Yarralumla is a large inner south suburb of Canberra, the capital city of Australia.
Yarralumla is a large inner south suburb of Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Located approximately 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) south-west of the city, Yarralumla extends along the south-west bank of Lake Burley Griffin from Scrivener Dam to Commonwealth Avenue.
In 1828, Henry Donnison, a Sydney merchant, was granted a lease on the western side of Stirling Ridge. Donnison's land was named Yarralumla in a survey of the area conducted in 1834, apparently after the indigenous people's term for the area. It was also spelt Yarrolumla in other documents. In 1881, the estate was bought by Frederick Campbell, grandson of Robert Campbell who had built a house at nearby Duntroon. Frederick completed the construction of a large, gabled, brick house on his property in 1891 that now serves as the site of Government House, the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia. Campbell's house replaced an elegant, Georgian-style homestead, the main portions of which were erected from local stone in the 1830s. Among the old Yarralumla homestead's most notable occupants were Sir Terence Aubrey Murray, who owned Yarralumla sheep station from 1837 to 1859, Augustus Onslow Manby Gibbes, who owned the property from 1859 to 1881, and Augustus' father Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787–1873).
The modern suburb of Yarralumla was gazetted by the government in 1928 and as of 2016 was home to approximately 2,890 people and many diplomatic missions. Notable locations include Lennox Gardens, the Albert Hall and the Hotel Canberra. Parliament House and The Lodge lie just outside its boundary. Yarralumla is one of Canberra's most desirable and expensive residential suburbs because of its wide leafy streets, attractive lakeside setting and central location.
Like the rest of Canberra, Yarralumla forms part of the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people. The area now called Yarralumla is part of two original land grants made to free settlers for the establishment of farms. In 1828 Henry Donnison, a Sydney merchant who had arrived on the brig Ellen with his wife and family on 29–30 July 1828, was granted an allotment on the western side of Stirling Ridge. The name 'Yarralumla' was first used on a map by the surveyor Robert Dixon in 1829. A second grant was made to William Klensendorlffe (a German who had served in the British Navy and arrived free in the Colony in 1818), who had bought the land from John Stephen, on 7 March 1839. Donnison's land was named Yarralumla in a survey of the area conducted in 1834. Yarralumla or Yarrowlumla was a name used by the local people for the Mount Stromlo ridge, which lies to the west of the current suburb. It is said to mean "echo mountain". An area to the west of what is now the suburb was the Yarrolumla parish.The prominent New South Wales parliamentarian Sir Terence Aubrey Murray (1810–1873) purchased Yarralumla in 1837. He lived there with his wife Mary (née Gibbes, 1817–1858), the second daughter of the Collector of Customs for New South Wales, Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787–1873), MLC. Murray settled Yarralumla and part of Winderradeen (near Collector) on his wife in trust so that they would have some property if he became bankrupt. On his wife's death in 1858 Yarralumla passed in trust to her father and her brother Augustus Onslow Manby Gibbes (1828–1897). In May 1859, Augustus' parents came to live with him at Yarralumla homestead.Augustus Gibbes improved the estate and acquired additional land by purchase and lease. In 1881, he sold Yarralumla for 40,000 pounds to Frederick Campbell, a descendant of Robert Campbell, to travel overseas. Frederick Campbell erected a new, three-storey, brick house on the site of the former Yarralumla homestead at the beginning of the 1890s. Campbell's house would later form the basis of what is now the Governor-General of Australia's official Canberra residence, known colloquially as "Yarralumla" or "Government House". Campbell also built the large wooden Yarralumla Woolshed nearby in 1904.In 1908, the Limestone Plains area, including Yarralumla, was selected as the site for the capital city of the newly established Commonwealth of Australia and in 1913 the Commonwealth Government purchased the property. Tenant farmers were allowed to stay on the land on annual leases, some remaining until 1963 when the Molonglo River was dammed to form Lake Burley Griffin.
With the construction of Australia's capital city underway, the Yarralumla brickworks were established in 1913 to supply building material. The bricks were used for many of Canberra's buildings, including the provisional Parliament House. The Brickworks tramway, a 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) goods railway, was constructed for the transportation of bricks to some of the major building sites in central Canberra. This linked the brickworks to places such as Parliament House, and the Kingston Power House.Construction on the Commonwealth nursery and Westbourne Woods arboretum was started in 1914, and a temporary camp was built near the brickworks to accommodate the workers. Thomas Charles Weston was Officer-in-Charge (Afforestation Branch) in the years 1913 to 1926, and later became Director of City Planting and the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens. Weston was responsible for testing and selecting plant species at the arboretum for their suitability to Canberra's environment; from 1913 through to 1924 Weston oversaw the propagation of more than two million trees which were then planted in the Canberra area. Most of the original Westbourne Woods arboretum is now leased to the Royal Canberra Golf Club, with the remainder forming part of Weston Park. The Yarralumla nursery is still active, albeit on a smaller scale and functioning as a retail nursery selling both wholesale and direct to the public.In 1917, the designer of Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin, named the area surrounding the brickworks "Westridge". It was part of the original Griffin plan, and the objective was to provide a 'horticultural suburb' and a 'society suburb'. In Griffin's 1918 document Canberra: Plan of City and Environs, the suburb is shown as an isosceles triangle with two equal length roads leading from Capital Hill to Yarralumla Bay and Clianthus Centre respectively. The latter road is now to location of the arterial Adelaide Avenue, and Yarralumla Bay and Clianthus Centre was to be joined along a north-south axis by Novar Avenue (originally to be named Mountain Way), extending all the way to the future lake bearing Griffin's name. Griffin's vision was for Westridge to become a business centre with an urban waterfront and
promenade, complemented by the bush surroundings. Griffin's design was based on a strict hierarchy with core services such as housing, communal space and facilities such health and education, and commercial space. These would be connected outward by boulevards linking to transport routes and trams. By 1928, there were over 130 people on the electoral roll for Westridge. The majority of the population consisted of men working at the brickworks and nursery. The suburb was gazetted as Yarralumla on 20 September 1928.
In 1922, a workers' tent camp was erected on the eastern side of Stirling Ridge to house the men working on the main intercepting sewer. The following year saw the start of the construction of 62 small, four-room, unlined timber cottages, to be used as housing for the married tradesmen involved in the construction of the provisional Parliament House. Other camps were established at the eastern end of Stirling Park on the hills opposite modern Lotus Bay. The first of these was contractor John Howie's settlement (1922–1930), consisting of 25 timber cottages for his married men and timber barracks (Hostel Camp) for his single men. Two other single men's tent camps were established nearby—Old Tradesmen's Camp (1923–1927) and No 1 Labourers Camp (1924–1927). The men from Howie's worked on the Hotel Canberra and the others on the construction of the provisional Parliament House and nearby administrative buildings. The Stirling Park camps were known as Westlake to their new inhabitants, and previously "Gura Bung Dhaura" (stony ground) to the local Aboriginal people. In 1925, the population of this temporary suburb was 700. This represented roughly one-fifth of the total population of the Federal Capital Territory at the time. In 1956, the Department of Interior decided to clear the settlement so that embassies could be built. In 1960, the member of parliament for the ACT, Jim Fraser, described Westlake as one of two "hidden valleys of disgrace, which are never shown to tourists and are seen by visitors only by chance".The Commonwealth and the states agreed in 1911 that Australia needed adequately-trained foresters, although they did not agree to establish a forestry school until 1920. Prime minister Stanley Bruce promised to fund it during the 1925 election campaign and constructionof the Commonwealth Forestry School commenced in 1926 at Westridge near the brickworks and Westbourne Woods. The now heritage-listed Forestry School and the associated principal's residence Westridge House are located on Banks Street, Yarralumla. The school was initially established in March 1926 at the University of Adelaide under the leadership of Charles Lane Poole. After the move to Canberra Lane-Poole acted as principal until 1944. Its permanent building in Yarralumla was designed by Federal Capital Commission architects J.H. Kirkpatrick, and H.M. Rolland. It is built in the Inter-War Stripped Classical style as a single storey rendered brick building with a parapet and a hipped tiled roof. Various Australian woods, including Queensland maple and walnut (Cryptocarya palmerstonii), red cedar, red mahogany, hoop pine and mountain ash, were used throughout the building. It opened in April 1927 and it was completed in June. Due to financial stringency during the Great Depression and other priorities during the Second World War, it had few students in its first years. The Forestry School was absorbed by the Australian National University in 1965 and forestry courses are now carried out at its main campus in Acton. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Forestry and Forestry Products subsumed the school in 1975. Westridge House, an impressive Tudor-style structure, was completed in January 1928. It underwent a A$500,000 refurbishment and was later used as a residence for the chief officer of the CSIRO. The former Forestry School and Westridge House are now leased out by the CSIRO.
After World War II
The current geographical boundary of Yarralumla was finalised in the early 1960s with the construction of Scrivener Dam, over which Lady Denman Drive passes, allowing for the Molonglo River to be dammed, creating Lake Burley Griffin. Construction began in September 1960 and the dam was locked on 20 September 1963.The lake reached the planned level on 29 April 1964. On 17 October 1964, Prime Minister Sir Robert Menziescommemorated the filling of the lake. Yarralumla was expanded to include Westlake, which had up until then been part of Acton.After the Second World War, the suburb began to expand rapidly with the construction of many private homes. Yarralumla's image as a lower-class suburb would persist into the 1960s and 1970s. This general perception began to alter once Lake Burley Griffin had been created and its surrounds landscaped into parklands; the area soon gained a reputation for its attractive lakeside location. During the 1980s, house prices began to rise coincident with a rejuvenation of the suburb. Many of the original government-built monocrete, brick, and weatherboard houses have been demolished and replaced by larger dwellings of a variety of more modern styles and materials, although this process was more advanced in the central part of the suburb than in its east in 2004.
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