Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing


Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing

Posted by ann gugler on October 23, 2010 at 10:11 PM

This new web site that concentrates on Canberra Camps, Settlements and Early permanent housing reminds the readers that the Federal city was built by men who came from all parts of the country and overseas to build the federal city of Canberra.  The majority in the years between 1910 and 1920  lived under canvas (single men)  and  (married) dwellings constructed with hessian walls and tin roofs.  The FCT was officially dry so that any person wanting to buy alcohol had to travel to the nearest town of Queanbeyan to visit a hotel to have a drink and buy it to bring home.


In the years following the end of World War One, the authorities (Federal Capital Advisory Committee 1920-1924 [FCAC] and Federal Capital Commission 1925-1930 [FCC] attempted to provide some better accommodation for married men than available before.  This is the period of the settlements - Molonglo, Westlake, Causeway - followed by two humpie settlements - Riverbourne and Russell Hill. 


Too many histories of Canberra only tell the Federal story and ignore that of the locals whose nearest shopping centres were at Queanbeyan or Hall.  Around 1916 a co-operative store was established near the Railway Station, but it went bust when shops began to become available in Canberra.  Enterprising business men brought goods to Canberra for sale - the butcher, baker, seller of medicines, clothing and household goods such as sheets, pillow cases etc - visited the local settlements and camps on a regular basis.


Many local Canberra histories begin in 1927 with the arrival of the public servants who moved into the newly constructed suburbs of Ainslie [Braddon], North Ainslie [Ainslie], South Ainslie [Reid], Eastlake [Kingston], Blandfordia [Forrest], Power House Cottages [Barton] - Telopea Park [Barton], Brickyards - Westridge [Yarralumal]. 


Unknown to most are the settlements at Acton, Brickyards, Westridge,  Cotter, Power House, Molonglo [Fyshwick], Westlake, Causeway, Riverbourne, Russell Hill, Oaks Estate and the many camps - the semi-permanent ones being White City near Civic,  Capitol Hill on Capital Hill and Causeway.


This new web which is connected to Hidden Canberra & Early Canberra webs concentrates on Canberra's Camp, Settlements & early permanent housing.  Some of the sites not developed, eg parts of Stirling Park Yarralumla - former Westlake- Gura Bung Dhaura hills are currently being gps marked.  The area of Section 128 Block 3, Stirling Park Yarralumla - site of Contractor John Howie's Settlement and the Tradesmen's Camp is under construction as the first of these documented areas to mark what is still in situ.

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