Early Canberra


RF Tetley char-a-banc service Canberra-Queanbeya 1923-1925

Posted on September 18, 2010 at 8:05 PM

In the ODDS & ENDS section an article on the char-a-banc motorised service between Canberra and Queanbeyan has been published.  In 1923 the owner, Mr Tetley advertised a Saturday shopping service that began at the Power House, via Molonglo Camp to Queanbeyan and return.  His modern char-a-banc comfortably seated 40 people - he didn't mention cost in his advertisements.  By 1925 he advertised a seven day a week - twice daily service that commenced at Westridge (now Yarralumla) via Westlake, Tradesmen's Camp, Hostel (Hotel Canberra), Acton Cross Roads (I believe may be the major cross roads near the Fire Station at Forrest), Power House, Molonglo to Queanbeyan Railway Station.  The earlier service met the mail train from Sydney and later the Cooma Mail train.  This service left at 7.30 in the evening and returned after 4am after the arrival of the train from the south.  The day service had more civilized hours.


The routes given passed throug the major settlements in mid 1925. Causeway was not included at that time because the first twenty cottages were under construction.  The waters of  big flood of July 1925 went up to the eves of the newly constructed cottages.


Competition in the form of Mrs Barton's Safety Coaches began in 1925 and may have been the reason for the demise of Mr Tetley's service?  Mr Tetley's service is one that could have been forgotten except for the advertisements in the local Queanbeyan papers.   Mrs Barton's service continued into the 1930s and articles on her char-a-banc service are found in the web pages of Hidden Canberra.


In the article I have noted the route taken using the nearest roads on contemporary maps.  he population of Westlake in May 1925 was 700 - only 50 less than Molonglo. Each settlement represented roughly between one fourth and one fifth of the population of the FCT.  Westlake in 1925 - now Stirling Park Yarralumla  & Capital Hill - consisted of three single men's tent camps - No 3 Sewer Camp in The Gap (below Stirling Ridge on eastern side Stirling Park, Yarralumla), Old Tradesmen's Camp (Bl 3, Section 128 Stirling Park,  Yarralumla), No 1 Labourers Camp (Capitol Hill site later covered with Hillside Hostel); Contractor John Howie's Settlement of 25 timber cottages & Hostel Camp for single men (Bl 3, Section 128 Stirling Park, Yarralumla); and 52 timber cottages in The Gap first known as The Gap Cottages and later just 'Westlake' (Section 22, Stirling Park and Bl 4, Section  128 Stirling Park Yarralumla).

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