The much-loved, well-worn ANU Bar is no longer, after the ANU Union reached a settlement with the ANU last week, clearing the path for the demolition of the Union building and the start of the Union Court redevelopment.
‘The ANU Union and the University are pleased to announce they have come to an agreement to help move towards the relaunch of the ANU Union with an exciting new operation program from 2018,’ the University and the Union said in a joint statement on Tuesday, 1 August.
‘Businesses previously located in the union Building including Unicycles and Vodafone have already opened in the ANU pop-up village, with the Campus Bakery and Uni Corner Cafe scheduled to open shortly,’ the statement said.
But students have lamented the demise of the mythologised bar, the first campus bar in Australia. Originally located upstairs in the Union Building, it moved to its final location following renovations announced in 1987.
The Bar was the site of an infamous 65-minute 1992 Nirvana gig, although it was originally located upstairs in the Union Building.
The gig quickly sold out, with tickets worth just $15 (about $27.30 in today’s money), as the band shot to international prominence. Woroni described the gig as ‘bodies joined so close together that it was all just a writhing mass of heat, sweat and shoulders and only the stage divers stood out as individuals’.
Despite only a tiny percentage of undergraduate students having actually been born in 1992, the Bar has received a number of eulogies in the pages of this newspaper in recent weeks, riffing on grand themes of a sacred spot destroyed.
Sienna Lake wrote in the previous edition of Woroni that the ANU Bar was a ‘place for making and solidifying friendships, for learning to like beer, for discovering new music, and for falling in love with the ANU, from the beautiful trees to the laid back culture.’
‘The ANU Bar is the heart and soul of our university. It brings people together in a way that lets us forget that we are at the top university in Australia, and the pressures associated with that,’ Lake wrote.
Power was previously cut to the Union Building, with the lights going out one evening, when the dispute was still expected to go to court.
Following the closure of the Union Building, the Post Office is expected to open at the pop-up village in about six weeks.
Union Court has now been closed ahead of demolition work.