Lovett Tower

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Lovett Tower
Lovett Tower in Woden Town Centre.jpg
Lovett Tower
Lovett Tower is located in Australia
Lovett Tower
Location within Australia
Former namesMLC Tower
EtymologyLovett Family
General information
Architectural styleModern
LocationCanberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Address13 Keltie Street
Coordinates35°20′43″S 149°05′05″E / 35.34528°S 149.08472°E / -35.34528; 149.08472Coordinates: 35°20′43″S 149°05′05″E / 35.34528°S 149.08472°E / -35.34528; 149.08472
Current tenantsDepartment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Construction started1971-72
OwnerThe Cromwell Group
Architectural93 metres (305 ft)
Tip93 metres (305 ft)
Roof82 metres (269 ft)
Technical details
Floor count26
Design and construction
ArchitectJon Mitchell and Associates. Sydney.
Main contractorCivil & Civic

The Lovett Tower (formerly known as the MLC Building) is a 93-metre-tall building (305 ft) located in the Woden Town Centre, a commercial district in Canberra.


Its construction was completed in 1973 by Civil & Civic,[1] and it remains the tallest building in Canberra. This title is soon to be replaced by the "High Society" development in Belconnen, slated to be completed by September 2020.[2]

Shortly after its opening, in 1974, there was an incident where a gunman of indigenous background held four public servants part of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs at gunpoint,[3] as a result armed guards were posted in the lobby for the next few months.[4]

It became apparent during construction that the tower formed a kind of wind tunnel with the plaza below, and in 1975 the NCDC proposed building a clock tower to combat the problem while simultaneously telling the time. This project never progressed passed wind tunnel tests.[5]

In 1984 the tower operators were fined $852 for breaches of the 1962 Companies Ordinance.[6] Later that year it was found that the tower had major flaws in its fire evacuation procedure after a false alarm.[7] At the time the building had no fire suppression systems, no visible or audible alarms, or any way of detecting or alerting fires. These safety features were added to the building shortly after, however it was also discovered that ACT Fire and Rescue was unable to properly respond to high rise fires, owning no extendable ladders.[8]

In 1994 the building was bought by E.C. Managed Investments Group and then sold on to BZW Investment Management Group for A$47.5 million.

The Lovett Tower is a landmark commercial office, refurbished in 1999 and in 2007,[1] and can be seen towering over the city far away from Canberra. It was formerly known as the MLC Tower but was renamed in 2000 by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission to honour the Lovett family.[9][10]


The Lovett Tower is the 3rd tallest structure in Canberra (behind Black Mountain Tower and the flagpole of Parliament House) but is the tallest building because it has the most storeys - 26 storeys high including a basement level (though it is merely the 258th tallest building in Australia), and it also has the height of 93 metres (305 ft).

The Tower is currently occupied by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of the Environment and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.[11] However, the tower faces problems, as the building faces vacancy by 2016,[11] as well as the departments occupying the building are cutting jobs in the hundreds.[12] As such there is no public access to the building. On the ground floor however, are shopfronts, housing a credit union (on the eastern side) and a coffee shop (on the western side). there is restricted access to the 13th floor, including no 13th floor button in most of the lifts, as the floor houses the building plant. The tower has been considered to be reinvented as an aged-care facility after the departments currently occupying the tower move elsewhere.[13]

Accommodation of the building consists of a single level basement, ground floor foyer, two ground floor tenancies, while the rest of the building mainly consists of office space.[1] A mezzanine level is also found in the building.[1] Upper levels of the building feature a central service core which accommodates female and male amenities, tea rooms, and multiple lifts and lift lobbies.[1] The Woden Town Centre is notorious for the wind tunnel caused by the Lovett Tower.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Property - Lovett Tower". The Cromwell Group. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Geocon's 27-storey High Society development for Republic precinct, Canberra's tallest building". The Canberra Times. 5 April 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  3. ^ "The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) - 1 Mar 1974 - p1". Trove. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Guards remain". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 28 March 1974. p. 7. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Woden tower a'weather watch'". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 7 July 1975. p. 1. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Firms fined for breaches". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 28 March 1984. p. 14. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  7. ^ "MLC Tower fire-plan flaws found by chance". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 26 June 1984. p. 3. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Fire brigade 'ill-equipped'". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 12 July 1984. p. 7. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  9. ^ "A fighting spirit". The Age. 24 April 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Aboriginal Armed Forces Service". Government of New South Wales. 2000. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b Towell, Noel; Clisby, Meredith; Page, Fleta (5 March 2014). "Welcome to Woden: tallest tower to empty as public service job cuts hit hub hard". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Peake, Ross (22 August 2014). "The future of Woden's town centre: will it be heaven or hell?". Canberra Times. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  13. ^ Towell, Noel (21 July 2014). "Canberra's tallest building may be reinvented as aged-care facility". Canberra Times. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Borrowdale House Redevelopment Threatens Woden Town Square" (PDF). Woden Valley Community Council. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]