Historic Canberra Quick Facts
Did you know…
- George Blundell (who lived in the Cottage 1874-1933), grew up on 'Blundells Hill', which is now where the National Capital Exhibition is located on Regatta Point.
- 'Duntroon' proved to be an extremely successful sheep station, unlike many other British establishments which failed in the harsh Australian climate. The Campbells' overseer, James Ainslie, started out with 700 ewes and this expanded to 25,000 sheep in just 10 years.
- Early settlers of the region relied on bullock drays for their supplies of flour, salt, tea and sugar. It could take weeks – sometimes up to months, to make it through the bush, over mountains from Sydney. The weather was often unkind - rain and cold in winter, or dust and heat in summer.
- The site of the Campbell Estate, on the slopes of Mount Pleasant, was known as 'Pialligo' before European settlement.
- Robert Campbell supervised the building of the first church in the Canberra area, the Church of St John the Baptist in Reid, completed in 1844. He donated ₤1000 for the project. Charles Campbell built a schoolhouse close by for the Duntroon children to attend. He was keen for the workers' children to be educated. [Canberra in Two Centuries – Alan Fitzgerald 1987] and 'Cottage in the Parliamentary Triangle'.
- Joshua Moore selected land in 1823 but never lived on it, his stockmen and a herd of cattle arrived in 1824. He named the property 'Canberry' when he applied to purchase it in 1826. The name was in official use by 1 December 1825, when a government official wrote to T C Harrington with permission to occupy the land across the river from 'Mr J J Moore's station of Canberry'.
- The area of the ACT is 2,356 square kilometres (910 square miles). It is approximately
85 kilometres north to south and about 35 kilometres wide. The Duntroon Estate encompassed 32,000 acres (about 50 square miles) – approximately the size of central Canberra today.
- Duntroon House was built between 1830 and 1833 for Robert Campbell, who owned the sheep station then called 'Pialligo' and renamed 'Duntroon' in about 1846. A two-storey extension was added in 1862 by Robert's son, George and his wife Marrianne, who inherited the property. Duntroon House is now used as the Officers Mess of the Royal Military Academy.
- St John's School-house is believed to have opened in 1845. It was built sometime between 1841 and 1845, but was gutted by fire and rebuilt in 1865. It is now a museum.
- In 1912, American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony won the international competition to design Australia's national capital. They did not visit Australia together until 1914 (Walter came briefly in 1913).
- The Molonglo River flowed through the Duntroon Estate. This was dammed to create Lake Burley Griffin, which was completed in 1964. Some of the workers' cottages built for the estate had to be removed during its establishment.
- Only three of the original 27 workers' cottages in the Canberra region survive today.
From "The Cottage in the Parliamentary Triangle" by Beth Knowles & the NCA bus driver's guide to trivia on the National Capital