New maps reveal old Canberra

25 May 2017

ACT Government: Minister for Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman today announced new maps have been added to the ACT Government’s mapping service ACTmapi, allowing Canberrans to see maps of the ACT and surrounding region dating back to the 1800s with just the click of a mouse.

“The ACT Government is committed to retaining and celebrating Canberra’s history, and these maps will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in the history of where they live or a place they know and how it has changed over time,” Minister Gentleman said.

“The historic maps have been scanned and processed so you can overlay them onto aerial photography of the ACT as it appears today to get a comparison of land use and tenure.

“The maps date back to the 1800s and show the sheer size of land holdings of the time, which often consisted of a number of land portions. A group of portions made up a locality called a parish. The portion plans show specific details about the layout of buildings and environmental features on the parcels.

“Where Gungahlin and Goorooyaroo nature reserve stand today, there used to be the parish of Goorooyaroo, where Mulligans Flat School existed and Old Coach Road went through to Bungendore.”

The ACTmapi online tool also shows maps from 1830 to 1930 revealing settlements and rural pastoral boundaries, as well as the location of cottages and huts, where bushland was cleared and fences built.

“The 1915-1930 map series even shows a cricket pitch which is now under Lake Burley Griffin,” Minister Gentleman said.

“These maps give a fascinating insight into the history of land ownership in the region. Users will quickly recognise that the names of many of the early landholders and localities, such as Campbell, Crace, Weetangera and Weston, are now recognised with places in Canberra named after them.

“The maps also reveal details of old homesteads and cottages which in many cases have been lost to time. An example is Old Lands End in the parish of Weetangera. The portion plan from 5 September 1871 shows such detail as a garden and hut on the block but now when you zoom into today’s aerial photography all that exists is rubble and a few trees.

“The maps and data made available today will complement existing databases on ACTmapi, such as the Territory Plan, heritage, vegetation and registered trees map overlays to support decision making by planners, land managers, researchers and members of the community,” Minister Gentleman concluded.

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