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Canberra in the 80s. Then and now.

johnboy 23 June 2011 84

bus interchange

Threepaws has sent in these pictures of Canberra in the 80s. Your correspondent has then spent part of this morning running around Canberra trying to match the shots. I’ve monochromed to match where appropriate. Above is the old bus interchange administration centre where one could seek guidance and assistance on buses and even buy tickets.

And here it is today:

bus interchange


london circuit then

And here’s the view down London Circuit.

london circuit now


old bus interchange

The trees have grown.

new bus interchange


Civic Cinema

Civic Cinemas has become ActewAGL House.

ACTEWAGL house


the private bin

The garish Private Bin/Waffles combo has become the much more subdued ICBM/North.

ICBM


City Walk

And City Walk is more subdued too.

city walk


What’s Your opinion?


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84 Responses to
Canberra in the 80s. Then and now.
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ByronBay 7:28 pm 23 Sep 14

Possibly some of Canberra’s best years. I remember moving into Scullin Gardens when they were new in the 80’s and Florey was just a big empty paddock watching that transform within 12 months to a residential suburb impressed me as a young guy .Working for Canberra Building Society in the city , had to be one of the best companies to work for back then was so stupid to leave that job, but must have been fate as they closed not long after, that was a bit of a scandal with accusations of insider trading. Pandora’s was definitely open in the mid 80’s as we used to hit that joint every Friday after work, it was one of the nicer drinking holes, I remember going over to Belconnen in the early hours to drink at the Blind Beggars Inn , my feet would always stick to the floor from all the spilt drinks on the carpet. Pleasant simpler days with many fond memories. I went back to Canberra a few years later when self government had taken over , it had lost so much of it’s class.

Jivrashia 9:41 am 19 Oct 11

walshje said :

pardon me for my lack of know how but i would really like to see these photos but cant seem to navigate my way to finding them can someone help????

Best to talk to your IT admin, as it appears that they have blocked you from accessing googleusercontent.com site (which is where the pictures are located, not on this actual site).

walshje 9:32 pm 18 Oct 11

pardon me for my lack of know how but i would really like to see these photos but cant seem to navigate my way to finding them can someone help????

kahuna 12:23 pm 23 Aug 11

thanks to those replies re the police cars shot up in the seige. No it wasnt winter. I was a young constable who was on duty at Woden when we got directed there. It was a sunny afternoon(summer) i had short sleeve uniform shirt on, but got colder as the night wore on, no jackets to protect us from those chilly canberra nights .. The cars in the photo ( the XE shot out was a city patrol car. The van in the middle was the Accident Investigation Squad car from Weston.(it was a mini office with a chair and desk/typewriter where they could take statements at the scene if need be.) The car behind is a city or embassies patrol car. We were no match with our 38 smith and wesson. Problem was we could hear his shots but didnt know where he was. Quite scary as he could have had his cross hair sights on any of us during the seige. This guy had a choice of guns. Yeah, why not get a crew cut whilst you are firing an armalite or semi auto weapon. Weird combination of a barbershop and gun store, but i have seen them in melbourne before.Police fired no shots, however, there was talk of throwing stun grenades and smoke, apparently this was discounted due to the ammunition stored in the shop. I was surprised he took no lives where he easily could have. I cant recall what sentence or punishment he got in the end.

Skidd Marx 2:33 pm 17 Aug 11

kahuna said :

Looking back at the photos the cheap petrol catches ones eye. I moved up there in 1981 when Wanniassa was the a**se end of the world and Erindale was the new college. The petrol station in Braddon(mort str?) was at the other end of the civic interchange is actually the petrol station that had a major fire whilst a young lady and her two kids perished when it suddenly ignited and the whole place went up. Coroner found that upon ignition the fuel kept pumping due to people “locking” the handle so that they wouldnt have to hold it. The lady in the panic couldnt stop the flow and the coroner made the (Australia wide) recommendation that the holding clips be removed for future safety. So that is why we all had to hold the nozzle manually whilst filling…. ..Ahh the Private Bin, what a pick up joint..Honeys, Carosello, Copacabana, Rose cottage, pine island, cotter reserve just to name a few. Great place where you could buy a hot dog and a beer on a sunday from a fish and chip shop.. Unheard of in Melbourne !!

memories…..

The petrol station in which this incident occured was on Lonsdale street where Waves carwash is now (was a Mobil back then). A man was filling up his Falcon station wagon when it sponateously combusted. His wife and two kids were trapped and he was unable to gain access to free them and was instead forced to watch them burn. I don’t think they ever determined what sparked the blaze. This was in 1977.

kahuna 12:58 pm 17 Aug 11

Looking back at the photos the cheap petrol catches ones eye. I moved up there in 1981 when Wanniassa was the a**se end of the world and Erindale was the new college. The petrol station in Braddon(mort str?) was at the other end of the civic interchange is actually the petrol station that had a major fire whilst a young lady and her two kids perished when it suddenly ignited and the whole place went up. Coroner found that upon ignition the fuel kept pumping due to people “locking” the handle so that they wouldnt have to hold it. The lady in the panic couldnt stop the flow and the coroner made the (Australia wide) recommendation that the holding clips be removed for future safety. So that is why we all had to hold the nozzle manually whilst filling…. ..Ahh the Private Bin, what a pick up joint..Honeys, Carosello, Copacabana, Rose cottage, pine island, cotter reserve just to name a few. Great place where you could buy a hot dog and a beer on a sunday from a fish and chip shop.. Unheard of in Melbourne !! memories…..

Skyring 9:44 am 17 Aug 11

OpenYourMind said :

I drove XF taxis back then and used to ferry the cadets from the Bin back and forth to Duntroon and ADFA.

It’s still the same in the taxi game – except that it’s Mooseheads now. I pick up a bunch of cadets in the early evening, they say Civic and I don’t need to ask for their precise destination, the cab knows the way.

Oddly enough, I dropped off a couple of young ladies yesterday, who wanted to be taken to Monaro Mall. They reckoned this always got them exactly where they wanted.

Geez, those were the days. Ainslie Avenue was drivable all the way from London Circuit up to Olims, which had another name in those days.

Canberra Day was given over to the annual Food and Wine Frolic, which became the Beer and Wine Frolic.

There was only one set of traffic lights on Northbourne Avenue, known affectionately as “The Lights”.

The Lakeside Hotel, apart from Bobby McGee’s, also had a drive in bottleshop.

Erindale was the bustling heart of Tuggeranong and Pine Island was a long way out in the sticks.

ACTION buses on a cold morning, and I’d run to the seat that had the hot air vent just underneath – I’d just arrived from Queensland in March and it kept on getting colder and colder and bloody colder. And then it started to snow.

I went from a base grade clerk to clerk seven in six months, so hungry was the public service for anybody who knew anything about computers. Skipped right over COBOL programmer to doing 4GL work for Department of Science in Benjamin Blue.

Those last few years before self-government were pure gold. It was public service heaven and everything was subsidised.

Skyring 9:22 am 17 Aug 11

kahuna said :

POLICE CARS SHOT UP Yes I remember the photos. I was there as a young Constable working at Woden at the time. … Many shots fired over the course of the seige Some 8 cars shot out. I was with my partner Ron and were directed to the city…

This was a “Share your work with the family” type day?

Skyring 9:18 am 17 Aug 11

what_the said :

I’m just glad they dozed the Action Bus bit there, it was a breeding ground for deadshits!

You’re probably thinking of the public toilets just behind, which Kate Carnell was going to rename the Sri Chinmoy Peace Trough.

kahuna 8:59 am 17 Aug 11

POLICE CARS SHOT UP Yes I remember the photos. I was there as a young Constable working at Woden at the time. A guy went into the barber shop/gun store in the civic interchange and took some hostages after a domestic dispute. Police were called and as some of the first units arrived he let fly with all and any weapons at his disposal. As you can see some police cars had been shot out. One car in particular had been peppered like swiss cheese as this nut wanted to shoot at the petrol tanks in the hope it would explode. Started about 2pm and went all night. Many shots fired over the course of the seige Some 8 cars shot out. I was with my partner Ron and were directed to the city where we propped near Northbourne ave and ran across the road to take cover only to hear a burst of fire and the trees behind me catching the rounds. . Command was worried this guy was going to crawl through the ducts in the buildings as he had a perfect vantage point from the 1st floor. This guy could have taken out many people but luckily not the case. We couldnt see him but could hear him ! Luckily no fatalities and they managed to drag the guy out early in the morning. Hostages were released unharmed. No flak jackets or bullet proof vests or counselling in those days…..

goo 5:20 am 30 Jun 11

These pictures are great – thanks! The double-decker bus cafe next to Woolies (the Dubbl Dekka) was run by a group of born-agains with whom my parents were involved. A water main burst underneath it in …1986?, closing Prouds for a week or so, so the cafe was closed down and the bus then lived on our nature strip in Pedder Street O’Connor for around six months. It was a great playground for us kids while it was there.

clueless70 9:39 pm 26 Jun 11

Many thanks for sharing these.

Gary Eck copping serious heckling.
I saw one of these early efforts. At that time he was also known to do MC duty for a friend’s wedding reception. Sample material: ‘…And now, on a more serious note: the Ebola Virus.’ My brush with fame.

The buses in these pictures I strongly associate in memory with different stages of my Canberra career. The beige buses definitely mark one of the photographs as pre-80s, unless some were kept in service after their time. I have very early memories of riding on these, with their distinctive racoon-like front grille and sloping faces. The MAN and Leyland models also had faces and interiors that impressed themselves on youthful memory.

And if you can remember Youngs you really are old. I will only admit to knowing people who do.

Has anyone heard more from the poster who was undertaking research into Weston Park? Photos of that place from the same period would be nostalgic for many readers I expect.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior 2:04 pm 26 Jun 11

The pic of the RX7 in front of the Bin is a beauty.

Waiting For Godot 1:36 pm 26 Jun 11

Violet68 said :

Does anyone remember that other club down near Garema Place? I can’t. It used to cater to the gay crowd, punks and mods. I always remember dancing to the Young One’s version of Cliff Richards Living Doll there, with my Mum of all people! Thanks for these pics. Put a smile on my dial 🙂

The Manhattan.

Violet68 10:30 am 26 Jun 11

Reminds me of when I first arrived in Canberra from Sydney. I thought it was so quiet and used to wonder where all the people were. I couldn’t understand why the buses didn’t run till 3 am either.
Few years later, we won tickets on the radio to go and see the premier of Footrot Flats at the Civic cinema. I used to go to the “Bin” a fair bit too. Does anyone remember that other club down near Garema Place? I can’t. It used to cater to the gay crowd, punks and mods. I always remember dancing to the Young One’s version of Cliff Richards Living Doll there, with my Mum of all people! Thanks for these pics. Put a smile on my dial 🙂

Brindabella 8:20 pm 24 Jun 11

Thumper said :

I tended to hang out at Belconnen, Blind Beggars, Pot Belly, Captain Greggs, Boot and Flogger all within falling distance of each other.

Don’t forget the Hungry Horse, Pot Black, the Henry Gratten (OK that one was in Phillip), Steel City Gym…and later Sails.

farnarkler 5:08 pm 24 Jun 11

Does anyone remember Acton being a hostel? We lived there for a few months in 1976. From there we moved to Gowrie on Northbourne which is now Fenner Hall. My father had just got a job at National Mapping in QBN so I’m guessing both Acton and Gowrie were Gov’t owned.

davecdp 1:51 pm 24 Jun 11

Thumper said :

I tended to hang out at Belconnen, Blind Beggars, Pot Belly, Captain Greggs, Boot and Flogger all within falling distance of each other.

Don’t forget Darcys Den.

KB1971 said :

there always used to be a black VL Calis parked out the front (early 90’s though).

Mine was the Red VL Turbo Berlina……….good times.

Thumper 1:35 pm 24 Jun 11

Boot and Flogger was the corner of Greens square Kingston, now the Durham I think.

Sorry man, I meant the Leather Bottle, just posted before engaging brain 🙂

KaptnKaos 1:26 pm 24 Jun 11

aceofspades said :

Thumper said :

I tended to hang out at Belconnen, Blind Beggars, Pot Belly, Captain Greggs, Boot and Flogger all within falling distance of each other.

Boot and Flogger was the corner of Greens square Kingston, now the Durham I think.

Yes “Das Boot” was in Kingston and is now the Durham. Belco also had Leather Bottle, Pot Black, Hungry Horse – gees I feel old.

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