History

Lake Ginninderra is an artificial lake located on the Ginninderra Creek in Belconnen. The lake was constructed in 1974 to collect stormwater discharge from a 98.8 square kilometres (38.1 sq mi) catchment that includes the surrounding suburbs in the eastern areas of Belconnen.

The lake was formed through the construction of the Ginninderra Drive embankment across Ginninderra Creek. The lake has a surface area of 1.05 square kilometres (0.41 sq mi) and an average depth of 3.5 metres (11 ft). Water flow out of the lake is via a multi-celled concrete culvert structure and spillway chute on the Ginninderra Drive embankment.

During 2004 the Ginninderra Drive embankment was raised by one metre. The earthen embankments on the Coulter Drive side of the lake have been raised as well.

Western Foreshore

The area, previously grazing land, was developed largely in the 1970s consistent with a landscape master plan prepared by the National Capital Development Commission. An emphasis on native species was intended. The Rotary Club of Belconnen contributed to the development of the area by providing finance for the development of a playground in 1979.

The design emphasis has been on provision of access for lake and lakeside recreation in a predominantly Australian landscape setting. Parking areas have substantial capacity, while pedestrian and cycle access can be gained both from the north and south via the path system which encircles Lake Ginninderra.

Lake Ginninderra Peninsula

In 1967 the National Capital Development Commission decided to create Lake Ginninderra as the central scenic and recreational focus of Belconnen Town Centre. The foreshore development plan in 1981 envisaged development of the two peninsula parks for intensive recreation, while much of the peninsula to remain as an informal semi-natural landscape dominated by indigenous plants.

Consistent with the official decision to name all streets in Belconnen after Lord Mayors and Mayors, the road providing access to these two parks from Ginninderra Drive was named after Henry Diddams (1864-1928), who was the first Mayor of Brisbane elected directly by constituents in 1921.

University of Canberra

The Student Residences Group 2, colloquially known as the Egg Cartons, is on the Register of Significant 20th Century Architecture for the ACT. Deserving heritage protection, it was also entered the ACT Heritage Register in 2008. The distribution of units in the student residences and their stepping down the site to make the most of private northern views demonstrated a high degree of creative achievement by the architect, John Andrews AO. The grouping of bedrooms around small communal facilities was innovative and reflected a desire by students not to live in the more traditional block type residential colleges.

In Building 5, UC hosts an original “portable” ski chalet, known as The Futuro House, which was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968.

Did you know?

The Bridge at Eastern Valley Way Inlet is constructed from historic timbers that were recycled from the old Tharwa bridge which was opened on 27 March 1895 in the south of the ACT.

Near the College Street end of the Gossan Hill reserve in a clearing near Radford College is an ochre pit. According to a nearby ‘Canberra Tracks’ sign, “the Ngunnawal people held large gatherings here and used the coloured ochres as a ceremonial pigment”. Stone tools have been found across the Reserve – stone axes, scrapping tools, and adzes – often recognized by flaking of cutting edges. Rounded boulders were used for as hammer stones for pounding food and ochres for paint (red, blue, green, yellow) dug from rocks on Gossan Hill and other places.

The Naval Transmitting Station located near the Lawson Foreshore made its first operational transmission on 22 December 1939, and for the duration of the First World War communicated with merchant and fleet shipping around the world. After 66 years of service that included the Korean War and Vietnam War naval communications and relaying the 1956 Melbourne Olympic results to the world, the site was decommissioned. The last message was sent from Belconnen on 17 June 2005.

John Knight Memorial Park is associated with the contemporary history of the National Capital and in particular with Belconnen. It was named after Senator John Knight (1943-1981) who, as Chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, played a major role in ensuring the preservation of much of the shores of Lake Ginninderra for public recreation.

Ginninderra Creek carries approximately one quarter of the urban water runoff from Canberra directly into the Murrumbidgee River system and then the Murray River. Ginninderra Creek itself begins in the upper reaches of Gungahlin within the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve and enters the Murrumbidgee at Ginninderra Falls in Parkwood. The Creek cascades over two sets of spectacular falls. First, into a deep gorge and then into a pool near the Murrumbidgee River.

In October 1978 – With the final stage of the initial Belconnen Mall (Westfield Belconnen) construction completed, the centre was officially opened by the Minister for the Capital Territory, Robert Paul (Bob) Ellicott. The Belconnen Mall was branded as “The Big One” as at the time it was the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, complete with the second largest Myer Department Store in the world. Belconnen Mall boasts Canberra’s first Travelators (in lieu of escalators), Canberra’s first multi-storey car parks and is a favourable design of the decade.

The Cameron Offices were the first major buildings to be built in Belconnen. The design qualities of the Cameron Offices were recognised as significant at the time of their construction and won worldwide acclaim through a listing on the Union of International Architects Heritage register. The Cameron Offices are listed on the Australian Institute of Architects register of significant Twentieth Century Australian buildings. In 2004 Cameron Offices were nominated for inclusion in the Commonwealth Heritage List.

Ginninderra House was once the Belconnen Water Police Station located at The Promenade. The building was demolished in 2017.

Growing just behind the Belconnen Community Centre in Swanson Court is a grand old English elm tree. The elm is the only surviving evidence of a 4000 hectare sheep station that was established here in 1826. George Thomas Palmer, one of Ginninderra’s first land owners, built Emu Bank Homestead on the site and the surrounding area was known as “Emu Bank Paddock” due to the large number of emus which once roamed the area.

Back in 2012, William Woodbridge a University of Canberra student spent several months bunking down in a floating teepee on the Lake Ginninderra as a protest against cost of living on campus.