Early Canberra

John Howie's Settlement, Westlake 1923-1930

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Early Canberra-John Howies Settlement by Ann Gugler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://earlycanberra.webs.com/.


Contractor John Howie & Sons Ltd (Sydney) won the contract to construct the Hotel Canberra which was originally referred to as 'Hostel No 1'.  Work began in 1923.  Howie had his carpenters built a settlement for his workers. It consisted of 25 two and three bedroom timber cottages and recreation hall for his married men and 18 timber cubicles plus recreation hall and mess rooms for his single men.  All were connected to water and electricity but not to a septic tank or sewer system.

The site of the settlement was not far from the worksite and today the area is part of Block 3, Section 128 Stirling Park Yarralumla.  This area has recently been further sub-divided which suggest that the NCA may have plans for development of the area.

The area is rich in information about the settlement and the nearby Tradesmen's Camp (1924-1930) and hopefully a full investigation of the remains may be made if it is deemed essential to build on the area.

This land is also significant in that it has not been developed and contains a rich variety of trees fully grown before the arrival of Europeans along with the endangered wildflower, the button wrinklewort - plus it is significant to Nguawal people.

The settlement influenced the government architect, HM Rolland to design the small portable timber cottages erected first at Westlake in The Gap (1924), followed by 14 at Acton (1924) and later at the Causeway (1925).  it is probable that the small timber cubicles erected from 1926 to replace tents the design of which may also be traced back to Howie's single men's camp - known as The Hostel Camp.

Howie's Hostel Camp - the site Bl 3, Section 128 Stirling Park, Yarralumla

Trees of Stirling Park in old Photographs - still there