Early Canberra


January 1927 four new hostels/hotels nearly ready

Posted on September 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Canberra was dry from 1911 until late 1927.  This presented some problems for the so called hotels who were unable to get a liquor license duing the dry years.

A Canberra Times article dated January 1927 informs the reader of the construction of four of the hostels, hotels at that time. This article is placed in CANBERRA 1920s section.


The Federal Canberra had a number of hostels and hostels constructed to house visitors and permanent single staff transferred to the Federal Territory.  The first to be constructed was the Hotel Canberra that had its first half opened in December 1924 and the remainder in 1925.  It was followed by Hotel Ainslie which was renamed in 1927, Gorman House.  The Kurrajong was built in 1925 and from memory, opened in 1926.  This hotel later became the hotel used by the non drinkers during the sitting of parliament - Hotel Canberra was then favoured by the drinkers.  The Hotel Ainslie now known as Olems - was constructed in 1927 - at the time the first Hotel Ainslie was renamed Gorman House.


Hotel Acton was constructed in 1927 and on the opposide side of the road, Beauchamp House was built - it is a concrete structure.  On the south side, the Hotel Wellington and Brassey House were built.  The Hotel Wellington was pulled down a number of years ago, but the Brassey remains and is now known as Hotel Brassey.


One of the problems of those studying early Canberra history - that is the Federal Canberra - is the name changes.  Interlake Avenue for example today is Wentworth Avenue.  This avenue like that of Commonwealth Avenue was a road finished in concrete.  Commonwealth Avenue now has had many resurfacing that the old road is well covered. Wentworth Avenue however has not been so well covered and the driver will note the regular clunking sounds as the vehicle passes over the old expansion joints.


Molonglo today is Fyshwick and the former Fyshwick is Pialligo and Blandfordia is Forrest and Griffith and so on....

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1 Comment

Reply Lauren Kajewski
1:41 AM on September 23, 2010 
Dear Ann,

I'm wondering if you can help me... I am currently creating my final piece of work for graduation in B Landscape Architecture at the Uni of Canberra. My design is focused on West Basin and I am looking for the history of this particular area. So far as I can tell it was simply a large paddock for horses and cattle. If you can give me any further information I was be exceptionally grateful.

Regards, Lauren