Unit 5: Finding New and Old Places in Canberra

In this unit students will examine maps to find significant places within the central national area of the National Capital including Blundells Cottage. They will discuss how human impact on the landscape has changed in the 150 years the cottage has existed.

The concept of 'new' and 'old' is largely relative to our own perspective. For example, while you may consider yourself to be young, your students may classify you as 'old' because you are an adult. This concept also applies to buildings and places. European settlement of the Limestone Plains commenced in the mid-1820s, with the city of Canberra founded in 1913. However, the growth of the city initially was a slow process, and most of the buildings in Canberra today are less than 50 years old.

Some of the older buildings built in Canberra that still stand today are:

Completed (approx)

1830s Mugga Mugga
1833 Duntroon House
1834 Duntroon Dairy
1840s St Johns Schoolhouse
1850s Lanyon
1860 Blundells Cottage

Show the class a photo of Blundells Cottage (using the photo-gallery or show them a brochure photo or print out). This is the house the Ginn, Blundell and Oldfield families lived in. It was built in about 1860, making it one of the oldest buildings still standing in Canberra.

Find a map of Canberra showing both your school and the centre of Canberra.

Help the class to locate their school and put on a red flag to mark the position. Then find Blundells Cottage (on the bend of Wendouree Drive, Parkes) on the map and put on another red flag to mark the position. Trace the route that the bus/cars might take on the day of the excursion. Discuss with the students how long it might take to drive from their school to the cottage.

Central Canberra Map

Map of Central CanberraLocate St. John's Church and Schoolhouse (Corner of Anzac Parade and Constitution Avenue, Campbell) and put a flag on the map to mark their position. Both the church and the schoolhouse along with the nearby post office, blacksmith's shop and other houses, were part of the rural landscape of the area. The Blundell children would have walked to school at St. John's schoolhouse along pathways they created themselves.

Identify the Parliamentary Triangle. Parliament House forms the apex with Commonwealth Avenue, Kings Avenue and Constitution Avenue forming the three sides. This triangle is at the centre of Griffins' design for Canberra and has many important buildings inside it. As a result of the Griffins' design, Blundells Cottage, once surrounded by paddocks and a river, is now part of the Parliamentary Triangle and in the centre of Canberra.

What was the Duntroon Estate?

The Duntroon Estate was a large sheep station on the Limestone Plains. Duntroon House, the family home of the estate, is now part of the Royal Military College. Find it on the map of Canberra and mark it with a red flag.

The property was established in 1825 by Robert Campbell, who also built St John's Church and Schoolhouse. At that stage it was one of only six properties in the area. Ask the students to think about maps of the past and consider what your school area would have looked like and what the land may have been used for then.

The Campbells set up tenant farms on their property. The Blundell family lived on one of these farms. Mr Blundell worked as a bullock driver for Duntroon, and in return he was given a house and a small area of land for himself and his family. Around the time that Blundells Cottage was built, there were 26 other tenant farms on the Limestone Plains.

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