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Westbourne Woods

By JimiBostock - 30 March 2010 10

I have recently been on a fitness kick and have been walking daily from Curtin to Weston Park. This takes me right through Westbourne Woods. I have to come to see that most Canberran’s have never heard about the place.

The WikiPedia article explains:

Westbourne Woods is an area of exotic tree plantings in the Canberra suburb of Yarralumla in the Australian Capital Territory.

The woods were established by Thomas Weston as an experimental planting area in 1913 and cover 120 hectares. The names of the woods comes from Walter Burley Griffin’s original name for the area. Trees were planted in holes blasted with dynamite and Weston discovered that trees planted in blasted holes did much better than those planted in hand dug holes, probably due to the fracturing effect of the blast. By the end of 1920, George Weston’s team of planters and put in 44,900 exotic trees. The Woods are on the ACT Heritage Register.

Weston went mad on trees from all over the world and the woods are really an amzing place. It’s like a trip around the world in one hour, or so.

The problem is that it seems to be very unkempt and just looks like no-one loves it.

I am also starting to get worried about all the talk about the Federal Golf Course [Ed – Probably Royal Canberra golf course]. It takes up most of Westbourne Woods and I am wondering if anyone knows if there are any threats to the woods.

Also, I think we should pressure the government to send a team in to spruce it up. If anyone agrees and would like to help organise the things that we could do (FaceBook, Twitter, letters, lobbying, etc) contact me below

Jimi Bostock
jimi@pushagency.net

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
Westbourne Woods
1
Aubergine 10:28 pm
30 Mar 10
#

I ride to/from work through these woods a few times a week and appreciate them. Most of the original Westbourne Woods are now within the boundaries of the Royal Canberra Golf Course, with only a narrow belt between there and the lake publicly accessible. Check the sign near the east end of the long bridge across the inlet for more info, and an aerial photo of the early days of the Woods. I am not a golfer and you can’t really tell from outside, but it seems that most of the original plantings now within the golf course grounds are pretty much intact.

But I agree it needs maintenance. Many of the huge old trees beside the path had species identification signs nailed to them which have long since fallen off. It would be good to get the ACT Govt to devote a few thousand to fixing up the signage etc. In the past couple of months it looks like they have been clearing out a lot of the overgrown crud along the lakeshore so you can actually see the water from the path now. It would also be great if the public could get access to the plantings now within the golf club land one day per month for instance.

2
GardeningGirl 11:49 pm
30 Mar 10
#

I remember there was a mob called Friends of Westbourne Woods that used to organise walks through there. It’s been on my to do list for years. A little bit of googling led to this.

http://www.events.act.gov.au/?/event/view/218

3
Thumper 8:23 am
31 Mar 10
#

spooky old place at night…

4
eh_steve 9:49 am
31 Mar 10
#

Looking up Westbourne Woods Canberra on flickr yields some pretty good results

5
Inappropriate 10:04 am
31 Mar 10
#

From http://www.library.act.gov.au/find/history/frequentlyaskedquestions/Place_Stories/westbournewoods

In 1960 the Royal Canberra Golf Club accepted a 50-year lease under which the Commonwealth would remain responsible for long-term management of the area, and ANU forestry students would have access to the arboretum. The course was redesigned, and a fine black locust was transplanted from the Acton site to a place near the new clubhouse. A golf club sub-committee, including representatives of the Australian Heritage Commission, advises on maintaining the heritage values of the arboretum.

That lease is up now, I wonder what’s happening…

6
New Yeah 10:39 am
31 Mar 10
#

In my more moneyed days I lived nearby Westbourne Woods and would walk there weekly. It is a special forest, and a good place to wander and wonder. To be honest, I always liked that it looked wild and unkempt.

7
p1 11:14 am
31 Mar 10
#

I have wandered though some bits of it, and recall thinking that it is really uneven ground. The dynamite planting method would seem to explain that.

8
rosscoact 1:51 pm
31 Mar 10
#

Aubergine said :

But I agree it needs maintenance. Many of the huge old trees beside the path had species identification signs nailed to them which have long since fallen off. It would be good to get the ACT Govt to devote a few thousand to fixing up the signage etc. In the past couple of months it looks like they have been clearing out a lot of the overgrown crud along the lakeshore so you can actually see the water from the path now. It would also be great if the public could get access to the plantings now within the golf club land one day per month for instance.

Why would the ACT Govt spend a few thousand cleaning up the golf club’s property?

9
RuffnReady 7:33 pm
31 Mar 10
#

I was very fortunate to grow up from grade 4 onwards in a duplex in Blakely Row, the ‘poor end’ of Yarralumla in the ’80s (yes, you could once buy an old gubby in Yarralumla for under #100k!). Absolutely incredible place to grow up! The local scamps, myself included, used to play in the woods (wonderful, although the bloody golf club ate up our favourite part with their extension and fenced everything off in the ’90s) and the quarry next door (maybe not such a good idea…) all the time. Good memories. d:)

10
GardeningGirl 12:10 pm
01 Apr 10
#

RuffnReady said :

I was very fortunate to grow up from grade 4 onwards in a duplex in Blakely Row, the ‘poor end’ of Yarralumla in the ’80s (yes, you could once buy an old gubby in Yarralumla for under #100k!). Absolutely incredible place to grow up! The local scamps, myself included, used to play in the woods (wonderful, although the bloody golf club ate up our favourite part with their extension and fenced everything off in the ’90s) and the quarry next door (maybe not such a good idea…) all the time. Good memories. d:)

But weren’t you bored? I mean with no skate parks and youth centres and pinball parlors and… no, come to think of it I remember such times too, different wilderness but similar good memories… and hubby has memories too of yet another area.

We sometimes wander down to the English Garden near the Yarralumla nurseries. It looked a little tidier last time but could use more TLC. Also the redwood plantation, too depressing to go there any more. I quite like the idea of the new arboretum and don’t want to get into the pros and cons of that, but I wish a bit more attention could be paid to some of our old areas.

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