Saturday 13 August 2011 – Bowen Park and Telopea Park – Recreational Signage 2

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 2

Sign 2

George Henry Rottenberry’s Farmhouse (in Telopea Park)

[Photo] A panoramic view of the area, from Camp Hill.
Credit: National Library of Australia NLA.PIC-AN7746421-5

Telopea Park was one of Canberra’s earliest planned and developed parks and gardens, stemming from the early visions and designs of Walter Burley Griffin.

However, its European, let alone Aboriginal history stretched back to a time long before the birth of the nation’s capital.

Around 1880 George Henry Rottenberry, together with his wife Eliza (nee Kaye), built their home here on land that was part of the Duntroon Estate, beside a stream that is now the drain through Telopea Park.

The homestead consisted of a four-room slab residence with a front verandah, a ceiling lined with hessian – as was common – and a hardwood floor. A slab kitchen, located a small distance from the home, to prevent risk of fire, had a brick chimney and baker’s oven. The front of the house had a flower garden. George and Eliza raised five children here.

Nearby the homestead were a dairy, stock sheds and yards.

The Rottenberrys farmed the land between Kurrajong Hill (now the site of Parliament House) and the Molonglo River. George also worked as a lime-burner and quarryman, following in his father’s footsteps.

Upon the opening of the nearby Kingston Powerhouse in 1915, George acted for a time as the night watchman.

After the Commonwealth acquired Duntroon, George and his son leased several blocks and continued cropping for some years.

In 1923 the house was demolished.

George Henry Rottenberry had the rare distinction of being baptised, confirmed, married and buried at St John’s, Reid.

Sourced from Young, L., 2007, The lost houses of the Molonglo, Ginninderra Press, Canberra.

[ACT Government Crest, Canberra Tracks/See how far we’ve travelled, Canberra Tracks logo, Ngunnawal Country, Design: Big Island Graphics]

Sign 3

Sign 3

From modest beginnings to global agreements

Telopea Park School, the first school to be built in the Federal Capital Territory*, was officially opened on Tuesday 1 September 1923.

The original building was designed by John Smith Murdoch, the Chief Architect to the Commonwealth of Australia.

The school was named for its location – the area was designated ‘Telopea Park’ in Walter Burley Griffin’s Canberra plan.

Telopea speciosissima, the botanical name for the New South Wales waratah, appears in the school badge.

When the school opened in 1923 there were two staff members and 58 students. As student numbers grew the building was extended in 1926 and again in 1929. From 1955 to 1983 Telopea Park School was classified as a high school and the name changed to Telopea Park High School.

On July 4 1983 the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic Concerning the Establishment of a French-Australian School in Canberra (Telopea Park School) was signed. The French-Australian School (Lycée franco-australien) at Telopea Park School opened in February 1984. The school now consists of a Kindergarten to Year 6 bilingual (French/English) primacy school and a neighbourhood high school, where students can either continue their bilingual studies to Year 12 studying the French curriculum or study an Australian high school program.

*The Federal Capital Territory became the Australian Capital Territory in 1938.

[Top photo:] Telopea Park School c. 1924. Credit: Telopea Park School

[Second photo:] Group of delegates to the Imperial Press Conference with children at Telopea Park School in 1927. Credit: Telopea Park School

[ACT Government Crest, Canberra Tracks/See how far we’ve travelled, Canberra Tracks logo, Ngunnawal Country, Design: Big Island Graphics]

Sign 4

Sign 4


Telopea Park Natural History

LHS: Trees of Telopea

In the 1950s, Lindsay Pryor, then Superintendent of Parks and gardens [sic] and later professor of Botany at Australian National University, oversaw further exotic plantings in the park including Ash (Fraxinus), Persian Ironwood (Parrotia), and ornamental plums (Prunus). Significant trees remaining from Charles Weston’s plantings include Argyle Apple, Eurabbie, Brittle Gum and Giant Sequoia.

LHS: Argyle Apple

Argyle Apple Eucalyptus cinerea has its main distribution in the Marulan-Goulburn area, in County Argyle, with an isolated population below Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park. It is a widely planted street tree. ‘Cinerea’ means ashy, in reference to the distinctively blue-grey rounded leaves.

LHS: [Photo] Argyle Apple

LHS: Eurabbie

Eurabbie Eucalyptus bicostata grows on the slopes of north-eastern Victoria, and west of the ACT in the Tumut area. The leaves, especially the pale bluish young ones, can be over 50cm long, and the ground below the trees can be crunchy with the big fallen fruits, leaves and bark.

LHS: [Photo] Eurabbie

RHS: Brittle Gum

Brittle Gum Eucalyptus mannifera ssp maculosa is a local eucalypt, but of the hills rather than of the plains. On Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie, it is a dominant tree in the dry forests where it is characterised by powdery bark. In summer, the drying bark turns spectacular reds and oranges before dropping off. As the name suggests it is also prone to dropping limbs.

RHS: [Photo] Brittle Gum

RHS: Giant Sequoia

Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum grows in the high Sierra Nevadas of California, where some trees are the most massive in the world. They can grow to 90 metres high and 50 metres in circumference in extreme cases, weighing 1000 tonnes. They do not seem to reach those sizes in the more exposed situations in the Canberra area, but on the other hand some of those giants in California are thousands of years old!

Sequoya was a Cherokee North American Indian who lived in the early 19th century. His name, as well as referring to an opossum, implied a person of mixed parentage – his father was English. Sequoya invented a Cherokee alphabet. The genus name ‘Sequoiadendron’, [sic] means ‘Sequoya’s tree’.

RHS: [Photo, below left] Giant Sequoia

RHS: [Photos, below right] [Waratahs] Telopea is the genus name for the Waratahs and is the floral emblem for NSW.

Sign 5

Sign 5 is almost identical with Sign 3 (transcribed in Recreational Signage 1) except where the bit about the Powerhouse is, we have Manuka Oval instead. After Manuka Pool:

Part of Sign 5

Manuka Oval

Manuka Oval is a 15,000 capacity stadium (10,000 seated) located in the suburb of Griffith. In 2004, Manuka Oval celebrated the 75th anniversary of its formal establishment. The field had previously been used to casually play rugby league and Australian rules football. The first cricket pitch was played on in April 1930.

[Photo] A 1921 aerial view of Manuka Oval, Manuka Pool and part of Telopea Park in the right bottom corner. Photo: National Archives of Australia

[Photo] Manuka Pool was the venue for Canberra high [sic] School’s swimming Carnival in 1940/41. Photo: Canberra High School

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