Sunday 14 November 2010 – Tuggeranong Town Centre Lake Walk

Dac was away in Adelaide. I’d recovered sufficiently from the bug that cost me a week to think about a gentle walk. Saturday had been an oppressively hot, humid day but there’d been rain in the night and Sunday morning was cool and cloudy – lovely.

I chose the Tuggeranong walk that we missed (because of rain!) on 4 September. It was advertised as short and flat. I’d then be finished with the whole Tuggeranong Community Walks brochure, which contained this lake walk, the pines walk in Kambah, and the Brindabella walk in Monash.

Map of the Lake Walk, Tuggeranong Town Centre

Map of the Lake Walk, Tuggeranong Town Centre

It was actually raining when I parked opposite the Tuggeranong Community Centre, as directed in the brochure. I wasn’t bothered: I shoved a waterproof parka into my bag and thought of Denmark.

I strolled down well-organised ramps to the path for promenading by the lake and immediately took another photo of Angel Wings, the sculpture I rabbited on about on 4 September. It doesn’t need to appear here; nor do the various blurs I acquired  of a pair of nearby galahs and later a swallow. I missed my first dog photo opportunity at this early stage, and only had one more.

The lake was brown and a little choppy, Lake Tuggeranong College looked good and relatively unvandalised, and a select group of walkers and cyclers were out braving the weather. Round the first corner, I missed the walk’s 0.42km sign and 0.55km sign (possibly they weren’t there) so I thought I was lost.

This was when I missed my second dog photo opportunity. Partly it was because of dyspraxic bewilderment, but mostly it was because I felt too shy, on my own, to address the chap who cycled past on a lead drawn by his border collie. Dac later opined that the man would have been more likely to say yes to a photo request from just me than he would have been in Dac’s ominous presence. Dac likes to think he’s very scary when wearing sunglasses.

Then I came across a memorial:

Memorial to "those who served": stone with plaque

Memorial at Tuggeranong Town Park: note Mount Taylor behind it

and decided I must be on the right track.

Here’s what the plaque says:

This memorial was erected by
the Canberra branch of the
National Service and Combined
Forces Association of Australia Inc

To honour “those who served” from
Canberra and districts as national
servicemen together with the men and
women in Reserve units and regular
service personnel in the Australian
Navy, Army and Air Force

Let us remember all who were called by their nation
to serve Australia with pride and dedication
Each one is part of our heritage
We remember them all

Unveiled by
John Hargraves MLA
Minister for Urban Services

Dedicated by Capt. Graham Adnams
The Salvation Army

19th March 2005

Archives ACT has a useful Flickr site which includes a set called Tuggeranong Plaques and Historic Markers. The plaque above appears, but isn’t transcribed.

The memorial was set on the lake edge of a circle of red gravel. Facing the other direction:

Park entrance, from the lake: Lombardy poplars

Park entrance, from the lake

According to Territory and Municipal Services:

A series of formal terraced gardens commencing at the main entrance gate are being established along the park’s main design axis. As park users descend along this axis they will be able to appreciate gardens of different characters while at the same time enjoying the view to Mt Taylor onto which the axis is aligned.

I found the sight of this formal planting quite surprising. There’s always something different in Canberra parks!

Another difference was the gaily-decorated public toilets near what should have been the 0.77km sign.

Wall-size painting of Einstein in red and white on an ochre background

Wall of the Men's at Tuggeranong Town Park

Soon after this, I found myself walking in a carpark at the Tugga Pool. Possibly this wasn’t where I was meant to be – none of the other walks have involved mingling with the traffic – but there I was. I managed to avoid being run over by the cars of several eager swimmers, and turned down Anketell Street.

At about the walk’s 1km mark, I found myself at the official front entrance of the park, an event I’d been looking forward to because the brochure had mentioned an entrance mural.

Tuggeranong Town Park - Entrance Mural

The entrance to Tuggeranong Town Park, with brick mural, and memorial in the distance

I’m now going to post a great many pictures and transcriptions, because I was very taken with the entrance mural. It’s barely mentioned online – here’s the only reference I found:

Design and construction of the park began in 1986 and its birth was marked in an unusual way in 1988. With the assistance of a community artist the main pedestrian access to the park in Anketell Street was paved with bricks into which had been baked messages from many in the Tuggeranong Community. Those messages reflected their thoughts, views and hopes for the present and the future.

Territory and Municipal Services

I couldn’t find any pictures of it online. As you can see above, it’s not in fabulous repair. Many of the ceramic tiles that make up the dividing “rivers” are missing. The substance used for pictures is chipped and falling away. The printed messages, however, are  still pretty clear.

Leading corner of the Tuggeranong Town Park Entrance Mural, with highlight round the transcribed bricks

Transcription of the highlighted bit appears below

Project sponsors:
Clifton Brick (Canberra) Ltd. – National Capital Development Commission – Heggies – Ferro Corporation
Project developed and administered by Community Arts Officer Simon Webb and the Visual Arts Co-ordinating Committee with design consultant Graeme Hopkins.
A Tuggeranong Community Arts Council project involving more than three thousand Tuggeranong people.
Designed and co-ordinated by Christine Goodwin
Impressions of Tuggeranong

We no longer have the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) or generalist Community Arts Officers. It’s hard to work out who might be responsible for looking after the mural.

Another spot on the brick mural - transcript below

Transcript below

[] [The sun always shines in Tuggeranong Valley] [1987] [] [I like ants] –
[][][] [Parrot] []
[Kangaroo]  [Rob Roy]  [Kookaburra] []
[] [Mt Rob Roy 1099m] [][]

I’ve used square brackets to represent bricks – more or less. The particular message(s) that caused me to take the photo are shown in bold.

I think it would be a pity if the mural was just left to be walked to dust and overgrown by moss. So much work went into it. As well as jolly generalisations, there are useful facts.

The start of a railway obsession

Brick mural - information about a Tuggeranong train service

Why couldn't we keep the trains?

[][] [Aborigines rock paintings were painted 1000s of years ago] []
Steam train [] [Aboriginal art]
[] The railway line from Queanbeyan to Michelago [] [Hills 20/7/87] []
[] via Tuggeranong opened 1887 with stops at Rob Roy and Tuggeranong Stations.
[Shearing shed] [Eagle]
[] Trains freighted bales of wool and carried [] [Cockatoo]
[] passengers. It was last used 9 March 1975. Tuggeranong platform was bulldozed 1986 []

It just happened that my friend Brian had been talking to me, two days before this walk, about another local railway line: a construction railway which carried goods (and passengers, in the guard’s van) from the Power House (now the Canberra Glassworks, in Kingston) to Garema Place.

Garema Place! That’s right in the middle of Civic, in the middle of Canberra! Now a place where it’s impossible to park, Civic would be immeasurably improved by railway access. Unfortunately the line only operated from June 1921 to July 1922.

I’ve just lost a couple of days’ writing time to reading all about local railways. I was fascinated. I’m a stationmaster’s granddaughter and an engineer’s daughter, and suddenly I feel that I could easily become a railway nerd. I’d like to quote great swathes of Canberra’s Engineering Heritage, Second Edition January 1990, Chapter 2: Railways by Walter M. Shellshear, ASTC, FIE Aust, Grad. M.C. of S. (U.K.) but I fear I’d never finish writing up this walk. Suffice it to quote:

The early railways of the ACT were unique. With the exception of the short branch line from Queanbeyan to Canberra which opened in 1914, they came, they served their purpose and they were gone, all in the space of about eight years between 1920 and 1927.

Had the Commonwealth Government’s plans of 1915-1918 for an arsenal at Tuggeranong come to fruition, a third and again, unrelated railway development would have been included within the ACT in that same general period.

Apparently traces of the two construction railway lines remain, and I intend to visit them on future weekend walks.

Back to the Tuggeranong Town Park mural! The railway line it mentions was a NSW one. Its location formed part of the eastern border between the ACT and NSW. Rob Roy is named several times in the mural, including as a stop on the Queanbeyan-Michelago railway line.

Brian said yesterday that there’d been no Rob Roy station on that line: the stop was called Royalla. According to an answer on a forum run by Railpage Australia, it was called Rob Roy first, then Royalla! The writer, Zen Dave, says that the Queanbeyan-Michelago line opened on 8 December 1887 and closed on 9 March 1975, and that the stations were:

  • Queanbeyan
  • Tuggeranong (opened with the line)
  • Rob Roy (opened with the line, renamed Royalla in October 1905)
  • Williamsdale (opened 29 August 1891)
  • Michelago

– From STATION NAMES. Dates of Opening, Closing and/or Change of Name, 1978

If it weren’t for Brian, I might never have heard of Mount Rob Roy. When Brian was living at Royalla (proper Royalla in the ACT, not the new Royalla Station development in NSW which shared his postcode and caused him many awful problems with government computers) Mount Rob Roy was the reason he had no television reception.

Brick mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

More brick messages

[] [This is a face] [] [Possum Wille (?)]
[] [Don’t annoy wild snakes they might bite] [][]
[] [Some children like skipping] [] [Some children like computers] [] [Youth of Tuggeranong] []
[] [I like playing soccer] [] [My rabbit Clive] [1987]
[] [This is Tugg Art] [] [Nappy Valley]

Brick mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

More info

[Canberra the booming city] [] [Australia] [Tuggeranong Valley 87] [?]
[Austral flag] [U r ear] [I like Australia] [I like Tuggeranong] [Australian flag]
[] [Tuggeranong] [1987] [Tuggeranong area 87] [Tuggeranong and its people 1987]
[] [I like Australia; it is the best, the greatest] [] [I love Australia] [] []
[] [Canberra has been spelt since 1820 many ways: Canberry, Cambery, Camberry, Canburry, Canbury, Caamberra, Kembery, Kamberra and may come from Aboriginal words Nganbirra or Ka-Amberra for a meeting place or woman’s breasts]

Brick mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

One for the cat-lovers

Beansprout the cat moved from Adelaide to Kambah in 1987 and loves his new home overlooking the hills

Brick Mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

Mount Taylor info

[] [] [Mt Taylor] [Snake] [Royal Canberra bluebell][Valley][Mt Taylor]
[] [Mt Taylor] [] [Mt Taylor] [Mt Taylor rules] [Emu Taylor]
[] [Mt Taylor] [Sun] [Mt Taylor] [Emu] [Mt Taylor]
[] [] [Mt Taylor] [] [Mt Taylor] [Rabbit]
[] [Mt Taylor] [Yeey Yeeeeeee] [Mt Taylor] [Echidna]
[] [Mt Taylor koala] [] [Mt Taylor 856m] [Climbing Mt Taylor]
[] [Spider (bad type)]
[] [] [] [Mugga] [Brown snake]
[] [] [] [Black snake]

Just in case anyone shares my interest in the mural, I have a set on Flickr of the original (much larger) photographs.

I wanted the Mount Taylor information because I live on the other side of Mount Taylor!

Brick mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

Population info

The 1891 census showed 98 males – 101 females and
46 dwellings in Tuggeranong

In 1986 there was a total of 53,150 people

Brick mural at Tuggeranong Town Park

Last one

Tuggeranong people are always happy

I probably should have taken systematic photos of the whole mural, but I needed to keep walking. I passed the (now) usual boxes…

A row of flats in the currently fashionable box style

Presumably they have views of the lake

…and worried someone breakfasting on their balcony…

Next door to Boxes 1: block of flats

Bright colours on buildings have been around for a while

…and was surprised to find traffic lights on the walk. For someone who stops as often as I do, they were no problem.

Traffic light with tipsy Canberra Community Walks sign

Note tipsy Canberra Community Walks sign

Soon I found myself over the road from the busy Sunday-morning cafes outside the Hyperdome, walking past this:

Sculpture: Family Out Walking by Andrew Towsend

Family Out Walking

I admire, but don’t quite believe in, the dog in the cart.

There’s a plaque which reads (with a couple of additions in square brackets from me):


“Family Out Walking” is an aluminium bas-relief sculpture [by Andrew Townsend (2007)] on the Anketell Street façade [of the Child and Family Centre, Greenway]

It represents a procession of people from all walks of life, young and old, walking together – a bright and optimistic celebration of life, the family and the positive spirit of a community.

It recognises the Child and Family Centre’s engagement with the diverse community.

Andrew Townsend was responsible for We are fishes, mentioned and half-photographed in the entry for 4 September, and partly responsible for Narrabundah: A Site Marker 1998 in the entry for 14 August.

If the birds depicted are swooping magpies, that’s a fairly likely Canberra scene this time of year. As I travelled down the last few metres of the walk, however, I was not swooped by this one:

Magpie sitting in a tree

Magpie sitting in a tree in a little square of shops

The rain did not start until I’d reached my car. A very satisfactory walk!

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One Response to Sunday 14 November 2010 – Tuggeranong Town Centre Lake Walk

  1. albertine says:

    a very satisfactory walk indeed. I totally concur about the railways – just travellling down to Oxford regularly is wonderful – an education in seasonal changes and landscape. But canals, now . . . . And canals from the railway line would be a specialist sub-division, of course.
    Do you remember that J. Aitch used to know English railway timetables off by heart? That way madness lies.

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