Early Canberra

Canberra - the name

Frederick Watson named the traditional owners of the area of Canberra - Ngunawal - he is in the early years with the exception of people like, Tindale, the only one to refer to the tribal group who are the traditional owners of this rather than the place name of where groups were seen to camp. 

The following article was written by Frederick Watson:

The Canberra Times 17 January 1939



The Editor, ‘ The Canberra Times’

Sir.- During the last few days I have been asked frequently to origin and meaning of the name of Canberra. In March last, I was asked to write the story of early Canberra to be included in the handbook for the Science Congress. I began with an explanatory statement about the name; that statement was omitted by the editors, and an incomplete statement by Mr CS Daley was inserted elsewhere.

My statement was as follows:-

‘Place names were given frequently by the aborigines from a fancies resemblance of the natural features to human or animal forms. The rocky hill in the plain immediately northerly from Ainslie was named Ngungahleen, meaning a beautiful view. From the neighbourhood of this hill, the Canberra plain with Mount Ainslie to the east and Black Mountain to the west suggested the human breast, and the locality was named Canberra, meaning a woman’s breasts.  Between these hills or breasts, the aborigines located their tribal meeting ground where corroborees were held, where the women remained during the initiation ceremonies at Jidbinbilla (now Tidbinbilla), and where the young men returned after their first initiation to manhood; in a recess on Black Mountain, the tribal phallic stone was preserved. Surely there would be no more beautiful and no more appropriate name for the capital city of a continent than Canberra, implying a first nursery of all human development.


Yours etc


Fredk Watson

January 16, 1939



The Canberra Times, Friday 14 October 1927 page 1





While the Ministry listened in silence, the tenor of comments in the House of Representatives last night on conditions in the Federal Capital Territory made It clear that the Government will be forced to realise the time is ripe for radical change in the system under which 5,000 to 6,000 people retain only one of their privileges as citizens of Australia – that of paying the Federal Tax.


The strongest complaints were those of Mr Fenton (Maribynong), who, after asking when Canberra people would regain their franchise, drew attention to unsavoury publicity the Russell Hill settlement had secured in the Melbourne newspapers; and Mr Perkins (Eden Monaro) who suggested that the population of the Federal Capital Territory deserved representation in the Federal House.


Mr Fenton’s questions about the franchise for residents in the capital were associated in references he made during discussion on Ways and Means – with complaints of other anomalies of life in the Federal Capital Territory.


‘Some of these people we have brought here are the finest in Australia,’ said Mr Fenton, ‘and yet in coming here they have lost one of the most cherished privileges of citizenship .’  It might be that residence here exempted them from State taxation, but the people had to pay Federal taxes and should have the right to vote.


Remarking that grievances would crop up in the territory and that many were already reported Mr Fenton said  that as there was no member to represent the people in the Territory in the House it was the right and privilege of every member on either side of the House to draw attention to any matters affecting the Canberra people that required attention.



The Government seeing that it had placed here  a model city, should also ensure that it was a model community, continued Mr Fenton.  It was regrettable, therefore, that a Melbourne newspaper should be able to publish an article headed, ‘Canberra Has Slums.’  He had not investigated the matter himself – although he would take the earliest opportunity of doing so – but he was sure that no journalist would have the audacity to publish such statements without foundation.


He understood that houses in the Russell Hill settlement contained shanties that would be a disgrace to the smallest bush town. Whether the Commission or the Government, or both, were to blame for that, he would protest against it.


‘The people who are working for the Commission are the pioneer builders of this great city,’ said Mr Fenton, ‘and they have the right to proper care. It might be that similar workers in other States were not so comfortable as those in Canberra.  But there are few of those camps in which women, join their husbands as they do here.


Happy Community Essential

Mr Fenton added that he did not wish to be accused of Victorian bias when he pointed out that it was going to cost them more to govern Australia from Canberra than it had cost in Melbourne. Further than that, the cost of living was higher.  Rents were higher and there were already letter complaints.  It was the duty of the Government either to reduce the cost of living or increase salaries and wages.  He thought the Public Service Board might be more liberal that it had been.


Numbers of public servants required for important public duties were hesitating coming to Canberra with so many privileges and comforts deducted.  He warned the Government that if they wanted to make a success of the new arrangements the first essential was to have a happy and contented population of civil servants.


The Prime Minister he conclude was inclined to place duties upon the Commission for which it was never appointed.


The attack was resumed when Mr Perkins (Eden Monaro) rose with a strong plea for representation of residents in the Federal House.  He declared that 75 per cent of his time had been occupied recently listening to the grievances of people residing in the Territory.  It was taking too much of the time he was expected to devote to his own constituency.  It was palpable(?) that a community of  5,000 to 6,000 should have no representation in the direction of their affairs.


Mr Bruce left the House temporarily, but the Minister for Home and Territories was present throughout the castigation.


Wags in the crowded gallery made comment afterwards that Mr Marr had the last poker face in the Ministry.


[It was not for another couple of decades before the people of the FCT (now ACT) had a member in the House of Representatives and longer before one in the Senate.  In  1989 the Territory was granted self government..]

Turning First Sod Provisional Parliament House 1923

The Argus 28 August 1923


Invitations to representative persons to be present at the ceremony of turning the first sod in connection with the building of the provisional Parliament House at Canberra were not issued by the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr Stewart).  Before leaving for Canberra yesterday Mr Stewart6 said that it was not desired that an elaborate ceremony should be held in connection with the turning of the first sod.  His opinion was that there had been too many such functions at Canberra, and he desired that efforts should be concentrated more on the actual carrying out of the work.  Mr Stewart added that when everything was in readiness to begin the actual building of Parliament House, he would endeavour to arrange for His Excellency the Governor-General to lay the foundation stone. Invitation to be present would then be issued to State Ministers and others interested.


Strongposts - Welcome to Duke & Duchess May 1927


Top photograph, Cartoon in Canberra Community News Welcoming the Duke and above - police & other servicemen including band at their temporary camp bear Flynn Drive May 1927.

The Canberra Times 6 May 1927




The decoration of the city and the erection of the strongposts along the line of route of the Royal Procession were dealt with by the Social Service Council yesterday.

Regarding the residents’ welcome to the Duke and Duchess at Molonglo the secretary of the Royal Visit Section of the FCC [Federal Capital Commission] stated that the request that the Royal Train should ‘slow up’ could not be acceded to, as the Duke and Duchess would be resting and it was suggested that the residents participate in the welcome at one of the strong posts in the city.

Mr Horne (Causeway) said that invitations had been issued to the people in Molonglo to the Causeway strong post. All of their arrangements were well in hand at that centre, and only a band was now needed.

Mr JH Honeysett, Social Service Officer, said it had been proposed to form another strongpost, in Brisbane Avenue at the corner near the Hotel Kurrajong by the Scots of ...(word missing).  The Chief Commander had expressed ....(words missing) that no foreign flags should be used in decorating the city. Owing to the present busy period and the limited time available for preparations, Mr Butters [Chief Commissioner] has given permission for the erection of poles by the Commission staff.  The poles would be interspersed by young firs, which it was thought, would give a very fine effect to the decorations, while at the Acton strongpost greenery would also be intermingled with the bunting. Mr McGowen, of the Commission staff, to whom he was very greatly indebted for his assistance, had made available a supply of bunting, 52 large flats and lengths of large and small streamers which would be sufficient for requirements.


Mr Champ (Westlake) said he was in doubt if the residents would welcome the Duke and Duchess at ...(word blurred) would not turn out a ‘front’. Only few persons had attended the public meeting on Monday night, and it was doubtful, owing to the pressure of work and apathy of some of the residents, whether the decorations would be completed in time, but he promised to do his utmost to procure assistance to finish the work during the week-end. [A strong post was put up but someone pinched it prior to the day].

The president (Mr J McR Dunn) said that at Eastlake the shopkeepers had co-operated wholeheartedly in preparing for the Royal visit and 20 pounds worth of flags had been ordered for the decorations of the unoccupied shops at that centre.

Mr McNamara said that preparations at Ainslie were well forward, while at Ainslie camp is was proposed to form a separate strongpost.

In reply to a query, Mr Honeysett said that the Canberra City Band had agreed to render musical items at the Eastlake strongpost in the morning, but could not accede to the request to play at Ainslie in the afternoon owing to the problem of transport while the Duntroon and Queanbeyan Bands would not be available.

After discussion, Mr Honeysett said that he would see what could be arranged with the military and naval bands now in camp, and the matter was left in his hands to arrange.

Regarding the reception at Parliament House after the Royal procession, Mr Honeysett said that he had issued reminders throughout the districts so that nobody could complain that they were unaware of the function.

Permission had been granted by the Commission for employees to attend the Duke’s Cup meeting of the Canberra Race Club on Wednesday next.

[On the arrival day, the times were changed and a number of strongposts did not see the Duke and Duchess and as with the Westlake strong posts – a number were stolen before the day.  The expected crowds did not arrive and Wilkie’s pies made for the day were too many and buried somewhere probably near the site of the opening.]


Turning the first sod first permanent building 1927

The Canberra Times 21 October 1927





The policy of erecting public buildings of a temporary nature in Canberra was condemned by the Prime Minister (Hon SM Bruce) in a memorable speech this morning, when he turned the first sod of the foundations of the first permanent administrative building to be erected in the Federal Capital.

The commencement of work upon this building represents a definite advance in the progress of Canberra, marking the beginning of  the period of transition from a city of temporary buildings to one of permanent structures.

The Prime Minister turned the first sod of the new building at 10 o’clock in the morning in the presence of an assembly of members of parliament, officials of the Federal Capital Commission, and the general public.  The second sod was turned by the Minister for Home and Territories (Hon CWC Marr).  Other members of the Parliament turned sods at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The Chief Commissioner (Sir John Butters) invited the Prime Minister to perform the ceremony.

In turning the sod, Mr Bruce urged the discontinuance of the policy of erecting temporary public buildings in Canberra, condemning it as ‘the falsest economy’.  Emphasising the importance of the occasion, he said this was the first permanent public buildings of monumental design to be erected in Canberra by the Government.  He hoped it would be the forerunner of many more permanent buildings, and that it would stand for generations and even centuries.

[I think this was the building that never got above ground level – something I recall, was bad with the concrete and as a small child, when passing with my parents in our car the story would be told.  Treasury building I think is on the same spot now.]


Turning First Sod Civic Theatre 1935

The Canberra Times 6 July 1935




A ceremony of more than ordinary interest to residents of the Northern Suburbs was performed at Civic Centre yesterday when the construction of the new Civic Theatre was officially commenced.

The ceremony of turning the first sod was performed in the presence of several Canberra residents by Mr WH B Dickson in his capacity as President of the Chamber of Commerce.  Mr Dickson addressing the gathering said that the move for the establishment of a second theatre in Canberra had been started in May 1931, when Mr J Moir, manager of the Capitol Theatre, had approached him on the subject.  At first he had been doubtful of the practicability of the scheme, but Mr Moir had convinced him that the demand existed for a second theatre.  After four years of hard work the project was now on the highroad to achievement.  In addition to being a day of interest to all Canberra from a development point of view the occasion should be a red letter day for the residents of the north side of the river for the realisation of the ideal would remove one of the disadvantages under which the northern suburbs laboured with regard to public utilities. He hoped that the ceremony would mark the commencement of a new era for the northside.

Mr Dickson’s remarks were supported by Messrs MJ Moir, RA McKillop, ER Snow, Lieut-Col HP Jones and the contractor for the theatre, Mr J Simmie.

It is expected that the building will be completed this year, to be ready for the opening in early 1936.  The theatre will be absolutely modern in construction and appointments. A complete air conditioning plant will ventilate the auditorium with cool humidified air in summer and heated air in winter.

Eight hundred and fifty seats will be provided. This number, added to the seating of the Capitol Theatre will give Canberra two thousand seats or a seat for every four people.  This will a higher ratio than anywhere else in the world except where make shift conditions apply and is expected to satisfy local requirements until the population grows to well past the 12,000 mark.


Citzens of Federal Capital City disenfranchised

The Canberra Times 6 June 1944


The representation movement in Canberra itself had its beginnings in 1927. First, public opinion began to manifest itself in the new community, then the first Public Service transfers took place, and very soon the Federal Capital Territory Representation League was formed leading to an organized attempt to secure representation.

In the early years Canberra citizens sought the dual objective of representation in national and local affairs, and the movement for representation in Parliament was thus closely identified with representation in the Canberra local governing body.

Prior to the opening of Parliament in Canberra on may 9, 1927 the population of Canberra totaled about 5,000 of whom 2,813 were actually employed by the Commission. Excluding women and children in the remainder, there were few3 indeed who were not dependent directly or indirectly for their bread and butter on the goodwill of the Commission. 

At June 30 only 239 houses had been completed in the city area, and apart from residents in hotels and hostels a large number of transient residents were living in temporary hutments and rude camps some of canvans but many only of bags and tins.

It was in this atmosphere that early in 1927 public opinion began to be vocal. An article in the 24 issue of ‘The Canberra Times’  on February 10, 1927 stated:

‘There are welcome signs which must not be permitted to pass unheeded that public opinion in Canberra is increasing, and moreover, has an articulate voice. Hitherto it has been silent, even non-existent. The silence has been broken lately in several directions…The general public, as it may be termed has remained silent on subjects of personal and civic concern in the interests of Canberra itself.  The patriotism of permanent citizens towards their new home has been a commendable feature of their association with this city. But that silence cannot last forever…There is no intention in any of this of harassing the Federal Capital Commission in its epic task…Everyone want to contemplate Canberra as a place o9f peace and unity…There is no question that the Federal Capital Commission is the governing body of Canberra but if it discriminates between classes in Canberra there will an inclination after May next to ventilate questions in another place.  It is to be hoped that this may become unnecessary but the only body that can prevent it is the Federal Capital Commission itself and public opinion is here to guide not to hinder it.’

Unfortunately, this warning was not to the liking of the Federal Capital Commission, which, when the test eventually came, first ignored the rising tempest of public opinion and then attempted vainly to ride he storm.

About the same time, an ordinance which abolished trial by jury in civil cases in the Territory attracted some public attention. The matter was raised in Parliament in Melbourne and the then Attorney-General (Mr JG Latham) said no protest had reached him from the residents of Cangbera.

On March 10, 1927 an article in ‘The Canberra Times,’ under the heading, ‘Canberra Voice’ commented: ‘This (the absence of protest) was remedied within a few days, but there yet remains the want of politicians for the expression in articulate form within Parliament of the views of the residents of the Federal Capital Territory. It is not proposed to discuss the merits or sincerity of the cry, ‘no taxation without representation,’ but to uphold the inviolable right of every citizen to express himself and not to suffer abrogation of civil rights. It has already been stated in Parliament that some attention will be given at a later state to the position of citizens of the FCT in relation to the franchise…Canberra must in the next Parliament have a member.’

During the next few months, Canberra moved forward rapidly in the grip of preparations for the opening of Parliament on May 9.  Then there was a lull pending the transfers of the Commonwealth Departments. Meanwhile, an attempt was made in the Canberra Social Service Association for the alteration of its constitution to enable it to deal with civic matters.  This provoked keen opposition and was defeated by the narrow vote after the Chief Commissioner (Sir John Butters) had told the association plainly that its job was not to intrude into civic affairs.

The first wave of departmental transfers was completed in September and an event occurred from which the beacon fire of representation was to be lit, never entirely to be extinguished, come what may. On August 15 the charter was presented to the newly formed Canberra Branch of the Australian Natives Association. It was an occasion on which much was said concerning the future of Canberra. Mr W Slater ex-president of the Victorian board of the association, and destined later to become the first Australian Minister to Moscow, said that there was no reason why the Canberra branch should not lead public opinion in securing representation in Parliament for Canberra citizens.  During the course of the speeches, Mr JE Edwards, now Clerk of the Senate, declared that Canberra citizens should be represented on the Federal Capital Commission.  For the first time also, another story, much repeated since, but sadly disappointing in its results, was told. The Chief Commissioner (Sir John Butters) said that every member of the Parliament would be a member for Canberra.

Early in September, Mr PE Deane, secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department at a farewell dinner in Melbourne trenchantly condemned the changed conditions un…(illegible) public servants would live in Canberra where they would be denied the franchise which they had enjoyed in Melbourne.  He added that Canberra citizens should be represented on the Federal Capital Commission.

On September 12 at t he first regular meeting of the Canberra branch of the ANA the president (Mr CE Francis) said it was now opportune to consider whether the time had not arrived when the citizens of Canberra would be represented in Parliament and the ANA should consider the advisability of convening a public meeting to inaugurate the movement. The meeting appointed a committee of six to report on the proposal and on September 23 the committee decided that the ANA should convene a public meeting of citizens to take steps with a view to securing parliamentary representation.

The meeting was held in the Acton hall on Monday October 24 and unanimously resolved:

‘That this meeting of citizens of the Federal Capital Territory considers that the time is opportune for the granting of direct Parliamentary representation and for the formation of a citizens’ committee of 12 members with power to add, styled the Federal Capital Territory Citizens’ Representation  Committee to take action necessary to carry out the wishes of this meeting’.

Another motion was carried in the following terms:

‘That this meeting is of the opinion that a representative elected by the people of the Federal Capital Territory should be appointed to the Federal Capital Commission and that the committee to be appointed be asked to take steps to give effect to this motion.’

The following committee was elected: Messrs CE Francis (chairman), GT Evans (secretary), JS Weatherston, JS Crapp, AK Murray, JE Edwards, H Shannon , WJM Campbell, AE Wright, AE Jackson, D Kelly, BG Kelly, WG Woodger, J Deans, R Rowe and Col JT H Goodwin.

The committee proceeded immediately to draft two petitions to be presented to Parliament.  The Federal Capital Territory Representation league was constituted and committee comprising Messrs CE Francis, GT Evans and Col Goodwin was authorized to arrange for the distribution of signature of the documents.

Meanwhile both Houses of Parliament resounded with complaints by members against the voteless condition of citizens of Canberra and of various aspects of the administration of the Territory. (The next article in this series will appear tomorrow.)



 Below - the original Acton Hospital that is now used as one of the buildings in the Australian National University.

The Canberra Times Wednesday 18 September 1935 page 2







In a broadcast address last  night, Lt-Col JTH Goodwin outlined his policy in the Advisory Council election campaign.


At the conclusion of a general survey of the requirements of the Territory, Col Goodwin said he would support any movement which had for its end –

·         The provision of maximum employment to residents of the Territory:

·         A programme of works providing for continuous development instead of piecemeal effort:

·         The appointment of an independent committee to report on the general condition of the relief workers and their children, and the question of eliminating arrears in rent:

·         The granting of pensions to widows:

·         The early commencement of the building of Government Offices:

·         The establishment of a technical school of high standard and the provision of scholarships:

·         The building of a high school and also a new hospital: and

·         Any movement for the advancement of Canberra and its people.


At the outset Col Goodwin asked how a candidate for the election to a council which has no power to either legislate or administer could formulate a policy. 


‘The Advisory Council is purely a council of advice to the Minister for the Interior, who pleases himself whether he accepts or rejects it,’ he said. ‘In short the passing of any resolution may have no other effect than to give satisfaction to the mover who was fortunate enough to pilot it through this very one-sided Council for one-sided it certainly is, consisting as it does of three nominated members from the same department, three members elected by the people, and a chairman nominated by the Minister for the Interior.  The Council in my opinion would much stronger, more independent and more representative of public thought if the three nominated councilors were not members of the same department and subject to the same permanent head and Minister.


‘It is not at all necessary for purposes of the Council that three nominated members should be directly connected with the administration of the Territory.


‘If the Council desires the presence of any departmental officer it has the privilege of requesting that he shall attend and supply the information desired.


I am not attacking any of the nominated members, but am only pointing out the weakness of the Council as at present constituted.


I do not know how the resolutions of the Council are placed before the Minister, but I do know enough of official procedure to be aware that a Minister’s decision often depends very much on how the question is placed before him. I am strongly of the opinion that the resolutions of the Council would receive more attention if they were presented to the Minister by the Chairman, who might be accompanied by any member of the Council who wished to attend.  Surely it is not too much to ask that the Minister in charge of the Territory shall devote a few hours every month to consult with his Advisory Council.


Some drastic reform in the present procedure of conveying the resolution of the Council to the Minister appears to be absolutely necessary if the Council is to be of any service to the people, and it should be the recognition medium of placing before the Government the wishes of the residents of the Territory.


I regard the Advisory Council as the forerunner of a Council clothed with all the power and dignity of a truly Legislative body, representative of the people, and to that end I shall always strive and trust that whoever the elected members may be they will work to that end.


During my term of office as a member of the Council I have endeavoured to further the advancement of Canberra and the interests of the people of the Territory, and was always available to those who wished to consult me on the matter.


When Canberra has been developed to the fullest extent necessary for the complete transfer of the departments it will more than pay interest on all expenditure,’ declared the speaker.


‘No business corporation would attempt to develop any place in the half baked, half-hearted manner to which we have grown accustomed.


                ‘One day the people of Australia will wake up and demand  the completion of the transfer of the departments so that Canberra may give a return for the money spent on it and truly take its place as the National Capital.’


‘One of the first works should be the building of Government offices on the foundations which were laid down years ago for them.  This work would take three or four years to complete, and the building of the necessary residences should be co-incident with the progress of the building.’



‘A Technical School is urgently required so that the youth of Canberra might receive training to fit themselves for the battle of life and the erection of a High School in the immediate future seems absolutely necessary.’



‘The present hospital building should not be allowed to remain one moment longer than can be helped as it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to administer it efficiently in an economical manner.


We are only just emerging from a great financial depression and it is still necessary to carefully control our expenditure, but there does not appear to be any reason why useful works could not now be proceeded with. [The hospital is the old wooden one at Acton now part of the ANU buildings.]




The extension of forest planting in suitable localities and the improvement of some of our country roads would give employment to a number of men and serve a useful purpose. Preparation for planting forests and road making could be continued all year.


It is true that commercial timber cannot be grown anywhere but even in the Territory we have thousands of acres which would yield more under  forest conditions and employ more men than in any other way, and it would pay to remove the useless timber from it and replace it my a marketable sort, whereas it would not pay to clear the same land for grazing and agriculture.



We have in Canberra somewhere between 600 and 700 men dependent on relief work, two thirds of whom are married, gradually sinking down to the very depths of poverty and striving to rear children on an income of from a third to half of the basic wage.  Occasionally they get constant work for a few weeks, during which time all sorts of deductions are made from their pay so that at the end of the time they are no better off than at the beginning.



The Government should appoint a committee to go into the matter of arrears of rent etc for workers’ houses with a view to finding out how much could equitably be written off, and whether some further reductions in rent could not be made. I understand that there is an amount of about 10,000 pounds owing in back rent by workmen and about the same amount is owing to business people.  The Government makes deductions from the men’s pay whenever they can, consequently there is nothing left for the poor unfortunate businessman.


That there must be losses is certain as the unemployment has lasted so long that the load is greater that the men can bear, or can ever pay off in full.  The businessman has to make concessions and so must the Government.  The sooner this matter is taken in hand the worker put into a better frame of mind with some hope of bringing up his children properly, the better for everybody.


The question of unemployment or partly employed youths is also a question which should at once be attacked seriously, and something done to prevent these young fellows from becoming useless and unemployable.  They are all good lads and only require some chance given to them to make good citizens.


It is also a fact that many young children are not being properly fed, partly because of ignorance and partly because of poverty.  It is the duty of the Government to counteract these evils without delay.



The present system of disposing of the city lands has proved unattractive to the private investor, and the cost of building is such that investors will not build houses for letting purposes.


The closer any leasehold system is to freehold, the more successful it will be.  Under the present system the Government retain all the potential value and the right to the improvements existing on the land at the termination of the lease, and the right to re-assess the rent at certain periods during the lease.


Until the leaseholder has tenant rights to his improvements and some interest in the potential value there will be relatively little private investors paying some attention to Canberra.



The development of country lands are retarded for similar reasons. Improvements are not being effected to the same extent as under freehold and never will be until it is learnt how to create lease conditions which will encourage and not retard development.


The essentials to make lease conditions really satisfactory are:

·         Security of tenure.

·         Freedom of action.

·         Reasonable rentals.

·         Tenant rights to all improvements.

·         Right of appeal to an independent land court in regard to rates and reappraisement.


The building of a city and the settlement of its surrounding lands on a purely leasehold tenure is an experiment in which we have had very little experience.  The Britisher has for ages been accustomed to a freehold tenure, and Australia has been settled largely under conditions which eventually entitled the settler to freehold.  The Crown has generally only retained the right to minerals and to resume land for public purposes subject to compensation on the value of the land at the time of resumption.



I am inclined to think that eventually Canberra lands will be disposed of under conditions which after certain improvements shall have been made will give the individual either a freehold or lease so close to a freehold that there will be little difference.


Land, like light and air, is the heritage of the people, and to the accumulation of huge estates must be guarded against at all costs, and it is certainly easier to do this under some form of leasehold tenure than under freehold, but the lease must be under such conditions that the leaseholder will reap the fruits of his labour, and know he is working for his family and not for a landlord who leaves him with nothing but a bare existence.




Canberra Times Tuesday 7 February 1928 page 1



Initial Difficulties



The Chairman of the Canberra Division of the Institution and the Deputy Chairman of the Development Committee, Colonel PT Owen addressed the meeting on the engineering difficulties that had been overcome in the initial stages of construction at Canberra.


'The creation of a Federal Capital City,' said Colonel Owen, 'was a definite objective calling for action in many essential directions, but the first steps in its devolved on Engineers.  No better example of the importance of our profession in providing for the needs of civilized man can be found than the building of a modern town.  The Engineers must work in co-ordination with many professions, arts and crafts, thus besides him there are the surveyor, architect, the builder, the doctor, the chemist, the physicist, the geologist, lawyer, clerk and accountant.


The engineer with his cousins of meteorology and geology were called on to advise.  Other considerations were the economics in relation to this development of New South Wales.


For water supply and sewerage the engineer was an important man, and so with electric supply including the possibilities of hydroelectric development.  All the time the engineer was to use the wealth of knowledge built up by his own profession and by his friends in most sciences and the antecedents in arts and crafts. 



The scheme for the construction of the Federal City was arbitrarily divided into three initial stages of enabling works of which the most important were:-

* Access, Water Supply, Sewerage, and Surveys, Electric Supply, Railway and Road Development, and Materials for some construction in advance.


These stages were not necessarily successive, but overlapped or interlaced.  Carrying out the stages involved subsidiary works for instance preliminary water supply, steam power, temporary sewerage disposal, camps and accommodation for workmen, supplies or plant for the works in view, transport and so on.


Water supply almost failed in the period between 1912 and 1914.  It is unnecessary to enlarge on these difficulties which were real to the Engineer at the time.  Because many here tonight will have encountered them.


The base for construction was first at Queanbeyan as a rail head in which town the first plant, tool and material depot was founded.  The construction of the railway to Canberra came at a later stage as an enabling work.



One of the enabling works was water supply.


Prior to the selection of Canberra the Department of Public Works of New South Wales and with its associated names of the late LAH Wade, Mr EM Deburgh, and Mr Pridham remain particularly in his mind. 


There were three sources from which supply might be taken:-

The Queanbeyan River Catchment Area.

The Gudgenby-Naas Catchment Area and

The Cotter Catchment Area.


Each presented advantages and disadvantages.  The Cotter area was found to be the source of purest water supply, the best catchment area for conservation and was a tract practically unalienated by the Crown. 


The behaviour of the Gudgenby-Naas  Catchment area in comparison with the Cotter Catchment Area after prolonged drought was quite remarkable and in favour of the Cotter Area.  On the other hand the Cotter presented difficulties for service to Canberra as it involved a pumping scheme, unless three times the capital outlay was to be spent for gravitation scheme.


Weighing all the pros and cons the Cotter Catchment was accepted as the source of water supply.


The construction of the dam presented no great engineering difficulty beyond dealing with water during river floods.  One of the floods carried away part of the construction plant which had been occupying the river bank, as there was no space for it on the steep slopes of the gorge. The dam was designed and

construction began with a gravity section with crest about 40 ft higher than the present crest level.  it would as designed have impounded about three times the volume of the water at present impounded and have improved the safe draft from seven millions of gallons per day to eleven millions of gallons per day.  The alteration in height of the dam was against my advice.


The dam if raised 40ft higher would have warranted the construction of a Power House and installation of turbines to develop 1000 kilowatts using the surplus

discharge of the Cotter River.  Such a hydro-electric development could not have been relied upon for the city electric supply, but would have been a useful auxiliary for pumping and to augment power generated at the City Power House.


The main question whether water supply to the city should be by gravity instead of pumping was considered, but pumping was decided upon. It has been suggested that when the population of Canberra should reach 100,000 people a gravity scheme might be warranted, but again contemplating the large sum involved to construct the dam nay miles by river above the present dam, the pipe line and other works and regarding some certain future hydro-electric development in this part of New South Wales, and presumably low cost of current for pumping it may be that pumping will always hold its own.



In the early stages before an electric generating station could be equipped, portable steam engines were used. for instance, Cotter River water supply works for stone crushing for road making for pipe making and in other directions.  It was known however, that power would soon be required for larger works, for instance - sewer construction, brick making and for pumping water: thus the question of electric supply for the future city was considered at a very early stage. Naturally as the generating station had in the future to supply the city, the Molonglo River flowing through the city site, was accepted for condensing water.  In due course electric supply was established for brickmaking, pipe making, quarrying, joinery work and all other sources of demand.




Another enabling work referred to earlier in this address was the disposal of sewerage.  The region presented difficulties in topography, because the general slope from Canberra to the only area which could be used for sewerage treatment was roughly three foot to the mile.  Another difficulty was the necessity for safe guarding the purity of the Molonglo River, so far as sewerage disposal was concerned, having in mind that the Molonglo River discharges into the Burrinjuck Dam.  Although at the present time and for years to come the amount of effluent can be easily dealt with but the long view into the future had to be taken in regard to the effluent discharged from a city of larger population say a century hence.


The only area which could be used was that of Western Creek beyond which the country against rises to the west, precluding a discharge from the Outfall Sewer near the surface.  The country along the course of the Molonglo River towards the Murrumbidgee through which the gradient of two foot to the mile could have been continued did not afford any possibil8ity of sewerage treatment combined with final disposal of effluent over the land.


Even at Western Creek area below the invert of the Outfall Sewer, the space was too limited for land treatment of effluent to gravitation and thus the early scheme for treatment was to either pump crude sewerage to the treatment tanks on a higher level or to sink the treatment tank and pump the effluent.  The only possible gravitation scheme having been ...(?) upon the method of treatment was left open having in view the world wide developments of treatment and knowing that some years might be allowed before a scheme should be definitely determined.



It was known that bricks would be required for construction - investigations were made primarily to find out where suitable clay or shale could be obtained.


The first bricks made at Canberra were in Scotch kilns and the shale was ground by steam operated plant.  Sufficient bricks were thus made by dry process to build the Staffordshire Kiln now operating.  Naturally the plant for processing bricks was the soft-plastic process was more expensive to install and operate and further as it was known that it would be necessary to make tiles as well as bricks the Staffordshire Kiln was decided upon.  It afforded means for either down draft or ordinary draft.



A team match between visiting members of the Institution of Engineers and members of the Canberra Golf Club will be played on the Canberra Links on Friday next commencing at 10 am.  Members of the Canberra Club who desire to take part are asked to inform the hon secretary as soon as possible.  A mixed tournament will be played on Thursday afternoon.



See also: Canberra Times Articles

Renaming Canberra Suburbs 1927

The Canberra Times 16 December 1927



The following new names have been allocated to existing suburbs of Canberra by the National Memorials Committee:-


Ainslie                    Braddon

South Ainslie         Reid

North Ainslie         Ainslie

Eastlake                  Kingston

Causeway              Kingston

Telopea Park         Barton

Manuka                  Griffith

South Blandfordia Griffith

Blandfordia           Forrest

Red Hill                  Mugga

Parliament House area Parkes

Westridge             Yarralumla

Acton and Duntroon are unchanged.


Suburbia as yet undeveloped have been named as follows:-

Fyshwick (East of Causeway and Eastlake Circle)

Narrabundah (South of Eastlake Circle)

Symonston (South-east of Eastlake Circle)

Deakin (South of Capitol Hill between Yarralumla and Forrest)

Turner (west of Northbourne Avenue, opposite Braddon)

O’Connor (North-west of Turner)

Lyneham (Fronting northern extremity of Northbourne Avenue on the west side)

Dickson (Opposite Lyneham)


Box files ACT Heritage Library

Files that I collected during my research from NAA and other sources along with photographs are lodged with the ACT Heritage Library.  I documented the material in each box. Several of the information files I still have (all others at the ACT Heritage Library). Examples follow: 

Box 9

Folder 1

*A414/1 21/2 17.3.1923 FCAC to Hon Minister for Works & Railways re proposed cottages additions at the Power House, Brickyards, Blandfordia et.  Also lists the types of cottages and cost

* A62/65/1 25/538 Architects who won the 2nd & 3rd competition - cottage design used for Blandfordia cottages in 1923.

*A6269/1 E1/29/1706 Monolyte concrete cottages built at Blandfordia.

* A361/1 DSG24/153 4.2.1924 footbridge at Acton crossing

* A361/1 DSG23/1332 Camp at Uriarra Road

*CP464/2/1 A 24/2316 1.2.1922 Preliminary work on Mess Rooms for men at Cotter.

*CT86/1/1 457 Cotter River pumping station - re the first cottage erected there.

* A361/1 DSG18/839 Brig gen Spencer Browne camp Commandant Molonglo Concentration Camp - agree to had over military ... 18.3.1918

*A361/1 DSG17/515 26.7.1917 asked for the Canberra Hospital to me made into a district hospital.

* A361/1 DSG17/2246 Maternity names with dates of admission and discharged: Ellen Bates 26.2.1917 - 11.3.1917 she gave birth to a daughter Catherine J - father Edwin; Julia Doherty 27.2.1917-22.3.1917; Janet Kennedy 24.4.1917-6.5.1917 gave birth to son James - father James; Edith C Boag 11.6.1917-23.6.1917 gave birth to a son Robert - father Thomas; Edith Bourke 8.8.1917-19.8.1917 gave birth to daughter Edith - father Edward; May Lawton 18.8.1917-27.8.1917 - gave birth to a daughter Una - father Albert; Catherine Grey 24.8.1917-10.9.1917 (births recorded in BDM in Queanbeyan - Grey not looked up and could not find Doherty. BDM for Canberra until the early 1930s were recorded in Queanbeyan.)

* A1/1 26/15659 7.9.1923 Engineers’ Mess to be known at Eastlake Quarters.

*CP698/1 Bundle 1/10/14 Amusement Hall Russell Hill - toilets

Series of typed notes on files:

* A2351/1 Box 1 Lands & Survey Branch Annual Report 1913. On 22nd August 1913 the new Administrative Offices were ready and occupied.  Lists the people employed and the Territory’s boundary as The survey and marking of the boundary between the Federal Territory Lands and those of the state of NSW was started by surveyor PPL Sheaffe at a trigonomical station of Mount Coree, a prominent point on the range forming the western watershed of the Cotter River having an altitude of 4,657 feet; from Coree a straight line was run to trigonometrical station One Tree which has an elevation of 2,836 feet; on this line the lowest point is at the crossing of the Murrumbidgee River 1380 feet above sea level... during the year ending June 30 1913 25 miles of the territorial boundaries have been surveyed and marked, and in connection therein 109 miles of the boundaries of the old measurements have been redefined.

* CP876/1/1 Bundle 4 To do with fair renting in the 1940s particularly with the sharing of houses e.g Mrs HJ Brackenreg of 59 Dominion Circuit offered to sub let her house.

* A361/1 DSG23/1473 23rd May, 1923 - survey of the road later known as Wentworth Avenue surveyed.

10.2.1922 List of men working for the surveyors’ branch - included W Mayo, H Oldfield, M Horan, T Ryan, T Beaver, S Southwell, E Ryan, E Bourke, CJ Curley, W Riley, J Hollingworth, J Flint, F Blundell, J Phillips, Mrs Phillips (cook), JC Cotterill, AC Thurbon, R Vest, A Marsh, C O’Rourke, P Jolly, W Traynor, R Norman, F Maxwell, R Shannon, WG Preston, W Maloney, Miss E Southwell, Miss E Ware, Miss E Shumack

* A361/1 DSG21/294 23/3/1921 refers to Lands & Survey Branch where the men were working.

* A361/1 DSG23/1044 Permanent Staff List of Officers of the Lands & Survey Branch 23.3.1923

* A361/1 DSG23/2354 Minnie Weston took up duty 15.10.1917 and worked for Goodwin etc.  Also has list of people working at Yarralumla House _ miss Southwell - three pounds per week etc.

* A361/1 DSG16/613 16.12.1916 survey staff engaged in the Territory. 

*A361/1 DSG17/2543 Arsenal Survey at Tuggranong 16/11/1917 and other related files for 1916.

* A361/ DSG19/699 Creek near the Power House called Jerrabomberra Creek.  Diversion was cancelled 19/12/1916 because the curves designed were too round.

* A202/1 14/3189 18.8.1914 Minster for Home Affairs The branch entrusted with the responsibilities of Afforestation has been organised and had rendered valuable services in the experimental work at the Acton Nursery which is now being replaced by the establishment at Acton where all trees and plants etc for the purpose of beautifying the City and reafforesting the Territory will be propagate and where valuable and practical work will be conducted...

*A411/1 Box 1 Fourth Meeting of FCAC  This is an interesting document to read in full.  It also mentions the Canberra Co-operative Society which commenced in August 1916   - This document continues with a number of meetings including the sixth held in June 1920.

* A277/1 Box 1 Molonglo Internment Camp Disposal Committee. - 1920  Includes various proposals for use of buildings including the butcher’s and baker’s shops.  Also suggested that some of the buildings be moved for use as schools at Duntroon and Narrabundah.

* Copied stories from Canberra Community News  1926 by Gleaner (Harold Lasseter) and 1927 re a trip to the Cotter for the children of Russell Hill.  Also stories about camps etc by Lasseter

* CT October 28, 1926 Red Hill, superior residential suburb.   South Ainslie 80 cottages building.

* A6266/1 G27/280 The ANA Journal 11th December, 1926 to JH Butters from The Editor.   Refers to the Friendly Societies in the FCT and lists all.

* Old Lennox House - history written in the 1990s.

Handwritten documents

* CT September 25, 1929 - Canberra’s first court in the new court house Acton Mr Justice Pike

*CT September 21, 1929 Inspection of semi-detached house designed by the Commission - at Reid.  Cost 1030 pounds each. 

Handwritten -

*CP698/9/1 Bundle 1/10/16 Westridge - EP Corey to Honeysett (SSA) re site chosen for children’s playground - at that time several huts sitting on the area - need to be moved and details re putting down the Westridge Cricket pitch - concrete -

* Note Mrs Florence Lovelock lived 58 Novar Street since 1951 - she moved from the Causeway.  Each house on the lower side of Novar Street was a brickyards house and some in Mueller Street and Hutchins Street.

* CP464/2 Bundle 8 A42/2352 To Mr Rollands from a neighbour - complaint Mrs Lindo  and letter from Bland - caretaker re Mrs Lindo etc.

* 16.8.1927 Memo for Chief Architect 16.8.1927 - Will you please develop a scheme in conjunction with accountant for the disposal of the concrete houses at Blandfordia on the following lines: 1 Min payment deposit 50 pounds etc

* A6265/1 25/1627 22.5.1925 Permission requested for have Saturday 6th off work without pay to enable married men to travel home for the long weekend and spend time with families.

*A269/1 E1/28/1155 10.8.1927 documents in relation to Alfred Dolan’s claim against the commonwealth for breach of agreement re the Westridge Mess.

*CP698/9  Bundle 6/48  March, 1928 Philharmonic society - list of members in chorus and orchestra.

* 4/5/1926 Secretary ABL heard that the sewer camp at Eastlake was to be removed.  The Eastlake Camp (not necessarily sewer and not Engineers Mess - near the Causeway Camp - had its mess burnt down 30.6.1927.  At that time there were 156 men using the mess.

* Notes jotted down at the time of a conversation with Tom Robertson of Oaks Estate.  He died in 1999 aged 90 odd.  He worked with his father as an apprentice and then fully qualified plumber.  He worked on Westlake Cottages, Parliament House, Institute of Anatomy and Mt Stromlo buildings etc.

*A62661/ G23/464 call sign for list of foremen and gangers 16/6/1925

*A6270/1 E2/28/1293 Nigh Soil collection list 1/7/1928-31/9/1928 - included Howie’s cottages which had 1 - C Patrick, 2 G Ross, 3 L Dinnerville, 6 J McCann, 10 R Sheehan, 12 J Temples, 13 A Freeman.  Documents such as this indicate where camps were still set up etc. 

* A292/1 C661 Duntroon - Duntroon septic systems and possible pollution (1928)

*192/1 FCL19/1004 24.7.1919 Cottage at Duntroon camp to be vacated - T Ryan lived in the stone cottage now left (22.7.1919). etc

*A6270/1 E2/29/1363 23.5.1929 Subject Molonglo Reservoir referred to as satisfactory.  Filled from a side pipe from the Queanbeyan main.

*A199/1 21/189 2.2.1921 5,000 pounds approved towards cost of new city road - no man need to be put off - at that time 70 labourers and 30 horse & dray men employed.

*A199/1 21/189 12.2.1921 Civic Tenements referred to as hutments. - Discussion about where the place these ex-Molonglo buildings.

*A202/1 13/227 15.4.1913 site for service reservoir on Camp Hill in Narrabundah Paddock and workmen’s camp and access road.

* A294/1 515/243 letters re having to put off architects (Great Depression) and a list of  their names.

*CP464/2/1 Bundle 2/2040/233964 June 1922 Memo to electrician re lighting supply to Molonglo Camp.  Letter from C Ivery (teacher & hon sec of Molonglo Progress Association) 1st May, 1922 stating that electric current not yet connected to camp  - an earlier letter dated 1.3.1922 Mr Ivey requested that the installation of the electric light be hurried up Although the fire brigade has been formed the carrying of naked light from place to place, and the possibility of curtains catching alight in draughts constitutes a source of danger which would be rectified as soon as possible.

CP464/2/1 2/2040/233964 23rd July, 1923 caretaker Bland had a complaint from Mrs J Lynch that the Naylor boys had made a hole between the walls of their two cottages.

*CP464/2/1 Bundle 2/23/3964 Canberra electric meters (1923?) brickworks, Acton, RM College, Queanbeyan.

* A6269/1 E1/25/318 John Howie & Sons Lts 10.6.1925 wanted to erect two conveniences in their new yards at Eastlake.  A list of rentals at the contractors blocks/yards near the railway station at Eastlake also included.

*CP464/4/1 Bundle 2/C1244 men owing money at brickyards 20.5.1924

*A192/1 DCL 21/1429 30.11.1921 Letter refers to the then new brick cottages built at Power House, Brickyards and Civic - far too expensive for working class men and need to use cheaper housing - Molonglo Internment Camp etc.

*A192/1 FCL 19/1203 Mt Majura reafforestation 26.2.1919 and 16.1.1919

*A192.1 FCL 20/755 16.2.1920 re conveyance of children to Narrabundah School from Bulga Creek via Brickyards etc - tenders.

A414/1 22/1 Brief Statement of Works Under Constitution at the present time - financial year 1922-1923.  Hostel (Parliamentary) Department labour used to floor level and tenders called in by 2.12.1923 etc. - including refurbishment of Molonglo and construction of Telopea Park School.  Also lists roads - Adelaide Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue north and south of the river, Capital Circuit (State Circle), Acton to Civic Centre - roads formed and gravelled 14 foot wide etc.


Box 9, Folder 2

* Number of overhead sheets - Westlake cottages , list of camps, CCNews - Gorman House, Riverbourne Camp, Rolland’s Westlake cottages, Acton Peninsula 1912/13, Workmen’s Camp Sites & Sanitation, Cartoon.

* Federal Capital Pioneer February 1925 - Federal Territory Tennis Association.

*CP698/23 E1/29/1706 photocopy of photograph of Monolyte Concrete cottages already constructed.  Part of their application for 100 cottages at Blandfordia (Griffith).  They built only 25.

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 Printing Staff Quarters inspection made by R Smith on 19.7.1926.  Following is a  very full report on the Printers Quarters built by Mason of Queanbeyan.  This report goes for several pages

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 Letter dated 6th October, 1925 from Secretary FCC to Mr W H Mason, Queanbeyan - Commission accepted his tender for the Printers Quarters - 21,552 pounds and the work had to be completed within 20 weeks from date of acceptance.

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 20th August, 1926 To Rolland from JS Murdoch re cottages for printing staff.  Murdoch had the drawings carried out and made a number of suggestions.

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 9th July, 1925 letter to Director General of Works Melbourne from Daley re the Printers Quarters.

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 Plan drawn of the site selected to build the Printers Quarters.  3rd July, 1925

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 Extract from a letter to Mr CS Daley from Mr JS Murdoch, Melbourne dated 2.7.`1925 I have been thinking about the barracks for the printing staff and wired you to send if possible some particulars of the most suitable site available.  Being dubious about the barrack form of accommodation I got hold of Mullett, who thinks as I do - that the open dormitory or cubicle accommodation would not appeal to the staff, who presumably would mostly be composed of an old-fashioned domestic type of person, who, always living at home would not relish and expedition that might entail his living in a way distinctly removed from that he has been accustomed to.  It this idea is sound, I believe as satisfactory form for the accommodation to take would be a series of very cheap timber semi-detached cottages of five rooms each.  Thus giving each person a room - ten to a semi-detached... The buildings when completed were of brick and there was a central dining area.

A6270/1 E52/28/2446 10th June, 1925 Printers Quarters - 85 male & 15 female.

*A414/1 25 8th April 1924 - Minister authorised another twelve cottages at Westlake bringing the total up to 52. Earlier letter dated 8th November, 1923 authorised the first twenty cottages at Westlake plus other related letters/documents to workmen’s accommodation.

* a number of notes taken about the 1920s

* A199/1 FC25/198 FCC notes of a conference held 16th July, 1925 with representatives of Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners - Mr F Okeley of Westlake, Australian Plumbers & Gasfitters Employees Union - AE Dorrall, Federated Bricklayers Association of Australia - F Irons of Westlake, Operative Painters & Decorators Union of Australia - J Kirk, Operative Plasterers Federation of Australia - H Walker.  Matters discussed included permanent housing for workmen and costs and practice of transporting workmen from the Canberra Railway Station to work sites to continue?  Another letter dated 25th July, 1925 stated that houses for workmen would be built on the north side of the river (Corroboree Park area - weatherboards - also at the brickyards)  Another letter stated that if the men claimed 1/- a day zone allowance the FCC would not continue with the plan to build.

* A6266/1 G25/827 List of Industrial organisations of men employed in Canberra 15/7/1925

* A199/1 FC25/198 30th January, 1925 CS Daley to Acting General of Works Melbourne re  the building of JB Youngs store plus houses and a bowser.  A map sowing the various section numbers etc for Kingston shop area also enclosed.  It also shows where the old Uriarra Road went through the Kingston area.

*A3032/1 PC329 part of a speech given by Mr Dunbar Molonglo Internment Camp - A Notable Wartime Achievement...but at the time is occurred represented an important undertaking associated with the Great War of 1914-18, and was also, a constructional feat probably without parallel in Australia for the speed and efficiency of its design, organization and accomplishment.  British government early in 1918 requested Australia to build an internment camp to accommodate several thousand enemy nationals.  The late Colonel Percy Owen, himself a soldier was not the man to hesitate over a wartime request because it presented arduous difficulties..that within nine and half weeks about 250 acres of vacant land between Canberra and Queanbeyan was converted into a township with provision for 560 families and a large number of single persons, the group of houses and other buildings being properly equipped and furnished, and served with water, sewerage and electricity [something that the men and women who came to build the city could not get!].  Incidental building and works included large stores for the baggage of the internees, bakers and butchers shops, fire station, firestation, public school, teacher’s residence, hospital and assembly hall, as well as many structures for the housing and general purposes of the military unitl, such as a look out tower, guard house, barracks, stables, commandant’s residence and a special railway loop with station and goods sheds.


Site for camp - hill about 110 ft above the Molonglo River and sloping land which admitted of placing the look-out tower upon a high position - military buildings slightly lower and tenement buildins set out like a fan - ring of flood lighting around the whole settlement...

*A192/1 FCL22/513 Letter from Stanley Morris Captain to District Surveyor 22.5.1918 taking over the Molonglo hospital from that date.

*A202/1 14/3830 22.10.1914 From Administrator to Commandant RMC Temporary hospital has only 8 beds and is primarily for the purpose of the employees of Dept of Home Affairs.  Doesn’t intent to take in others..   Another letter dated 2nd July, 1914 stated that Canberra Hospital has been opened and two patients - Mrs Brennan convalescing from diphtheria and Mr Harrington suffering from a broken leg.  The first person to received treatment was Mr Aryton, who had an abrasion of the heel..

*A199/1 FC21/186 Memo to Hon Minister for Home Affairs from Walter Burley Griffin 21.9.1920 - Budget.  Has a list of resumption of works which were suspended July, 1917.

*A199/1 FC21/186 Not proposed to move any more Molonglo buildings.  Materials left after buildings demolished used for the construction of the cottages now being erected at Civic Centre and Power House from transferred buildings.  Gives rates for rooms for single and married.

*A6272/1 E21 14.2.1931 Westlake Sewer re offensive odours ...it was found that the cover of one of the manholes near the vent had been taken off and boys had dropped a number of stones down into the sewer.  This had been cleared away, a heavier cover has been substituted and the place kept under surveillance for three months.

*A6272/1 27/1201 Letter to Mr Daley from WH Weston of Molonglo Settlement 27.6.1927  he was angry that he had been on a housing list for ten months and he was aware of another man - motor driver who had just been allocated a cottage at the Gap (Westlake) with only a three month waiting period - answer - motor drivers had different rules.

*A6273 127/1201 27.4.1927 Letter from C Astley Camps & Tenements Clerk to Industrial Officer - re the Lette family - on 26.6.1926 a Causeway cottage was allotted to Gordon Lette on the understanding that the mother was to keep house for the three brothers.  It also noted that a number of Molonglo tenements were being demolished and the next fourteen cottages at Causeway ? were earmarked for people whose Molonglo places were being demolished. This would link with separation of Molonglo barracks into single houses in 1927.

*CT86/1/1/130 Memo to Architect re contractors camps.  The contractors were supplied with land near working sites however need to move men from this time (?) into established camps at Red Hill, Capitol Hill, Causeway, White City, Molonglo etc.

CT 186/1 206 Memo to Executive Architect from Assistant Architect A Nish I beg to report having inspected the Friendly Society Hall Kingston.  The main portion of the building was originally erected for the engineers mess at Kingston approx five years ago [c1923] and re-erected...additional kitchen and room.

* CT86/1 206 Memo - record of interview between architect and SS officer 9.11.1927 re halls - 2 should be immediately constructed - one at Eastlake opposite Young’s Store - on corner and Ainslie Hall -

* A2487/ 19/5208 Molonglo Defence Camp details - the project was planned and organised in period of nine and half weeks.  Total No of Men Employed 1202 etc

* A788/1 FC14/264 Letter dated 26/10/1911 from  Lalor, Captain AAMC Medical Officer RMC  - inspection of the Home & Territories Camp on hill - things far from satisfactory.  Need for improvements to sanitary requirements and need for a special hospital tent for these patients.  The hospital at RMC reserved for cadets.

Notes on various files - hand written

* A2479/1 17904 Confidential report re the Arsenal 16.5.1917 to Miller...Successive steps taken up to the present time in connection with the arsenal are set out in the paper presented to Parliament on 14.5.1917...a strong reason for the selection of the Federal Territory as a site of the Arsenal was that the commonwealth would have ready, unfettered and entire control of all matters pertaining to its operation... continues with files on use of Tuggeranong Homestead.

* mud map of section 58 Westridge and the people allocated the houses 5.9.1928.

*A361/1 DSG24/47 Letter dated 5.5.1922 Power House Mess from Herbert Daniels Mess Caterer No 1 Labourers Camp requesting a cottage nearby.  He had one at Civic but had to leave home at 5 am to get to work in time and did not leave until after 7 - 7.30 in the evening.

* permanent housing in FCT with early list of people occupying permanent cottages

* 1912 list of lessees of Duntroon Estate with the rentals paid and areas of land with description of buildings on the land eg T Kinlyside had a 4 roomed house and 2rmd kitchen, brick walls iron & shingle roof and floored (Briar Farm).

* A202/1 13/4538 List of Duntroon tenants 26.8.1912

* Plan for 1921/22 brickwork’s cottages section 64.

* 192/1 23/480 To Works Supervisor Power House via Queanbeyan from the District Surveyor 24.1.1917 - position of 4 graves in Canberra Cemetery which Mr Griffin requires tested (for planting of trees?)


Box 9 Folder 4

* Angelus 2nd June, 1929 Canberra Employment - policy which discriminated against men living in Queanbeyan

* CP464/4/1 C24/1052 Inventory of Crushing Plant at Mugga Quarry 31.3.1924.  This is a detailed list covering seven pages.  As well as machinery etc the tenement buildings from Molonglo had all fittings and furnishings included.

* A363/1 DSL21/703 RMC Duntroon Feb 16, 1916 to Commissioner Land & Survey  In reference to the house known as De Smet’s Boarding House at Duntroon - led to believe it will be vacant on 26th March I wish to put in an application for tenancy of same.  I am employed as Chief Cood at Cadets’ Mess Royal Military College...D Woodstone.   Map is also included of De Smet’s cottage.

* CT86/1/1 26 Box 1752 Details of the cottages erected by Bruce Eden & Griffiths in Reid (1926)  This file also has a list of people who applied for these cottages and Okely & Parks

* A880/1 TL67 Pt 2 4.12.1945 to 3.6.1946 

4.12.1946 camp taken over by Peter Verell Edwards.  Took over from Lawrence Berry.  Has details of takeovers.

Other references include mention of Kangaroo Cafe at Acton 11th February, 1911.  F Edwards took possession 25.11.1913.  Another letter dated 20.3.1914 stated that the Mess was being moved from Acton to the Power House.

In 1914 Stanley O’Grady took over the Power House mess from 17.7.1914.

Letter from G McKissock re the unsatisfactory position of cooking at the Power House and later the cook, O’Grady removed and replaced by J Iles of Melbourne.  This file also contains a list of the names of Power House men not satisfied with O’Grady.

File also contains reference to cooks at Brickyards 1915

* QA newspaper -  list number of workmen in Canberra - 4.11.1922.  John Butters taken up residence at No 1 Hostel (Hotel Canberra) which will be the official headquarters of FCC until offices and  Canberra House (built 1913) ready and renovated in that order (Jan 8, 1925); FCC add for tenders for construction of 60 cottages at Causeway Feb 13, 1925; Molonglo Camp - 90 single men to join camp gang of men presently engaged in planting cedars near Yass Rd - over 25,000 April 7th 1925.

* Civil Construction Corp (WW2 organisation) disbanded in 1945.

* FCL21/1161 August 1921 Minister for Works & Railways disputes that his department was responsible for housing of workmen.

* 20.7.1921 Commonwealth surveyor general refers to canvas shacks inhabited by workmen.

* Bullock paddock camp was to be put in the McDonald’s of Uriarra’s bull paddock

8.8.1925 south section of Canberra sewered for about 60 houses (sewer completed in 1927)

A6270/1 E2/25/268 Contracts by day labour 11.2.127 - excavations for site of CSIRO building

*A414/1 12/3 19.7.1923 Parliamentary Committee - printed report includes Hostel No 1 built to floor level by day labour and then contract let to John Howie to build it. Rolland gives consideration for better houses for workmen  to attract them here.

At present three classes of accommodation for workmen - Single mess accommodation either huts or hutments, married quarters huts or hutments (Molonglo), brick cottages.  This resulted in the Rolland cottage built first at Westlake, then Acton and a year later in 1925 at Causeway.  Rolland also mentioned that in 1916 they erected at Duntroon wooden cottages with all the necessary conveniences - four rooms and verandahs back and front for 450 pounds.  Still not painted - costs extra 30 pounds.

*CP464/2/1 Bundle 2040 23/3965 approved expenditure 30.6.1923 included connection of Engineers’ Mess with sewerage system, Civic Centre workmen’s camp 1500 pounds etc  This file includes information on brickworks cottages eg Lot 12 Section 64 (Dillon’s cottage) required strappings of ceiling - still in place in this cottage.

*CT86/1 212 Printers Quarters had additions to recreational room commenced 17.9.1929 and completed 19.2.1930

*CT86/1/1 206 replacement of glass in the skylight in the Friendly Society Hall. - 8.7.1929 and reconditioning of the Acton Hall etc.  A number of reports about the hall in this file - 15.5.1929 should any work be done on the hall because road construction in the area was to commence soon and the hall would need to be moved.   Also a number of files about the Friendly Society Hall at Kingston.

*CP464/5/1 22/670 List of men who received accommodation at the Brickworks Power House 16.3.1922

A6270/1 E2/28/2986 17.1.1927 list of traders who had permits to have shops in camps - C O’Keefe No 4 General Store, A Campbell White City, J Arbuckle No 1 - general store and hairdresser, G Gauge Molonglo - hawkers also visited the camps on pay Days.  Mr J Downey also had a hairdressing business at White City Camp.

*A361/1 DSG 21/641 23.8.1918 refers to map used during construction of RMC and related files to demolition of old mess house at that time used as accommodation.

*CP464/3/ Bundle 1 B968 Letters re the removal of No 1 Labourers Camp from Eastlake to Westlake 7.5.1924 and later letters re the conditions in the camp.

*Various papers on house development in the main areas on the north (Ainslie) and southern side of river.

* M1491 Scriverner’s papers and refers to many things of importance eg water supply required for several hundred men employed upon roads, outlying engineering works and buildings under construction at Duntroon.  There water pumped from soakage wells near the River and pumped to temporary service reservoirs.  Population of territory in 1913 was 2240.  This file also mentioned the temporary storage yard in Queanbeyan (now covered by Royal Hotel).  The rail between Canberra and Queanbeyan was used from 1914.

*CP664 (should be 464 I think)/1 Bundle 1/59 Westridge commenced new subdivision 25.2.1925 - Section 58 and Section 63 with list of people allocated the houses.

*A414/1 12/3 Parliamentary Committee report printed 19.7.1923 lists departments transferred prior to the opening of Parliament House.

* A192/1 FCL22/ 1549 Survey of Commonwealth Bridge to Acton

*A202/1 13/3156 Letters from Scrivener re the Acton area (1913).  10.7.1913 Scrivener writes  I regard tree planting as seriously as building for it is frequently easier and occasions less heartburning to remove a building than to interfere with a tree. 31.7.1913 he states What is the ultimate intention regarding Acton?  I have understood that the peninsula will be created when  the Molonglo River dam is erected will become a part through which a fine avenue will give access to the hospital, university etc.  The present Administrative Offices are likely to be serviceable for 25 years with little cost for repairs....

*A6272/1 E180 1.7. 1923 Canberra Unemployment Relief Committee recommended  the completion of planting of the Federal Highway.

*A6266/1 G1925/ 362 21.6.1925 bonus to workmen who worked on protecting the Commonwealth Avenue embankment during the big flood.

And another letter dated 23.8.1922 to Mr Brackenreg asking that action be taken to remove fencing on the western side - front of proposed Hostel (Canberra) & erect a temporary fence to prevent Kaye’s cattle from straying.

*A361/1 DSG24/1535 map of reservoir at Russell Hill You will be good enough to arrange to mark the street corners along the main from Ainslie Avenue to Reservoir Hill...

*A361/1 DSG24/ 432 Works Branch asked to plough the center way of Commonwealth Avenue in readiness for planting 31/8/1922.

 A1/1 17/8081  re the road from Acton to the Uriarra Road (1917)

* A414/1 47 23.11.1922 plans for Commonwealth Bridge

* A414/1 76 naming of Canberra Avenues and roads 25.11.122

* A 292 T1 C18996 Tree planting by the ANA in Pialligo (Limestone Avenue) 1926

*A1/1 23256 Electricity charges and money owed by men of the Bachelors Quarters - prior to 1916 - list of men and the amounts included.  Most were in the AIF and the charges were not made until after they had left.

* A355/1 Box 1 Dept of Works & Railways general instructions - no details other than this file contains eg analysis of general types of forms used.

* A186/1 6154 Photograph of view of trees and streets of Banna Avenue Griffith - reference only to this photograph in this file.

*A880/ TL67 Part 3, Part 1 - Capitol Hill Camp.  These files refer to the history of the camp post 1930 through into the 1940s post World War 2 and include information about the pensioners who lived in the camp during the depression and war years.  Also letter about the Brickyards camp and Duntroon Pensioners Camp.  These files have now been returned to ACT Administration and are very informative about the temporary camps in the years between 1929 and 1950.

*A1/1 22/7034 22.4.1922 mentions men who had hours increased and wages reduced.  Also has an article in the Herald 20.4.1922 re the Diggers dissatisfaction with wages at Canberra.  The Argus  21/4/1922 has a report of a strike at Canberra. Part of the relevant quote is A message from Queanbeyan tonight states that the sewer and roads workmen are on strike, although the brickyards and power houses are working there is a likelihood of cessation at any moment, it is reported that 50 men who have just arrived will not work.  A meeting of the builders’ laborers union who are employed at Canberra will be held at Sydney tomorrow, to decide what action shall be taken on the proposal to reduce wages and lengthen working hours...about 250 men affected.

*CP464/3/1 Bundle 1/B968 Vacating of No 1 Mess - carried out on 13th May, 1924.  Also has other related documents to this move and a list of men where employed and ganger/foreman in charge

* A295/1 1081 reference to a plan of Capitol Hill Camp.

*Cp698/9/1 Bundle 7/56/5 Letter dated 3.12.1927 to Honeysett from Jack Calcott Hon Sec of Capitol Hill Cricket Club relating to the state of the cubicle put at their disposal.  The one built by the club was burnt down.

*A1/1 25/22401 Reference to the document which is the estimates for expenditure for 1925/1926.

*A361/1 DSG19/627 27.3.1917 Letter to District Surveyor from G Kemp secretary of the Children’s Day Committee requesting permission to hold Peace Celebration Sports in the paddock in front of the residences at the Brickyards and permission to use the Brickyards Mess room to heat water etc.

* A1/1 24/10638 Costs related to various building needs in the territory 28.4.1924 including the Police Cells at Molonglo

*A2951 930 16.3.1943 costs to erection of Melbourne Buildings

*CP464/5/1 3.3.1922 letter from Caretaker Bland at Molonglo

* CP464/4/1 Bundle 3/22/34 5/1/1922 Arsenal Camp closed lists of men in occupation

* A364/1 DSG21/63 Sheaffe requested removal of workmen’s camp at Power House.

*Notes e.g. First Narrabundah School was in Long Gully Lane and the second opposite the Forrest Fire Station - known as Cross Roads School.

*A1/1 1922/8848 6.12.1921 three brick cottages ready opposite the Power House. Mr Snaddon allocated one.  Of the six remaining 3 nearly ready etc.

*A192/1 FCL21/1630 12.10.1921 request for cottage for nursery foreman.

* A6270/ 1 campsite No 45 Duntroon occupied by De Smet etc  20.4.1921 Letter to surveyor general requesting a school at Molonglo - signed by AE Wright, WC Boyd, J Millan, J Haslam, J Byfield, S Corely, J O’Malley.  The school opened 6.2.1922 with Mr Ivey head teacher.

*A6266/1 G27/4505 5.5.1925 Eastlake Tenements Progress Association meeting re children’s playground.  Also a letter Red Hill 23.4.1925 re workmen’s buildings.  Other files also on buildings including 25.10.1917 W O Russell’s lists of buildings in the FCT A361/1 DSG17/2008

*A6273/1 L30/49 Rates of pay for cleaners, labourers etc

* Files on Acton including quarters for Foreman Ryan whose son died in 1919 following snake bite in his bed. The cottage was an old one which was condemned.

*A270/1 Quarries in the Annual Report year ended 30.6.1929

*A414 Minutes of FCC Meeting 1924-30 - various files on buildings in temporary camps and settlements

* A414/1 31 reference to construction of workmen’s timber cottages - area between Ainslie Avenue and Canberra Avenue set aside (Corroboree Park) 23.6.1924.  Also refers to the erection of cottages at Westlake and Acton.  One extract with interview with Minister for Works and Railways, Mr Stewart at 10.30 am Wednesday 29th August 1923 at Yarrolaumla House, De Burgh, Ross, Col Owen and Goodwin present... subject workmen’s cottages to bring better class of workmen to Canberra....The minister also referred to the cottages erected by Howie Brothers and asked who was responsible for housing workmen on a contract job - the government or the contractor.  Col Owen replied that it was the Contractor’s responsibility to provide the accommodation but he though that it was the Commonwealth’s responsibility to proved a certain number of houses near the job.  The Contractor did not know how much work was to be done, but the Government did knbow its progress and it could deal with this matter in a satisfactory manner...etc etc

*CP698/9 Bundle 3 25.7.1927 letter to Butters from Honeysett re the Ainslie Social Service Club.  Also a letter from the ladies of the club re a ball to be held in the Hotel Kurrajong.  This file continues with a number of SSA issues including books for the library and minutes of Cricket Club Associations.

* AA1968/269/1 Box 1 - reference to punishment book Tuggranong School c 1898 -


Box 9, Folder 5

Articles photocopies form The Federal Capital Pioneer between 1926 and 1927 including eg. The planting of the rowan tree from Scotland in Canberra.  It is likely that the rowans planted at Westlake (Howies etc) were planted at this time (1926).  Canberra How it Developed, Canberra’s First Bowling Club, Canberra at a Glance with photograph of the Narrabundah School, The Making of a City - the growth of JB Young Ltd,  Early Canberra Lieut. JJ Moore etc.


Box 9, Folder 6

Photocopies from The Angelus including articles from 1923 - Dance at Westridge, Around the Parish,  work by Frank Clowry - Miss Eileen Byrne daughter of Mr & Mrs Martin Byrne entered the novitiate of Good Samaritan Sisters (July 1928), Klensendorlffe’s farm cottage lived in by Mr Kaye, Queen Carnival with photographs of the girls - including Elsie Johnson Duntroon, Eileen Tiernan, Doris Mahomed Forrest, Betty De Smet Causeway, Gwen Ryan northern suburbs, Mona Perinoni Barton Kingston), Obituaries including Edmund J Morrison.  This file also contains photocopies from The Federal Capital Pioneer.


Box 8, Folder 1

*Draft Chapter Six and related documents/notes


Box 8, Folder 2

* Draft Chapter Kingston & permanent suburbs.

* Advertisements Queanbeyan Age (1925)

* Outline  Canberra housing Gugler

* The Beginnings of Canberra & the Workmen’s Homes

* Draft Chapter on Westridge Brickyards, Nursery & Forestry School and housing at Westridge

* Canberra Permanent Housing by Peter Freeman - used for a walk around

* Notes A6266/1 G28/4578 Lady Hopetoun Club 29.11.1928 - housing for girls in between classes of white & blue collar and the lower classes.

* A6270/1 E2/28/2986 White City Camp

* A6266/1 G25/827 4.8.1924 United Operative Bricklayers Trade Soc from Irons (of Westlake) Sec re conditions & other similar letters

* CT Artilcle 1925-1927 listing tenders for cottages Causeway, people’s voice in Civic Affairs - all to do with Causeway and other lists of documents to do with Molonglo, Westlake etc/



Box 8 Folder 3

* 1928 Electoral Roll for Westlake and a number of other years - 1929, 1941 etc  List of articles from Canberra Community News on Westlake - used in book.

* 1913 Census FCT (Archives A206/1 Vol 9)

* Draft for Chapter on Lists of Camps

* Part of draft on Chapter on Acton

* A361/1 DSG24/990 Afforestation Branch 22.5.1924 list of men applying for cottages in The Gap


Box 8, Folder 4

* handwritten notes on various aspects of Canberra life.  Also notes on families such as Corkhills at Riverview, westridge.  Notes taken from an interview with Jack Jenkins who came to canberra in 1925 and died in 1998 or 1999.  Handwritten notes on Olive Menzies nee Dawson.  She lived next door to us at Westlake. (NB Olive thought she was born in 1913 - records show it was a year earlier.) Also Obituary of Gladys Waight nee Limburg who came to Canberra in 1925.

* Notes for Chapter on Westridge/Brickyards.


Box 8, Folder 5

* Notes on Power House

*Articles from Federal Capital Pioneer - 1926 Progress at Canberra & 1925 Progress in Sport and Westlake News. 

* Cartoons CCN - one about a young lady and choice of dress and the other Burns Club.

*Draft for Chapter list of camps

* Notes on city bus service

* CP464/4/1 Bundle 2/ C1244 list of men owing money at Engineers Mess, Civic Centre, Molonglo and general Electricity (1922?)

* CP6898/9 Bundle 2/12/6 Page 2 of a Lette wirtten by a member of GUOOF Westlake re a benefit held.

* A361/1 DSG24/123 4th March, 1924 Letter to Mr Goodwin from Austin Chapman re Mr W Hammond, Chief Clerk at Sewerage works - he wanted better accommodation for the family because wife not well - lived in a weatherboard cottage and wanted one of the new brick ones.

 CP698/9 Bundle 2/2/12/18 Letter from LHB Lasseter to Honeysett suggesting that a Trade School should be established in Canberra.

* CP464/2/1 A24/728 26.2.1924 Application for caterer at Tradesmen’s Mess, Molonglo.  Patrick Cummins, Building Trades Mess.

* A6266 G26/3099 White City Camp 16.9.1926 Letter to Butters from the White City Racing Club wanted permission to conduct four race meetings per year on the Acton Race Course - and reply on letter head paper - Canberra Social Service Association 11th October 1926 - gave the OK.

*CT Thursday February 3,1 1927 Domestic Help/ Solving Canberra’s Problem/ Commission’s Plans Laid, First Batch of Girls Arrive.

* Notes on documents relating to the Bachelors Quarters

* A1 34/4662 21st May, 1929 To Chief Engineer from Butters re Camps and Messes.  Wanted to close Capitol Hill (didn’t happen) etc

* A192/1 FCL20/1776 20th August, 1918 list of officials living in the weatherboard cottages at Acton.

* A361/1 DSG23/700 Letter from Fred Walker at Bachelors Quarters to Goodwin 13th March, 1923 In consequence of filthy state and general disorder in which I continually find the Pantry - between Dining Room and Kitchen - nearly every morning and cluminating in what must have been a perfect orgy last night I find it will be necessary for me every night after cleaning to lock the Pantry Door...

* Part of typed notes on Acton.

 A6269/1 E1/28/2480 26th October, 1928 To the Secretary from Timekeeper Cadden re Francis of Acton.  28.9.28 he cleared out from work and left his wife and family.  At that time there was no social service for people and the Returned Soldiers supported her for as long as possible and finally she moved to NSW where there was a pension system in place.

* Significant dates and events in the history of Canberra 1909-1929

* A192/1 FCL23/39  Letter dated 11/10/1922 re Bachelors Quarters & Residency (Canberra House)from WO Russell.  Re accommodating vbisiting officers - shortage of accommodation and suggestion that 6 tents be erected in front of the Bachelors Quarters.  This was preceded by a letter re additional quarters to be added to the Bachelors Quarters - 27th June, 1921.

* Included in the above file is a list of rooms at the Quarters.

A149/1 Box 1 Annual Report Lands & Survey Department 1913

* Staff Boarding Houses 9th September, 1916 board costs etc

* 15th August, 1916 Letter written and signed by Walter Burley Griffin re the duplication of services at the official quarters and Bachelors Quarters at Acton re services of cook etc -suggest combining and that he was working on plans for a temperance hotel - solve the problem.

*Draft for book - Forgotten Characters and Places of Early Canberra

*CP464/4/1 Bundle 2 C1244 20th May, 1924 from Crease - Collector of Public Moneys to the Accountant.  Re outstanding rents - follows with a list of each man owing, his place of residence and names.

* Ccn April 11, 1926 page on Canberra Cycling Club and Canberra Diggers on Map - Returned Soldiers & Sailors Imperial League with reports from each of the sub branches.  Camp Notes by Gleaner ( Lasseter).


Box 8, Folder 5

* Photocopy of a photograph of Mervyn Haines taken outside the Westlake Hall 1940s - in background is Bell’s corner (39 Westlake).  The pines between 39 and 38 are still in situ.

* Photocopy of Jack Jenkins and friends at the Tradesmen’s Camp (Westlake) 1925/26

* The Workmen of Canberra and Where they Lived.

* Notes with call signs for Acton, Printers Quarters, Eastlake General, Brickyards etc


Box 8, Folder 6

* CP464/5/1 Bundle 3/22/402 Letter from C Ivey Molonglo Progress Association re borrowing of a Paino.

* A361/1 DSG24/47 22nd November, 1923 Memo to Commonwealth Surveyor General from Works Director re accommodation for men at Power House Cottages - list of names included.

* Plan of Section 64 Westridge, cottage plans and the names of people given the tenancy of the cottages

* AA1/1 21/23256 Bachelors Quarters mess 14.2.1916 to 30.6.1916 with lists of names and where they were at this time.

* Poster advertising Builders of Canberra...

 A62661/1 G27/2045 22nd March, 1927 Lists of numbers of cottages, Cubicles, tents etc in Canberra

* AA1/1 21/23256 List of men at Bachelors Quarters who owed money - 20th March, 1919.  Most were on active service.

* 1928 Electoral Roll Tharwa & Places Via Tharwa.

* List of documents and outline relating to Molonglo

* Federal Capital Pioneer cuttings - eg June 1925 Pioneer Prize Poem - 1925 Canberra Maligned, Tennis, Children’s Playgrounds...

*CT86/1/1 404 20th April 1928 letter re brick cottages Section 64 Yarralumla.  Lists problems in cottages.

*CT 14.12.1928 St Gabriel’s Speech Day, Bowls

* CT 17.10.1928 Protest Meeting at Queanbeyan Against Employment Policy, The Elections, City Band Albert Hall Concert, Mothercraft Proposed at Russell Hill

 CT 25.10.1928 Russell Hill dispenses with Christmas Tree. 

CT 29.10.1928 Fatal Gun Accident, Kingston Man shot in the stomach...Clifford Tylden Ellison - accident happened at Kambah.

* CT February 29, 1928 Building News - heating plant at Solar Observatory; Cottage Design, FCC Service men eligible without exam.  Drawing side elevation of Assembly Hall (Albert Hall).

*CT December 6, 1928 Commission’s Destiny.

* CT July 23, 1928 Forestry School second Annual Dance.  Readers Views - Price of Milk, School Sports, Gorman House Girls Entertain Mrs Clarence Gorman


Box 8, Folder 7

* Plan of Rolland’s Cottage erected at Westlake, Acton and Causeway - latter used horizontal wood to cover walls instead of vertical

 List of footnotes for early chapters of Builders

* Draft for Builders - lists of camps and Chapter Two details about housing types plus related diagrams etc


Box 8, Folder 8

* Drafts for chapters including lists of documents for particular chapters.


Box 7, Folder 1

* CT October 28, 1926 Social Service Year’s Splendid Recort...

* CT December 31, 1926 Social Service/ Year of Achievement/ Manifold Activities and other related articles 1927

*CT Friday December 31, 1926 The Growth of Canberra/ Development During 1926/ City and Suburbs Assume Definite Shape and other related articles in 1927 including the naming of Canberra Streets etc.

* A361/1 DSG23/780 Afforestation Branch 11th July, 1922 supply of vegetables to the Bachelors Quarters - singed Weston

* A361/1 DSG23/780 11th October, 1922 Bachelors Quarters - tents in front of quarters.

* A361/1 DSG23/780 Bachelors Quarters 5th march, 1923 Problems with the Manager and the Committee at the quarters and Fred Walker’s  answer.

* A192/1 DCL 17/120  Four page typewritten Conditions of Lease of the quarters which also gave costs etc including for picnic baskets.

* A6265/1 25/727 Bachelors Quarters 14th April 1925 - letter from Butters with such information etc as 1 The house standard should be given a through shaking up and informed that the rooms must be kept in better order.  I myself noticed cobwebs of considerable extent and age in one of the rooms.

*AA1/1 21/23256 Electricity at the Bachelors Quarters 1916.

* A361/1 DSG23/776 1924 letter from Medical man Henry Stoker to Commonwealth Surveyor General re the Wallace house on the flat at Acton (self built) I have inspected Mr Wallace House on the flat and gave necessary instructions re disinfecting of room from which the sick child was removed...The house was an old time structure which needs to be replaced.  I noticed that there were several houses served by two double water closets which in the case of Mr Wallace house is at a distance of over 100 yards.  The distance is such, as at night and with children, to make more than probable that these WC’s are not always used...

* A361/1 DSG23/700 Bachelors Quarters 3/8/1922 - re illegal wiring for jugs etc. Must stop.


Box 7, Folder 2

* A414/1 44 Home & Territories Dept to Sec Works & Railways Dept Melbourne re Housing of Officers at Canberra signed J G McLaren 6th June, 1923.

* CP698/9/1 46/15  List of entertainments held in the Causeway Hall between 13th February 1926 and 24th July 1926, map of Causeway District of Social Service Association including nearby Eastlake (including tenements) and Molonglo.  Letter from Mark Heselden, Ancient Order of Foresters (lived 9 Acton Cottages) re use of Causeway Hall for meetings and 3rd March, 1926 letter to Honeysett from Canberra Fire Brigade Recreation Club re use of the Causeway Hall for eg clean boxing displays...Letter signed by Percy Douglas, Fire Brigade Chief.

* Letter dated 21st January, 1918 from Chief Surveyor Goodwin to Lands & Survey Branch Melbourne re cottages 1,3,5,9 Acton and teants.

* A414/1 19 Amusement Hall Russell Hill 8th July 1927  from Honeysett to Butters re lavatory accommodation at the hall.


A6270/1 E2/27/2613 1927 Sanitation Report

* Herald Friday evening Arpil 16, 1926 The Trek to Canberra How the Public Servant Will Get There by the Wife of one of them & Arpil 1926  Canberra Beauty, simple ideas with flowers.  Mrs Lane-Poole’s Survey.

* CP698/9 Bundle 2/12/5 Letter from Lasseter to Honeysett re road making in FCT

*A361/1 DSG 23/700 Bachelors Quarters Canberra Prices etc 10.5.1918

* Draft Chapter on Bachelors Quarters etc

* Draft copy of Annueal Report Lands & Survey Department 1913

* List of Canberrans to contact

* List of major camps sites within the city limits.

* 1913 Census

* Cartoons from CCN

* Draft of Chapter Nine - permanent suburbs

* Photocopies of photographs - King O’Malley hitting in peg and two photographs of early surveyors.


Box 7, Folder 3

* 1928 Electoral Roll section on Canberra - notes on Molonglo Tenements, applicants for Blandfordia cottages etc.

* Typed notes on Bachelors Quarters, Westlake etc - also in other files


Box 7, Folder 3

* A6266/1 G26/805 Plan 20/1/1926 Site for National Museum.  Also on map of area is the old road into White City Camp and the site of their tennis court.

* CT86/1 Bundle 3/443 Memo for architect from Chief Commissioner 16th August 1927 re the sale of the concrete cottages built at Blandfordia - one is in Hayes Cres, Griffith.  The min deposit was to be 50 pounds.

* A414/1 21/2 17th March, 1923 re cottages near Power House, Brickworks & Blandfordia - additional cottages and types in each.

*A292/1 CF016 Queanbeyan Canberra Railway Power House to Civic Centre 1920-1921, 1922-1923. Plus costs re the completion of the line.  Map of part of the area.

*A192/1 FCL22/1082 Plan of school teacher’s residence at Molonglo.

* notes on Acton - Canberra House and remodelling for Butters as at 1/1/11925 - costs included the septic tank and drainage and dog kennal (4 pounds 3/9d).  Plus other general notes. 

* handwritten notes RMC Duntroon A461/1 C337/1/7 ATT - report on Jervis Bay - when opened etc

* Pictorial History - photograph in Canberra Times of the early camp at Acton.

* Detailed modern map of Duntroon

*A6266/1 G30/417 List of employees at Canberra living at Queanbeyan - linesmen etc - 1929 and continues with a full list of those employed and where they lived.

* handwritten notes - electricity 3.4.1922 and names of people and amounts

*A361/1 DSG17/2580 List of galvanised iron sheets removed from Yarralumla Woolshed - can be reused 8.11.1917

*A1/1 17/18583 20.12.1917 - lists the dates in 1916 and 1917 when Mr Walter Burley Griffin stayed in Yarralumla House.

*A/1 34/4662 29.7.1929 Parkes Barracks - men’s Mess sent to Causeway.  Size of Mess 16 ft x 31 ft etc.  Most of buildings 16ft x.  At the present time there were 43 cubicles on site.  Plus other related files to Parkes Barracks and the men’s annoyance at being moved.

* CP698/9/1 Revenue CCN

*CP698/9/1 12/5 Box 2 1925 A Cummins at No 1 Mess -captain of No 1 Cricket Team

* Oct 4 1929 - Jeremiah Dillon died at a private hospital at Newtown - survived by his wife.  He was termed the father of the game in Canberra National Football. 

* CT February 17th, 1927 Stealing at Red Hill Camp and Camp Stabbing at No 1 Labourers Camp, Westlake.


Box 7, Folder 5

* Outline of accommodation at Acton between 1910 and 1929

* List of footnote numbers for Chapter Two

* A192/1 FCC17/1261 re land before ACT and a statement that the land was not covered by forests of any market value. 1920


* Letter to Honeysett from Sorensen Hon Sec Welfare Council 7 Causeway 17.9.1926 hoping that materials ready for the working bee on October 9th to build the Children’s playground.

* Notes including one where O’Neill AWU stated that if it were fair to erect 100 houses for 100 men, it was equally fair that 1,000 cottages should be provided for 1,000 me.  The Chairman [Mr Butters]  said that, in other words, Mr O’Neill desired to shut his eyes to the main object for the appointment of all workmen at Canberra.  Mr O’Neill said that his point of view was that he was addressing the men who had the show in his own hands...

* General notes with call numbers on camps


* a6266/1 G27/2045 18.5.1927 review of points raised at interview with three senators, Needham, Charlton & Scullin.  Re accommodation in camps.

* Minutes of Meeting of Council of Canberra Social Service Association held at “Acton House” (Social Service Building) on Tuesday 8th May, 1929.  This meeting in effect was the death nell of the Association.  Butters refused any more funds.

* A431/1 48/693 Letter dated 11th November 1926 st of representatives for Social Service Association and place they represented.

*CP698/9/1 Bundle 1/10/8 20th May, 1926 Memo to First Commissioner with list of officers elected to Eastlake Social Service Association  and other associated documents.

* List of people at Section 26 Barton

* Survey of School Site Duntroon

* CT86/1/1/ Bundle 3/406 Estimates for 1927-1928

* Draft for camps


Box 7, Folder 6

* Map shewing roads from Melbourne Avenue SW Kurrajong to Federal Avenue Station Place.. Proposed route of suggested Water Main

*  A6266/1 G27/4241 Map showing proposed site for the Court House and Police Station No 1.  It is on the opposite side to where it is today and on Garden Circuit.  There is a second site near Manuka Circle.

* A192/1 FCL22/1534 Bachelors Quarters 22.12.1917 refers to the reduced numbers at the Quarters (the war had taken many boarders).  Nine bedrooms in use etc and too many staff - also notes prices paid per day eg Cook 9/- per day, Steward 7/- per day. 

* A1/1 23/15040 15th June, 1923 bachelors quarters - complaint by boarders re Mr Walker, manager.  This letter by WO Russell notes that nine did not sign the petition.  He also noted that  Mr Walker is certainly disliked by those whose behaviour is not of the best and who unfortunately seem to have a forceful influence at mess meetings. 

* A361/1 DSG25/145 Letter to Secretary Home & Territories Dept from Commonwealth Surveyor General 14th June, 1924 Manager of Bachelors Quarters - Mr W H Hicks was about to start work and his wife worked as Matron. His salary was six pounds per week including a cottage.  An earlier letter dated 14th June, 1923 mentioned that the Bachelors Quarters increased to the extent that a Manager was necessary.

* A361/1 DSG25/145 Letter of application from PJ Breen for the position of Manager of Bachelors Quarters 30th April, 1923.

* A361/1 DSG23/774 Letter to Mr Wallace at Acton dated 9th April, 1924 telling him that the medical officer had condemned his dwelling and it was necessary for him to rebuild or move into a government cottage when it became available.  He moved into one of the workmen’s cottages at Acton.

* A361/1 DSG23/776 Tenancy agreement Charles May dated 14/6/1919/

* A1/1 24/24712 Letter from Goodwin to Secretary Home & Territories Dept 3 May, 1924 re the cottage built for the Manager of the Bachelors Quarters (No 12 Acton Cottages - known to the locals as The Big House because it was larger than the others).  Breen wanted the house as part of his package but it was resisted by the authorities.  He never lived in it.

*A/192 FCL20/12 26.11.1918 Messrs A Davis, James Stewart, H Thorning, EA Bland and F Dorman occupied camp sites rent free.  The premises were condemned that is why no rent paid. F Dunshea was on site and paid rent.  The letter states that all had to pay rent after 1st December, 1918.

*CP698/9 B7/56/10 Constitution of the Acton Tennis Club

*CP698/9 B7/56/10 Letter to Honeysett from F Dorman 21.11.1927 re decision by residents of the weatherboard cottages at Acton re use of Acton Tennis Courts - children denied use - residents annoyed.

*CP698/9 B7/56/10 Acton Park Tennis Club 13.9.1927 to Secretary Acton Branch SSA from J H Sanders re the control of the discussed tennis court.

*CP698/9 B7/56/8 10 July, 1926 To SS Officer from Daley  re the dressing sheds erected under the auspices of the Outdoor Recreation Committee by the Canberra Swimming Club last season - without anchorage - need to fixed because of floods.

*CP698/9 B7/56/8 Re the Bathing Sheds Acton Swimming Pool 16th April, 1926 refers to left over timber - could be used at Northbourne etc.

* A192/1 FCL 21/1891 12.2.1920 re Acton School - Mr Caldwell, teacher arrived on 9th February and on the following day opened the school with eight pupils.  Furniture removed from Cotter School and stored in Power House inspected - may be used.

* 192/1 FCL 21/1891 9th March, 1922 to Secretary Prime Ministers Dept Melb from Secretary re the School at Acton.  Mentions that it was the intension to built a new school near the Narrabundah School (Cross Roads).  This new school was built - Telopea Park - opened in Sept 1923.  Letter states that Acton School therefore not necessary.

*A192/ FCC21/1891 Acton School - letter to Surveyor General Melbourne from Sheaffe 23.9.1921 - this three page letter sets out the concerns of the parents in Acton - The Officers whose children have been attending this School [Acton] are stationed at Canberra in their official capacity and therefore have not the freedom of the average citizen as regards their place of residence, consequently it is maintained that they are entitled to prior consideration to the average citizen...  several of the children had been going for their Qualifying Examination..

*A192/ FCC21/1891 9th September, 1921 letter from Miss Fitzgerald teacher of Provisional School at Acton - she couldn’t continue in the position because of the unsuitability of the accommodation at the Bachelors Quarters - she was the only female.  There are a number of letters relating to this subject and the fact that Mr Caldwell was moved because he was needed at more difficult situations - half time schools etc.

* A361/1 DSG/1969 16th May, 1923 Recreation Hall at Acton galvanised iron - need to move it because of road work.  It was used as an infants school for some time.

*A361/1 DSG21/209 Furniture selected from the Power House for the Acton School 19/2/1920

 A361/ DSG/23/1695 26th June, 1923 picture show at Molonglo Camp, Westridge and Acton - interviewed Mr Freebody Proprietor of Picture Show at Queanbeyan re pitcutres.  How to go about it - generator - or portable lamp plus other letters in realtion to this type of entertainment - one letter states that the total adult population at Monlonglo was 200 and 170 at Brickworks.

* A361/1 DSG25/145 Illness of Mr Hicks, Manager of Bachelors Quarters.  He had cancer and at time of writing the letter (Mr Rain, Staff Supervisor) he had only days to live.  Hicks was concerned about his sick leave money for his wife and Rain organized it and made sure that Hicks did not know how seriously ill he was and made sure that he had no worries - 21st August, 1924.  Another letter from a Mr Gould a year later - position of manager?

* A192/ 1 FCL 16/1232 Arsenal Camp and map showing the area at Tuggeranong

* Letter to Commandant RMC Duntroon from JN Rogers for the Secretary 22nd February, 1955 re the tenancies Camp Hill.  Fortnightly tenancies were granted from 1933.  This letter from Duntroon Archives.

* Plan of the official quarters (Bachelors) at Acton


Box 7, Folder 7

* Notes

* Trust News with article on Forgotten Canberra Ann Gugler.

* Map showing the site of the proposed Arsenal Factory, Tuggranong

* Early map of FCT showing city area and various bridle tracks etc and various maps used in Builders.

* Odds & Ends notes with call

* CDHS newsletter August/September 1993

* Some people Associated with Duntroon - Robert Campbell, Charles Campbell, George & Marianne Campbell, General Bridges etc  Col Bridges was a descendent of Charles Throsby Smith one of the first Europeans to enter the Limestone Plains.

* Maps showing land recommended to be set aside for the Arsenal at Tuggranong, Reservoir near Duntroon

* Photocopy of the children at Duntroon School in 1927 - from D’Arcy McInness.  The names of each child and the teacher, Mr Jones written on page.  A copy of this photograph is in the section on photographs.

* Braddon Conservation plan showing the 1921/22 cottages and those built in 1923 - courtesy of Peter Freeman.


Box 7, Folder 8

* Odds & Ends - Acton including names of people who applied for one of the ten Acton workmen’s cottages

* CP698/9/1 Bundle 1/10/8 Eastlake Social Service letter 20th May, 1926 list of office holders etc plus copies of other documents.

* Copies of letters, lists of men etc to do with the Arsenal.




Box Files ACT Heritage Library - Gugler

Box held ACT Heritage Library Canberra

Ann Gugler’s files


A2351/1 Box 1 Lands & Survey Branch Annual Report 1913. On 22nd August 1913 the new Administrative Offices were ready and occupied.  Lists the people employed and the Territory’s boundary as The survey and marking of the boundary between the Federal Territory Lands and those of the state of NSW was started by surveyor PPL Sheaffe at a trigonomical station of Mount Coree, a prominent point on the range forming the western watershed of the Cotter River having an altitude of 4,657 feet; from Coree a straight line was run to trigonometrical station One Tree which has an elevation of 2,836 feet; on this line the lowest point is at the crossing of the Murrumbidgee River 1380 feet above sea level... during the year ending June 30 1913 25 miles of the territorial boundaries have been surveyed and marked, and in connection therein 109 miles of the boundaries of the old measurements have been redefined.


*A6272/1 E21 14.2.1931 Westlake Sewer re offensive odours ...it was found that the cover of one of the manholes near the vent had been taken off and boys had dropped a number of stones down into the sewer.  This had been cleared away, a heavier cover has been substituted and the place kept under surveillance for three months.


*A1/1 22/7034 22.4.1922 mentions men who had hours increased and wages reduced.  Also has an article in the Herald 20.4.1922 re the Diggers dissatisfaction with wages at Canberra.  The Argus  21/4/1922 has a report of a strike at Canberra. Part of the relevant quote is A message from Queanbeyan tonight states that the sewer and roads workmen are on strike, although the brickyards and power houses are working there is a likelihood of cessation at any moment, it is reported that 50 men who have just arrived will not work.  A meeting of the builders’ laborers union who are employed at Canberra will be held at Sydney tomorrow, to decide what action shall be taken on the proposal to reduce wages and lengthen working hours...about 250 men affected.

*CP464/3/1 Bundle 1/B968 Vacating of No 1 Mess - carried out on 13th May, 1924.  Also has other related documents to this move and a list of men where employed and ganger/foreman in charge



*A3032/1 PC329 part of a speech given by Mr Dunbar Molonglo Internment Camp - A Notable Wartime Achievement...but at the time is occurred represented an important undertaking associated with the Great War of 1914-18, and was also, a constructional feat probably without parallel in Australia for the speed and efficiency of its design, organization and accomplishment.  British government early in 1918 requested Australia to build an internment camp to accommodate several thousand enemy nationals.  The late Colonel Percy Owen, himself a soldier was not the man to hesitate over a wartime request because it presented arduous difficulties..that within nine and half weeks about 250 acres of vacant land between Canberra and Queanbeyan was converted into a township with provision for 560 families and a large number of single persons, the group of houses and other buildings being properly equipped and furnished, and served with water, sewerage and electricity [something that the men and women who came to build the city could not get!].  Incidental building and works included large stores for the baggage of the internees, bakers and butchers shops, fire station, public school, teacher’s residence, hospital and assembly hall, as well as many structures for the housing and general purposes of the military until, such as a look out tower, guard house, barracks, stables, commandant’s residence and a special railway loop with station and goods sheds.


Site for camp - hill about 110 ft above the Molonglo River and sloping land which admitted of placing the look-out tower upon a high position - military buildings slightly lower and tenement buildings set out like a fan - ring of flood lighting around the whole settlement.


Residences for internees were contained in 40 tenement blocks of uniform design each containing two separate parallel buildings returned at each end and thus enclosing a small internal square in which bathrooms, laundries and conveniences for the block were place.


Each block was 140 feet long and contained fourteen tenements, seven in each separate structure, but the plans were so arranged that considerable flexibility might be afforded, if necessary to provide for families of varying sizes.  These units and indeed the whole building portion of the scheme were designed by Mr S Murdoch, at that time Chief Commonwealth architect and later one of the FCC Commissioners [sic - he was never a commissioner].


Buildings were put up by four contractors - Ellis Bros, Saxon & Binns, George Hudson Pty Ltd and the State Timber Yards.  The extensive engineering works and the military and accessory buildings were directed by the Department.  These included a number of structures that were removed from the AIF Officers Training School that had been established at the RMC 1915...To move the buildings required provision of large transport team - five traction engines, 30 trailers, many horse teams and 2 bullock teams.  A reservoir was constructed for the camp on the hill which the first 2CA transmitting station was afterwards place.


An important and difficult feature of the work was the engagement housing and feeding of the 1200 workmen - the defence department supplied the tents marquees and equipment for the workmen’s camp and a detachment of soldiers pitched it.  Mr Collett of Queanbeyan arranged for the feeding of the men.


The people for whom the camp was provided...never came to Australia... the camp was occupied by several hundred internees from Australia and the Pacific mostly of the superior type.  They occupied themselves by cultivating gardens, establishing a theatre with very fine equipment and slow setting up a good library.. After the war they were released and the place was looked after by a caretaker (Bland).  Nearly half the buildings were sold to NSW Government for workmen’s houses.  In 1921 with the resumption of work the remainder of the camp was improved and used for workmen’s accommodation.  Cost of the camp was 140,000 pounds.

*A192/1 FCL22/ 513 22.5.1918 Cap Stanley Morris to District Surveyor  - from that day took over the hospital


Strike of 1922

*A1/1 22/7034 22.4.1922 mentions men who had hours increased and wages reduced.  Also has an article in the Herald 20.4.1922 re the Diggers dissatisfaction with wages at Canberra.  The Argus  21/4/1922 has a report of a strike at Canberra. Part of the relevant quote is A message from Queanbeyan tonight states that the sewer and roads workmen are on strike, although the brickyards and power houses are working there is a likelihood of cessation at any moment, it is reported that 50 men who have just arrived will not work.  A meeting of the builders’ laborers union who are employed at Canberra will be held at Sydney tomorrow, to decide what action shall be taken on the proposal to reduce wages and lengthen working hours...about 250 men affected.




Defeated by Overwhelming Majority...Against Prohibition 820,752, For Prohibition 331,085, Informal 10,901.  This referendum was held throughout NSW.  The FCT votes for each voting booth was recorded: Acton 431, Ainslie 979, Duntroon 270, Hall 99, Kingston 896, Manuka 548, Molonglo 203, Naas 44, Oaks Estate 84, Royalla 15, Tharwa 77, Tuggeranong 29, Uriarra 35, Weetangera 28, Westlake 150 (97 men & 53 women), Westridge 163 and Postal votes 186.



Box 1 ACT Heritage Library - Gugler

The three points of the triangle Canberra

The Canberra Times 2 December 1927


In the accepted design of Canberra by Walter Burley Griffin a feature of the lay-out of the city was the provision of three centres each at the point of a triangle which formed the central theme of the plan.  Capital Centre, situated on Kurrajong Hill, now known as Capitol Hill, marks the centre of Canberra as the seat of Government.  At Capital Centre in the future will be the permanent Government House and Houses of Parliament with the Government terraces between it and the Molonglo River having all the Government edifices which the future has in store. Already Capital centre may be said to have been established with the opening of the temporary Houses of Parliament and the transfer of the Government Departments and the two secretariat buildings.  Civic Centre was placed by Mr Griffin on Hill Vernon about one mile northward.  It is to represent the centre of Canberra in a civic sense – as apart from Canberra as the seat of Commonwealth Government.  Around Civic Place, which in the future may become the seat of the civic authority of Canberra will rise buildings usually associated with the development and administration of every city, and the opening ceremony of Civic Centre which will officially establish the second centre of Canberra will apply to the first two blocks of buildings which mark the commencement of extensive development round Civic Place.  The third centre of Canberra on the remaining point of a large equilateral triangle is Market Centre which is placed near Russell Hill and will be the situation of the general railway station and of the markets of the city.  Its development, however, is for the future. It may not be instituted until the bridges and railway are carried across the river and until the lake scheme will have been finally decided upon.


FCT Schools 1926

The Canberra Times 25 November 1926


In Federal Territory


Nearly 1000 children are attending the twelve school which exist in the Federal Capital Territory.

A recent inspection of the schools which was carried out by Mr HR Waterman on behalf of the Federal Capital Commission afforded an interesting sight into the conditions under which education is fostered throughout the area of 900 square miles.

The general impression in Australia is that compared with country districts metropolitan and suburban populations are well catered for by high schools, technical schools, and kindergartens, in clean modern buildings suitably and most comfortably equipped and furnished. Whether or not this is the case in other parts of the Commonwealth the lessees of ‘country’ holdings within the Territory have no cause for complaint of the provision of facilities by the Federal Capital Commission for the education to the primary stage at least, of their children.

The Commission has under existing conditions adopted the obviously economical course of an arrangement with the Department of Education of New South Wales, for the staffing and conduct of its schools and reimburses the cost to the State authority annually.  A tour of the rural centres of the Federal Capital Territory shows New South Wales teachers administering the New South Wales curriculum to the children of the residents, who are thus assured of interchangability in the education system of the Territory and the State of New South Wales and of ultimate eligibility for entrance to the University of Sydney, should family circumstances and ambition facilitate the adventure.


Within the city area, the last work in school architecture is to be found at Telopea Park. This design aimed at the elimination of the structural mistakes of the past and the adoption of the best ideas of educationalists in the layout of the building.  Attendant facilities of modern sewerage, water supply and electric light. In equipment the school is passing rich.

Although the practice of the Educational Department of New South Wales in its relations with Parents and Citizens’ Associations has never been exactly liberal and the Commission, does not of course interfere in such matters, the provision made by the State Department and by the very energetic and enthusiastic local Parents and Citizens Association has accumulated a teaching equipment which may be claimed to be quite equal to that in the average city school, not only in New South Wales but in other states.  At this school a parent may be assured that his boy or girl will be satisfactorily tutored to the Leaving standard.

At this stage of course , the parent must reconcile himself to a severance of the family tie if the student is to casey(?) a University course. All share the hope that a local University course will be available before many years have passed, but in the meantime may take solace from the reflection that they are in no worse a position in this connection than half the population of Australia, who in similar circumstances must negotiate the same minor upheaval in their domestic affairs.

The attendance at Telopea Park School is in the vicinity of 500. Extensions will proceed in the immediate future, and the ultimate capacity of the group of buildings will be 1,000.  Here as the school population increases it is reasonable to conclude that the development of the secondary side of the school work will be upon  satisfactory lines.

The present staff for secondary work is well qualified and enthusiastic under the Headmaster, Mr CH Henry and there is no doubt that the immigration of Public Servants next year will be catered for not only by the structural extension but by the increase of staff for secondary education purposes.  The disability in existing circumstances of the separation of residential centres on nuclei north and south of the River has been overcome by the Commission by the provision of bus transport morning and afternoon for the school children.



Another centre within the city area is that of Molonglo, a self contained construction settlement where Mr CL Ivey, with two assistants conducts a curriculum which ends at the conclusion of the primary stage. The school is carried on in what was the Hospital and Dispensary of the Molonglo Camp in 1918.  The structure has, of course, been reconditioned from time to time and is commodious and airy. The average attendance in 96.


The only other school in the city area is that of Duntroon which serves the children of the staff and employees of the Royal Military College. The Headmaster, Mr DS Jones, who has taught at Duntroon for many years, deals with an average attendance of 72 pupils. He finds a noticeable increase in the demand upon his resources arises from the establishment of a constructional settlement by the Commission on the westerly slopes of Mount Russell.



Some miles to the East is found a typical bush setting of a small school which ministers to the needs of about a dozen children of lessees in what is generally known as the Majura Valley.

The Commission reconditioned an old farm building on the bend of a creek, where the grass is lush, and a tree-clad hill lends relief to the eye on a skyline which is a pleasant feature of Canberra landscapes.  The teacher, Mr Gray Keeling is quartered on the premises. He has recently been seriously ill, but it is hoped that the Christmas and New Year vacation will set him up for 1927.


Retracing Majura Lane to the main Yass-Queanbeyan Road brings the traveller to Weetangera School, where Mr MA Richards looks after an ...(part missing)



At Hall, a veteran in the presence of Mr C Thompson presides over 34 children, who, morning and evening on their way to the Hall School impart a distinct air of liveliness to the streets of the village.  In passing they may even look in at the blacksmith’s door and see the sparks fly like chaff on the threshing floor. Although it is admitted in this generation that nothing remains the same, it is interesting to note that Mr Thompson teaches some children whose parents he also taught in the same school generations ago.

Mr Thompson is proud immeasurably that his school has the  holder of many prizes at last Combined School Sports held at the Acton Sports Ground in December 1925.  This boy’s name is McClung, and judging by his grin when Mr AK Murray, the hon secretary of the Telopea Park Parents and Citizens’ Association addressed the children the other day upon the question of the forthcoming sports, he not only rejoices in prospect, but retrospect.


Hall, with its row of neat cottages, its modern emporium and its bowser, is in clover compared with the school at Mulligan’s Flat, which lies some miles east of the main road, which the traveller leaves just south of the crossing of the Jinninderra Creek.  Her a half-time teacher attends to the needs of about eight children who share with Tallangrandra – over the border – the privilege of his divided attention. It is astonishing what can be done under these conditions, and the progress of the children appears to be quite normal.


Away to the south-west of the city area in the first country school encountered in that at Tuggeranong where Mr F McGee who has been in the service of his department at Tuggeranong for 27 years, presides. Mr F McGee’s one sorrow at present is that the old school chair in which he sat for 27 years collapsed a week or two ago, and so did not see him through until his retirement early next year.  He points also to the old wall clock which has recently refused to proceed after having marked the long hours of school days for those same 27 years, and so far as he is aware, performed a like office for 20 years before that. Her the Commission will come to the rescue and provide a successor for both chair and clock.  The NSW Education Department will be providing a successor for Mr McGee early in 1927.


The school at Tharwa is carried on in a weatherboard building on the ... road to Tidbinbilla just beyond the Tharwa Bridge. The teacher, Mr L Britt is a comparative newcomer, having been located at the school since it was re-opened at the instance of the Commission a few months ago.  Here some 20 children assemble from as far apart as Naas and the holdings that spread over the lower mountains of the chain that marks the western boundary of the Territory.


Gibraltar is, as its name suggests, an outpost of territorial settlement. The school here nestles under the lee of what are known as the Gibraltar Rocks. Somewhat more than a mile west of that spot the road, which by the way is a good motor road, ends at the foot of Mount Tidbinbilla. Beyond this the traveller who is curious as to the prospect west of the ridge must discard his pack and use his hands and feet in negotiating the climb.  A more healthy environment than that of the children of Gibraltar could scarcely be imagined; cool breezes on the hottest days banish fatigue and flies in the little school house, where ... children of the mountain settlers cluster for instruction. Mr E Morriset, who is at present teaching at the school, has not long been in the district and appears to enjoy the optimism which animates the younger members of the teaching service of New South Wales who may be encountered in the Territory.

Williamsdale and Royalla schools lying some miles east of the Tharwa road are run on a half time basis by Mr J Peacock who handles on an average of 10 and 12 pupils at each school.

There is a school at Naas and another at Upper Naas but both are closed at the present owing to the conditions of settlement in the neighbourhood having resulted in a considerable falling off in attendance.  The residue of the children in the neighbourhood are transported by the Commission daily to Tharwa.


A notable feature of the conditions obtaining in the country schools is the effect of the policy of the Commission in providing transport for children situated at a distance from a school. The cost of the provision of such transport is less than one would be the expenditure incurred by the maintenance of schools at additional centres where only small numbers could be gathered together, and at the same time the children themselves are given the advantage of daily association with the minds of other children to a much greater extent than would be possible under the former set of circumstances. The general intelligence and physical  appearance at all the school will found to be uniformly satisfactory.


1926 Road Development

The Canberra Times 10 February 1927


Busy Time in 1926


A full programme of road construction work was achieved by the engineers’ department of the Federal Capital Commission last year, and at the conclusion of the year there were about 250 miles of roads in the city area under its care.

Work carried out by the roads and bridges branch during 1926 included ten(?- obscured) and half miles of metalled roads, twelve and half miles of gravelled roads of which two and half miles of roads were formed an ballasted. This achievement involved the use of about 50,000 cub yards of ballast, 12,000 cub yards of gravel and 11,000 cub yards of metal. About 9 miles of concrete kerbs and gutters were also laid.

The work was not confined to the roads themselves, for the grounds around Parliament House, the Secretariats, and sites for public offices were graded, terraced and soiled, covering an area of 130 acres, and involving the handling of about a quarter million cub yards of material. Preparation was also undertaken of grounds and roadways around Hotel Kurrajong, Hotel Acton and Government House and the Prime Minister’s residence covering an area of about 50 acres.  Stormwater drainage for the governmental group and Hotel Kurrajong involved about 4 (?) miles in pipes varying in diameter from 12 to 36 inches.

Another important undertaking was the extension of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge by one 100 feet span truss. This lengthened the bridge to 400 feet and affords additional security against floods. Clearing and snagging the Molonglo Bridge from Commonwealth Avenue Bridge to Yarralumla was also carried out as a flood precaution.

Sports grounds also came within the survey of the branch which took in hand the construction of eight tennis courts and one bowling green at Parliament House. A contract was let for a reinforced concrete bridge at Ginninderra Creek. Quarries were opened on Black Mountain, Mill Flat, Capitol Hill and Ginninderra. In addition to the existing quarry at Mugga.


A complete garbage system is in operation. Garbage is dealt with at the rate of 1,000 bins per week covering 420 residences, Hotel Canberra, Bachelors’ Quarters and Hotel Ainslie [Gorman House], and all tradesmen’s and labourers’ camps.

Street watering in the city area and maintenance of 250 miles of roads in the city area and outer districts was carried out throughout the year, all roads being kept in a good state of repair.


1928 Census

The Canberra Times 12 July 1928


8,012 FOR FCT


A tentative statement of the result of the census of the Federal Capital Territory taken June 30 was made available yesterday by the Director of Federal Police (Major Jones). The census shows that the total population including figures for Jervis Bay, was 8,012 comprising 4,536 males and 2,763 females.  The differences is due mainly to the fact that the earlier census was taken at a holiday period when a large number of residents were absent from the Territory.

On the latest census the total number of people living in the city area, was 5,625, comprising 3,141 (or 3,111) males and 2,181 females.

Figures for other centres were:

Military College Duntroon – 238 males, 155 females: Total 393

Jervis Bay – 292 males, 129 females. Total 421

Cotter, Uriarra, Stromlo – 99 males, 40 females – Total 149

Majura, Kowen 24 males, 27 females: Total 51

Tuggranong, Kowen, Tharwa, Booroomba, Tidbinbilla,63 males, 56 females: Total 119

Gudgenby, Bobeyan, Wilamsdale, Royalla, 33 males, 34 females: Total 67

Hall, Ginninderra, Mulligan’s Flat, Weetangera 191 males, 157 females: Total 343

Molonglo Settlement, Oaks Estate (Queanbeyan) 384 males, 336 females. Total 720

Estimate cards to complete, 71 males, 48 females: Total 119


1954 Census

The Canberra Times 25 September 1954


The increase in the population of Canberra was shared by all but four suburbs according to figures released by the Bureau of Census and Statistics yesterday.

The Census on June 30 last year revealed a city population of 28,277 -  a rise of 13,121 in seven years.

North Canberra continues to be larger than the southern districts, 15,896 residing in the 12 suburbs in North Canberra compared with 12,381 in 14(?) suburbs in South Canberra.

The corresponding increase in the past seven years is 7,197 on the north side – mainly in the  O’Connor, Ainslie, Turner area and 6,418 mainly in Yarralumla and Narrabundah suburbs.

Ainslie continues to be the most populated area, but Narrabundah and O’Connor now have more that 3,350 residents, and Yarralumla and Griffith more than 2,600.

Males in Canberra have increased their majority over females from 86 (or 96 blurred) to 1875.  Since the census in 1951 the Canberra increase has been 4,660 or 19.73 per cent.

The diplomatic corps in Canberra totalling about 400 is not included in the census.

Comparative figures for Canberra suburbs and rural areas are:- [NB doesn’t mention Westlake which was included in Acton until 1963 when it became part of Yarralulma – nor mentions the other temporary settlements.]

City Area                                1947       1954

Acton                                     1,135      1,291

Ainslie                                    2,626      4,080

Barton                                    828         659

Braddon                                 1,339      1,397

Capitol Hill                             38           434

City                                         46           28

Deakin                                    187         412

Duntroon                               646         957

Forrest                                   900         1,025

Fyshwick                                991         889

Griffith                                   2,551      2,943

Lyneham, Dickson &

O’Connor                               10           3,395(or 3396)

Narrabundah                        196         3,382

Parkes                                    17           221

Pialligo                                   168         396(?)

Red Hill                                  237         328

Reid                                        901         1.323

Symonston                            211         291

Turner                                    735         297

Yarralumla                             320         2,081


Total City Area                      15,156   28,277


Rural Districts                       1947(?_ 1954

Belconnen                             184         169

Booth                                     58           57

Coree                                     58           117

Cotter River                          29           5

Gungahlin                              95           51

Hall                                         175         200

Kowen                                    12           41

Lanyon                                   126         130

Mount Clear                          13           3

Paddy’s River                        187         192

Rendezvous Crk                   7              17

Stromlo                                  98           155

Tennant                                 22           30

Woden                                   325         314


Total Rural                             1,389      1,521


Jervis Bay                               360         517


Grand Total                           16,905   30.315