Friday, April 30, 2010


Off Mugga Lane across from Murrays bus depot are three brick "huts" with EXPLOSIVES displayed on the concrete pillar above the doors. The huts are complete (except for vandalised doors on two) with fences around them. They are located about a hundred meters from each other in a straight line and appear to be of some age (I can remember them from childhood so that's 40 years). I would say they are considerably older. They are located below the old Mugga Lane quarry that used to blast away when I was a kid living in Woden.

As yet I can find no information on their history...

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Located approximately 4km from the Hindmarsh Drive junction and 1.5km from Long Gully Road junction. It is located on a privately leased farm so access is restricted but it can be easily viewed from the road.

The original two room cottage was built from stone obtained from nearby Mt Mugga Mugga, sometime prior to 1878. An additional two rooms were added later. The cottage was built as an out-station, or overseer’s house for employees of the Duntroon station. Although now in ruins, It is reminiscent of Blundells Cotttage (also Duntroon Station).

View from the fence on Mugga Lane.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010


Located in Richardson opposite the Calwell Shopping Centre is Tuggeranong Homestead.

The Tuggeranong Homestead holds many layers of history. Indigenous history, convict labour, pastoral ventures, it has links to Federation and its association with the writing of the Official History of World War One. The Cunningham family purchased the homestead in 1858 from Thomas Macquiod, the son of the Sheriff of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, who drowned in the wreck of the Dunbar in August 1857.

James and Mary Cunningham of Lanyon. lived at the Homestead from the time of their marriage in 1889 until the Commonwealth Government acquired the property for military purposes in 1917. Shearing was performed here for the Lanyon and neighboring property's. James and Mary Cunningham played a significant role in the establishment of the National Capital. After this they moved to Lanyon.

War Historian Dr Charles Bean occupied the Homestead from 1919 to 1925 where they commenced the task of writing the Official History of Australia’s involvement in World War One.

The McCormack family leased the property from 1927 to 1976 and introduced mechanised farming. Changes are evident when comparing the stone barn, built by convicts in the 1830s to the machinery shed and petrol bowser constructed in the 1940s.

The Homestead

Water Tank

Old fuel bowser

Stock yards

Tuggeranong Homestead website is here

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From Bungonia near Goulburn to the Limestone Plains of present day Canberra pioneers and settlers followed exploration and established "Runs" for sheep and cattle "beyond the limits of civilisation" The area on the southernmost boundary of the A.C.T. is the start of the Monaro plains. My great, great, great, great grandfather David Reid (1770-1840)(bio here) was the first through to establish Reid's Creek (Township of Bunya) near present day Cooma N.S.W.

David Reid's son also David Reid (1820 - 1906) (biography) left school at 16, he took charge of his father's run in the Maneroo (Monaro) District but after meeting the overlander John Gardiner he decided to look for land south of the Murray River. Equipped by his father with some 500 head of cattle, 2 bullock wagons and teams and 6 assigned servants, he reached the Ovens River on 8 September 1838 the same day as Rev. Joseph Docker.

 David settled at Currargarmonge, near Wangaratta, held at first in his father's name and after 1840 as a family partnership; despite an attempted attack by Aboriginals he harvested the first wheat crop in December 1839. At the end of 1843 he took up land near Yackandandah. After his marriage to Mary Romaine Barber on 29 February 1844 at Marulan, New South Wales, he left the partnership and in 1847 took up a section of the family run of which Woorajay (Wooragee) formed a part.

He built the first water driven flour-mill in the district on his Yackandandah run in 1845; his woolclip of 1848 was one of the first to be handled by R. Goldsbrough and was claimed to come from sheep descended from stock imported in the 1820s from George III's flock. The Reid's owned land at Bungonia 1823 (Inverary Park) Reidsdale near Braidwood, Reid's Flat Monaro and Finally Yackandandah in Victoria

ACT border

The long and winding road south...

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UPDATE: In December 2010 the Smith's Road bridge over the Gudgenby River was washed away. There are some pictures of the bridge today here.

A nice Drive to the start of the Monaro Plains led along Angle Crossing Road to the Gudgenby River Bridge. The Gudgenby River of the Australian Capital Territory starts below Yankee Hat at an elevation of 995m and ends near Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre at an elevation of 573m merging with the Murrumbidgee River. The Gudgenby River drops around 422m over its 34.7km length

Nine other water courses feed the Gudgenby River (ordered by descending elevation): Bogong Creek (981m), Middle Creek (981m), Hospital Creek (962m), Dry Creek (925m), Nursery Creek (906m), Orroral River (842m), Half Moon Creek (654m), Booroomba Creek (644m) and Naas River (631m).

The ACT Government has plans in the future to possibly pump water from Gudgenby through Burra to Googong Dam thus increasing the availability of water to the ACT's supply.

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At the back of Williamsdale on the Monaro Highway, just out of Canberra a few kilometers down Angle Crossing Road you drive down a picturesque valley to another access point to the west across the Murrumbidgee, Angle Crossing.

The autumn movement of thousands of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters (and lesser numbers of other species) from the mountains to warmer climes along the coast and further north is a feature of the Canberra birdwatching calendar in April. Apparently you can see thousands of honeyeaters passing through the Angle Crossing area on a good migration day.

The water flows over a concrete crossing before the road heads off toward the Gudgenby river near Tharwa.

Approach to the Crossing

The Crossing.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I remember Rose Cottage as an Inn in the 1980's. It was owned by Brain and Valerie Cheetham who were both parliamentary hansard reporters. They reclaimed the old heritage listed buildings and restored them along with creating a viable business. Many a good time is remembered as having occurred there.

Rose Cottage was originally a part of Tuggeranong Station. Richard James Harris (1830-1904) built the two heritage listed cottages in the early 1870s of pisé (rammed earth). The property then known as Sweet Hills Estate, stretched for 2000 acres (809.37 ha) and today as Rose Cottage Estate. The remaining property is only 3.9 ha.

The main building of two rooms...

Second building probably earlier than main...

Rose Cottage is still an Inn today and is open to the public for meals and refreshments. It is located at the intersection of Isabella Drive and the Monaro Highway.
Rose's Cottage Inn website is here

The buildings are rumoured to be haunted.
There is a good read here.

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Monday, April 26, 2010


A short drive beyond Point Hut Crossing next to the suburb of Gordon is Lambrigg. Lambrigg was built in 1894 by the internationally famous wheat experimentalist William Farrer (1845 - 1906) (bio here) for his wife Nina de Salis. Here was Farrer's scientific laboratory. His experiments were described at one time as "pocket handkerchief wheat plots".

Farrer's cross-bred varieties grown beside the Murrumbidgee River rescued wheat from the world-wide collapse caused by rust. Farrer continued his work until his death, of heart disease, on 16 April 1906. He and his wife (d. 20 February 1929) are buried on the hilltop behind their house at Lambrigg. The grave is now marked with a granite column, erected by the Commonwealth Government and unveiled on 16 January 1939.

A view from the front gate back towards the crossing.

A good read about Lambrigg and Farrer here

ABC Stateline program on Lambrigg here

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Point Hut Crossing near the Canberra suburb of Gordon was once an important place to cross the often enlarged Murrumbidgee River. Stock were for generations pushed across here to the fertile valleys beyond the river. It was also the place where the original Lanyon Station began which stretched all the way to the crossing at Tharwa.

A nice spot...

The entrance from the east...

Popular swimming and BBQ spot...

Dogs (on and off leash) are apparently welcome.

UPDATE: I have a post with pictures and video of the crossing in flood (here)

Access is from Tharwa Drive to Woodcock Drive then Point Hut Road.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010


The radio telescopes at Tidbinbilla are operated by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, part of NASA's Deep Space Network. website NASA. The Centre offers visitors the chance to learn about the role that Australia plays in the exploration of space. There are magnificent views of the largest antenna complex in the southern hemisphere, a piece of the Moon that's on display, the latest images from Mars, spacecraft models, and space hardware. The foods that astronauts eat on the space shuttle and space station, movies on the history and future of space exploration.

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The Tharwa Bridge was a big deal in March 1895.

The Sydney Morning Herald - Friday 29 March 1895

The National Trust has a good read: The Grand Day the Bridge was opened - Peter Dowling (pdf). The Tharwa Bridge is a single lane bridge extending over the Murrumbidgee River at Tharwa ACT and it is the oldest bridge in the Canberra region.

The bridge under construction.
Wikipedia image (here)

The bridge before the start of refurbishment.
 Wikipedia image (here)

The bridge is undergoing a series of refurbishments and should be back eventually to its former glory as a historically and technically significant Allan truss structure. It can be found at the intersection of the Murrumbidgee River and Tharwa Drive.

The bridge is daunting to drive over...

With the trusses removed (temporarily).

Steel Beams supporting the bridge deck.


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Earlier in the week we were driving past the Old Kambah Woolshed. The Kambah Woolshed is the last link to the property Kambah Station, which was farmed from 1875 until 1970 and gave the Canberra suburb its name. Totally surrounded by suburbia this place has been heavily modified and could be classed as a shed for barbies. I can remember it once still showing the shearer's stands.. unfortunately no longer...

Worth a look...

Converted into a BBQ area...

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A rainy day in Canberra, went to see "Lanyon" after some research to see the remainders of the property located on Tharwa Road in Tuggeranong. Lanyon Homestead is a very special property once being the outerlimits of colonial society. If you crossed the murrumbidgee river you were in lawless territory according to the government.

Canberra Times, Friday 3 September 1926, page 7 here

The property has a long history dating back to the 1830's and leaves behind a testament of early life in the colony. Aboriginal, pioneer and early grazing and agriculture history not only for the ACT but also for Australia abounds at the homestead and surrounds. The history of Lanyon is fascinating and a great deal of information (well worth a read before visiting) can be found here or for a very detailed heritage evaluation document click here (pdf). And this is a good read (pdf)

Arial view of 'Lanyon' in 1950.
Wikipedia image (here)

The long road in today...

The homestead

Classic verandahs...

The courtyard behind the homestead...

The 1836 ships bell on top of the old kitchen was used to call the convicts to and from work.

The gardens...

The rural scenes...

Here is a link to an ABC Report about Mary Cunningham
Wikipedia has a good read here
And a great read here by Don Chambers. (pdf)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


Had an appointment in Woden and went for a stroll through the cemetery. Woden is the location for the Australian Capital Territory Garden of Rememberance.
(Office of Australian War Graves

The Entrance...

A view from the centre...

The Memorials...

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Ngambri scarred tree, Wanniassa

What Are Scarred Trees?
Scars on trees can result from the deliberate removal of bark by Aboriginal people for a variety of reasons. Tree bark was an integral component of Aboriginal material culture. It was deliberately removed in order to:
  • use the bark for shelter, canoes and domestic articles such as coolemons;
  • create a marker tree;
  • allow access to other tree resource e.g.
  • sometimes toeholds were cut into trees to assist climbers obtain bird’s eggs or possums;
  • sometimes carved patterns in the tree trunks served ceremonial purposes and some indicate burial sites.
Scarred Trees of the ACT
The practice of creating scarred trees does not appear to have survived into the 20th century in the ACT region, and therefore any such trees would have to be older than 100 years. Scarred trees are relatively rare. Due to early land clearing practices of the early European settlers in the region, as well as natural attrition, scarred trees are not very common and are assigned a much higher significance in the ACT than they may be elsewhere in the country. There are a few scarred trees on the property of Lanyon as well as in the suburbs of Wanniassa, Gilmore, Garran and Kambah.

First stop was a suburban block at 38 Sainsbury Street, Wanniassa, ACT.

Scarred tree within the Wanniassa Hills Primary School playing area, (known to the children as the "Spook Tree"), Wanniassa, A.C.T.,

the kids at the school apparently call it the "Spook Tree" because if you get down low and look up....

Small scar (lighter shows size)
Scarred tree in Sainsbury Street play area, opposite Spensley Place, Wanniassa, A.C.T

The canoe trees in St Anthony's Catholic school in Wheeler crescent in Wanniassa

A lot of these places are hard to find. You can walk past a scarred tree and not even know it but as soon as you become aware of it, that there was an occupation that people live did in Australia before we got here, and they are an historical reminder of that occupation.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Pleasant enough day for a walk...
This is the scene that greets you opposite the swimming pool in Tuggeranong. If you park on the side of Athlon drive in Tuggeranong and take a walk to the edge of the roadway.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

The Tuggeranong Boundary Wall is a rare and substantial ACT example of a nineteenth century dry stone wall. Even though it is so close to the modern day tuggeranong shopping precinct the boundary marker is a little known piece of Tuggeranong’s history.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

It was the marker of the boundary between the rural properties of Lanyon and Yarralumla.
and was built between 1867 and 1875, what remains is a surviving remnant of a more extensive boundary marker complex.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

It was built using a variety of techniques, including dry stone wall (stones piled up without mortar), mortared stones, and a ditch and bank system. Wire fencing was also used alongside the stone structure as a form of rabbit-proofi ng. This type of mixed construction is thought to have been very rare in Australia. The wall extended 1,800 metres from the eastern bank of the Murrumbidgee to what is now Drakeford Drive.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

Much of the wall was lost during the urban development of Tuggeranong and the construction of Lake Tuggeranong but in 1989 parts of it were reconstructed.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

A portion of the original boundary wall is visible on the river side of Athllon Drive opposite the Anketell Street junction. The rebuilt section is on the opposite side of Athllon Drive.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

Long stretches of fence posts weathered by age and burnt from bushfire show remnants of the rabbit proof wire that once stretched its length.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

Quite low in some stretches....

Photo Dave Reid 2010

here the wall changes direction as it stretches down to the murrumbidgee river.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

Photo Dave Reid 2010

Upon the return journey the last photo shows where the wall once stretched away towards Drakeford Drive.

Photo Dave Reid 2010

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History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...