Canberra’s thriving, cosmopolitan café society owes much to the perseverance and vision of one unique
individual – Augustin ‘Gus’ Petersilka (1913-1994). A Vienna native, Gus brought the concept of the
continental-style café with him to the nation’s capital. His idea was simple, yet radical, for its time – the
promotion and cultivation of a relaxed and convivial outdoor dining environment in the heart of the city.
However, turning this dream into reality didn’t come easily and Gus’ epic battle with local
bureaucrats and council officials (including a petition to the Queen) is now legendary. Gus’ passion and
determination resulted in the opening of Canberra’s first open-air, late night café in 1968.
In recognition of his role in revolutionising Canberra’s restaurant scene, Gus was made
Canberran of the Year in 1978. A plaque on the pavement outside Gus’ Café celebrates the occasion.
Today, Gus’ Café is one of Canberra’s most loved and recognised landmarks and has been serving
delicious food and great coffee for almost forty years. Owned and managed since 1994 by a vibrant,
young brother and sister team, Gus’ is Canberra’s first outdoor café – where locals have met for generations.”