Monday, February 28, 2011


Because I love coming across old poems from the Canberra area. An 83 year old poem from 'Fairy' describing the view from her home in the Orroral Valley in the Australian Capital Territory. I can understand Fairy's sentiments the rocks are impressive...

The Canberra Times - 29 December 1928


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Sunday, February 27, 2011


The latest wander by John Evans and Co. in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the Australian Capital Territory. John captures the rugged and beautiful views from atop Billy Billy Rocks. John has an amazing array of information regarding bushwalking in the Canberra region at Johnny Boy's Walkabout blog.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011


An article discussing the inhabitant numbers of Aboriginal people in the Canberra region at the time of European settlement. Explorer Dr John Lhotsky's (bio) claim that there were no Aboriginals in the Limestone Plains district in 1834 is corrected with an explanation for the Peoples absence and fluctuating population at the time of his passing through to the Australian Alps.

The Canberra Times - 17 June 1927

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A local Canberra ghost story from 1866. After reading of the ghost of Yarralumla I came across this 'bushman's tale' set on a journey by (believe it or not) four Irishmen, Haggerty, Sweeny, O'Toole and O'Lynn. They had all been drinking and whilst returning from a stay in Queanbeyan were confronted by what they thought a winged spectre on Red Hill. The clipping's quality makes it a little challenging to read in parts but it's a good tale. You might also note the name Canberra was being used long before 1913.

Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser - 12 April 1866


Friday, February 25, 2011


A stolen diamond finds it's final resting place amongst the bones of a murdered Aboriginal beneath a Deodor tree (Himilayan Cedar). Where? in the historic grounds of today's Governor Generals Residence in Canberra. I don't like anyones chances of recovering the gemstone today if it existed but this newspaper clipping begins the story with an 1826 tale of bushranging, to an 1841 treasure map of the booty, a murder, a ghost and culminating with an 1881 letter describing a mystery waiting to be solved. Its got it all... 

The Advertiser - 7 October 1944

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Thursday, February 24, 2011


The ACT Government has installed a temporary Smith's Road bridge over the Gudgenby River. A "Bailey's Bridge" is a prefabricated portable military bridge that can span 60 meters (200 ft) and designed to support the weight of tanks. I went for a trip down to the river to check on the progress today and took a few photos. Workmen were busy building the road approach ramps to the bridge.

The little bridge's history:
For updates see the Smiths Road Community website.

Mount Tennent makes for a dramatic backdrop to the bridge's approach...


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


John Evans of Johnnyboys Walkabout Blog gives us another video of a 360 degree view from a peak in the Namadgi National Park in the Australian Capital Territory. For anyone interested in bushwalking in the ACT a wealth of information can be found at John's comprehensive blog. (here)

"An epic day trip via Rendezvous Creek, up over the Mavis Ridge and down to Little Creamy Flats, then up to Coronet Peak. Absolutely superb views from the top of the bare granite cap. Back via the AAWT."

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This clipping is the strangest suggestion to the name of Canberra's origin I have come across yet. There appears to have been considerable differences of opinion when it comes to the origin of the name Canberra at the time of it's establishment.

The letter to the editor by C. T. Burfitt (bio) is in reply to Mr. John Gale (bio) who, widely known in the area as "The Father of Canberra", maintained the word Canberra was of Aboriginal origin. Burfitt offers a strange English alternative of the name's origin. Canberra is apparently named after cans of berries. (specifically red berries).

Remembering that Burfitt was the secretary of the Australian Historical Society of the day his claims would I imagine have been taken quite seriously by the general populace. For the record I'll go with Gale...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 2 June 1913

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Sunday, February 20, 2011


Unthinkable today but nearly 70 years ago 'open season' was declared on the humble Possum in the city area of Canberra. Many residents readily took to the new 'sport' and in a two month period 2000 possums were dispatched in a one mile circumference of the city center. The following two clippings relate the announcement of the open season and two months later the results. Imagine the uproar today...

The Mercury (Hobart) - 30 July 1945

And the Results...

The Canberra Times - 27 September 1945

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A report of highway robbery in the Canberra region in 1865. Two robberies are mentioned in the article. The first committed at Paddy's River (Southern Highlands?) by a Richard Middleton, John Wilson and Thomas Tracey and the second by the more well known bushrangers Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John Dunn who held up W. Davis of Ginnindera somewhere between Goulburn and Gunderoo just north of Canberra...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 7 March 1865

As for Tracy, Middleton and Wilson the Goulburn Circuit Court accepted a plea of guilty and deferred sentence. 

(Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser - 27 April 1865.)

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Saturday, February 19, 2011


A newspaper clipping from 1935. The canny Canberra Scots, after fundraising for years with pipe bands, dances and donations, began erecting their precious monument to the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The monument was to cost between 5 and 6 thousand pounds. The clipping details the Scots response when "bitten" for land rent. I have a post on the Canberra Highland Society which endures strongly today...

The Mercury (Hobart) - 28 January 1935



Friday, February 18, 2011


"The showplace of Australia" A newspaper clipping from 1907 presenting the argument for the selection of Canberra as Australia's National Capital over the proposed Dalgety. The article describes the delights of the area's romantic scenery, its situation and it's natural facilities". The descriptions are almost Utopian...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 8 August 1907

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Thursday, February 17, 2011


Apparently thirty five years ago #Canberra was plagued by Yowies.  This is a few snippets from a lengthy article about Yowies in general with references to the Canberra / Queanbeyan region and the man that hunts them Rex Gilroy. Not withstanding that in 35 years of bushwalking in and around Canberra I have never seen, heard or smelt anything resembling a Yowie I suppose the truth is still out there....

The Australian Women's Weekly - December 1976

For the full article - National Library of Australia

My additional thoughts on the great 1976 Queanbeyan Yowie hunt:

It amazes me that with at least a couple around Queanbeyan and twenty five at Tidbinbilla and a 200K bounty that someone with a Ute, a decent spotlight and a shotgun wouldn't have at least winged  one. After extensive research however there appears to be no record of a Yowie's capture, wounding or death in the region in 1976. 

It is possible perhaps that they were found and to save the species live today a secret protected life on social security. I feel this is unlikely as knowing the local lads of QBN in the day if a Yowie existed they'd have bagged it. If however there was some sort of government cover up it is likely the Queanbeyan City Council would have pocketed the $200,000 (It was the 70's).

I have also discovered that Rex is alive and well and today heads the Australian Yowie Research Centre

Canberra has its own researcher into the Yowie known as Tim the Yowie Man. Tim is also on Twitter and apart from being the local authority on the paranormal appreciates any reports of supernatural or cryptozoological activity in the local area...

There is a far less sceptical post on the historical significance of Yowies in the Canberra area here

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Another short video from Johnny Boys Walkabout Blog described simply as 'Spectacular views from Gibraltar Peak, high above the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.' Located in the Namadgi National Park in the Australian Capital Territory Gibraltar Peak is a popular rock climbing spot...


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Monday, February 14, 2011


From #Canberra's establishment in 1913 until this newspaper article written in 1920 growth of the new capital city had been slow. The First World War and the economic circumstances that war produced delayed any substantial construction. The Minister of State for Home Affairs King O'malley had visions of a huge city that was, owing to world circumstance, in limbo. I think the sentiments in this clipping portray that time well and in some ways are probably correct...

Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer -  25 June 1920

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The story of Captain Mark Currie (bio) and his exploration of #Canberra. Opening up today's Tuggeranong region he named the area Isabella's Plain before continuing to discover the Murrumbidgee river and open the way to the Monaro. Currie was accompanied on his journey by Major John Ovens (bio) and the bushman Joseph Wild (bio)...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 9 May 1927

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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...