Building Lake Burley Griffin

johnboy 12 July 2011 25

Rhyse has pointed us at a truly remarkable video from Film Australia on the construction of Lake Burley Griffin circa 1964.

A really amazing blast from the past for the local history buffs.

lake burley griffin circa 1964


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switch switch 1:22 pm 17 Mar 13

Sandman said :

jaybee said :

I’ll even offer to point out my parents in the clip which must have been very close to the time of my conception.

Nothing like a lake inauguration to get the missus in the mood. 😉

Whatever floats your boat.

Sandman Sandman 8:42 am 17 Mar 13

jaybee said :

I’ll even offer to point out my parents in the clip which must have been very close to the time of my conception.

Nothing like a lake inauguration to get the missus in the mood. 😉

Postalgeek Postalgeek 9:58 pm 16 Mar 13

arescarti42 said :

Ergh! All that 1960s optimism makes me retch. Didn’t those people know the communists were going to blow them up any day?

On a serious note:

Keijidosha said :

Spectra said :

braddonboy said :

One thing I certainly do not remember is the little bridge at 11:36 in the video.

I wondered about that too. I think it’s the same one you can see at 7:23, and from that angle it looks like it might be the original footbridge to Aspen Island.

Correct.

I must disagree. I think you’ll find it was the original bridge on the south side of Nerang Pool, before it was replaced as part of the Menzies walk project.

You can see the weir behind the bridge at 11:37

Or else a couple of little Christs are walking on water

old canberran old canberran 4:48 pm 16 Mar 13

John Moulis said :

I’m a bit upset the Lake was built. We moved here in 1970 and I was too young to have been able to see Our Fair City pre-LBG. The pictures and newsreels I have seen show a spacious and scenic area, and the thought of sheep grazing in the centre of town fits in with the bush capital stories we are all familiar with.

I know LBG is picturesque and home to sailing, rowing and tourist cruises, but I wish I could enter a time warp and see first hand what things were like before the Lake.

Before the lake the paddock between Commonwealth Avenue and the Hospital was a lucerne pasture leased by Gerry Kilmartin to grow food for his piggery in Mugga Lane. The area in fromt of Parliament House was grassy paddock on each side of the river and around further near King’s Avenue Bridge was a market garden and the Canberra Sand and Gravel sand wash. The lady who lived in Blundell’s cottage had a few sheep and a cow that grazed down near Scott’s crossing bridge. The river wound its way through these areas and had big willow trees on its banks. I hope you get to read this.

old canberran old canberran 1:18 pm 16 Mar 13

Thanks JB. Great video clip of the past. My son was born in December 1963 and my wife and I watched the lake slowly filling from the banks of the old hospital until she went home.
I actually know some of the people at the inauguration ceremony.
It was fascinating watching the earth moving equipment excavating the area to make it deep enough to prevent algae from growing.

Deref Deref 8:55 am 16 Mar 13

Me no fry said :

Holy nostalgia, Batman! Say what you like about Ming, but his support for Canberra as the nation’s capital yielded results that no prime minister since has cared to emulate (or even feign).

I wonder – if the lake hadn’t been built then, and was in planning now, what are the chances it would never be built?

Hear, hear.

Thanks for posting this wonderful reminder of what Canberra could have been.

jaybee jaybee 12:07 am 16 Mar 13

Hope to resurrect an old post in Canberra’s 100th birthday month. I am currently a member of LBG Sea Scouts and we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary next year. I would love to make contact with “braddonboy” or anyone else that may have identified the Scouts in this clip. National Capital Exhibition is hoping to mount a display including a mannequin dressed as a 1964 Scout. Please email me at jaybee at grapevine dot com dot au. I’ll even offer to point out my parents in the clip which must have been very close to the time of my conception.

Cheap Cheap 1:57 am 14 Jul 11

I was about to make fun of the narrator’s comment about Canberra accommodating 500,000 tourists per year, but I just looked it up and apparently there were over 2 million visitors to Canberra in 2010.

braddonboy braddonboy 10:28 am 13 Jul 11

Does anyone recognise the Sea Scouts at 9:25 and 10:58? I joined the motley crew of the (I think) 1st Lake Burley Griffin Sea Scouts shortly after arriving here and I sorta I recognise the faces of two of the boys but can’t for the life of me remember their names now. We rowed and sailed two whalers, Scylla and Charybdis, and at one stage we acquired an old gaff-rigged 18 footer with canvas sails and a steel dagger board which had to be cut down so we could sail in the shallower parts of the lake.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 9:39 pm 12 Jul 11

How ironic, that in the concrete model used to plan the lake, the water appears to be green. They were obviously planning well into the future there!

John Moulis John Moulis 5:55 pm 12 Jul 11

I’m a bit upset the Lake was built. We moved here in 1970 and I was too young to have been able to see Our Fair City pre-LBG. The pictures and newsreels I have seen show a spacious and scenic area, and the thought of sheep grazing in the centre of town fits in with the bush capital stories we are all familiar with.

I know LBG is picturesque and home to sailing, rowing and tourist cruises, but I wish I could enter a time warp and see first hand what things were like before the Lake.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 5:38 pm 12 Jul 11

Great piece. That could have been me in one of those sailing dingeys. Except that wasn’t until about 5 years later… Swimming and yabbie catching at Yarralumla was a great past-time – would you swim there now?

Might be a good place to ask something about a childhood memory I’ve been trying to figure out for some time. Mum passed away last year and Dad has Alzheimers so no help there. When we lived up near Red Hill back then, there was a big bronze sculpture out the front of one of the big houses probably along Mugga Way, but not sure. We used to call it the big bindi-eye because that’s what it looked like. It was just inside a white masonary and wrought-iron boundary fence. Does anyone recall that piece and where it was/still is?

p1 p1 5:16 pm 12 Jul 11

Me no fry said :

The lake might get built but the bridges would only be one lane in each direction…

By that I assume you mean one lane bridge at Kings Avenue, and a one lane bridge at C’wealth Ave…

troll-sniffer said :

Sources tell me that the lake is not as altruistic as you might think… the area occupied by the lake could not have been built on as it was a flood plain, hence the decision to turn it into a lake. And we all thought the government of the time was just being nice!

Flood plain or not, if the lake wasn’t there right now, Snow and VBC would be fighting over who gets to build medium density housing the quickest….

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 4:23 pm 12 Jul 11

Me no fry said :

I wonder – if the lake hadn’t been built then, and was in planning now, what are the chances it would never be built?

Sources tell me that the lake is not as altruistic as you might think… the area occupied by the lake could not have been built on as it was a flood plain, hence the decision to turn it into a lake. And we all thought the government of the time was just being nice!

aronde aronde 4:17 pm 12 Jul 11

Me no fry said :

I wonder – if the lake hadn’t been built then, and was in planning now, what are the chances it would never be built?[/quote>

The lake might get built but the bridges would only be one lane in each direction…

arescarti42 arescarti42 4:07 pm 12 Jul 11

Ergh! All that 1960s optimism makes me retch. Didn’t those people know the communists were going to blow them up any day?

On a serious note:

Keijidosha said :

Spectra said :

braddonboy said :

One thing I certainly do not remember is the little bridge at 11:36 in the video.

I wondered about that too. I think it’s the same one you can see at 7:23, and from that angle it looks like it might be the original footbridge to Aspen Island.

Correct.

I must disagree. I think you’ll find it was the original bridge on the south side of Nerang Pool, before it was replaced as part of the Menzies walk project.

You can see the weir behind the bridge at 11:37

BenMac BenMac 4:07 pm 12 Jul 11

Keijidosha said :

Spectra said :

braddonboy said :

One thing I certainly do not remember is the little bridge at 11:36 in the video.

I wondered about that too. I think it’s the same one you can see at 7:23, and from that angle it looks like it might be the original footbridge to Aspen Island.

Correct.

Really? As metioned in the 1st post, I believe it is the bridge that was located in Commonwealth Park, now replaced by the new bridge part of the R.G Menzies walk.

banjo banjo 3:58 pm 12 Jul 11

Woh Spielberg stole the music from this video for ET!

switch switch 3:17 pm 12 Jul 11

Such simple pleasures in those days. Thanks for the find.

Keijidosha Keijidosha 3:09 pm 12 Jul 11

Spectra said :

braddonboy said :

One thing I certainly do not remember is the little bridge at 11:36 in the video.

I wondered about that too. I think it’s the same one you can see at 7:23, and from that angle it looks like it might be the original footbridge to Aspen Island.

Correct.

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