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Googong Foreshores joins Commonwealth Heritage List

Published: Saturday, 4 November 2017

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The Turnbull Government is pleased to announce the Googong Foreshores Cultural and Geodiversity Area has been included in the Commonwealth Heritage List.

Forty kilometres south west from Canberra, the 223-hectare Googong Foreshores Cultural and Geodiversity Heritage Area tells the story of pastoral settlement in the Canberra and Queanbeyan area over a period of more than a century. The group of buildings in a picturesque rural setting illustrate different phases of vernacular construction techniques, typical for rural homesteads.

The area now sits alongside the Lodge, the Carillion and the Royal Australian Mint in this list of important heritage places. The Australian Heritage Council recommended the Googong Foreshores Cultural and Geodiversity Heritage Area for listing because of what it preserves and tells us of our, Aboriginal, geological, natural and pastoral history.

The London Bridge Homestead group of buildings (near what is now the Googong Dam) made up one of the first properties in the area. Starting with a stone cottage in 1860 the property expanded over the following century to include a 1870s timber clad house, the 1890s ‘wattle and daub’ house, the 1920s weatherboard house and a 1950s fibro annex.

The 1930s woolshed and shearer’s quarters, located 1.5km away from the homestead, provide insight into that period of wool production management and demonstrate the living and working conditions of the era. This place reflects the importance of the wool industry for the local community and reminds us of a time when Australia “rode the sheep’s back”.

The area was used by the Ngambri Indigenous people well before the European settlement. It has been suggested that the area may represent a ‘staging area’ where people gathered prior to heading to the Brindabella Mountains for ceremonies.

On a nearby bend of Burra Creek, you can be taken further back in geological time and see how the local landscape evolved in the formation of the much-loved local landmark – the London Bridge Arch and caves.

The arch was given the name London Bridge by Europeans in 1825. Aboriginal visits to this sacred area started thousands of years earlier, as recent finds nearby demonstrate – stone artefact scatters, a scarred tree, campsites and cairns.

You can visit this historic site via the London Bridge Walk, an easy 3.4 km return walk which takes you to the London Bridge Arch and London Bridge Homestead.

For more details regarding the Commonwealth Heritage listing see: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017G01177

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