Humans of Canberra
A story about the lives of four influential Canberrans.
Published 04 August

Today, we’re sharing a glimpse into the lives of four of Canberra’s most influential creative talents through the lens of our project, Humans of Canberra.    

You may have heard of the infamous movement ‘Humans of New York’, where founder Brandon Stanton wanders the streets of New York to photograph locals in their natural surroundings, before sharing quotes and short stories from their lives. 

Taking inspiration from Brandon, as well as our recent Autumn-Winter fashion campaign, ‘City of Mine’, we’ve interviewed four local Canberrans to uncover their thoughts on winter in Canberra and why they love residing in this beautiful city we call home.  

So, without further ado, it’s time to sit back, relax and learn more about some of Canberra’s influential personalities.   

Meet Phillip Jones the ‘Martini Whisperer’. 


Phillip Jones, the Martini Whisperer

“For me style isn’t about standing out, it’s being yourself.”  

“I have a few professional personas, but most people know me as the Martini Whisperer. I host cocktail and craft spirits tasting for private and corporate clients, as well as present at special cocktail events, like the one I hosted at Canberra Centre last year."  

“I’m also invited to be a craft spirits judge around Australia and in New Zealand and write about distilling around the world.” 

When asked about his favorite aspects of winter in Canberra, Phillip responded, “The fact that we have one! The light, the crispness, and I love changing my outfits with the season, so outcome the layers and accessories.”  

Phillip continued, “I love to take long walks around the city on weekends, exploring all the parks and hills and it’s so invigorating in the winter sunshine. It’s also easier to keep my Martinis perfectly chilled.”   


Meet Rachael Coghlan, CEO of Craft ACT + Artistic Director of Design Canberra 

Rachael Coghlan, CEO of Craft ACT + Artistic Director of Design Canberra

“I love beautiful objects, experiences and buildings, and like working with inspiring and authentic people who find creative solutions to problems.” 

“I’m the artistic director of the annual DESIGN Canberra festival and the CEO of Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre. I’m also a proud Canberran and have lived in our beautiful city of design since I was aged 10.” 

“I fell in love with Canberra all over again while we were working from home as part of the COVID-19 restrictions. Our city’s big blue skies, carefully designed wide open spaces, suburban communities close to nature reserves and mountains – there is so much to be grateful for.”  

“I’m really proud of the way that Canberra and Canberrans have responded to the global pandemic,” says Rachael. 

When asked how she would spend an hour in Canberra Centre, Rachael responded, “I’d spend an hour in the refurbished Monaro Mall section of the Canberra Centre – I love its mid-century modernist beginnings and its light-filled and material-rich contemporary retail transformation. I’d treat myself to a pedicure in the beauty garden, then a quick visit upstairs to Muji and Haigh’s chocolate.” 


Meet artist, ‘Byrd’ Dan Maginnity 


Meet artist, ‘Byrd’ Dan Maginnity

“Canberra doesn’t tend to get the gloomy and otherwise oppressive weather of some other capitals, so it always feels like you can go out and get on with things.” 

“I am is a freelance graffiti muralist, painter and sculptor, living and working in Canberra with my small family.” 

“I make commercial and experimental works for gallery exhibitions; commissions for private, corporate and government clients; as well as competing for prize shows and public mural tenders. I teach, give workshops, curate and mentor.” 

We asked Dan to tell us a little more about his art and what inspires him, he explained, “Ambiguity of language and action and the use of resources are my primary inspirations.” 

“My gallery practice involves the refraction of culture through the construction of objects and paintings. The objects tend to operate as simulacra of familiar things remade from reclaimed cardboard. The paintings I find through the layering of my stencils onto found and reclaimed grounds.” 

Meet Fiona Keary, Canberra Centre stylist  


Canberra Centre Stylist Fiona Keary

“The bright, crisp sunny days. I love the stunning blue skies in winter.” 

“I’m Fiona, Canberra Centre Stylist, and mum to two cheeky humans. I was born in Canberra, moved around a bit as a child, but we kept returning to this beautiful city. During my twenties, my husband and I relocated to London for eight years; however, after having kids wanting to be near family drew us back. It was the best move we made; we love living here.” 

We asked Fiona about the fashion staples she thinks every Canberran should have in their wardrobe, she responded, “A puffer jacket, preferably ¾ length to keep the kidneys warm!”  

“Layering pieces are also key to making your wardrobe work harder, my favourite being ‘The Karlie Cardigan’ at Saba. I’m also obsessed with leather skirts at the moment. They are warm and so versatile, as they can be dressed down with a pair of boots and a knit or dressed up with a heel and a blouse.” 

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