Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
|Population||2,890 (2016 census)|
|• Density||328.0/km2 (849.6/sq mi)|
|Gazetted||20 September 1928|
|Area||8.81 km2 (3.4 sq mi)|
Yarralumla (//) is a large inner south suburb of Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Located approximately 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) south-west of the city, Yarralumla extends along the south-west bank of Lake Burley Griffin from Scrivener Dam to Commonwealth Avenue.
In 1828, Henry Donnison, a Sydney merchant, was granted a lease on the western side of Stirling Ridge. Donnison's land was named Yarralumla in a survey of the area conducted in 1834, apparently after the indigenous people's term for the area. It was also spelt Yarrolumla in other documents. In 1881, the estate was bought by Frederick Campbell, grandson of Robert Campbell who built nearby "Duntroon". He completed the construction of a large, gabled, brick house on his property in 1891 that now serves as the site of Government House, the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia. Campbell's house replaced an elegant, Georgian-style homestead, the main portions of which were erected from local stone in the 1830s. Among the old Yarralumla homestead's most notable occupants were Sir Terence Aubrey Murray, who owned Yarralumla sheep station from 1837 to 1859, Augustus Onslow Manby Gibbes, who owned the property from 1859 to 1881, and Augustus' father Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787–1873).
The modern suburb of Yarralumla was gazetted by the government in 1928 and as of 2011[update] was home to approximately 3,000 people and many diplomatic missions. Notable locations include Lennox Gardens, the Albert Hall and the Hotel Canberra. Parliament House and The Lodge lie just outside its boundary. In recent years, Yarralumla has become one of Canberra's most desirable and expensive residential suburbs because of its wide leafy streets, attractive lakeside setting and central location.
Yarralumla is located in the central Canberra district of South Canberra. It is bordered by Lake Burley Griffin to the north, Commonwealth Avenue and Capital Hill to the east, Adelaide Avenue and the Cotter Road to the south, and Scrivener Dam, Lady Denman Drive and part of the Molonglo River to the west. Its southeast corner abuts Capital Hill, the location of Parliament House. The Lodge lies across Adelaide Avenue near its eastern end.
Although Yarralumla is one of the largest suburbs in Canberra by area, its population remains quite small because more than half of its area consists of open space or non-residential development, including Weston and Stirling Parks, the Royal Canberra Golf Club, and the grounds of Government House. A relatively high proportion of houses are occupied by diplomatic missions.
The streets in Yarralumla are named after Australian governors and botanists. Most of the older streets in the suburb are laid out on an approximately rectangular grid with some curved sections, while the more hilly eastern end of the suburb, including the embassy district, is set out with contour-guided roads. Major roads in Yarralumla include Banks Street, Novar Street and Hopetoun Circuit in a north–south direction and Schlich Street, Loftus Street and Weston Street running east–west. Being a dormitory suburb, there are no major through roads. Access to the rest of the city can be made from Adelaide Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, Lady Denman Drive and Cotter Road, all of which run along the borders of the suburb. From these roads, entry to the suburb can be gained by turning into roads such as Coronation Drive, Hopetoun Circuit and Novar Street.
Yarralumla is located on the Yarralumla Formation which is a mudstone/siltstone formation that was formed around 425 million years ago during the Silurian Period. The formation extends from Red Hill and Woden in the South to Lake Burley Griffin in to the north, passing under the suburb of Yarralumla. The formation is evidence of the last major marine sedimentary period when eastern Australia was still covered by shallow seas. It shows fossil evidence of trilobites, coral and primitive crinoids. The Yarralumla brickworks quarry and the Deakin anticline are places where the formation is exposed and easily studied.
The area now called Yarralumla is part of two original land grants, which were granted to free settlers for the establishment of farms. In 1828 Henry Donnison, a Sydney merchant who had arrived with his wife and family on the brig Ellen on 29–30 July 1828, was granted an allotment on the western side of Stirling Ridge. A second grant was made to William Klensendorlffe (a German who had served in the British Navy and arrived free in the Colony in 1818), who had bought the land from John Stephen, on 7 March 1839. Donnison's land was named Yarralumla in a survey of the area conducted in 1834. Yarralumla or Yarrowlumla was a name used by the local people for the Mount Stromlo ridge, which lies to the west of the current suburb. It is said to mean "echo mountain". An area to the west of what is now the suburb was the Yarrolumla parish.
The prominent New South Wales parliamentarian Sir Terence Aubrey Murray (1810–1873) purchased Yarralumla in 1837. He lived there with his wife Mary (née Gibbes, 1817–1858), the second daughter of the Collector of Customs for New South Wales, Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787–1873), MLC. Murray settled Yarralumla and part of Winderradeen (near Collector) on his wife in trust so that they would have some property if he became bankrupt. In 1858, with his wife's death, Yarralumla passed in trust to her father and her brother Augustus Onslow Manby Gibbes (1828–1897). In May 1859, Augustus' parents came to live with him at Yarralumla homestead.
Augustus Gibbes improved the estate and acquired additional land by purchase and lease. However, In 1881, he sold Yarralumla for 40,000 pounds to Frederick Campbell, a descendant of Robert Campbell, in order to travel overseas. Frederick Campbell erected a new, three-storey, brick house on the site of the former Yarralumla homestead at the beginning of the 1890s. Campbell's house would later form the basis of what is now the Governor-General of Australia's official Canberra residence, known colloquially as "Yarralumla" or "Government House". Campbell also built a large wooden woolshed nearby in 1904. It remains standing to this day.
In 1908, the Limestone Plains area, including Yarralumla, was selected as the site for the capital city of the newly established Commonwealth of Australia. Soon afterwards in 1913, the Commonwealth Government purchased the property. Tenant farmers were allowed to stay on the land on annual leases, some remaining until 1963 when the Molonglo River was dammed to form Lake Burley Griffin.
With the construction of Australia's capital city underway, the Yarralumla brickworks were established in 1913 to supply building material. The bricks were used for many of Canberra's buildings, including the provisional Parliament House. In 1917, Walter Burley Griffin named the area surrounding the brickworks "Westridge". A narrow gauge goods railway was constructed for the transportation of bricks to some of the major building sites in central Canberra. This linked the brickworks to places such as Parliament House, and the Kingston Power House.
Construction on the Commonwealth nursery and Westbourne Woods arboretum was started in 1914, and a temporary camp was built near the brickworks to accommodate the workers. Thomas Charles Weston was Officer-in-Charge (Afforestation Branch) in the years 1913 to 1926, and later became Director of City Planting and the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens. Weston was responsible for testing and selecting plant species at the arboretum for their suitability to Canberra's environment; from 1913 through to 1924 Weston oversaw the propagation of more than two million trees which were then planted in the Canberra area. Most of the original Westbourne Woods arboretum is now leased to the Royal Canberra Golf Club, with the remainder forming part of Weston Park. The Yarralumla nursery is still active, albeit on a smaller scale and functioning as a retail nursery selling both wholesale and direct to the public.
In 1922, a workers' tent camp was erected on the eastern side of Stirling Ridge to house the men working on the main intercepting sewer. The following year saw the start of the construction of 62 small, four-room, unlined timber cottages, to be used as housing for the married tradesmen involved in the construction of the provisional Parliament House. Other camps were established at the eastern end of Stirling Park on the hills opposite modern Lotus Bay. The first of these was contractor John Howie's settlement (1922–30), consisting of 25 timber cottages for his married men and timber barracks (Hostel Camp) for his single men. Two other single men's tent camps were established nearby—Old Tradesmen's Camp (1923–27) and No 1 Labourers Camp (1924–27). The men from Howie's worked on the Hotel Canberra and the others on the construction of the provisional Parliament House and nearby administrative buildings.
The Stirling Park camps were known as Westlake to their new inhabitants, and previously "Gura Bung Dhaura" (stony ground) to the local Aboriginal people. In 1925, the population of this temporary suburb was 700. This represented roughly one-fifth of the total population of the Federal Capital Territory at the time; in the region, only Molonglo Settlement had a larger population, at 750. The site was chosen so that it was near to Parliament House but hidden from direct line of sight from anywhere "important". The small cottages at Westlake were removed starting in the mid-1950s, with the last one removed in 1965. Many of the Westlake workers' cottages were moved to Queanbeyan and are still used as housing today. The Stirling Park near the embassy area of Yarralumla now covers the historic Westlake settlement area.
The Commonwealth and the states agreed in 1920 that a single forestry school was needed to supply an urgent need for well-trained foresters. Land was set aside in 1926 for the Commonwealth Forestry School at Westridge near the brickworks and Westbourne Woods. The now heritage-listed Forestry School and the associated principal's residence Westridge House are located on Banks Street, Yarralumla. The school was initially established in March 1926 at the University of Adelaide, which had Australia's only forestry course at the time. Its permanent building in Yarralumla was designed by Federal Capital Commission architects J.H. Kirkpatrick, and H.M. Rolland. It is built in the Inter-War Stripped Classical style as a single storey rendered brick building with a parapet and a hipped tiled roof. Various Australian woods, including Queensland maple and walnut (Cryptocarya palmerstonii), red cedar, red mahogany, hoop pine and mountain ash, were used throughout the building. It opened in April 1927 prior to its completion in June 1927 and its first students started in 1928. Due to financial stringency during the Great Depression and other priorities during the Second World War, it had few students in its first years. The Forestry School was absorbed by the Australian National University in 1965 and forestry courses are now carried out at its main campus in Acton. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Forestry and Forestry Products subsumed the school in 1975. Westridge House, an impressive Tudor-style structure, was completed in January 1928. It underwent a A$500,000 refurbishment and was later used as a residence for the chief officer of the CSIRO. The former Forestry School and Westridge House are now leased out by the CSIRO.
By 1928, there were over 130 people on the electoral roll for Westridge. The majority of the population consisted of men working at the brickworks and nursery. Westridge was gazetted as a Canberra suburb in 1928.
After World War II
After the Second World War, the suburb began to expand rapidly with the construction of many private homes. Yarralumla's image as a lower-class suburb would persist into the 1960s and 1970s. This general perception began to alter once Lake Burley Griffin had been created and its surrounds landscaped into parklands; the area soon gained a reputation for its attractive lakeside location. During the 1980s, house prices began to rise coincident with a rejuvenation of the suburb. Many of the original government-built monocrete, brick, and weatherboard houses have been demolished and replaced by larger dwellings of a variety of more modern styles and materials.
The population of the Westridge area on the 1928 electoral roll numbered over 130. At the 2016 census, Yarralumla had a population of 2,890 people. Of these 46.9% were male. The suburb had only 1.0% indigenous Australians, substantially below the national average of 2.8%. The percentage of married people in the suburb was nine points higher than the national average, and the proportion of residents who had never married was 9 points lower. Despite the higher level of marriage, this did not translate into a higher level of children; 49.6% of families consisted of a couple without children in the household, compared to the national average of 37.8%. Yarralumla residents had a median age of 49, compared to a Canberra average of 35. The suburb had an older population for a city of young people; the median national age is 38 and 41.7% of Yarralumla residents were 55 or over, compared to the national figure of 27.6%.
Yarralumla is a comparatively wealthy suburb with a 2016 median weekly personal income of $1,347; this compares to an ACT-wide figure of $998 and an Australia-wide figure of $662. The public service or defence force employed around 21.7% of the workforce, somewhat less than the ACT average of 23.6%. This compared to 1.9% for Australia as a whole. The higher incomes were derived from the suburb's white-collar base; 63.5% of Yarralumla's workforce was employed as professionals or in managerial posts, compared to 35.2% nationally. In contrast, only 3.4% were engaged in blue-collar occupations, compared with 15.8% for the nation as a whole. The proportion of the population working as tradesmen and technicians was almost four times lower than average across Australia.
The median monthly housing loan repayments in Yarralumla in 2016 were $2,700, compared to the ACT-wide figure of $2,058 and a federal average of $1,755. At $450, the weekly rent was more than 50% higher than the national average. Yarralumla's median house price was about $1.5m in 2020 versus $720,000 for the whole of the ACT. The rate of home ownership in the suburb was 46.9%—much higher than the national average of 31.0%. 25.4% of the households rented. Accommodation was mostly separate houses (64.2%), although the number of residences in the suburb has been increasing through conversion of blocks to dual occupancy and other medium-density-type developments. Despite this, only 5.9% of residences were apartments or units, slightly less than half of the national average.
The population of Yarralumla in 2016 was predominantly Australian-born, with some 69.3% of its residents being born in Australia. The second most prevalent birthplace was England at 6.0%, followed by New Zealand and United States with 1.6 and 1.5% respectively. The suburb was more oriented towards the Anglo-Celtic majority than the rest of Australia; English was spoken at home by 80.3% of the population, compared to the national average of 72.7%. Every other language was spoken by less than 2% of the population. Italian, Mandarin, Greek, German and French were all spoken by at least 0.8% of the population. The most popular religious affiliations in descending order were no religion, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian and Reformed. The proportion of the population professing to having no religion was 34.6%, higher than the national average of 29.6%.
The Yarralumla local shopping centre is located on the corner of Bentham and Novar Streets. The centre contains a supermarket, dry-cleaners, chemist, gift shop as well as several restaurants and speciality shops.
Weston Park is situated on a peninsula near the western end of Lake Burley Griffin. The park includes swimming areas, children's play equipment and wading pools, and a miniature railway, and is a popular barbecue spot on weekends. Weston Park forms part of a string of parks that line the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin; other parks include Yarralumla Bay, Lennox Gardens (incorporating a Japanese garden named Canberra Nara Park) and Stirling Park.
Yarralumla's only scheduled public transport is provided by ACTION buses. Route 57 provides a service from Yarralumla to Woden and City Interchanges along Novar Street, Schlich Street and Hopetoun Circuit.
Yarralumla's first school, the Catholic St Peter Chanel's Primary School, opened in 1956; it closed in the 1990s. Yarralumla Primary School, a public school, opened a year after St Peter Chanel's in 1957. Half of the original primary school is now used as a behavioural centre catering to problem students. Preschools in Yarralumla include the Montessori preschool on Loftus Street. There is also a day care facility called Little Lodge on Macgillivray Street.
The Canberra Japanese Supplementary School Inc., a Japanese weekend educational programme, has its school office in the Japanese Embassy Consular Section in Yarralumla, while it holds its classes at Deakin High School in Deakin. It was established on 1 August 1988.
Yarralumla is located within the federal electorate of Canberra, which has been represented by Alicia Payne in the House of Representatives since the 2019 election. In the ACT Legislative Assembly, Yarralumla is part of the electorate of Murrumbidgee, which elects five members on the basis of proportional representation, currently two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens. Polling place statistics are shown to the right for the Yarralumla polling place at Yarralumla Primary School in the 2019 federal and 2020 ACT elections. Only 655 votes were cast at the Yarralumla polling place in 2020 due to early voting at centralised polling places to avoid crowding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yarralumla is notable among Canberra suburbs for its large number of landmarks and places of historical interest. The Governor-General's residence Government House, which shares the name Yarralumla, is located at the western end of the suburb in 53 hectares (130 acres) of parkland. It sits alongside Lake Burley Griffin, next to the Royal Canberra Golf Club and Scrivener Dam. The house was built in 1891 as the headquarters for the Yarralumla property. Also located alongside Scrivener Dam is the National Zoo & Aquarium. The nearby Yarralumla woolshed is available for event hire, often playing host to parties and bush dances. The land surrounding the woolshed has been developed as an equestrian park, including areas for showjumping, eventing and endurance riding. The Yarralumla brickworks are notable as the first industrial manufacturing facility in the ACT. The brickworks were closed temporarily several times due to the Great Depression and both World Wars. Proposals to modernise the brickworks were rejected by the National Capital Development Commission in the early 1970s and they closed permanently in 1976. Presently the site is closed to the public and is in a state of disrepair. The unfenced parkland around the brickworks is a popular recreation area for Yarralumla residents. Residential development is proposed for the 42-hectare site, initially including 1,800 new dwellings, although this project has been significantly scaled down.
The eastern end of Yarralumla is home to many of the diplomatic missions in Canberra, many of which are built in a traditional style reflecting that of their respective home countries. Examples of regionally styled chanceries include the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Thailand, and the High Commissions of India and Papua New Guinea. The United States embassy was the first embassy built in Canberra, with the foundation stone laid on the Fourth of July, 1942. The embassy is an impressive compound of buildings built in a Georgian style, inspired by several buildings designed by Christopher Wren for Virginia at the beginning of the 18th century. The French embassy includes the French-Australian War Memorial opened in 1961, which has a sculpture by André Bizette-Lindet called Winged Victory. Canberra tourist drive six takes tourists on a car-based tour past many of Canberra's embassies including those located in Yarralumla. It zig-zags through the eastern side of Yarralumla past many of the missions.
Also located in the eastern end of the suburb are Lennox Gardens, the Yarralumla Yacht Club, the Albert Hall and the Hotel Canberra. The Hotel Canberra opened in 1924 to accommodate politicians when Parliament was in session. The hotel was closed in 1974 and the buildings served as an annexe for Parliament House between 1976 and 1984. The Hyatt Hotel Group re-opened the hotel in 1987.
|Embassies and High Commissions in Yarralumla|
|Japan||South Korea||Malaysia||Mexico||Myanmar||Netherlands||New Zealand|
|Nigeria||Norway||Pakistan||Papua New Guinea||Philippines||Poland||Saudi Arabia|
|Singapore||South Africa||Spain||Sri Lanka||Sweden||Thailand||Turkey|
|United Kingdom||United States|
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