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Showing posts from March, 2011

BUSHRANGER WEIR - VIDEO

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Another video from John Evans of Johnny Boy's Walkabout Blog showing another old weir on the Cotter River catchment (Canberra's water supply) in the ACT. No description provided on this one but I assume it is near the Pago weir. (another video by John). Anyway love the name...

More videos can be found at John's YouTube Channel


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OLD CANBERRA - WOMAN HEALING THE BLACKS

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A tale I liked of Mrs Wright and her maid Louisa the first white women on the untamed European frontier of the 'Limestone Plains'. Her husband James Wright established Lanyon homestead. Apparently Mrs Wright was quite the Florence Nightingale to the local Aboriginals. Interestingly this seemed to afford the family a level of protection from what are referred to as the hostile and wild tribes of the area.

The Canberra Times - 13 May 1927

National Library of Australia

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VANDALS CHOP DOWN RARE CANBERRA TREE - VIDEO

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Canberra vandalism is estimated to cost the ACT taxpayer $300,000 a year. Although I sometimes despair at the actions of others in regard the damage, graffiti and theft perpetrated around the capital I do not see most vandalism as being irretrievable. Concrete walls can be washed and painted, recent public artwork can inevitably be reworked and replaced.
In recent months vandals have turned their attention to cultural and environmental targets in the Territory for their senselessness. Targets that cannot be replaced such as the Lanyon Barn gutted by fire last weekend and now a century old Kurrajong tree on the outskirts of southern Tuggeranong. 
It wasn't cut down quickly with a chainsaw someone actually scaled the hill and took to the tree's trunk with an axe and felled it. That's a lot of malicious effort even for a vandalizing moron.
If anyone has any information please contact Crime Stoppers ACT



Update: A tweet I just received from Dianna @wolfey_wolf ... Love it!




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BUILDING A CAPITAL - GOVERNMENT AS SHOPKEEPER

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It all had to start somewhere... This news clipping from 1910 tells of the first allocation of £45,000 towards the establishment of the new capital Canberra. The Minister for Home Affairs Mr King O'Malley (bio) formulated the first schedule of capital works including the acquisition of the property 'Acton' to establish the Department of Home Affairs. Twelve other capital works are detailed in the article.


The Argus - 21 December 1910

National Library of Australia

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HISTORIC LANYON CONVICT BARN DESTROYED BY VANDALS

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I am sad to report that one of Canberra's oldest 19th century buildings has burnt down under suspicious circumstances. Police are investigating. (Canberra Times) (ABC News) The historic Lanyon Homestead has been the target of vandals several times in recent months with the most recent being a graffiti spree in October (ABC News). This attack has been far more destructive with the building being effectively gutted by fire.
Photo Canberra Times
The barn's roof was wooden battened, wooden shingled with a wooden door. It is obvious from the photo that all that remains are the field stone walls. There was also a permanent convict display housed in the building with storyboards, displays and audio. The October attack at the homestead prompted the installation of sophisticated surveillance equipment. This system however did not cover the 1840 convict built barn located a few hundred meters away from the homestead.

I have many photos of Lanyon Homestead and I started searching them to fi…

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD 1924

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A letter to the Editor dated 1924 penned by F Campbell grandson of Robert 'Merchant' Campbell (bio) of Duntroon describing the historical pronunciation of Canberra from a time when the area was known as 'Limestone Plains'. The letter ends with a description of the discovery of 'Piallago' which was to become Duntroon, today's Royal Military College...
The Sydney Morning Herald - 1 April 1924

National Library of Australia
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BLACK MARBLE - CANBERRA

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A few newspaper clippings about the discovery at Canberra of Black Marble in 1930. The 'discovery' was heralded as a future asset for the construction of what were to be grand administrative buildings in the National Capital. There is an old quarry on the bottom slope of Black Mountain just above the ANU maybe that's it.

I was only discussing recently on a Canberra forum about the ACT's natural resources. There has been talk recently of re-opening old gold workings in the south of the territory which would create the first real mineral based industry in the region. Perhaps we could re-establish a decorative black marble quarry/industry in Acton? Surely the National Museum and the ANU wouldn't mind...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 17 June 1930

National Library of Australia
The black marble's presence was apparently long known before these reports and used for a number of other things...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 23 June 1930

National Library of Australia
And it was…

CANBERRA'S DAY

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Today is the public holiday to mark the 98th birthday of the establishment of Canberra. The 12th March 1913 marks the day Canberra was officially founded as the Australian National Capital. This newspaper clipping from 1939 appears to be the earliest reference to the beginnings of a celebrated Canberra day that I can find.  The movement to mark the day was supported primarily by the men that had built the city via the Trades and Labour Council of the day. Anyway happy 98th birthday Canberra!

The Canberra Times - 11 March 1939


National Library of Australia
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CANBERRA

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This 1927 Tasmanian newspaper clipping is pretty much a 101 of Canberra history from the area's discovery in the early 19th century to it's development into Australia's National Capital and Territory in the early 20th. I have read quite a few early news clippings reporting the new capital's beginnings to the population but this is the best so far. A lot of detail has been crammed into the article. Tasmanians probably knew more of Canberra's early history than the rest of Australia at the time.

I do wonder what happened to the multi-State sourced 27 foot tall granite column 'under construction' on  Kurrajong Hill.

Examiner (Launceston) - 10 May 1927

National Library of Australia
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AN AUSTRALIAN REPUBLIC?

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Sorry nothing historical here today. Come back tomorrow...
It's not often I get on my soapbox on this blog with the last time being Australia Day but an Australian Republic is another area of my interest. A few weeks ago I began a poll on this blog asking the question “An Australian Republic?” Anybody who regularly reads here knows it’s not a ‘Republican’ blog its a small Canberra 'history' blog. The site gets about a hundred visitors a day. 
The blog is usually the result of an interest in Canberra history that I take the time to share so the blog is neutral in regards to any visitors Republican leaning, one way or the other. Having said that the poll should be more indicative of random opinion than a poll on a Republican or Monarchist themed website.
I will let the poll results speak for themselves...


Lets not beat around the bush, I'm a card carrying supporter of Australia becoming a Republic. Why? A lot of reasons but a few main ones. Firstly I have a problem with the …

CANBERRA'S PIONEERS

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I don't know who the parade was for but this news clipping from 1927 lists a who's who of Canberra pioneers shortly before their passing. Names with associations going back to 1835 fill the 70 year gap from Canberra's (Limestone Plains) European discovery in 1822 till the founding of Canberra as Australia's National Capital in 1913. I think the article with references to well known Canberra landmarks adds a human touch to the Limestone Plains period...

The Canberra Times - 13 May 1927

National Library of Australia
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SELECTING THE FEDERAL CAPITAL AREA

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Canberra had to fight off quite a few contenders to be declared the Australian Capital. Dalgety, Lyndhurst, Albury, Armidale, Tumut, Cooma, Lake George, Bombala and Orange were also in the running with Dalgety being the favourite. Seems Canberra was the 'dark horse' that came from behind to win the title. I love the quote by the 'Father of Canberra' "...that to compare Dalgety with Canberra is like comparing this house with a 6 X 8 tent."

The Sydney Morning Herald - 26 April 1927

National Library of Australia
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CANBERRA NAMED AFTER A TREE

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This pops up a bit. A suggestion by Mr A. Percival former Commonwealth Surveyor General that Canberra may have been named after a tree. Strangely this proposition has been alluded to before in another article were it is suggested that an old pioneer canned the local berries and carted them off to market at nearby  Queanbeyan hence 'Canberry'.

All great stuff but of course there are no wild native cranberries in Canberra and the only edible red berry I can think of would be the Ngambri's Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis). Being a surveyor Percival continues on with tales of the first surveys of Canberra early in the 20th century.

The Canberra Times - 4 June 1954


National Library of Australia
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DAVE'S ACT STATISTICS FEBRUARY 2011

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On the first day of each month I post the statistics for my blog. The red bar indicates new visitors to the site from search engines and the like and the yellow bar indicates those of you who are returning visitors. On a month by month basis you can see after steadily increasing each month from July to December numbers seem to have leveled off at around 2000 visitors a month (Dec-Feb).


The most visited posts for the month were the ever popular Yarralumla Woolshed (May 10) Civic Brown Snake (Nov 10) Convict Floggings (July 10) Wild Dogs Roam Canberra (Feb 11) and Queen Nellie Hamilton (June 10). 
As far as the woolshed post goes it has transferred, via a link, over 500 visitors to the ACT Gov parks hire page over the past 8 months. As the common search term for arriving at the page was 'Yarralumla Woolshed Hire' a proportion of these visitors would logically have hired the venue.  Say 10% of the $500 hire fee that's $50 a booking @ say 100 bookings that's $5,000 the ACT G…