set for Gringotts Bank, in a children's film about a young wizard called Harry Potter.

Various Australian Agencies operate from the building, including the National Library of Australia, which has an office charged with collecting printed materials, documents, paintings and photographs relating to Australia. With voting in Australia compulsory, Australia House also sets up as a polling station for at election-time, and we are told that London's large expatriate Australian population means that more votes are cast here than at any polling station in Australia itself.

For more information, visit http://www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/History.html


  1. Ooooo, ooooo, will you do Canada House on Trafalgar Square on July 1, Canada Day?

    I am very jealous that Australia House was used for Gringotts. Dubious honour indeed...I wouldn't even mind if Canada House was used for You Know Who's lair!

    Thanks for the daily breath of London to get my mind off of this cold Canadian winter.

  2. I was there but had no idea it was used for HP btw I like building ad area as well

  3. That is absolutely true about the elections.

    With one million Australians living or holidaying overseas at any one time, the Australian diaspora is essential and nowhere more so than Britain. Somewhere between 20,000-50,000 Australians cast their vote at Australia House each election. Obviously they come from all electorates across Australia and cannot change the outcome for any single electorate. But this is an ENORMOUS number, each of them vital if the nation is to hear from _every_ single adult at voting time.

    Any time I have been in Britain at election time in Australia, I have made my way to Australia House to join in the fun :)