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ACT Branch: Visit to Woden Homestead and end of year celebration

November 23, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Woden Homestead and Environs is significant as one of the earliest rural properties on the Limestone Plains (now Canberra), and it includes the oldest remaining homestead (from 1832) that has been continuously occupied and managed as part of an agricultural enterprise. It is still a working sheep property. It has a strong association with the early development of the region and with important figures in the region’s history.

In the 1820s Francis Mowatt received grant of land where he built two stone cottages for himself and his shepherds. Originally Jerrabomberra, the property name was changed to Woden when it was purchased in 1837 by Dr James Murray, an Irish surgeon. He created a substantial homestead, incorporating the existing buildings.

Complementing the home was a formal garden, with gravel paths leading though beds of roses and flowering shrubs, bulbs and annuals to the orchard, where apples, pears, quinces and Kentish cherries were grown. In 1840 Anna Maria Bunn, James’ widowed sister and her two children moved to Woden, before moving to St Omer 12 years later. By this time the garden was well established and Anna took seeds, cutting and plants from Woden, as well as ideas for garden layout to start her new garden near Braidwood.

In 1855 James died leaving Woden to his brother who sold it to Thomas Rutledge from Carwoola. A year later it was sold again and by 1869 it had become part of George Campbell’s Duntroon. Recent owners, Charles and Martha Campbell, descendants of the early owners, began a program of tree replacing, which is continuing under the current owners Patrick and Emma Campbell who are focussing on English Oaks as a fire retardant and fire buffer.

Despite a severe bush fire in 1952, many important structures and plants survived in and around the grounds to enable understanding of the history and development of the property. These include gum trees, hedges and fences, rambling roses and a carriage loop with shrubs. Edna Walling, one of Australia’s leading landscape designers, redesigned the garden in 1952.

Currently there are no available plans nor many photos of the gardens although Patrick hopes when he has a chance to review the many boxes of his parents’ papers that some of these will come to light. Mike Hall, the Campbell’s (occasional) gardener for the last 15 years will speak to us on the day and will be able to respond to questions. The paths are not all smooth, nor are the grounds all level. We suggest you wear sturdy shoes. You might also bring a folding chair for refreshments at the end of the visit.


Numbers are restricted to 50, and we are requesting pre-payment because of the limited numbers.


Address: 10225 Monaro Hwy, Hume.

Getting there: The driveway is on the western side of the Highway, 300m north of the Lanyon Drive intersection. There is a letterbox on the highway clearly labelled with 10225. If coming from the north, reach the intersection of Monaro Hwy and Lanyon Drive and from Lanyon Drive turn right into the Monaro Hwy north-bound lanes, and from the LH lane look out for the first gravel driveway to the left. We should have our sign there to make it more obvious at a distance.

Parking: On the lower side of the driveway below the carport, in rows, front end to roadway

Cost: Members $10, Non-members $15 – including refreshments

Bookings: Helen Elliot at ellioth@bigpond.net.au (phone 6284 4749 home).




November 23, 2017
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm