Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing


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The Builders of Canberra-Acton by Ann Gugler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

 Copyright Ann Gugler ©2012

The suburb on the north side of the Molonglo River near - to the west - of Civic Centre was  the property of JJ Moore. He named it Canberry.  The second owner changed the name to Acton.  This area became the Administrative Centre of the city under construction.  In addition to construction workers tent (single me) and humpies (married quarters) camps, a timber hostel known as the Bachelors Quarters was built and occupied by white collar workers from 1912. In addition a number of timber cottages were erected for married white collar workers and the old farm house, Acton Cottage and other nearby farm cottages used to accommodate white collar workers.  In this settlement timber buildings were erected for use that included surveyors and office accommodation. The Commonwealth Bank even established a branch at Acton around 1912-13.

Acton, the area, in the early years of construction of the city spread out further than the small area today known as Acton. Westlake on the south side of the Molonglo [Stirling Park, Yarralumla and nearby embassy areas] and south to the Power House were part of early Acton.  The two tenant farms in the area of former Westlake - Briar Farm - now covered with the buildings of the Southern Cross Yacht Club - and Klensendorlffe's (Kaye's tenant farm) now under the waters of Lake Burley Griffin at the rear of the Hotel Canberra (renamed Hyatt Hotel Canberra) ealier had the address, Canberra and later, Acton.

Acton was the site of the first Canberra Hospital, now part of the Australian National University. This hospital was replaced by the brick hospital built in the 1940s and demolished a decade or so ago. On the site of this hospital lastly known as the Royal Canberra Hospital - is the National Museum.  The site of the 15 Rolland designed portable timber cottages erected in 1924 is under the waters of Lake Burley Griffin. A plaque to mark the site of the cottages and in memory of those who lived in the cottages was erected by members of the old Acton Community some years ago.

Draft for the Revisied edition of 'Builders of Canberra 1909-1929' Gugler, Ann - Acton

Acton Electoral Rolls

Acton Electoral Rolls

Freda Henry (nee Cox) Story

The following story was given to me by Mrs Henry's grandson.  It tells of early years at Acton

Freda Henry

Acton from True Tales

Published in 'True Tales From Canberra's Vanished Suburbs of Westlake, Westridge & Acton' Gugler, A - are a number of stories and overviews of Acton.  Following are some:

Acton Overview