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Monday, May 30, 2011

PIONEERS GRAVES - NASS BRIDGE

Continuing on with my fascination for old cemeteries are these clippings from 72 years ago in 1939. What I found interesting, apart from the articles relating to burials 70 years prior to publication, is the reference to Jewish pioneers in the district circa 1870.

The first clipping listed the graves as unknown and the second four days later reported the graves owners as  Emanuelson's (workers) from Cuppacumbalong. The articles have also sparked an interest in me to discover more about the cemetery at Tharwa (heritage register pdf).

The Canberra Times - 7 February 1939





The Canberra Times - 11 February 1939



Update: 30/06/11 There is a part two to this saga - Pioneer' graves - Nass Bridge 2

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

A WALK AT CORIN DAM

A beautiful afternoon and a trip to Corin Dam as a part of my son's learner driving. Corin Dam can be reached via the Cotter or Point Hut Crossing in Tuggeranong. It is about a 30 km round trip.  We took a few photos while we were there...


Corin Dam is the first of three dams in a chain-of-ponds system on the Cotter River in the Australian Capital Territory supplying Canberra's water supply. Completed in 1967 Corin is an earth and rock fill embankment dam with a capacity of 70,900 million litres and is used to regulate the flow of water into the second dam in the system, Bendora, which in turn empties into the Cotter Dam for pumping to Canberra.


Corin is fed from a 197 square kilometre catchment area with the top water level sitting at 955.54m above sea level. The following pictures were taken on a walk down the far embankment of the dam to the river floor returning along the spillway to the top...


The spillway on the opposite end of the dam is a tall concrete channel descending to the river bed. Signage informs us that abseiling is prohibited and after looking down I can well understand why...


After descending via a well defined track the river floor is particularly picturesque as would be expected on a watercourse in Namadgi and the crystal clear water flows strongly from beneath the base of the dam wall. Depth indicators are positioned along the edge...


Back to being a river...


The rock embankment wall towering above us seen from the grassy river bank near the river's outflow...


At the base of the dam is the river proper emerging from a large tunnel... 


An interesting little measuring 'weir' is located just down from the outflow. Being only 30 centimeters tall I can only think that it is for very fine measurement of some sort. The river moss growing nearby was lush...


A view from the little measuring station back to the outflow...


Son Wesley at the base of the dam wall he actually wanted to scale it. I declined...


This is the bottom of the spillway and as it isn't flowing the pool at it's base is stagnant. 


A view of the dam wall from the water side...


Two emus in a paddock on the way home...


MAP


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

VANDALS DESTROY HISTORIC CANBERRA HEADSTONES


Unfortunately it is becoming far too frequent for me to have to witness another mindless destruction of a heritage site in the ACT. Only recently we lost the 1840's Lanyon barn to arson and now I am very sad to report the wanton destruction of 19th century headstones at Canberra's first church, St John's Anglican in the inner suburb of Reid in Canberra. I don't have any photographs of the damage but the links below have adequate representations. Newspapers ran the following headlines...

The Herald Sun - 'Headstones smashed at historic church' , The ABC - 'Vandals destroy historic headstones'
and The Canberra Times - 'Graveyard vandals wreak midnight mayhem'.

Local shock, anger and condemnation quickly propagated on the popular Canberra news forum the RiotACT which quickly reported the destruction  and followed by a police call for witnesses. A very rare event for me I posted a comment to the site that in hindsight could have been clouded by a bit of anger on my part... After venting my spleen on the site I posted to Twitter that I had vented... someone asked what...


I later posted a saner comment...

This extreme case of heritage vandalism should I think be viewed as a cultural wake up call for Canberra. Long have our heritage assets been left 'unprotected' because we have not faced the need before. Times are obviously changing. Where we once enjoyed the (mostly un-utilised) ability to gain access to important sites closely linked to the pioneer era whenever we wanted we now in some ways need these heritage sites to be protected from ourselves.

For example there are three cemeteries with burials from the 1840's to the 1880's located in the ACT with one cemetery of a design unique in the world. The Weetangera cemetery (and here), the Lanyon cemetery and the De salis cemetery (and here) at Cuppacumbalong have headstones linked to the pioneer's stories from the Canberra area's colonial beginnings. The cemetery at Cuppacumbalong is an ingenious oval raised mound supported by stone walls designed to prevent the Murrumbidgee River from washing away burials.


To be perfectly honest I am surprised St John's churchyard wasn't secured at night and have adequate fencing. The time has come if Canberra wants to retain these historically significant pioneer cemeteries to build some appropriate fences (thinking sympathetic wrought iron) with opening times dictated by relevant stakeholder organisations or failing that ACT Museums and Galleries. I know the Anglican Church has a party that helps keep the grass down Weetangera at least.

During my Twitter rampage today I also felt compelled to remind our Minister for such things Simon Corbell that perhaps we should look at fencing the remaining cemeteries headstones before they are targeted in the future. I am not expecting a reply but hope he looks at the links for an appreciation of what he is dealing with and needs to look at aiming to protect...


As we approach our political centenary in 2013 perhaps we should be being a little more mindful of the handful (and dwindling) pre federation Canberra historical treasures we have left. It would be nice to think the generation approaching 2113 might be left our legacy and still have a rich tangible heritage to enjoy.

There is more Canberra history in that old church than you can poke a stick at. I'll leave you with a  newspaper clipping describing an 1841 time-capsule behind the churches stone walls...

UPDATE - 25th May.

Not that it had any bearing on my tweet Simon Corbell announced today on Twitter that the Government will give $20,000 to the restoration. I think this amounts to the total damage estimate.


Swift, generous and appropriate. Well done Simon... 


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

TUGGERANONG RAILWAY SIDING

A little bit of railway history and a nice walk with the dog yesterday to the Tuggeranong railway siding on the old Cooma line. The railway line in fact forms the eastern border of the ACT. The railway of course has been out of service for years and the Tuggeranong siding for much longer if the deterioration of the sleepers on the second line are any evidence.

I approach the walk by parking in Henry Melville Cres in Gilmore and crossing the Monaro Highway via the underpass. A short walk up a well defined path leads to a step-over fence leading to the tracks and an easy walking trail alongside the tracks south to the siding. (hour return).

The very manual looking track machinery...


The siding looking back north...


Looking south on the approach...



At the end of the siding thousands of railway line plates and spikes dumped long ago...


MAP

Sunday, May 8, 2011

THE CANBERRA BLACKS


I absolutely love these old letters to the editor by W.P Bluett of Brindabella.

When the Austrian naturalist John Lhotsky passed through the Limestone plains of present day Canberra on his expedition south to the uncharted Australian Alps in 1834 he noted that the region was unoccupied by Aboriginal peoples. His notes were subsequently published and the observation appears to have been accepted for a long time as having been a fact.

Enter Mr Bluett in 1927 who proceeds to challenge Lhotsky's qualifications for the observation and proceeds to set the record straight as to the Aboriginal occupation of Canberra...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 14 June 1927



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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SENTRY BOX MOUNTAIN - VIDEO



John Evans from Johnny Boy's Walkabout blog's latest bushwalk to the top of Sentry Box Mountain on the ACT border and shows us the commanding view of the surrounding area. John is definitely the man to speak to if you want to know anything about bushwalking in Canberra. More videos can be found at his YouTube channel.


"An ascent of Sentry Box Mountain up the line of the ACT border from the SE, with return via a 500m plunge E to Sams Creek fire trail"


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Monday, May 2, 2011

GINNINDERRA FALLS AS TOURIST RESORT


Located to the north of Canberra in Belconnen the Ginninderra Creek runs through a dramatic gorge with a 40 meter drop and then through a series of spectacular waterfalls. The falls were recognized in the 1930's as a possible tourist asset for the capital. Unfortunately the costs were deemed to be too great.

The Ginninderra Falls were once a popular swimming spot (on private land) now closed to the public I believe because of public liability concerns. Shame really...

The Canberra Times - 17 February 1931



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