Glimpses of Canberra

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Howie's Hostel Camp

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 11:50 PM

A number of photographs of Howie's Hostel Camp taken in 1923 and the site today in Stirling Park Yarraluma (Bl 3, Section 128) have been added.  Contractor John Howie established a settlement that consisted of 25 timber two & three bedroom cottages for his married men and 18 galvanized iron cubicles for his single men. Each section was provided with a recreation hall. This settlement was erected on either side and below an old 19th century road that still survives in Bl 3 Section 128 Stirling Park, Yarralumla.  The men of Howie's built the Hotel Canberra which was originally known as Hostel No 1.  This hostel's primary purpose was to provide accommodation for policians and visiting dignatories.

Until the photograph showing the line of cubicles and the Mess building was discovered in the CDHS collection by Trish Frei, we believed that th site of the camp was lost during the construction of Alexandrina Drive and Lake Burley Griffin.  Instead the whole area has survived as part of Block 3 Section 128 Stirling Park.  Even the remains of the old road in front of the cubicles remains in situ.  The cubicles were pulled down around Feb 1929 (see story in Canberra Times - via Trove). Materials that could be reused were saved and what could be burnt was burnt on site.  There is a big dump area not far from the site of the Mess building which shows evidence of soil darkened by burning.

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