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Goodbye Academy: A Tribute to Canberra’s Favorite Nightclub

After 14 years of hosting some of Canberra’s wildest parties, embracing the finest examples of modern dancing, and bringing big names to our small city, Academy has officially closed its doors forever.

A post shared by Academy Club (@academyclub) on

Academy has arguably been one of Canberra’s top nightclubs, as a former-cinema it has capacity for 600 party-goers, a huge TV screen and top-quality lighting and sound technologies. At Academy you could always rely on Uni Student Nights, cheap drinks and all the bests hits on rotation. Fridays focused on bringing some of the biggest names in music to perform live and Saturdays showcased resident Academy DJs playing house music late into the night.

Academy’s Awkward Puberty

Since opening its doors in 2004, Academy has filled our hearts, drummed our ears, and slowly killed our livers — all for the vibes, of course. And now, with the announcement of closure, we look back over the past 15 years and all the wonderful memories Academy has to share.

In 2005, Academy hosted a Foam Party; spraying foam over dancers while DJs kept up the beats from 10pm, all through the night, only sending people away at 6am the following day.

Academy first graced Facebook, and indeed all social media around 2009 with its appearance. Sharing photos that, at the time revealed trendy young adults, but now resemble Avril Lavigne from her “Sk8ter Boi” days, or cringe-worthy Nickelback vibes. Bet they now wish they’d avoided the photographer.


In 2010 Instagram brought out the inner photographer in us all, and in 2012 Academy began the slow road to photographic genius by sharing some truly dated memes with us all. Their first ever post getting just 3 hearts:

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Keeping up with the trends and constant change of social media, Academy created itself a Snaphat account in 2015, just 5 years after Snapchat was released, using it to share exclusive drink specials, DJ takeovers and a little extra drama behind the scenes.

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Playing with the Big Boys

Academy has hosted some BIG NAMES during their years, including Peking Duk, Seth Sentry, RUFUS, San Cisco, and Hot Dub Time Machine. In 2011, before Taylor Swift got her claws in him, Calvin Harris rocked up in Canberra with his sick DJ skills. Canberra-born SAFIA frequently returned from music festival around the country to showcase at Academy. And an international visitor in 2001, the highly acclaimed Flo Rida, among literally hundreds of others.

RüFüS have been selling out shows Australia-wide and this Friday they are hitting Academy Nightclub supported by YesYou +SAFIA! Buy your tickets before they’re gone!

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Around comes 2015 and Academy hosted rapper, hip-hop artist and comedian, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover). Arguably most famous for his entertaining role in the comedy Community, Glover had never performed in Canberra until Academy welcomed him, and by basically all accounts, it was worth every penny.

When other beloved civic nightclub, UniPub shut its doors in 2017, it did more than cut off a wave of young adults looking for a doof-doof beat and a sticky floor. It was in fact the location Comedy ACT used as a venue for hosting regular events. Lucky for them, Academy offered them a new home with arms open wide. Sadly, with Academy’s closure the laughs will be moving once again, now looking for security in The Phoenix and Civic Pub.

Caught in the Chaos

Civic as a whole is a hub for drunken brawls, and Academy hasn’t been able to escape the chaos either. Going back to 2014, we have a young “gentleman” who King Punched a bloke out the front of Acads, leaving his victim with a fractured jaw that needed surgery to insert a metal plate and screws, and even after that his jaw had to be wired shut for six weeks. The best part; this “gentleman” then tried to escape charges by moving interstate and “didn’t get” his court summons, which arrived by mail.

A community favourite from last year is the tale of one too many drinks, plus a serious misreading of the situation, leading to one guy beating up his (now ex) girlfriend’s male friend because they — wait for it — hugged.

Just earlier this year, Canberra Raiders star, Jack Wighton was charged with fighting outside the nightclub, bringing it once again back into the spotlight.

Farewell, adiós, until we meet again

Now, as we shed a few tears and trail on off to Mooseheads instead, let us not forgot that Academy will always be in our hearts. Feel free to read their parting, heartfelt message:

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