Glimpses of Canberra

1914 newspaper report

Queanbeyan Age Tuesday 16 June 1914


Its policy of strict economy has prevented the Federal Government from making marked progress with the Commonwealth works during the financial year now closing.  On two enterprises however, the Federal Capital and the trans-Australian railway solid work has been done and Colonel Miller has remained in the Federal territory as Administrator supervising the large staff of engineers, surveyors, clerks and skilled men now engaged there and his reports indicate fair progress with the initial works. In a report to the Assistant Minister he brings his statement up to date. There are now 109,866 acres compulsorily resumed by the Government and of this 69,387 acres are actually occupied. This includes the Duntroon and Yarralumla Estates. On the former the Military College on the latter are principal city works so far inaugurated. The Ministry has now confirmed the policy of  the Fisher Administration and decided to acquire in due course the remaining properties in the territory.  An area of 190,577 [?] acres has been classified and valued most of this lying north of the Molonglo River. Two survey parties are engaged upon the survey of the territorial boundary and four upon the contour survey which is being carried through with vertical intervals of 5ft. A trigonometrical survey is soon in progress.



Colonel Miller [Administrator] has had a health and nursing staff organized the staff including a doctor, a nursing sister, a nurse and a sanitary inspector. The hospital is practically completed. The building which is fitted out with the most recent furnishings and appliances is arranged in three blocks – wards, administration and kitchen with an operation block and laundry detached.  A large area has been reserved to provide not only for all possible requirements in the way of extension but also for the requisite degree of seclusion. Important work has been done in connection with t he sanitation of the workmen’s camps.  Much improvement has resulted from expert inspections. Water has been laid on to the larger camps and the sanitary services have received special attention. The smaller camps such as those occupied by survey parties are also kept in order. The sanitary inspector is getting a knowledge of the position of all the dwellings in the territory and is recording them in map form.


Negotiations are still in progress with reference to the protection of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo River catchment area from pollution. The importance of this question is such that the New South Wales Government has again been urged to give a decision that the request that sovereign rights over the catchment areas of these two rivers be granted to the Federal Government. Seven men are employed on afforestation and about 40,000 plants have been raised in the nursery during the year.  The potted and transplanted trees number more than 30,000 and include 15,000 pines. The full staff now employed in the territory is 712, including 293 engaged on the initial engineering works and 291 on Jervis Bay works. The live stock in the territory numbers 208,000 including 199,000 sheep.



The expenditure on Canberra during the financial year has been £217,309. This compares with £20,216 spent in 1910-11. £68,026 in 1911-12 and £137,497 in 1912-13. Roads, transport and water supply have been expensive factors. The water supply works are far advanced the 2000ft tunnel for the suction main from the dam site at the Cotter to the pumping station being almost complete. A syphon under the Murrumbidgee is completed as regards tunneling and the work of concrete lining is at hand. Excavation for the service reservoir at Red Hill is completed and all machinery placed in position. A quarry for stone has been opened up and some 600 yards crushed and delivered on the site. The construction of the pipe-head reservoir at Mt Stromlo has again been submitted to public competition under amended conditions. Tenders for this and other large water supply provides for pumps, electrically driven the current supplied at high voltage from the power house to a transmission line about 10 miles long. Construction of the Power House is approaching completion. At the open brick kilns 1,163,820 bricks have been made and it is proposed to erect continuous kilns. The new quarry at Tharwa has been opened up for stone for buildings.



The original estimated cost of the Queanbeyan Canberra railway which was commenced on February 1, 1913, and on which the first train was run on May 25 was £20,000 to £25,000 which estimate was subsequently raised to £37,000. The cost of the work to date is £33,567-16s-5d for the main line consisting of four miles 75½ chains and £8,069-13s-3d for one mile 75¾ chains of sidings. – in all £41,637 – 11s – 8d. In addition to this work amounting to £2,462 – 8s 7d was carried out by the New South Wales Chief Commissioner of Railways for the connection with the main line within the boundary. An examination of routes for the Jervis Bay railway has been made between Tomboyne and Mount Fairy, one being via Reedy Creek and the other via Boro Creek. The surveyor reports that the latter route would be shorter and less costly to construct and would cross the Shoalhaven River, and is more suitable than would be the case in the route via Reedy Creek. The completion of this section will finish the survey from Canberra to Jervis Bay. An examination of the survey will shortly be commenced.


Federal Capital Commission report on canberra oCT 1926

[This report gives a good general overview of work under way and completed. It does not fully outline the accommodation of construction workers. The Sanitation Report which follows this is 'better'. The maps will be added.]





Territory for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth



1.    Constitutional Provisions

2.    Selection of the Territory

3.    General Physical Features of the Territory

4.    Administration

5.    Surveys

6.    Land Policy

7.    Construction of the City and Its Services

8.    Special Notes on Principal Works –

a.    Water Supply

b.    Sewerage

c.     Electric Power & Lighting

d.    Factories & Workshops

e.    Parliament House

f.     Hotel Canberra & other Hotels

g.    Administrative Offices

h.    Stromlo Observatory

i.      Australian War Memorial

j.     Australian School of Forestry

k.    Australian National Museum of Zoology

l.     Royal Military College

m.   Map A (showing Territory for the Seat of Parliament).

n.    Map B (showing approved design of the City).

o.    Photographs of some works in progress and scenes






1.    The establishment of the Seat of Government in Federal Territory is one of the obligations imposed by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, and is provided for in section 125 of the Commonwealth Constitution Act 1900, which reads as follows:-

‘The Seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.

Such territory shall contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor.

The Parliament shall sit in Melbourne until it meet at the Seat of Government.’


2.    In choosing a locality for its Seat of Government Australia went through an experience very similar to that of the United States of America. Strong local influences were exerted in the interests of particular sites and the Parliament found very great difficulty in making its final selection.

3.    Prior to Federation many sites had been suggested as suitable for the purpose and on the 14th November 1899 the State of New South Wales appointed a Royal Commission to inspect and report upon 40 places that had been proposed. After Federation opportunities were afforded members of Parliament to inspect suggested localities, and on the 14th January 1903, the Commonwealth Government appointed a Royal Commission to report on sites proposed at Albury, Armidale, Bombala, Lake George, Orange (including Bathurst and Lyndhurst) and Tumut.  The Commission did this, and submitted a supplementary report recommending Dalgety. The matter was debated in Parliament, and a deadlock occurred between the two Houses, the House of Representatives voting for Tumut, and the Senate for Bombala. Both these sites were set aside, however, in favour of Dalgety, after further expert reports had been obtained in regard to topographical, climatic and other features.

4.    By the Seat of Government Act 1904 (assented to on 1th 15th August 1904), it was determined that the Seat of Government should be within 17 miles of Dalgety in the State of New South Wales, that the territory to be granted or acquired by the Commonwealth should contain an area of not less than 900 square miles, and have access to the sea.

5.    At this stage difficulties occurred in regard to the transfer of the proposed territory by the State of New South Wales, and correspondence took place, extending over a considerable period, between the Commonwealth and the State Governments respecting the interpretation of section 125 of the Constitution Act, and the method of giving effect to its provisions.

6.    On the 22nd September 1908, a Bill was introduced to determine more definitely the Seat of Government in the neighbourhood of Dalgety, and the whole issue was once more raised, the Bill being finally passed by Parliament as the Seat of Government Act 1908, with the substitution of Yass-Canberra for Dalgety.

7.    Steps were then taken to delimit a suitable area in the Yass-Canberra district, and as a result of a special surveys and investigation by an expert Advisory Board it was proposed that New South Wales transfer approximately 1,051 square miles in the vicinity of Canberra, including the catchment areas of the Cotter, Molonglo, and Queanbeyan rivers and also about 2,300 acres at Jervis bay for the purposes of a Commonwealth port.

8.    The State was unable to concur in this proposal, but after several conferences it agreed to transfer an area of approximately 900 miles, as indicated in the accompanying map ‘A’.  This did not include the catchment areas of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers, but New South Wales expressed its willingness to give the Commonwealth effective control of these areas.

9.    On the 18th October 1909, an agreement was signed by the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Premier of New South Wales, providing the subject to parliamentary ratification, for the surrender by the State, and acceptance by the Commonwealth of the territory as shown on Map ‘A’. The State agreed to grant, at Jervis bay, an area of two square miles for the proposed port or some other areas, totaling 2,302 acres, for defence purposes. The State also granted the Commonwealth-

a.    The right to construct, maintain and work a railway from the Territory to Jervis Bay;

b.    The right to use the waters of the Snowy River or such other rivers as may be agreed upon, for the generation of electricity for the purposes of the Territory;

c.     Paramount water rights over the catchment areas of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers and their tributaries.

The agreement further provided that the State would

d.    Reserve from sale, lease, and occupation, except with the consent of the Commonwealth, all Crown lands in the catchment areas referred to:

e.    Protect for pollution the waters of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers;

f.     In the event of the Commonwealth constructing a railway within the Territory to its northern boundary, construct a railway from a point near Yass to join that railway.

10.  This agreement was ratified by the Seat of Government Act 1909, of New South Wales, and in accordance with a proclamation of the Governor General the Territory became vested in the Commonwealth on and from 1st January 1911.


11.  The extent and boundaries of the Territory are shown on the accompanying map marked ‘A’. Its total area is approximately 900 square miles or 576,000 acres, of which it will be necessary to reserve from occupation the catchment area of the Cotter River which has an extent of 170 square miles, or 108,800 acres. An area of about 12 square miles or 7,680 acres has been set apart for the purpose of the city site, and probably a further area of about 100,000 acres will be reserved for parks, roads, military college, and other public purposes outside the city are, leaving about 359,500 acres available for profitable occupation under reasonable conditions.

12.  Canberra is 204 miles by rail distant from Sydney, 429 miles from Melbourne, 912 miles from Adelaide, and 929 miles from Brisbane, from which it may be seen that the Capital site is equi-distant from the chief centres of population of the Commonwealth.  As to access to the sea, there is a practicable route for a railway from Canberra to Jervis Bay, with a length of about 123 miles.

13.  The locality of the site selected for the Capital city is in latitude 35 degrees 15 minutes S and longitude 149 degrees 15 minutes E on the western side of the Main Dividing Range. It is about 20 miles distant from that range and about 75 miles in a direct line from the eastern coast of Australia. The site may be described as a rectangular area, the eastern and western boundaries of the northern part resting on the slopes of Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain respectively, the southern boundary being intersected by the Narrabundah Range from Mugga Mugga Mountain towards Molonglo River. This river, which flows thought the site in a westerly direction, affords facilities for the conservation of water for ornamental purposes; it is joined by the Queanbeyan River at the town bearing that name, and at a distance of about 7 miles from Canberra.

14.  The city will lie in an amphitheatre of hills, with an outlook towards the north and north-east, fairly well sheltered from both southerly and westerly winds. In the immediate vicinity there are large areas of gently undulating country, and the city will be visible on approach for many miles. The general contours of the country lend themselves to the purpose of effective city design, and streets with easy gradients can be readily laid out; prominent hills of moderate altitude present suitable sites for the principal public buildings. The comparative flatness of the landscape in the immediate foreground is broken by several conical hills arising from the  Canberra Plains and by the ridges running down from the highlands of the Molonglo catchment. The strike of these ridges is generally north and south; small tributaries cutting their sides have converted them into picturesque features, while the pleasing effect is still further enhanced by the graceful outlines of the distant mountains.

15.  These mountains, considered portions of which are practically unchartered, form part of the Main Diving Range, and amongst the highest in Australia. Surrounding the Cotter River Valley are Coree (4,657 feet), Tidbinbilla (5,115 feet), McKeahnie (4,904 feet), Bimberi (6,264 feet) and Morgan (6,144 feet).

16.  In addition to the Molonglo and Queanbeyan rivers, the Murrumbidgee River flows through the Territory, generally in a north-westerly direction, receiving as tributaries a number of streams, which are available, if necessary, as sources of water supply for the city. For the present the Cotter River has been utilized for this purpose, and it is likely to meet all demands for many years to come; facilities exist also for greatly increasing the conservation.

17.  Geology – Geological surveys of the city site have been made. The rocks consist of somewhat contorted and folded sedimentary series of sandstones and quartzites, shales, slates, limestones, and volcanic tuffs. Igneous intrusions occur, consisting principally of quartz-porphyries and quartz-felsites. The sedimentary rocks more especially the limestones, contain fossil corals, indicating the age of Upper Silurian. The general geology conditions of Canberra are favourable for the purposed of city construction.

18.  Meteorology – The average annual rainfall for the whole Territory has been computed at 25.5 inches or about that of London or Melbourne; and for the city site, 21.8 inches. On the Cotter catchment it is estimated at from 40 to 60 inches per annum. The mean annual temperature may be assumed to be 55 degrees Fahrenheit; the summer mean, 68 degrees; and the winter 42 degrees. The ordinary summer temperatures are high, but the nights are invariably cool. In the winter the temperature frequently falls below freezing point, but there is a high percentage of warm, still days.  The prevailing winds are from the west, and, as they pass over snow-clad peaks in winter, they are very keen. North-east winds from the ocean serve to modify the summer temperature, and they regularly arise at evening.

19.  Vegetation – Except on the catchment area of the Cotter River the Territory is lightly timbered – partly naturally, and partly due to destruction by settler. The question of re-afforestation is very important, and is under consideration.

20.  Soils & Agriculture – The country of the Territory is chiefly pastoral. Wheat is grown along the river banks, as well as maize, and dairy farming is carried on to a limited extent. There are considerable areas suitable for fruit growing, and experiments have shown that good results could be obtained with many varieties. It is intended to encourage the further development of agriculture.


21.  To ensure continuity, and also on the grounds of convenience and economy, it was provided in the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 that all laws in force in the Territory, at the date of its acquisition by the Commonwealth, should continue in force so far as applicable, until other provision is made. It was necessary to make this provision in many respects almost immediately, and the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910 was passed, and came into force on the 1st January, 1911.

22.  This Act forms the basis for the government of the Territory, its main provisions being –

a.    That the Governor-General may make ordinances having the force of the law in the Territory;

b.    That certain State Acts shall no longer remain in force; (eg those concerning rates, taxes or duties);

c.     That certain Commonwealth Acts shall apply to the Territory;

d.    That the freehold of any Crown lands in the Territory cannot be sold or disposed of except in pursuance of some contract entered into prior to the 1st January, 1911.

e.    That the inferior Courts of New South Wales exercise the same jurisdiction as they had before.

23.  A general scheme for organization of services in the Federal Territory was approved in 1910, the Minister for Home Affairs being the Minister in charge.  Steps were taken to develop this organization, the general work being placed under an Administrator, the works design and construction under the Commonwealth Director-General of Works, and the Land and Surveys under the Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys.  This organization was never fully completed when the Great War occurred and interfered with the general progress, but considerable work was accomplished.  Essential services were undertaken, a commencement was made with basic engineering works; and an international competition was held for the design of the city. These will be referred to later under another heading. Local government services were organized, and the important task of acquiring privately owned lands was undertaken. The effect of the war was to reduce the funds available for development, and the work was greatly curtailed by the end of 1916, and thereafter practically suspended until the year 1921.  In 1916 a change was made to the departmental scheme of control, the Home and Territories Department becoming responsible for administration, and the Department of Works and Railways for all matters connected with construction. This joint administration continued until the end of 1924.

24.  In the early part of 192, ‘With a view to enabling the Federal Parliament to meet, and the general administration of the Commonwealth Government to be carried on as soon as practicable at Canberra,’ an Advisory Committee of five members consisting of architectural and engineering experts, was appointed under the control of the Minister for Works and Railways to submit a scheme for the progressive construction of the city. Its main proposals which are referred to later under the heading dealing with the construction of the city, were accepted and the controlling Departments were largely governed by its recommendations until the expiration of their period of control.

25.  A resolution was passed by the Ninth Parliament in July 1923, that ‘His Excellency the Governor-General be respectfully requested to summons the first meeting of the Tenth Parliament at Canberra.’ this was the first attempt to fix a definite date for the transfer for the Seat of Parliament, as, under normal conditions, the Tenth Parliament would be due to assemble towards the year 1926.  Activities were carried out with the object of complying with the terms of this resolution, but, as explained later, the date was postponed until the 9th May 1927.

26.  Appointment of Federal Capital Commission – On the 23rd July 1924 the Seat of Government Administration Act 1924 was assented to. This provided for the appointment of an independent Commission to assume control of the Territory for the Seat of Government. Its powers and responsibilities include the management of lands, the levying of rates, the construction of the various works and buildings, and generally, the Municipal Government of the Territory. Subject to Parliamentary and Ministerial authority it has been empowered to raise loans for all the purposes of its administration. The Act made the Commission liable for the whole expenditure of the commonwealth in connexion with the establishment and administration of the Territory together with interest thereon. The Commission appointed under the Act consists of three members-

                                          i.    JH Butters, Esq, CMG, MBE (Chief Commissioner)

                                         ii.    Sir John Harrison KBE;

                                        iii.    CH Gorman, Esq

And it assumed control on the 1st January 1925. The departmental association with the Federal Capital Territory practically ceased, therefore, at the 31st December 1924, except that the Minister responsible to Parliament in relation to the work of the Commission is the Minister for home and Territories, and provision has been made for the Department of Commonwealth Works and Railways to assist when required in the designing and construction of works and buildings.

27.  Since assuming control, the Commission has been engaged in the re-organization of the administrative work to suit its requirements and responsibilities under the Seat of Government (Administration Act) 1924. It has been found necessary to replace obsolete or unsuitable State law still applying to the Territory, by the passing or ordinances to provide the up-to-date legislation that is necessary, particularly in view of the fact that members of the general public have now been admitted, as a result of the first sale of leases in December 1924, and the establishment of trading concerns has introduced new conditions.  New South Wales Courts are still being used, and the State details its workforce for the protection of the Territory, the Commission defraying the cost. A Similar arrangement exists in regard to education, the State supplying teachers and organization for public schools. The Commission proposes to take early action to permi9t the establishment of privately conducted schools and is developing schemes to provide for technical and higher educational facilities.

28.  After more than a year’s experience of the working of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1924, it had been found necessary to make certain modifications for the more efficient working of the commission, for the improvement of machinery set up for managing the Territory and for making clearer the Commission’s position in certain respects.  The Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1926. Under this Act the powers of the Commission have been increased to permit of the building of residences and for their disposal on an extended payment system; to admit of the advancement of funds to Lessees of Land in the Territory to assist development; to allow of the Commission utilizing the loan-raising machinery of the Commonwealth Treasury; for the purpose of borrowing where desired, instead of acting independently in that regard. In addition, the provisions relating to the vesting of Land and Services in the Commission have been made clearer, and other minor modifications of a machinery character have been introduced.

29.  It has been a responsibility of the Commission to provide facilities for the development of social life in a new community, and to stimulate co-operative effort amongst the residents in many spheres of activity essential to the welfare of the people. A Social Service Association is now in existence, which has branches throughout the various City areas, and Committees of this Association have been formed and are actively interested in such matters as Sports of all kinds, the provision of Libraries, Children’s Playgrounds, Recreation Halls, Education and similar subjects.  To co-ordinate and aid the work of the various Social Service Committees the Commission has established a Social Service Branch and the issue of a Monthly Magazine records the progress of these activities and affords a medium of expression and necessary publicity.


30.  The acquisition of the Territory and the se4lection of the city involved the carrying out of a great number of surveys.  These included contour surveys, triangulation survey of the Territory, demarcation of the boundaries of the Territory and the catchment areas, engineering surveys, topographical surveys in connexion with the Yass-Queanbeyan railway and the Canberra-Jervis Bay railway and the re-determination of the boundaries of privately owned properties. Most of this important work was executed prior to the war, and formed the basis of subsequent constructional development. In connexion with surveys a site for an Astronomical Observatory was located on Mt Stromlo about six miles south-west of the city site. The primary object in fixing this site was the determination of the initial meridian to which all surveys would be referred. A point on the summit of this range has been determined as the origin of all co-ordinates for the surveys to be carried out. A close contour survey, with vertical intervals of 5 feet has been carried out over the area embraced by the city site, and the work has more recently been extended beyond the city site in connexion with the engineering services. The axial lines of the city plan have been surveyed and marked on the ground, and detailed survey work in connexion with business and residential subdivisions has been carried out concurrently with development. General plans embodying the results of these surveys have been prepared.


31.  As already mentioned, it is provided in the Commonwealth Constitution Act 1900, that all Crown lands in the Federal Territory shall be transferred from the State to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor. It has been necessary, however for the Commonwealth to acquire from private owners estates of freehold, either those completely alienated or in the process of alienation under the State law existing at the time of the transfer. Since the transfer, the Commonwealth has acquired about 209,500 acres of privately owned land, at a cost of approximately £750,000. There are still about 43,000 acres of alienated land and about 65,5000 acres in the process of alienation. The privately owned lands first acquired were those in the site for the city, and in the catchment areas of those streams which may be required in connextion with the water supply.

32.  Under the provision of the Seat of Government Administration Act (1910), no Crown lands in the Territory may be sold or disposed of for any estate in freehold except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of that Act.  The policy has been to encourage the leasing of lands outside the city area, and such leases are governed by the Leases Ordinance 1918-25 which provides for leases not exceeding 25 years for agricultural grazing purposes. The leases contain special conditions in regard to the extermination of weeds and noxious animals. About 40,000 acres are leased under the Lease Ordinance to returned soldiers for periods varying from five to 25 years.

33.  During the year 1924, the Government decided to lease lands in the City area, and the City Area Leases Ordinance was passed governing the conditions under which this might be done. It was provided that the terms of such leases should not exceed 99 years, and that the rentals to be at the rate of 5 per cent per annum on the unimproved capital value as ascertained by bids at public auction or assessed by the Government, such rentals to be subject to re-appraisement after a term of 20 years and thereafter every ten years. The lessee is required to commence the erection of the building and complete the building within a specified time, such building to be in accordance with plans previously submitted for approval.  Leases are not transferable until buildings have been erected on the land as prescribed, or where the Commission is satisfied that a building is being or about to be erected on the land Strict regulations have been introduced which govern not only the planning, but the design of buildings, and in laying out the city area special zones have been established for residential and commercial purposes and for undertaking of an industrial character.

34.  The first auction sale of leases was held on the 12th December 1924, when 289 residential and 104 business sites were offered at Eastlake, Manuka Centre, Blandfordia, Red Hill, Civic Centre, and Ainslie. Of these 146 blocks were sold at prices representing values from £6 to £58 per foot for business sites, and 10s to £3 4s per foot for residential sites. Of the remainder, 149 blocks (including the business sites offered) were subsequently disposed of. Sixty-four residential sites in the original subdivisions offered were withdrawn from lease and built upon by the Commission for the housing of public servants. The conditions under which the blocks were offered provided that the lessee should commence the erection of an approved building within two years from the date of the commencement of his lease and complete it within three years. In view of the demand for business sites a further 18 business and 80 residential sites were offered for lease by public auction on the 29th May 1926. At the auction of the whole of the business sites were sold at prices per foot varying from £24 to £150. Of the residential sites offered 21 were sold on the day of auction and a further 20 were sold to the 30th June, 1926 at prices varying from £2 15s to £6 16s per foot. The terms of the lease required the purchaser of all business sites sold on the 29th May, 1926 to commence the erection of a building on the site before the 31st December 1926, and complete it before the 31st December 1927.  In the case of the residential sites the lessee was required to commence the erection of a building on the site within one year and complete it within two years from commencement of his lease.

35.  Under the provision of the Real Property Ordinance1925 a scheme for registration of land on the lines of the ‘Torrens system’ has been introduced and leasehold certificates of title are being issued. The object is to render the leases safely negotiable and facilitate commercial dealings with land as much as possible.


36.  After the exact site for the city had been selected it was decided to hold an international competition for its design in order that the best possible plan might be obtained for Australia’s Capital. The competition was held in 1912, and the conditions were accompanied by the fullest information regarding the site, its climatic conditions, topography, geology and general features being explained in special reports, contour maps, landscape sketches, and plaster models. No pains were spared to give intending competitors exhaustive details of the problem and the requirements of the Government in regard to accommodation for official purposes.

37.  There was one respect in which the scope of the competition was limited. Certain provisions were contained in the draft conditions to which exception was taken by the Royal institute of British Architects, and it made representations to the Minister for Home Affairs with the object of having them amended prior to receiving its endorsement.  The Minister did not approve of the Institute’s suggestions, and it decided that it could not endorse the competition. In this attitude it was supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers, and these bodies advised their affiliated associations throughout the Empire to take no part in the competition. This had the effect of greatly reducing the numbers of Architects and Town Planners who competed.

38.  Many fine designs were received, however, and the first prize was awarded to WB Griffin Esq of Chicago United States of America and the second Mr Eliel Saarinen of Helsingfors, Finland. In 1913, Mr Griffin was asked to come to Australia and he was associated with the constructional work until 1920, when his term of engagement expired. After some delay, during which the merits of other schemes were investigated, Mr Griffin’s plan was approved by the Government, and constructional work proceeded generally, in accordance therewith (vide  accompanying map ‘B’).

39.  In the meantime steps were taken to develop schemes for the city services and provide materials and power for constructional purposes. The main roads were put in order, a power house for the generation of electrical energy was erected, and a scheme for providing a water supply, by erecting a dam on the Cotter River, was approved, its construction being then put in hand. Designs were also prepared for an outfall sewer sewerage scheme, providing for the conveyance of sewage by gravitation several miles from the city to treatment works on Western Creek. Railway connexion with New South Wales system at Queanbeyan was effected. Brickworks were also established, and supplied of joiner timbers were purchases to be seasoned in readiness for subsequent use in important buildings. Schemes for ornamental waters for regulating the flow of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers and for railway development were investigated.

40.  The principle of holding international competition s for the design of the most important buildings was adopted and in July 1914, conditions were issued for a competition in connexion with the Permanent Parliament House.  The outbreak of war caused it to be withdrawn almost immediately. It was re-issued in August 1916, but indefinitely postponed on the 24th November 1916.

41.  During the later war period (after 1916), very little work was carried out, and the project for a Federal Capital city was virtually in abeyance. At the end of 1920 the Government decided that construction should be resumed, and the constitutional provision be given effect to. It was obvious, however, that for economic reasons, construction could not be proceeded with on the monumental and costly scale contemplated in the approved plan. The Federal Capital Advisory Committee, already mentioned in  paragraph 24 was therefore appointed to review the whole position of the project, and draw up a scheme for transferring the Seat of Government to Canberra as early and as economically as possible.

42.  The Committee prepared a scheme with estimates of cost, providing for the transfer of the Seat of Government in a period of three years. The main outlines of the scheme were that, owing to the changed economic conditions, as a result of the war, the more expensive monumental and ornamental works be deferred and that Parliament House and as far as practicable other works and services be of a provisional character to meet present requirements. This scheme was generally approved, and construction was resumed in accordance therewith, the Committee developing the various proposals involved in their proper sequence. The necessary funds, however, for the three-years’ programme, were not supplied, and it was not possible, therefore, to carry out the scheme in the manner proposed.

43.  Since assuming control on 1st January 1925, the Commission has continued the policy of developing the city according to the approved plant, devoting itself primarily to the completion of basic engineering services and the official and residential accommodation necessary to enable the Seat of Government to be transferred. The Commission originally received instructions that the transfer would take place during 1926; but on the 26th May, 1926 it was officially announced by the Prime Minister that Parliament would be opened at Canberra on the 9th May 1927.  The Commission’s building programme has therefore been re-arranged accordingly.

44.  The construction of main avenues and roads is proceeding. Many miles have been formed, and a considerable portion metalled or graveled. Surface treatment has been undertaken on certain arterial roads in the city area.

45.  Several residential areas have been laid out, and engineering services, such as roads, sewerage, drainage, and water supply from the Cotter scheme, have been provided. Water supply-service reservoirs have been provided on Red Hill and Mount Russell, and mains through the city are being laid as required.  The out-fall sewer has been completed and the main intercepting sewers within the city boundary are approaching completion. Sewage treatment works are being constructed at the out-fall.  Storm water channels have been provided below Mt Ainslie and at Red Hill to protect the adjacent residential areas. Electric lighting and power services have been extended to serve the residential districts, and areas where various construction works are proceeding many miles of transmission line having been erected.  Fire services have been provided for the protection of buildings and depots. Several bridges have been constructed, the most important being across the Molonglo River, in the city area, establishing connexion between the north and south sections.

46.  Excavation  of the site for Parliament House was commenced towards the end of 1923 and the actual construction was begun in January 1924. Progress is being maintained with the object of its completion and equipment early in 1927.

47.  A departure from the scheme prepared by the Advisory Committee was approved in the case of offices for the Administrative Departments, a permanent building being decided upon instead of a group of structures of a provisional nature. As a result of an architectural competition a design was selected for this building, and the project was referred to Parliament in favour of the project was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation as prescribed. The Committee reported to Parliament in favour of the proposal, and authority was given to proceed with the erection of the building. As its completion before 1930 is not practicable two smaller buildings are being erected to house in the meantime the staffs of the various Departments, which will be necessary at Canberra for the satisfactory functioning of Parliament.

48.  A Government Printing Office and accommodation for an Automatic Telephone Exchange and Post Office are also being provided.

49.  Temporary buildings provided at Acton in 1913 as Administrative Offices, have been enlarged for the purpose of the Commission.

50.  Proposals being developed include the provision of temporary accommodation for the National Library, and other works and services necessary to enable all Departments of the Public Service to function primarily from Canberra as soon as possible after the transfer of the Seat of Government. The building schemes also include -  

a.    Solar Physics Observatory Mt Stromlo;

b.    Australian School of Forestry;

c.     Australian National Museum of Zoology; and

d.    Australian War Memorial

51.  Accommodation for visitors has been provided by the erection of two hotels (Hotel Canberra and Hotel Ainslie [Gorman House]. The former, which is situated near the governmental area, has accommodation for 180 guests; the latter can accommodate 80 persons. Two other hotels have been provided for i.e. ‘Hotel Kurrajong’, the construction and equipment of which will shortly be completed, with a capacity of 120 guests; and the ‘Hotel Acton’, which is now under construction with similar capacity. The ‘Hotel Kurrajong’ is situated on the south side of the Administrative Area, and the ‘Hotel Acton’ is on the north side of the Molonglo River, not far from Civic Centre. The Commission has also under construction four Boarding Houses – two on the north side and two on the south side of the city, each with a capacity of 50 persons. It is expected that these will be completed and in operation in the early part of 1927.

52.  The provision of residential accommodation is increasing in the various localities. Apart from workmen’s settlements, about 200 cottages of a permanent type – mostly of brick – and contracts are in progress for a further 200. It is proposed to let contracts for additional houses of various types. These residences are disposed in about equal numbers on the north and south side of the city. They include one area at Blandfordia, for the lay-out of which an architectural competition was held. The competition included the design of various types of houses, and about 50 of these are now being erected under the directions of the architects who were awarded the first premium, ie, Messrs Oakley and Parkes of Melbourne. In addition to the contract work the Commission has also undertaken the erection of residences by its own staff.

53.  As a result of the first auction sale of building leases held in December 1924, the construction of buildings for residential and shopping purposes was undertaken by private enterprise.


As a result of additional sale of leases both for residential and business purposes the amount of work of this class has considerably increased. The number of building permits issued is 73.


The main shopping zone provided for in the approved plan is at the Civic Centre, where a commencement has been made with the construction of two considerable blocks of shops and offices.


At Eastlake and Manuka subsidiary shopping blocks have been established to serve the retail needs of the surrounding districts. A number of shops have been completed, and in other cases lessees are actively engaged in providing buildings.


54.  The problem of accommodation for workmen during the period of initial construction has been met to a certain extent by the provision of portable wooden cottages in areas adjacent to the sites of main building operations. Houses of a more permanent character are shortly to be constructed forming a garden suburb. Single men are accommodated in messes and camps.

55.  Quarries to supply road making and building material have been established; plant has been purchased for the manufacture of materials, road and sewer construction, transport &c; and a light railway has been laid to facilitate the carriage of material and plant from stores depots and brickworks to various localities.

56.  Survey work involved in land subdivision, road location, siting of buildings, and engineering works, has been proceeding, and is still in active progress.

57.  Canberra is regarded as a garden city, and the planting of trees and shrubs is a very important section of development. The formation and planting of avenues and streets and other ornamental features, have been carried out, as well as a large amount of afforestation work on the outskirts of the city.  Various city parks and reserves and belts of trees for shelter have also been planted. Work in this direction is still proceeding concurrently with the formation of roads and the development of the various areas. All the trees required for this extensive planting are raised in the local nursery.  This was established in 1913, and has carried out extensive to ascertain the varieties that will thrive in the climatic conditions of Canberra.

58.  The number of workmen employed on construction at the present time is about 3,000.

59.  Although the present scheme of construction involves the postponement of many of the more costly and monumental works included in Mr Griffin’s design, nothing is being done which will impede the execution of such works at any future time when it may be considered expedient to develop the city on lines that are architecturally monumental.


60.  Water Supply – The water supply for Canberra is obtained from the Cotter River, a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River. It has a catchment area of about 170 square miles on which there is no settlement, the country being steep and difficult of access. The water is of the highest quality for domestic supply, and the inclusion of the whole catchment in the Federal Territory ensures its protection against contamination in the future.  The average daily flow of the Cotter River is 70.000,000 gallons, sufficient for the supply of 700,000 persons at 100 gallons per head per day.  A storage reservoir has been formed on the Cotter River, near its junction with the Murrumbidgee, about 14 miles from the city site. The dam was originally intended to be 100 feet high, in order to impound 1,400 million gallons. It was constructed however, to a height of 60 feet and the capacity of the dam is therefore reduced to 380,000,000 gallons. The safe drat of this reservoir is 7,000,000 gallons per day or sufficient to supply 70,000 persons on 100 gallons per day basis over the most critical period of flow. Facilities exist for enormously increasing this supply if necessary.  Water is conveyed from the Cotter River reservoir through a tunnel under the Murrumbidgee to a pumping station on the right bank of the river by and 18-inch diameter cast-iron main 4,100 feet in length. From the pumping station a cast-iron gravitation main 18 inches in diameter, 3¼ miles in length, conveys the water to a service reservoir of 3,000,000 gallons capacity on Mt Stromlo. From Stromlo a cast-iron gravitation main 18 inches in diameter and about 6½ miles in length extends to a service reservoir of similar capacity on Red Hill. An additional service reservoir has been constructed on Mount Russell of 1,000,000 capacity (with provision for extension to 3,000,000 gallons), which provides for the Military College, and also for the settlement on the northern side of the city. In the pumping station at the Murrumbidgee two pumps by Gwynne and Company of London have been installed, direct coupled to electric motors driven by electricity supplied from the central power house at Canberra and run by RPM. Each pump has a normal capacity of 100,000 gallons per hour, against and 840 ft head at Stromlo reservoir. During the greater part of the year, there is sufficient excess flow on the Cotter River to operate a turbine driven pump, and a set has therefore been installed capable of delivering 130,000 gallons per diem.

An impression has been created that there is a deficiency of water supply at Canberra.  This is quite erroneous as the above figures will indicate, and these relate to the Cotter River alone. There are other streams in the Territory from which additional supply of the purest water could be obtained, making ample provision for the requirements of a city larger than any the existing Australian Capitals.

Criticism has been leveled at the adoption of pumping instead of gravitation for the present supply. The capital cost involved in the gravitation scheme, however, is so great that it would not be justified until the population exceeds say, 50,000. The annual cost of pumping is considerably less than the interest on the cost of a gravitational scheme.

61.  Sewage – The adoption  of an outfall system of sewage disposal, was the outcome of exhaustive investigation and inquiry, in view of proposals put forward that adequate treatment could be afforded by one or more of the systems of septic tanks within the city boundary.  The Commonwealth is under an obligation to refrain from polluting the Molonglo River, and it is highly important that no discharge be made into that stream to which the State of New South Wales may take exception. The scheme provides for a main out-fall sewer from the city boundary to Western Creek a distance of about 3 miles. It is oviform, 5ft 6in by 3ft 8in in size. From it a main intercepting sewer of the same size leads into the city to Commonwealth Avenue, a length of about 2 miles; and thence a southern main sewer 21 inches in diameter; and just under 2 miles in length extends to Eastlake; and a northern main sewer, 30 inches in diameter and about two miles in length, extends to the northern portion of the city under the Molonglo River. At the termination of the out-fall sewer at Western Creek, sewerage treatment works are under construction.  A decision to the exact method of treatment was deferred to as late a date as possible, in order that the results of recent experiment and development in other countries might be considered. It has been decided to install units of sedimentation tanks and filters and a unit for treatment by activated sludge process. The operation of these installations will, it is considered, provide data to indicate in what direction the further development should occur when it is necessary to extend the treatment works owing to the increase in population. It is expected that the sewerage scheme will be in operation early in 1927.

62.  Electric Power and Lighting – One of the earliest works was the construction of a power house, in order that electric energy might be transmitted to all parts of the Territory where construction work was proceeding. The power house is a steel framed structure with concrete walls  and the plant installed consists of two Bellis and Morcom high speed enclosed reciprocating engines, direct coupled to Brush alternators, each set with a capacity of 600KW and an auxiliary Robey Hall set is also provided, having a capacity of 150KW. The total plant capacity is therefore 1,350KW.  Current is generated by 3 phase alternators, 5,500 volts, 50 cycles and is distributed at 11,000 volts and 5,500 volts, stepping down at transformer station to 4 wire 415-240 volts for low tension distribution.


The boiler house comprises four 2-drum Babcock and Wilcox boilers, with super-heaters and mechanical stokers; Green’s economizer; automatically controlled feed pumps; coal crushing, filling, elevating, and weighting plant (capacity 40 tons per hour); and ash conveyor and elevator.


The engine room was designed for the installation of reciprocating engines, and later, turbines, when justified by the demand. About 50 miles of high tension transmission lines, with necessary substations have been erected, and current is supplied to the Royal Military College, offices and dwellings at Acton, Ainslie, Blandfordia, and for manufacturing purposes to the brickworks, workshops and sewerage camps as well as to workmen’s camps, hotels, contractor’s yards and also to the town of Queanbeyan.


Investigations have been made with the object of obtaining electrical energy at a lower rate from hydro-electric sources, and it is hoped to complete negotiations shortly with the State of New South Wales as a result of which hydro-electric power from Burrenjuck will be available in Canberra.

63.  Factories & Workshops -  As Canberra is remote from the source of supply of important constructional materials it is necessary to provide facilities for their supply locally and the following factories have therefore been established:-

a.    Brickworks – The brickworks plant established in 1914 [sic 1913] comprised on Staffordshire continuous kiln of 20 chambers; three ‘New Era’ brick-making machines; mixers; grinding mills and pressers, with a capacity of 20,000 bricks per day; tile making plant for roofing and other tiles with a capacity of 5,000 tiles per day.  This kiln was in operation in 1914 but was closed during the War period, brickmaking being resumed during 1921.  The Commission has arranged for the plant to be supplemented by the provision of on ‘Hoffmann’ kiln with a capacity of 25,000 bricks per day and a special tile kiln with a capacity of 25,000 tiles per month. These additional kilns will shortly be in operation.  About 22,000 bricks and 750,000 tiles have been made up to date.

b.    Cement Products Factory – This factory has been engaged in the manufacture of cement pipes of various sizes, and other pre-cast products, such as fencing posts.

c.     Joiner’s Shop – This factory  was erected in 1924 to cope with the joinery for Parliament House, which is being manufactured from stocks of joinery timbers that were purchased prior to the war, and have been seasoned at Canberra. The factory is equipped with electrically operated wood-working machinery of all kinds, and it is an essential adjunct to present building construction.

d.    Machine Shop – The maintenance of extensive plant for transport services, power supply, and distribution for manufacturing purposes renders it necessary to maintain a machine shop and electrical repair shop, in order that renewals may be effected locally.

e.    Quarries, with crushing plant and equipment, have been provided to supply metal for road construction and aggregate for concrete for use in building works. Large deposits of stone suitable for this purpose exist in the Territory, the principal being at Mugga where the largest quarry has been established.

64.  Parliament House – In the design for the city, provision was made for the construction of a monumental Parliament House on Camp Hill, and an international competition for its design was inaugurated in July 1914 but was withdrawn owing to the outbreak of war. It was revived in August 1916, but was indefinitely postponed in November of that year. The scheme for the construction of the proposal for the provisional buildings has led to the abandonment of the proposal for the permanent Parliament House probably for 50 years.  Provision has been made, however, for the erection of a suitable Parliament House designed by the Commonwealth Works Department on simple and economic lines, substantially constructed of brick, with every modern convenience, and presenting a good appearance architecturally. The plan provides for accommodation on two floors, the main floor containing the Legislative Chambers providing for 56 Senators, 112 Representatives, Library, Reception Hall, Party Rooms, and Offices together with recreation and retiring accommodation. On the lower floor provision is made for storage, housing of heating, ventilating, and other plant and for additional offices.  Accommodation is also made for press representatives.  The design includes garden courts, conforming to the general conception of Canberra as a garden city.  The present generation will, therefore, enjoy the advantages of a completed building which will provide all requirements involved in carrying out legislative functions; whereas, if monumental buildings were to be constructed, they would present for many years, an unfinished appearance architecturally, and in the meantime, would be less comfortable owing to the necessity of erecting them in stages.

65.  Hotel Canberra – The scheme of works during the first stage of construction included the provision of a first class hotel for the accommodation of the general public. The design of the hotel provides for a central building containing reception, dining and lounge rooms, kitchens and offices, whilst the sleeping accommodation is contained in pavilions disposed on either side of the main building in garden courts, and connected by enclosed covered ways. The main building consists of lounges, writing rooms, smoking room, billiard room, drawing room, sitting rooms, dining room to accommodate 200 guests, kitchen and servants’ quarters. There are six one-storied and four two-storied pavilions containing bedrooms, private sitting rooms, and bathrooms. One of the pavilions has been left without subdivision and is being used temporarily for dancing. The hotel is of brick construction, and the public rooms are mechanically heated. The normal accommodation of the hotel is 180 guests. The hotel is surrounded by gardens, tennis court, bowling greens and golf links have been provided.

66.  Other Hotels – Three other hotels are also included –

a.    The Hotel Ainslie [Gorman House renamed in 1927], which has been constructed at Ainslie and contains accommodation for 80 guests. It is designed to proved quarters at a lower tariff than the Hotel Canberra, but its design follows the same general principle, garden courts being introduced.

b.    The Hotel Kurrajong, situated near Federal Avenue, within easy distance of Parliament House, has been completed so far as the building is concerned, and its equipment is now being supplied.

c.     The Hotel Acton on the northern side of the city near the Civic Centre, is under construction and it is expected will be completed in early 1927.


Both these hotels are similar in design to the Hotel Canberra, but it is expected that accommodation will be available at a somewhat lower rate as their construction is on simpler lines.

67.  Administrative Offices – Parliament did not approve of the proposal to erect provisional Administrative buildings in accordance with the Advisory Committee’s scheme, but desired that the permanent Administrative building be proceeded with. This has been the subject of an architectural competition and the design of Mr G Sydney Jones of Sydney has been awarded first prize. The scheme developed from his designs is now before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and authority is awaited to proceed with its construction. This will occupy four or five years, and, therefore, will not be ready in time to accommodate the staffs of the Departments which it will be necessary to house at Canberra when the Seat of Government is transferred. It is necessary, therefore, to adopt an expedient to provide for this accommodation and the situation has been met by proposing that some Departments shall be represented by a small secretariat only, leaving the transfer of the main body of officers until such time as accommodation is available. Two buildings are being erected to provide accommodation for the Departments to be transferred in the early stages and the secretariats of other Departments.  One of these buildings, in addition will serve to house the National Library which is too large to be accommodated in Parliament house – where the requirements of a library for Parliamentary purposes only will be met.  Provision is also being included in one of the buildings for an Automatic Telephone Exchange and Post Office.

These offices are of similar type of construction to Parliament House, and are disposed one on either side of the main axis to the south-east and south-west respectively of that building, in order that a balanced scheme of construction may be attained.

The building in which the Telephone Exchange and Post Office are contained is practically complete and the building in which the National Library will be housed is at present under construction and will be finished early in 1927.

68.  Stromlo Observatory – The Commission is at present engaged in erecting a Solar Physics Observatory on Mt Stromlo for the Department of Home and Territories. The work of the Observatory is not under the control of the Commission but is under a Director who is an officer of the Home and Territories Department. The site is an elevated one, being over 2,300 feet in height and somewhat remote, but it was chosen on account of its suitability for the research work to be undertaken.

69.  Australian war Memorial – The Government has decided that the Australian War Memorial shall be erected at Canberra, and that its design be the subject of an architectural competition. Arrangements have accordingly been made for the holding of a competition, in connexion with which about 70 designs were received during the present year. These designs are at present the subject of consideration by a Board of Adjudicators.

The scheme for the War Memorial provides for a Hall of Memory, in which will be inscribed the names of those Australian soldiers who lost their lives as a result of the War, and it will also provide accommodation for the Australian War Museum.

The site selected lies towards the north-east, on the main city axis, with Mt Ainslie in the immediate background. The building will thus enjoy a commanding position facing Parliament House – which will be distant about 2 miles.

70.  The Australian School of Forestry – The Commonwealth Government by agreement with the various States, has arranged to establish in the Federal Territory a school for the training of expert foresters, who will be available to superintend forestry operations on scientific lines under the different State organizations.


Apart from being a convenient location for such a school the Federal Territory will afford an opportunity for practical training for its students in view of the Commission’s forestry operations.


Schemes for the buildings are now being prepared, and it is expected that tenders will shortly be called for their construction.


71.  Australian National Museum of Zoology – A Museum of National Zoology has been established by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament, and it is proposed that it be located in Canberra. The Museum includes living and dead specimens of Australian fauna which were presented to the nation by Professor W Colin McKenzie MD, FRCS, FRSE, who is its first director.  Building schemes are being developed in order that the construction work may be commenced as soon as possible.

72.  Royal Military College – The Royal Military College has no necessary connexion with the scheme for the building of the Federal Capital, but was located in the Federal Territory for special reasons. Its construction was commenced prior to that of the city of Canberra, and it was opened in 1911. It is situated on the site of the old Duntroon homestead, on the right bank of the Molonglo River about 7 miles from Queanbeyan. The homestead has been converted into offices for the Administrative staff, orderly rooms, quarters and mess rooms. Temporary barracks and mess accommodation have been erected for the cadets. Class rooms and other accessory buildings have been provided as well as residences for the staff. It was intended at a later date, that permanent buildings should be erected for the general purposes of the College on a site further north of the present temporary buildings. The residences for the Commandant and Professors, however, were constructed of permanent materials and were so located that they would be conveniently situated when the permanent College was constructed. The College is connected to the city water supply and electrical services. The administration of the College is under a Commandant directly responsible to the Minister for Defence and is therefore independent of the administration of the Federal Capital.

Federal Capital Commission, Canberra

1st October 1926






27 July 1927 Sanitation Report - Lists of camps & settlements [Naa a/6270/1 e2/27/2613]


The following is a typed copy of the report which mentions the majority of camps and the settlements in the FCT at that time. A number of camps  had already been removed.


The Secretary:

In company with Mr Gibson I have inspected the undermentioned Settlements and submit the following brief particulars for your perusal and consideration:-

MOLONGLO CAMP. About 120 tenements containing 4-6 rooms each. Walls, floors and partitions:- wood tongued and grooved. Roofs - galvanised iron or ruberoid. Buildings 15 - 30"[inches] above ground. In some cases, uncovered and unpainted. Natural lighting by windows; no external ventilation provided. [This camp was built as an internment camp and was erected in mid 1918 in a twelve week period. When work resumed on Canberra in 1920 Molonglo was looked upon as a ready-made ideal workmen's settlement.]

Where tenements were fenced in the spaces under buildings were practically clear, in other cases lumber was notices. The general condition varied with the type of occupant. Garbage tins amply provided.

Ground surface throughout free from water accumulations. Sanitary blocks adequate - containing 4 pedestal wash-down pans and 1 trough urninal; 2 baths and 4 showers - cold freshwater; 4 wash troughs and 2 copper boilers.


  1. Internal walls of tenements - papering to be discontinued, to prevent vermin harborage. (Dead vermin found in one instance).
  2. Cover open joints in walls with strips of wood and paint or limewash surfaces.
  3. Provide louvered ventilators to all rooms when reconditioning structures.
  4. Clear lumber from under buildings and wire in such spaces wherever practicable.
  5. Keep all garbage bins effectively covered.

6.                Sanitary Blocks - Replace partitions of W.C's and bathrooms where dismantled to secure privacy.



Construction - walls and roofs - galvanised iron, floors wood. Six (6) huts, divided into cubicles 8"[foot] wooden partitions, ceilings of wire netting; each cubicle measures 10"x 12'to accommodate 2 men. Ventilation by 2'9"cowl capped air shafts. Natural lighting good; artificial lighting - electric. Mess room accommodation satisfactory.

Kitchen - Cooked meat uncovered on tables, kerosene tin for waste food; table dirty.

Butcher's Shop. - Fly-proof and satisfactory

Recreation Room. - Satisfactory

Sanitary Blocks containing:- 10 pedestal wash down pans; 1 trough urinal; 8 baths - cold freshwater; 8 showers - cold freshwater; 3-12 gallon copper boilers.


  1. Kitchen - tables to be kept clean; all meat and foods to be protected in fly-proof receptacles or rooms. Garbage to be kept in metal rat proof receptacles.
  2. Rake under all huts and keep spaces under huts clean. Wire in spaces where possible.


150 wooden huts accommodating 2 men in each. Roofs - galvanised iron; floors wood; area 10'x12'each. Natural lighting by 2 4'x2'sashes. Ventilation by drilled holes in gable ends. Internal lining - hessian and beaver board to prevent condensation. Tent structures being replaced by huts. Large garbage bins provided for garbage.

Two recreation rooms provided. - Natural lighting good but no external ventilation.

Kitchen - structures in fair order - uncovered garbage tine - corrected; pipe drain from kitchen untrapped.

Butcher's Shop. - Fly proof hut bench dirty - small scraps of meat bad.

Mess Room for 150 persons - satisfactory.

Sanitary Blocks. - Concrete floors with 2 exceptions; galvanised iron walls; 12 earth pans with loose box covers - no lids; attended tri-weekly by Contractor; 4 baths and 8 showers - cold freshwater; 2 wash troughs - cold freshwater and 2 copper boilers.


1         Kitchen drainpipe to be trapped at upper end to prevent contamination in preparation for food stuffs

2         W.C's on earth bases to be raised or placed on concrete floors.

3         Bathrooms to channel and earth drains - see general remarks.


[Built in 1925/1926 by different contractors the first being John Howie & Sons whose men lived at Westlake) About 120 cottages - wooden structures with galvanised iron roofs. Ventilation by airlouvres in each room. Wire fenced areas:- general outlook untidy in yards but on inspection not insanitary.

Outhouse - fowl pens etc., irregular

W.C's at end of enclosure to each - concrete floors, iron walls and roofs; pedestal washdown pans to sewer provided. [NB The sewer was connected in 1927. Prior to that time either a pan or connected to a septic tank.]


    1. That periodical limewashing of yard structures be made


CAPITOL HILL CAMP  [Built 1925 by John Howie & Sons.]

Construction - walls - wood; roofs - galvanised iron; floors - wood

8 huts, each having 8 rooms approximately 8'x 10'; natural lighting 4'x 3'sashes; ventilation by 2 louvres in each room; spaces under huts are lumbered.

Kitchen - clean

Butcher's Shop. - Fly-proof; hut bench required scrubbing; small portions of meat, bad. Floor dirty

Sanitary Block. - Containing 3 earth closets, 2 baths, 4 showers, and 4 wash troughs.


    1. Rake under all huts etc., and keep spaces clear.
    2. Butcher's Shop, - to be kept clean and re-joint bench.
    3. Earth closet seats to be made portable, wooden floors to be replaced by concrete.



[Russell Hill is in the area of Blamey Crescent & Constitution Avenue up towards the Campbell shopping centre. 120 sites were allowed for men to build their own cottages. The Acton Masonic Hall built by Howie was moved to the site in 1926 and was converted into a school. In 1929 it closed and the following year it was moved to Ainslie where it still serves the community as the Ainslie Hall in Corroboree Crescent. This settlement replaced Riverbourne - 3 miles from the Queanbeyan Post Office on the south bank of the Molonglo River - near the site of present day Harman.]

No sewerage contemplated. Allotments 50'x 100' - 54 fenced in, others unfenced.

Various self constructed dwellings of fibro, wood and hessian formation; one place had concrete floor to bathroom with wastes from tubs and bath discharging from floor to earth channel alongside; another had similar drainage to elongated quagmire. Most dwellings had serviceable W.C's, but garbage was generally found in uncovered  kerosene tins - in one case a cardboard container. In wooden structures the windows were generally small compared with floor areas and no external ventilation was provided.


1.More natural lighting to rooms to be encouraged, also louvred ventilators.

  1. Regulations receptacles for garbage to be provided.
  2. Earth closets to be preferably on concrete bases.
  3. Drainage from wash houses and bathrooms to be collected in receptacles and then scattered broadcast instead of concentrated areas causing nuisance.
  4. Would strongly recommend extension of sewer to this area or suitable septic tank installed.
  5. Rake under buildings to remove lumber.



Unsewered Area: septic tanks applied for.

13 wooden huts, 21 iron huts, each hut containing 2 persons. Size of rooms 10'x 12', - former similar to Causeway huts but with added ventilation in front and rear gables. Iron huts have no such ventilation; lumber found under structures. [The timber huts were cubicles constructed from second grade baltic pine. From 1926 they gradually replaced tents in main camps.]


1. Periodically rake out lumber from under huts and Mess Room.

2. Provide louvres of similar ventilation when reconditioning huts.

3. Kitchen and lavatory drainage; make channel drainage straight and extend to stormwater channel below.

4. Kitchen; - rejoint benches, keep bins covered, provide sheltered store for vegetables; (now on rack outside).

5. Meat Room or Butcher's Shop - rejoined benches and remove all bad foodstuffs.

6. Earth closets - raise clear of ground, provide portable boxes with lids for pans.



To be removed in 2 and half month's time to Mount Ainslie. Unsewered. Six rows of canvas and hessian structures 10'x 8'each for 2 persons situated on flat ground. Proposed new site has good slope. Three transverse earth channels - limewashed but extending through camp.



1.Discontinue earth channels and broadcast waste waters.

2. Kitchen - keep floors clean, broadcast waste water to prevent concentration in one place, provide suitable store for vegetables kept outside.

3. Rake out under huts and kitchen and keep garbage bins covered.

4. Earth closets - Raise from ground and provide portable boxes in lieu of fixed seats.

5. Clothes Drying Room - earth channels from water tap - places receptacle under tap and broadcast to prevent stagnation below.



150 wooden huts, each for two persons; 5 wooden huts, each divided into 3 cubicles. To be made permanent and to be sewered in 2 and half months time. 50 wooden huts 10 x 12' being erected to accommodate Horse Camp occupants. Camp ground clean, garbage bins provided and mainly covered. [This camp was originally tent accommodation - hence it's name White City. These were replaced from 1926 with cubicles, which were then painted green. The site is near the Art School near Civic Centre.]


1.Huts - rake out lumber from beneath; earth channel leads to lavatory block.

2. Lavatory block drainage bad - cut earth channels straight and terminate above quagmire by irrigating on shallow trenched patches - alternately; vegetation would encourage absorption and eliminate quagmire.

3.Kitchen - keep utensils in covered compartments; clean shelves of dry store, (signs of mice); rejoint benches. Drainage to be treated as above mentioned; cover dried fruit and other exposed stores.

4.Mess Room - complete wire netting beneath floor space.

5.Butcher's Shop - rejoint benches.

6.Urinal Trough - place pan receptacle below in lieu of soakage.



To be removed to above site shortly. About 40 huts of various design and appearance, constructed of hessian, wood and iron and about 12'x 10'each in size. Small horse paddock standings are to be taken down and existing paddock extended.


1.Remove accumulation of manure from horse standings and utilise for cultivation in parks etc.

2.Remove water trough to crest of slope to prevent quagmire in direction of camp as present, waste water will then flow away from area - trench slope if necessary.



To be demolished in a month - occupants then to wooden cubicles at Red Hill site. About 100 12'x 10'tents of hessian and canvas. No surface collections of water with exception of water tap drainage to earth channels extending to creek, (nearly dry). Sanitation blocks sewered; garbage bins covered. [This camp was on the sewer line and would not have gone on until 1927.]


1.               Cover all exposed dry fruits and foods in store, place fish scales in garbage bins instead of on ground adjoining; cleanse or limewash internal walls.

2.               Butcher's Shop - clean walls and block and rejoint bench.


OLD TRADES CAMP, WESTLAKE [Bl 3, Section 128 Stirling Park Yarralumla]

Being demolished and accommodation provided at Capitol Hill. 44 tents raised on wooden sides, upper canvas portions not in good repair, floors of wood in sections, litter under some floors, bins provided but lids not used. Mess Room and kitchen provided and run on co-operative lines instead of usual contracting caterer. [This camp was erected in 1923 on either side of an 1890 road from Briar Farm pulled down in 1950 and replaced with the Canberra Yacht Club. Today the site is on the hillside opposite Lotus Bay.]


    1. Rake under huts where necessary and keep garbage receptacles covered.
    2. Kitchen - improve natural lighting if demolition is delayed also rejoint kitchen benches.
    3. Sanitary Blocks - drainage to long quagmire to be shortened and directed to shallow trenched patches, used alternatively.
    4. Earth closets - institute portable boxes with lids for pan covers in lieu of fixed uncovered seats if conveniences remain.


RED HILL MESS CAMP[near and on Latrobe Park, Red Hill]

To be sewered in 2 months. 80 tents of canvas and bag formation in regular lines. Earth channels for water taps only - clean but unsightly. Garbage bins generally covered. Kitchen and Mess Room provided; (kitchen utensils inside - clean.)


1.             Kitchen - rejoint benches; keep all garbage bins covered. Drainage to be shortened and irrigated to prevent stagnation.

2.                   Dry Store Room - rejoint benches and provide covers for dried fruits etc.

3.                   Mess Room - rake under floor to remove lumber.

4.                   Butcher's Shop - rejoint benches.

5.                   Sanitary Blocks - drainage to be treated as above to prevent stagnation.




Unsewered. To be removed shortly to cubicles at Mugga Valley site. Rough tent formation camp in irregular layout and untidy; garbage bins uncovered generally; earth channels from water taps only; horses pens and paddocks at rear of camp, manure in same accumulated. A considerable manure heap at rear of pens.


    1. Manure in horse pens and paddocks to be regularly removed and utilised for park and gardening purposes.
    2. Manure heap at rear of pens to be similarly treated - at present fly breeding - discontinue heap accumulations.
    3. Earth closets - raise above ground if removal delayed.

 RED HILL CONTRACTOR'S CAMP (Monolyte Building Company)

Shortly to be demolished - two galvanised iron huts each with 10 cubicles, having accommodation for 2 men in each cubicle; rooms generally clean but lumber under floors. Mess Room and kitchen provided; sanitary blocks filthy.


      1. Huts - rake under same to remove lumber.
      2. Kitchen - rejoint benches, rake under floor, trap pipe drain at upper end and if further used, provide covers for dried fruits etc., in store room.
      3. Butcher's Shop - rejoint bench and clean block, benches and safe.
      4. Earth closets - thoroughly cleanse and keep compartments clean.
      5. Lavatory Block - drainage - earth - to be straightened to creek.



Occupants to be removed to weatherboard cottages under construction. Five weatherboard tenements [ex-Molonglo], 5 to 6 rooms each - natural lighting satisfactory. No external ventilation. Structures shortly to be removed.


1.                                  Rake under huts to remove lumber.

2.                                  Provide ventilation louvres if reconditioned also portable box covers for earth closets if further used.


WESTLAKE COTTAGES [Section 22 & Bl 4, Section 128 Stirling Park Yarralumla]

Sewered. 61 cottages, all but 10 fenced in, [These would be cottages 53 to 62 built in 1926 following the departure of No 3 Sewer Camp. Cottage 21 was built but was moved or burnt down shortly after completion.], spaces under cottages clean; ventilation and natural lighting satisfactory; gardens generally clean, site has good incline; garbage bins mainly covered.

Recommendations Nil.



Sewered; 15 cottages fenced in; ventilation and natural lighting satisfactory; garbage bins covered; gardens and yards satisfactory with one exception.


    1. Grounds attached to No 4 to be cleaned up, refuse etc., to be placed in garbage bins.


HOWIE'S COTTAGES [Westlake][Bl 3 Section 128 Stirling Park Yarralumla]

Will remain about 5 years longer - unsewered. 13 cottages of wood, bungalow design; unfenced [originally 25]. Rooms 3-6 in each. Natural lighting good; no external louvre ventilations. Ground site - fall, good. Conditions - clean generally but waste water to earth channels [still visible] - bad. No baths or water troughs provided. Three small horse pens too near cottages. [The Westlake, Acton & Causeway cottages designed by HM Rolland were based on Howie's cottages.]


1. Until such time as sewer or septic tank is provided there is no need for earth channels for waste waters - would suggest that waste liquids be broadcast to prevent stagnation and portable receptacles for this purpose be encouraged.

  1. Horse Pens; - to be removed from near dwellings and manure be disposed of.

2.    Earth Closets - Raise clear of ground or provide concrete floors.



Will be demolished in a month; 6 blocks or huts each divided into 4 cubicles 10'x 10'. No natural lighting or ventilation except where occupants have made hinged wooden fanlights above doors. Walls of wood; roofs iron. Conditions of rooms - fairly clean. No bins provided for garbage; surrounding ground littered with tins, bottles etc. Lumber under huts. Kitchen drainage - foul. Earth closets - dirty.


    1. Clean up ground and under huts and provide receptacles for garbage
    2. Kitchen - rejoint benches and tables; keep foods covered; provide covered receptacles for garbage in lieu of tea chests.
    3. Messroom and Kitchen drainage; - remove wooden V channel, cut earth channel straight, shorten and shallow trench liquids. Suggest removal of meat room outside Messroom.
    4. Earth closets; thoroughly cleanse compartments and provide boxes with lids for pans (pans 12"for fixed seat - no lids).



Sewered. 15 wooden huts fenced. [ex-Molonglo buildings erected brought to site in 1921.] Garbage bins provided and covered. General ground in fair condition. Molonglo River bank opposite cottages used as a garbage tip.


      1. Lane between tenement No 3 and 4 requires cleaning up.
      2. Small heaps of manure at rear of No 4 remove.
      3. Rake under floors where necessary.
      4. Molonglo River Bank - rake up rubbish and burn off - prevent further use as a tip.
      5. Men's lavatory. Cleanse floors.
      6. Men's W.C's Block - extend urinal waste to floor trap.



For all Northern Areas. Location. - Prospect Parkway [Anzac Parade]; - refuse tipped in depression and burnt - no destructor, tins scattered round area; land surround leased for sheep grazing; garbage area unfenced. Contractor Clark removes garbage from areas in uncovered motor vehicle; duplicate bins used for residential areas.


1.Fence areas to prevent access of sheep to garbage if use continued; collect scattered tins and cover over with clean earth as soon as possible

2.Refuse vehicle to have suitable covering during transit.



For all Southern Areas. - Location - above Red Hill Horse Camp - Long dry gully opposite new Girls'School site - deposits consist of manure, building waste, sawdust, tins and garbage - burning in progress but incomplete.


1.Cover over with clean earth when burning completed, discontinue use on account of location

With reference to the above, possibly more suitable sites could be found, and until such time as a suitable destruction plant is erected, systematic shallow trenching and covering could be employed providing garbage is kept separate from other innocuous refuse, the latter being used for filling in depressions and suitably covering.

NIGHTSOIL DEPOT [Area in the vicinity of the over pass over Adelaide Avenue from Kent St Deakin to Novar St Yarralumla]

Location - Westridge. Being an enclosed circle of ground of about 10 acres, bordered with trees and about a mile from the nearest settlement. Trenches are 20'x 2'6"x 2'0 ironstone clay 12"below surface and therefore unsuitable for nightsoil disposal. Times of removal unrestricted - day or night. Russell Hill and Howie's cottages removal once weekly - others tri-weekly. [area near the overpass from Kent Street Deakin to Novar Street Yarralumla.]

Plant- Motor lorry uncovered, used for removal of pans, a new 2 tier closed in lorry just purchased and being used to-morrow, 28th inst. Pans with tight fitting spring and rubberoid lids - duplicate pan system - pans coated with biturine 3 times yearly, washed after each emptying by means of a three-quarter garden hose at trench side, water standpipe practically in centre of circle. Galvanised iron shed - new - used for stacking pans. No steaming or cleaning plant installed - pans and lids in good order - no leaky pans noticed on inspection.

Trenches used 12 months ago stated unfit to use again and from appearance of earth excavated this seems very probable.


1.A more suitable soil site is strongly recommended, also the construction of a suitably constructed pan washing and steaming plant, washing and steaming after each emptying, the swab application of heavy crude oil to interior of pans is recommended in preference to biturine, a small quantity of oil being left in the pans would form a fly preventing film on liquids, which in the absence of dry deodorants, is necessary. The use of narrower and more shallow trenches is also advised.




Sewered. Dining room for 140 persons - ventilation, lighting, cleanliness of crockery etc., - satisfactory. Kitchen - structure satisfactory; - cleaning up floor at time of visit; garbage bins uncovered, chopping block requires repair; few roaches in vegetable room and dry store. Kitchen utensils were not clean at time of visit, viz., 10 am. - kitchen otherwise clean. No hot water fittings installed.


1. .Provide adequate means for exterminating roaches.

2. Repair or fill in chopping block where open.

3. Keep garbage bins effectively covered, also provide coverings for dried fruits etc., in store; rejoint lunch cutting block.


Location Telopea. - Sewered. Modern buildings - accommodation 16 double and 24 single rooms. - Kitchen - structures satisfactory, bins covered; vegetable locker and store room - cleanliness and construction satisfactory - few traces of mice in store - cat kept.


1.Maintain effective means of exterminating mice.



Modern building containing 56 double and 62 single rooms and 16 suites. General conditions satisfactory - garbage bins covered.


1.Rejoint cutting and fish scaling bench.


Sewered. Modern building containing 60 double and 25 single rooms. General conditions satisfactory with exception of information received of 3 pet dogs being kept in kennels in bedroom occupied by Mrs Barton, a permanent resident who was out at time of visit, but information confirmed by Manageress - apparently no verandah space available for kennels except at sitting rooms at end of wing corridors; animals habits stated to be clean and no noise complained to.


The practice of keeping any animals in living rooms is discouraged and regulations prohibiting same might be considered.


Sewered - Building construction satisfactory - accommodation for 80 persons, in 20 double and 40 single rooms. - Lockers, cupboards etc clean. Kitchen garbage bins - one perforated wooden lid - no metal lids. Walls not clean. - Bulk store door - glass panel broken and wire gauze in outer door defective; no external ventilation.


1. Provide lids for garbage bins and keep bins covered.

  1. Paint or cleanse walls of kitchen and vegetable store where necessary.
  2. Bulk store door panel - remove broken glass and replace with gauze panel; renew gauze to outer door.
  3. Refrigerating Chamber. - provide ice to preserve meat etc., or remove contents to screened locker to provide ventilation. (Door to chamber kept open to preserve contents, but provides access for flies).



Sewered. - Modern weatherboard buildings with 140 single rooms. General sanitary conditions clean; small  quantity of chipped crockery; kitchen walls require cleaning or painting. Internal surfaces of accommodation - paint off in parts. Slight collection of rubbish in yard and adjoining ground.


  1. Discard chipped crockery and replenish if necessary.
  2. Paint and kalsomine interior walls of accommodation where necessary.
  3. Kitchen - rejoint table, cleanse or paint walls.
  4. Dry store - provide covers for dried fruits etc., and provide effectual means for exterminating mice.
  5. Heap of Contractor's refuse near hedge to be removed, also collect and remove small accumulation of rubbish outside boundary near accommodation.



Unsewered. - Walls brick - cemented internally, concrete floors; internal space restricted. Slaughter House - rails for hanging beef suspended by wooden structures - too near meat for periodic limewashing and of absorbent nature. Mutton recess off Slaughter House- wooden rack for examining viscera - joint open. Hanging room for mutton and pork - wooden support for iron hooks. Beef and mutton temporary hanging room - fly proof gauze above and below walls of wood. Iron rails for hanging but supported by wood - floor concrete. Pig vats of concrete construction, two boilers for tripe being installed. City water connected; hot water provided by portable steam boiler. Offal boiling shed and hide drying shed combined - open sides, concrete floors - 12 coppers for boiling offal and barrels for tallow reception.

In the Slaughter House a concrete channel for blood is conveyed by pipe drains to two concrete filter beds used alternately for screening clots, but does not screen of prevent blood from entering the open brick channel which also receives the drainage from coppers and hide shed and continues to a very considerable area of shallow trenched land, extending nearly to the bank of a creek and thence to the Molonglo River.

The continuation of the trenched land is offensive even at this time of the year; puddles of putrescible liquids being dotted here and there, showing that the nature of the ground totally unsuitable for the purpose, there being little earth covering to inabsorbent substrata; older dried depressions are apparent near the creek bank.

Piggeries. Troughs of irregular rock and cement for food and water - no outlet provided. Bones scattered everywhere, no shelters provided. Pigs fed on cooked offal. Offal not useful for pigs feed - hoofs, paunches etc., is burnt in the open with wood fires.

Offal Carts. - Of wood construction and filthy; cold water only available.

Incinerator. - For condemned carcases and offal other than that containing fat, too small; carcases burnt as above.

Bone Drying Rack. - Uncovered - rack 12"- 24 "clear of ground. Bones bagged after a week's exposure.

Cooling Rooms. - Not provided.

No By-products plant is installed

No digesters are installed for boiling down diseased carcases.

Manure from yarding paddocks spread out for drying purposes.

In the absence of sewerage it is evident that the present site is unsuitable, for the nature of the ground and the surrounding trees are not conductive to desirable conditions, and with the summer approaching the nuisance will increase, thus affecting the quality and cleanliness of the meat and also producing the extended fly-breeding are.

If at all possible it is recommended that a new site be chosen at an early date and extension to the sewerage system could be obtained, then the question of by-products could be considered, which would probably mean increased revenue.

In my opinion difficulty in satisfactory dealing with washing down waters only, would be experienced on the existing site. [The Abattoir was in Mugga Lane - it later moved to a site near Oaks Estate.]




Unsewered . - Six months to expiry of lease. No water connected, tanks and tank carts employed. General sanitary conditions considering difficulties experienced, good; bails, milkroom etc., clean. Dwellings - temporary - no ventilation - clean.


    1. To provide portable pans in lieu of cesspits to earth closets.



Sewered nearly completed; modern weatherboard dwelling; bails, milkroom and utensils satisfactory as regards cleanliness.


Sewered. - Modern weatherboard dwelling; - bails, milkroom yards etc., clean excepting old long earth channel - now being replaced by sewer. All clean and about 12 milk customers daily receive milk and cream in sealed bottles; - process of cleaning empty bottles - washed in warm water and soda and then into boiling water in bucket or kerosene tin.


      1. Recommend that bottling system be discontinued, unless suitable sterilizing plant be installed owing to risk of possible infection from returned bottles affecting a source of milk supply, also running hot water or steam is not available for such washing at present time.


CLATTON'S DAIRY [should be Clutton]

Unsewered. - Sanitary condition - clean. Dwellings and buildings as at Murray's Dairy but long earth channel to quagmire - premises to be connected to sewer on completion of adjoining premises.



Unsewered. - Sanitary condition - clean. Condition similar to Clatton's [sic Clutton] Dairy as regards drainage.

Delivery vehicles generally, in satisfactory conditions at time of visit.




Building construction satisfactory, also through ventilation. Utensils etc., - clean. Square bent bin for scraps in shop and box in yard - both uncovered.

Observance of ordinances and provision of covered metal receptacles for all garbage recommended.



Trade refuse at rear of premises in heaps and consisting of tyres, boxes, papers, sox etc. - No garbage or suitable receptacles for same provided - private contractor engaged for fortnightly removal.


Cistern at rear overflowing causing stagnant water in yard. - Garbage, papers and ashes in heaps in yard - no receptacles, except cardboard box provided.


Clean towels and perculator used; washbasin with cold freshwater; instruments stated to be taken home daily and steeped in lysol. No steriliser provided. - Wooden box in yard for rubbish and garbage uncovered. No metal covered bins provided.


Steriliser cupboard with lysol and formalin provided. Clean towels used, utensils clean, hair stated to be burn in yard - temporarily kept in tea box with paper waste and uncovered. No metal receptacles provided.

Very few metal covered receptacles appear to be used at the above mentioned and other shops in this area, the rear of premises being generally untidy and as regards garbage - insanitary. It is recommended that covered metal bins be insisted upon, and in the case of hairdressers, sterilisation be carried out on the premises generally in lieu of treatment at home dwellings.

It will be recognised that the above report is necessary brief owing to the number of places visited in the time allotted and does not fully describe all seen; an opinion of the general conditions may be gained by the perusal of the recommendations and where same are not made it may be taken that the conditions are mainly satisfactory and I appreciate the assistance and facilities given during my visit, without which the ground covered would have been considerably less.

 [handwritten signature - looks like SB Cottle} Inspector

This report is found in the Australian Archives in Canberra and is reproduced in Westlake, One of the Vanished Suburbs of Canberra Ann Gugler and The Builders of Canberra, Where They Lived 1913-1959, Ann Gugler. 



Mr Tetley's 40 Seater char-a-banc bus service


Queanbeyan Age 11 September 1923


Mr RF Tetley intends running a regular motor service between Canberra and Queanbeyan putting is commodious Char-a-banc with commodious seating accommodation for 40 passengers on the road. He will leave Canberra at 1.30pm on Saturday next calling at the Power House and Molonglo Camp en route leaving Queanbeyan again at 5.30pm.  Ladies who will be specially catered for will thus have the opportunity of doing their shopping and getting home again in time for tea. If sufficient support is forthcoming the service will be extended to meet the needs of all centres in the Territory.

Advertisement in the Queanbeyan Canberra Advocate  11 June 1925  - repeated during June and July 1925:

Canberra – Queanbeyan Night Motor Service. Leaves Westridge 7pm Monday to Friday via Westlake, Tradesmen’s Camp, Hostel, Acton Cross Roads, Power House, Molonglo arriving at Queanbeyan to meet the Mail Train from Sydney.  Leaves Queanbeyan after arrival at 4.11am Cooma Mail. RF Tetley Proprietor.

It continued to detail the Day Service that left Westridge at 8.45am and returned 9.30pm.

This advertisement drew my attention to a service that I had not heard about.  I knew about Mrs Barton’s Canberra –Queanbeyan Safety Coach Omnibus Service that commenced in 1925 and continued into the late 1930s. It is quite well documented in Australian National Archives.  She was one of the characters of early Canberra, who managed to annoy many of the officials of the day.  Dawson and Quodling Bros replaced her service in the late thirties.    

Westridge today is Yarralumla; the site of Westlake settlement is in Stirling Park, Section22 and Block 4, Section 128 and in the embassy area bounded by Empire Circuit, Forster Crescent, Darwin and Perth Avenues Yarralumla.  The Tradesmen’s Camp and Howie’s Settlement which included cottages and single men’s Hostel Camp were in the area of Block 3, Section 128 Stirling Park between Alexandrina Drive near Lotus Bay and Forster Crescent.  The Tradesmen’s Camp extended from the park area up across Forster Crescent on to land now part of the French Embassy in Darwin Avenue.

The Hostel  most likely to be the Hotel Canberra which was known as Hostel No 1. It may also be Hotel Kurrajong which was Hostel No 2 or 3.  It is more likely to be the former.

 The Acton Cross Roads, I believe, were the Cross Roads where the old Yass Road crossed the Uriarra Road opposite the Fire Station in Forrest.  The Power House is in Wentworth Avenue then known as Interlake Avenue.   Molonglo Settlement has been replaced with the buildings of Fyshwick.  The last stop was probably the Queanbeyan Railway Station where the service met trains from Sydney and Cooma. Canberra passengers from Victoria had to get out at Yass and find their way across to Canberra.

Tetley’s  Motor Service route – using modern maps - commenced around  the Yarralumla Shops, continued down the Cotter Road  (on the Yarralumla side of Adelaide Avenue) where it turned  left  just before the Prime Minister’s Lodge onto the track that led to Westlake.  The track entered the settlement near the Canberra Mosque and continued down the hill in the area of Empire Circuit where it still continues through Stirling Park. 

From the settlement the track turned right at a point near Alexandria Drive opposite the Southern Cross Yacht Club [Briar Farm site] where It crossed Haines’ Creek and continued  along a track that runs roughly parallel to Alexandrina  Drive for the pick up from Howie’s Settlement and Tradesmen’s Camp. 

From this stop the vehicle continued along the track roughly in the area of Alexandrina Drive that went up the hill to Commonwealth Avenue for the next pick up point at the Hotel Canberra .   It then took one of the tracks or roads to Acton Cross Roads near the Fire Station at Forrest  - thence to the Power House. In Wentworth Avenue that continued  along this road to join  Canberra Avenue – Next stop  Fyshwick [Molonglo}  and finally on to  Queanbeyan Railway Station.

I assume that the track from Westlake cottages to the Hotel Canberra was the one that we used from Westlake on our way to the Hotel Canberra bus stop.   However there was another  track into Westlake Settlement that left State Circle in the vicinity of Perth Avenue and joined Darwin Avenue where sites of the cottages began.  State Circle at that time had been completed between Adelaide  and Commonwealth Avenues.   This track was not in common use by Westlake residents until the American Embassy, built in the early 1940s, cut off the original entrance.   

The Tetley Motor Service called at the major  southside settlements of the time.  It travelled along tracks, partly formed roads and old roads on its route between Westridge – the brickyards and main nursery  - to Queanbeyan.  It went by the Westlake Camps & Settlements which had a population in May 1925 of 700.  Many  men working on the Provisional Parliament House and surrounds lived  here and in the surrounding area.  The service then  travelled  to the Power House Settlements – the Industrial area -  where camps  and 20 or more small brick cottages that formed the nucleus of the suburb of Barton.   Molonglo Settlement had a population of 750.  The total population of the city area in 1925 was  just over four and half thousand.

The introduction of our local bus service began in 1926.  It was recorded in the 20th August, 1926 issue of The Federal Capital Pioneer, Canberra's first newspaper. In this article Mr Butters, the First Commissioner stated: To meet the increasing demand for passenger transport a Motor Bus Service between settlements has recently been inaugurated and will be augmented on the arrival of four buses recently purchased by the Commission...   This of course, is another story about our early public transport.

What happened to Mr Tetley’s Motor Service is unknown, but perhaps he was the first to provide a public motorized service for the people of the FCT?

Reginald Francis Tetley late of Queanbeyan died 10 December 1975 aged 89 years.

More information about Mrs Barton and our local omnibus service can be found in my web page

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