Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing


Stirling Park Yarralumla - Dumps & sites

Posted by ann gugler on April 22, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I have posted a number of photographs that show the area of Stirling Park Yarralumla - former Westlake and the Ngunawal area known as Gura Bung Dhaura hills - Stony ground.  The land of the park, which is not a public park but land that can be developed was orginally known as Section 22.  A decade or so ago the eastern side of the park that included Haines Creek which runs through the 'middle' of the park became Section 128 - and was divided into four blocks.  This has been further subdivided with Block 1 being cut up into a number of blocks of which Bl 5 is the largest and is now being developed for (I have been told) accommodation for members of the Chinese Embassy staff.  This area had a number of stone arrangements which have now been destroyed in the process of construction work. A couple have been saved.  Block 2 is ACT land and has a significant amount of fill probably moved to the site during the construction of State Circle which is the road that circles Capital Hill.  This was the original site for Darwin Avenue, but because of the difficulties in building in the early years was not constructed on this site. 

The area known as Block 3, Section 128 which is opposite Lotus Bay, has recently been further sub divided which suggests possible development. This is the area where Contractor John Howie's settlement of 25 timber two and three bedroom cottages and 18 timber huts was built. The cottages were for his married men and the huts for his single men.  The cottages were constructed either side of the old road used in colonial times. The road and sites of cottages and at least one of the timber halls and ablution block concrete slab remain.  Nearby on the other side of the quagmire is the site of the Tradesmen's Camp, where evidence of the ablution blocks, mess building sites etc remain. 

Throughout the park there is the remains of the rubbish left behind from the 700 who lived in the area in the three single men's tent camps, Howie's settlement and the 61 portable timber cottages erected in The Gap - Section 22 Stirling Park.

On Stirling Ridge the remains of the sewer construction along with one of the three surviving brick sewer vents remain.  Near Haines Creek is the only known remaining temporary septic tank used before the cottages were connected to the main intercepting sewer.  Septic tanks were used in the settlements and early permanent suburbs before the sewer was in operation in 1927.

Throughout the park are numerous scarred trees - scarred before the arrival of Europeans - stone arrangements and tools used by the Ngunawal on their journey from Black Mountain on their way via the Gura Bung Dhaura Hills to Tuggeranong and Tidbinbilla.

The photographs show some of the objects left behind by the construction workers and their families. Gary Skewes kindly allowed the photographs of some of the objects he has found in the park to be photographed and shown here.

Currently John Bruggeman and I are working on marking the major sites with GPS. To date the area of Howie's Settlement [where the Burns Club was founded in 1924], the Tradesmen's and part of the Gap - Haines Creek area - have been 'done'.  These files are to be found in the section on Howie's Cottages in Westlake section.

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