Early Canberra



Posted on September 30, 2010 at 12:59 AM

A number of articles published in the Canberra Times between 1926-1929 are reproduced in the CANBERRA 1920s section of this web.  The Government Printers Department was transferred to Canberra in 1927.  In preparation for this move the Printers' Quarters were built at Eastlake (now Kingston) near the new shopping centre in late 1926.  The quarters consisted of a number of semi-detached white stucco cottages built by Mason of Queanbeyan arranged around a central free standing dining & recreation room building.  The single men and some married men from the department were moved into the Printers Quarters in 1927.  Single young ladies transferred with the Department were moved into one of the three cottages at Blandfordia known as Lady Hopetoun Club where they were under the watchful eye of Miss Hawkins.


One of the articles describes the move from Melbourne and the Government Printers which was established in the Power House grounds - in the industrial area.  It also describes the process of Hansard reporting from the time it was noted by the shorthand recorders through to the typists and across to the Government Printers via tubes - printing checking etc to the final product produced on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The machinery used for printing etc is also descibed in detail. 


The Government Printers was meant to move into their permanent home in 1930 in the Administrative Building which only got to the first stage of having foundations dug and some cement poured.   I recall my father pointing out the building to me in the early 1940s which was near the present NCA headquarters in Parkes. At that time it was a big hole in the ground with bits and pieces of concrete showing above the ground level.


I also remember visiting people at the Printers Quarters and what the cottages looked like because when we first moved to Canberra we lived with the Dunn family in Kennedy St Kingston - opposite the Printers Quarters.  Sometime in the post WW2 period they were renamed Kingston Guest House and later pulled down.  Frazer Court was built on the site and today they have gone too.

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