Saturday 13 August 2011 – Bowen Park and Telopea Park – Recreational Signage 1

The signs are transcribed/described from top to bottom, left to right. The abbreviations LHS and RHS are used to show which side we’re up to.

Sign 1, side 1

Welcome, side 1


Telopea Park

Top: Map showing location of the park and nearby tourist attractions.


Left: Map of the park. Includes the course of the stormwater channel.

Right: Key to the tourist attractions shown in the top map:

  1. Telopea Park
  2. Kingston Shops
  3. Canberra Glassworks / Old Bus Depot Markets
  4. Manuka Pool
  5. Manuka Oval
  6. Manuka Shops
  7. Bowen Park
  8. Lake Burley Griffin
  9. Canberra Railway Station
  10. Jerrabomberra Wetlands
  11. Kings Avenue Bridge
  12. National Gallery of Australia
  13. High Court / National Portrait Gallery
  14. Reconciliation Place
  15. National Library of Australia
  16. Parliament House
  17. Red Hill Nature Reserve

Key to the park map: symbols for parking, toilets, swings, dog on a leash, skateboarding, gas barbecues and picnic tables

[At the bottom of the sign are bits that some might consider intrusive:]


Dogs on a leash
Leave no trace of your visit
Everyone has a right to enjoy this place
Be considerate to other park users and to the plants and animals that live here

Suggested Activities

Have a BBQ or picnic
Play on the playground or walk the dog
From here you can walk to the adjacent heritage places or stroll along Lake Burley Griffin

More Information

Phone Canberra Connect on: 13 22 81

[And finally we have the ACT Government crest and the Canberra Connect contact number again.]

Sign 1, side 2

Welcome, side 2


Telopea Park Natural History

LHS: Gang-gang Cockatoos

Gang-gang Cockatoos, the ACT’s official faunal emblem, are often seen in and around Telopea Park, flying on bouncy wings and making noises like a creaking swinging gate or a cork coming out of a wine bottle. The Gang-gang is mostly a bird of the south-eastern mountain forests but migrates to lower altitudes during winter. Canberra is the only city where they occur regularly in the inner city. One of the reasons for their success is their ability to switch to exotic foods where traditional food is not available. Roman Cypress Pines for example, have cones very similar to the related native Callitris Pines, a natural Gang-gang food. In this area, Gang-gangs often feed on fruiting street trees, especially Hawthorns.

RHS: photo: onion grass

LHS: photos: Gang-gang Cockatoos. Female (left) and male (right). Photos: H Fallow

RHS: Long-billed Corellas

Sometimes the corella and cockatoo flocks include small numbers of Long-billed Corellas. They are almost certainly all aviary refugees; the nearest natural wild populations are near Deniliquin to the west. Their bill is specialised for digging up tubers, especially those of the native Yam Daisy or Murnong Microseris lanceolata. When the Murnongs became scarce as the woodlands were ploughed and grazed, so did the Long-billed Corella until they learnt to switch to the new crops. Now, in places like the Riverina and the Wimmera, they are often regarded as pests.

LHS: photo: Long-billed Corellas. Photo: H Fallow.

Caption: The Long-billed Corella is similar to the Little Corella and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. It is mostly white, with a reddish-pink face and forehead, and has a long pale beak, which is used to dig for roots and seeds. It has reddish-pink feathers on the breast and belly

RHS: photo: [two photos of waratahs] Telopea is the genus name for the Waratahs and is the floral emblem for NSW

Further R: photo: Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

LHS: Little Corellas

In recent years the number of Little Corellas in Canberra has risen sharply; the area around Telopea Park, Griffith and Kingston has always been their stronghold in Canberra. They have arrived from the west in recent years, expanding their range with the help of cleared country and artificial watering points. Large flocks of Little Corellas, often in the company of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, can be seen feeding on the ground in and around the park. They dig for underground tubers of weeds such as Onion Grass Romulea rosea. Little Corellas are smaller than the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, without the yellow crest and with an obvious blue eye-ring.

RHS: photo: [photo and drawing] Yam Daisy – Yam Daisy

Sign 1, side 3

[I’m not actually sure, at this distance of time, that this wasn’t sign 2.]

Telopea Park History

Logo: Canberra Tracks: See how far we’ve travelled

Telopea Park History

LHS: The Rottenberrys

In the 19th Century, this area was part of Robert Campbell’s Duntroon grazing property. From the 1870s, George and Eliza Rottenberry made their simple home here. It was made of slabs, with hessian ceiling, papered walls and a wooden floor. They ran dairy cattle on a small mixed farm and George also worked in the Black Mountain quarry to mine stone for additions to St John’s Church in Reid. When he died in 1948, aged 94, some of his cottage was still standing, but there is no trace of it now.

LHS: Manuka

The precinct is named after Manuka Circle, the street which forms the northern boundary of the area. Manuka Circle was on Walter Burley Griffin’s original plan for Canberra. It takes its name from the common name for a New Zealand tea tree Leptospermum scoparium. ‘Manuka’ is pronounced by local Canberrans differently to the tree from which it gets its name.

RHS: [Photo of Weston]
Caption: The layout for the park was provided by Charles Weston, Canberra’s first Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, who began planting in 1922. Photo: National Archives of Australia

LHS: [Aerial photo of park]
Caption: Telopea Park, 1953. Photo: ACT Heritage Library

RHS: Kingston Powerhouse

To the north of Telopea Park lies the Canberra Glassworks which is located in the former Kingston Powerhouse, Canberra’s oldest building. Listed on the Register of the National Estate, the building retains many of its original chattels, and thirty original structures and features built over the past eighty years remain intact. The Power House [sic] will always remain an essential part of ACT life as it was directly involved in the early construction of Canberra city. It was opened in May 2007.

LHS: A Grand Plan

Telopea is the genus name for the Waratahs and means ‘seen from afar’. Walter Burley Griffin envisaged a Telopea Park, one of several with native plant names which were to form the ends of the roads – all with state capital names – radiating out from Capital Hill. Telopea Park was to be the culmination of Sydney Avenue. Instead, Telopea Park School was built there, so the adjacent park – called Waratah Parkway or Pathway by Burley Griffin – became Telopea Park instead. Later (in 1930 and 1931), the construction of Manuka Oval and Manuka Pool encroached on about half of the originally proposed park.

The concrete drain which runs through the park was originally a natural stream draining from Mount Mugga Mugga to the Molonglo River. Charles Weston, Canberra’s first Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, used more native species – eucalypts, wattles and casuarinas – than was the norm for the time, as well as exotics including many poplars and willows to take account of the swampy nature of much of the park.

RHS: [Photo of the Powerhouse]
Caption: Kingston Powerhouse, 1951. Courtesy ACT Heritage Library, Department of the Capital Territory Collection

RHS: [Photo of the pool]
Caption: Manuka Pool, 1932. It was the first pool to be built for the city. Before that, Canberrans swam in the Molonglo, Murrumbidgee and Cotter Rivers. Photo: National Archives of Australia

LHS: Manuka Pool

Manuka pool was the first swimming pool to be built for the city. It was built on the south side as it was closer to more Canberra residents than any northside location. Before its completion, Canberrans swam in the Molonglo River and other local swimming holes at the Cotter and Murrumbidgee Rivers. The pool was officially opened on 26 January 1931.

Canberra Tracks: See how far you’ve travelled
ACT Government crest

To Recreational Signage 2 ->

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