Category Archives: News

End of Year Conviviality


Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle Forrest

BOOK HEREpartytime

Another year has passed!

A full and rich program has been the hallmark of our 2018 program of activities.

Please join us at MCH for drinks, music and convivial conversation to mark the end of our program for this year. 

MCH members, concession (Government Support) and full-time students –  FREE. Non-members – Gold coin donation

PS: There is a birthday to celebrate as well.

About Manning Clark House


THE ROLE OF MANNING CLARK HOUSE – a home for ideas to make a better Australia, and a place where we enrich our better selves.

by Andrew Clark

Australia is at an impasse.

It has experienced a decade of revolving door governments, including four party-room putsches against sitting Prime Ministers. The political turmoil has even led the BBC to labelAustralia “the coup capital of the democratic world.”

Underneath the turmoil is a country unable to come to grips with issues like climate change, energy policy, relations with the US and China, a radically different Indo-Pacific environment, refugees, the role of our first settlers, and how we deal with the
extraordinary rate of technology-generated change.

An energetic, well-educated and affluent multicultural society has been crimped by political short termism and mediocrity.

We know we can do better than this.

Manning Clark House, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, is the ideal
institution to foster ideas and policies to help change Australia into the progressive, successful and compassionate country we know it should be.

Manning and Dymphna Clark both believed passionately that Australians should come up with distinctive solutions for the country’s problems.

A fresh and independent approach is needed as politicians become hide-bound by focus groups and opinion polls, and universities are more corporatized and business-like in their approach.

Through events like the annual Week End of Ideas, the Manning and Dymphna Clark lectures, regular talks and discussion groups, Manning Clark House fosters an environment where members are stimulated to express ideas and discuss major issues. It also acts as a cultural incubator in music, song, poetry, literature, and, of course, history.

The daring modernism of the 65-year-old House in Forrest, Canberra, itself reflects the radical and adventurous spirit Manning Clark House fosters among members. It is a place where Australians can be inspired to make their daily lives richer and more meaningful. Join us.


Manning Clark House AGM

Dear member/former member,

I am writing to let you know that the Manning Clark House AGM will be held at 5:30 pm on 10 November 2016 at Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest ACT.  The Agenda is attached – if you have any difficulty reading it, let Ron Fraser know ( and he will send it to you in the body of an email.

We will be reporting to you on the work we have done so far this year to bring Manning Clark House alive again.  There are many things still to be done, and we will need your help with them in 2017, so it would be great if you could come along on 10 November and give us your ideas and hopefully sign up for volunteering next year if you haven’t already done so.

We are also very much in need of some new active committee members based in Canberra to help us in our transition to an all-volunteer organisation without paid staff, so please be prepared to nominate as an office bearer and/or committee member if you would like to help in this way (see attached form).

I attach the following documents: Agenda for AGM 2016, Nomination for Office-Bearer/Committee Member, and the MCH Membership Form if you need to rejoin.

We very much look forward to seeing and talking to you at Manning Clark House at the AGM – it would help in catering for light refreshments if you could RSVP to me at the email or postal addresses shown at the foot of the Agenda.  But if you’ve forgotten to do that, come anyway!

Alana Mahon, Manning Clark House Secretary





Manning Clark House 2016 news update

Manning Clark House is back in running for 2016. All MCH work is now being done by Committee members.

We do have lots of great events planned or in the pipeline.

Dr Libby Çonnors spoke wonderfully well on the Aboriginal Frontier Wars on 22 April, at MCH

The Dymphna Clark Lecture held on 28 April with Drusilla Modjeska speaking on PNG colonial history was a great success.

There will also be poetry readings through the course of the year. Details of these events will be progressively released and promoted. See below

Committee members are working hard on fixing up our financial base and so many other aspects of MCH. The garden has been wonderfully transformed and the bedrooms spring cleaned.

As you’re possibly aware we have lost many of our financial sponsers over recent years. Your membership financial support is appreciated more than ever. All members contributions will be receipted.

Communication with MCH can be a bit difficult at times. If you have any difficulties you can try ringing Bas Clark on 03 9329 1696.

On financial matters contact Marisa Gonzalez,


Our 2016 Poetry Co-ordinators, Al Hope, Paul Hetherington and Kathy Kituai are facilitating a wonderful program over the year. A number of events have already been pencilled in. Contact

OTHER EVENTS all very successful and well attended

Jen Crawford, Poetry Book launch,

Dawn Casey, Whitlam and indigenous peoples,

Linda Weste, Poetry Reading,

Dr Bidda Jones, Chief Scientist RSPCA,

Poetry Readings, Judith Crispin et al, .


Manning Clark Lecture, George Megalogenis, Wither Australia?, 6pm, 20 July, National Library, $20 and $10 for MCH members and low income earners.

Musical Afternoon of Opera, Fleur Millar, 3pm, 25 July, MCH, $20 and $10 for low income earners and MCH members. Refreshments provided.

Toby Fitch, Poetry Launch, 7.30pm, , 28 July, at MCH, $10 and $7 for low income earners  and MCH members. Refreshments provided.

Dr Andrew Glikson, The Climate Titanic and the Melting Icebergs, 6pm, 2 August, $10 and $7 for low income earners and MCH members. Refreshments provided.

Poetry Readings all at 7.30 at MCH, 25 August, 22 September, 14 October, 24 November,  $10 and $7 for low income earners and MCH members. Refreshments provided.

An Evening of Haiku and Tanks Poetry featuring Japanese Tanka poet, Noriko Tanaka. And with Dr Carole Hayes from the ANU launching bi-nation anthology, Poems to Wear. Music accompaniment provided by Rupert Summerson. 7.30, Friday, 14 October.

Refreshments and food provided. $20, $15 for MCH members, $10 for low income earners.

MCH CHRISTMAS PARTY all are welcome, 5pm, 15 December



President                Bas Clark

Deputy President Paul Hetherington

Treasurer                Marisa Gonzalez

Secretary               Alana Mahon

Public Officer         Frank Bongiorno


Jen Webb, Ernst Willheim, Andrew Clark, Greer Versteeg, Vicken Babkenian, David Headon, Dionie McAlary, Geoff Lazarus


Ron Fraser, Brett Odgers, Kerrie Nelson, Al Hope.

House Infrastructure- Roland Clark, mb 0400 889 853

Website  Information- Marisa Gonzalez, 02 6162 0908 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)



Human Rights Photography Competition

Manning Clark House Human Rights Photography Competition

The MCH Human Rights Photography Prize is a national competition promoting contemporary human rights photography. Manning Clark House invites entries of photographs that seek to advance the health and well-being of other people.

Human Rights photography is considered here, as distinct from reportage, as any creative or documentary photographic work which hopes to provide benefit to the communities or individuals (the photographic subjects). Eligible work will aim to help communities or individuals in terms of health, security, safety, self-esteem or prosperity, or will result from a positive and ongoing relationship with a community or with individuals. Work which documents the suffering of others without providing a clear return to the photographic subject (other than raising public awareness) will be automatically excluded.

First Prize: The winning entrant will receive $1000, a solo exhibition at Manning Clark House in Canberra and a joint exhibition as part of the 2015 Ballarat International Foto Biennale (paper sponsored by Kodak)

Second Prize: The runner up will receive $500, a solo exhibition at Manning Clark House in Canberra and inclusion in an exhibition for the 2015 Ballarat International Foto Biennale (paper sponsored by Kodak)

Submission Guidelines: Entries should consist of a single email with the subject heading “MCH-HRP (your name)”. Your name and a short explanation of the work should be sent in the body of the email and your photograph/s should be attached as JPGs (72 dpi, maximum size 5MB). All entries should clearly respond to the idea of human rights and seek to uplift, defend, enrich or support a given community or individual. Please send entries and enquiries to

Jeff Moorfoot (Director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale)
Joyce Evans (Photography Curator and previous Director of the Chapel Street Gallery)
Michael Silver (Director of Magnet Galleries)
Judith Crispin (Director of Manning Clark House)
Dione McAlary (Programs Manager of Manning Clark House)
Steve Marshall (CEO of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale)

Deadline: 30 April, 2015 (winners announced in May 2015)

Entry fee: $25 per image (multiple entries are permitted)

Payment details must be included with all submissions. Entry fees can be paid by the following methods:

By mail: Cheque or money order payable to ‘Manning Clark House Inc.’ or, for credit card payment, please print and complete the following form.

Visa [  ] Mastercard [  ]

Card number:                                   Expiry date:

Cardholder’s name:

Signature:                                          Date:

By Direct Debit: Manning Clark House Inc, Westpac Bank, BSB 032-729 Account 167805 (please include HRPP & your name in the description).

Axel Clark Poetry Prize

The Axel Clark Memorial Prize for Poetry

The inaugural Axel Clark Memorial Prize for Poetry will be awarded in 2015 by Manning Clark House to an Australian poet writing in any style. Submissions must be the entrant’s own work, must be unpublished and must have been completed no earlier than 12 months before the closing date.

Prize: The winning entrant will receive a one month writing residency and reading at Manning Clark House in Canberra and AUD$1000. Highly commended poets will be offered public readings in the annual MCH poetry series.

Judges: In 2015 the judges are Kathy Kituai, Geoff Page and Alan Gould

Submissions: We are looking for original and engaging poetry, across all genres and styles. Submissions should include 1 to 5 formatted and unpublished poems (one entry per person) and should be anonymous. Submissions should not exceed 100 lines in total. Pages must be numbered and must not include the author’s name or any identifying mark. Please email your submission as an attachment, in pdf format to with “Axel Clark Memorial Prize for Poetry” as the subject. In the body of your email please provide your name, address and a short biographical statement. No hard copy submissions will be accepted.

Eligibility: Entries for the Axel Clark Memorial Prize for Poetry are invited from Australian poets without age restriction. Employees or Committee Members of Manning Clark House or direct descendents of Manning Clark may not apply. Writers submitting to this competition agree to allow Manning Clark House the first publication of all winning and shortlisted poems.

Deadline: Thursday May 14, 2015

Entry Fee: AUD$35.00

Payment details must be included with all submissions. Entry fees can be paid by the following methods:

By mail: Cheque or money order payable to ‘Manning Clark House Inc.’ or, for credit card payment, please print and complete the following form.

Visa [  ] Mastercard [  ]

Card number:                                  Expiry date:  

Cardholder’s name:

Signature                                         Date:    

By Direct Debit: Manning Clark House Inc, Westpac Bank, BSB 032-729 Account 167805 (please include ACMPP & your name in the description).

Recovering a destroyed Armenian Cemetery

(photograph by Argam Ayvazyan)

In November 2013 Manning Clark House undertook a pilot project to collect photographic and other records of the destroyed Armenian medieval cemetery at Djulfa, Azerbaijan.

The historic cemetery at Djulfa stood until 2006 in the border area between Iran and Nakhichevan, on a hill divided by three valleys, to the west of the ruined city of Jugha. Culturally and historically unique, Djulfa was one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in the world. At its peak it held more than 10,000 ornately carved khachkars (cross-stones), dating from the 15th to the 17th century, alongside ordinary tombstones from the late 6th century. Armenian khachkars are ornately carved with early Christian symbols, ancient texts, flowers and plants – each is totally unique. Of more than 10,000 original Armenian cross-stones (khachkars) once found on the banks of the Arax river at Djulfa, none now remain. From 1998 the cemetery was subjected to systematic wilful destruction by military forces and, between 2005 and 2006, was definitively destroyed. The Armenian Government took numerous steps to alert the international community to the destruction of cultural heritage at Djulfa, including official approaches to UNESCO. In 2006 documentation was submitted to UNESCO by an international parliamentary delegation representing Switzerland, France, Greece, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Scotland. This documentation urged UNESCO to condemn in no uncertain terms the destruction of the cultural sites at Jugha, including the medieval cemetery. The document notes that “given the impossibility of any reconstruction of the destroyed site and its khachkars – now literally pulverised – and in consideration of the fact that under the surface there are still the buried bodies of people to whose memory the former khachkars had been erected, we suggest to transform this gross act of out-spoken hatred into a positive step towards confidence-building and reconciliation.” UNESCO has now included the khachkars on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, but no specific location may be visited in order to gain a real sense of their importance and the significance of their loss to humanity. It was in the spirit of such a positive transformation that Manning Clark House undertook this pilot to gather existing records of the now-destroyed Djulfa cemetery. The long term goal of this pilot study was to gather sufficient materials to form the basis of a virtual reconstruction of the cemetery in the form of a 3D projection. We needed to track down all significant photographic documentation of the cemetery taken prior to its destruction, photograph any surviving stones, photograph the cemetery region (including mountain-scapes and natural flora), and locate copies of any maps or other relevant documentation in Armenia.
This project is continuing as research hosted by the Institute for Social Justice at the Australian Catholic University. You can find more information on this project in our ebook.

Parramatta Female Factory Project

MCH is very proud to host the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Memory Project. This ambitious undertaking is a social history and contemporary art project centered on the historic institutions of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct connecting past to present by engaging those who once resided in these institutions to actively participate in determining how their experiences are remembered, documented and interpreted. You can find out more about the  Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Memory Project on their website.