Our History

Canberra's premier entertainment destinations

When some enterprising members of the Building Workers Industrial Union and the Operative Painters & Decorator's Union had the remarkable foresight to open the Canberra Tradesmen's Union Club in Dickson in 1964, nobody could have possibly envisaged the scope and influence on the ACT The Tradies Group enjoys today.

The original building was constructed as a social club for members and their families and as office accommodation for the unions that would, through various incarnations, later become the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU), ACT Branch.

The Canberra Tradesmen's Union Club (The Dickson Tradies) in 1964

Like the union, The Tradies Group has also developed and grown.

In 1969 a second venue, now known as The Woden Tradies and serving Canberra's southside, opened in Phillip while The Dickson Tradies continued to expand and secure its place as part of Canberra folklore through a series of innovative (and quirky) attractions.

Long-time members recall the era of trams when the Dickson venue was home to a series of vintage rattlers from several capital cities serving as dining cars within the club. There have been eleven trams (one still remains) in the building over a period of years and they became part of a set of attractions which included a bicycle museum, BMX track, farmyard museum, and a planetarium (located at the Downer venue). Another popular feature was a series of holiday units stretching from Queensland down the coast to Victoria and around South Australia available to members and their families.

It was an era that established The Tradies as being significantly different from other clubs.

But, successful organisations have to adapt and grow to suit the times, and The Tradies Group now proudly boasts contemporary and modern facilities at its two sites (in Dickson and Woden) where members enjoy a complete range of dining, entertainment, and gaming facilities. Both venues have award-winning four-star Quality Hotel accommodation providers attached, excellent functions spaces, and underground car-parking. In Dickson, the TEAM Fitness Centre, with its child-minding facility, modern equipment, and squash courts provides the perfect adjunct to a twenty-first century licensed club complex.

Always the good corporate citizen, The Tradies Group enjoys a wonderful reputation as a benefactor to charitable organisations and grassroots sports in Canberra and continues, through strategic investments, to seek opportunities which will benefit members and the community alike.

The Tradies Group is proud of where it has come from and excited about where it's headed.