Ginninderra and Gold Creek Village

Ginninderra and Gold Creek Village is home to numerous family based attractions set around an historic village.

Ginninderra Village, on the far outskirts of Canberra, was built in 1883 with the schoolhouse being the original school for the area now known as Canberra. Presently, it has fast developed as a major tourist attraction with its heritage buildings and other landscapes.

The buildings are heritage listed and present the visitor with some knowledge of life in the early days. The attractions around Ginninderra are marketed as Gold Creek Village, and together provide a full day of activities. Gold Creek Village consists of Federation Square and the Gold Creek Cultural Centre which is beside the Gold Creek Resort.

The family-focused attractions include Cockington Green Gardens, Australian Reptile Centre, The Bird Walk and the National Dinosaur Museum. Nearby you will see craftspeople making candles, wood turning, or patchwork quilts. Local galleries abound.

Contact: (02) 6205 0044. Location: O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls, ACT, off the Barton Highway, 15km north of the city. How to get there: By bus, operating daily from: City & Belconnen, Bus Routes 50 / 51 / 52.

Ginninderra is the name of the former agricultural lands surrendered to urban development on the western and north-western fringes of Canberra, Australia’s National Capital. Ginninderra corresponds with the watershed of Ginninderra Creek, which is now in part occupied by the Canberra districts of Belconnen and Gungahlin. The word ‘Ginninderra’ is one of several – Molonglo, Gold Creek and Monaro are others – that hold longstanding connections to Canberra’s local history. The Ginninderra Cricket Club, Ginninderra District High School and Ginninderra Labor Club are examples. One of the local ACT electorates is called Ginninderra. The name is celebrated through the place name Ginninderra Drive, an arterial road that traverses the Canberra district of Belconnen.

Ginninderra Creek and Falls

Ginninderra Creek rises on the northern border between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW), sourced from the Spring Range, located north-east of Hall. The creek flows generally south-west across the Ginninderra Plain, through the Gungahlin and Belconnen regions in Canberra, and then heads west crossing the western border between the ACT and flowing into NSW, towards its confluence with the Murrumbidgee River. The creek descends 168 metres (551 ft) over its 23 kilometres (14 mi) course.

Ginninderra Creek is impounded by Gungahlin Pond and Lake Ginninderra, a man-made lake that was constructed in 1974 to act as a sedimentation pond. The creek flows over the Ginninderra Falls, descending 41 metres, and through Ginninderra Gorge, to its confluence with the Murrumbidgee River. The Ginninderra Creek catchment carries approximately a quarter of Canberra’s urban runoff, and there is considerable risk of runoff from urban areas negatively impacting on aquatic ecosystems in the Murrumbidgee River system.

Ginninderra Falls is a popular scenic tourist destination, opened initially as a private tourist park from the late 1990s. In pre-Federation days, some argued that the Ginninderra Falls were so pretty that Canberra should be chosen as the capital city of Australia, rather than the proposal to choose Dalgety (the site of Canberra) as the location for the national capital. From mid-2011 onwards, advocacy began for the establishment of a national park containing the Ginninderra Falls, comprising 900 hectares (2,200 acres) and covering both ACT and NSW, inclusive of the existing 200 hectares (490 acres) Woodstock Nature Reserve in the ACT.

The falls precinct boasts some challenging hiking country and the cliffs offer rock climbing and abseiling opportunities. At the other end of the scale, you can drive to within 50m of the viewpoint of the upper falls. Ginninderra Gorge’s upper and lower falls are flanked by bushland standing in a carpet of moss which turns a brilliant green under full sunlight. Ginninderra Falls is located at the end of Parkwood Road, about five minutes drive from Macgregor. The surrounding gorge country is privately owned and there is no public access at present.

History of Ginninderra

Ginninderra is derived from the Aboriginal word, meaning “sparkling” or “throwing little rays of light”. The traditional custodians of the land surrounding Ginninderra Creek are the Aboriginal people of the Ngunnawal tribe.

Earliest written reference to the area use the spelling ‘Ginninginderry’ though by mid 19th century the ‘Ginninderra’ variation was in general use. The name Ginninderra is derived from the Aboriginal word for the creek which flows through the district of Ginin-ginin-derry which is said to mean sparkling or throwing out little rays of light.

George Palmers established his Palmerville Estate in 1826 in Ginninginderry with a homestead located on the banks of Ginninderra Creek adjacent to the presentday suburb of Giralang. The estate encompassed much of what is now Belconnen and southern Gungahlin. It adjoined the Charnwood Estate to the west and Yarralumla Estate to the east. The combined area of the Ginninderra and Charnwood Estates was nearly 20,150 acres (8155 ha). Between the years 1830 and 1836, the colonial surveyor Robert Hoddle made several visits to the district, to survey property boundaries. He captured Ginninderra’s wild beauty in watercolour and ink. The property was sold to William Davis, also from a prominent local family, and it continued to prosper.

The second wave of Ginninderra settlement began in the early 1850s with free settlers such as the Rolfe, Shumack, Gillespie and Gribble families. These settlers established wheat and sheep properties such as ‘Weetangara’, ‘Gold Creek’,’The Valley’ and ‘Tea Gardens’. During the mid 19th century Ginninderra was predominantly a wheat growing district especially for the smaller landholders. Much of the local produce supplied the large workforce at the region’s goldfields located at Braidwood and Major’s Creek.

During the first half of the twentieth century Ginninderra developed a reputation for high quality merino wool. Henry Babe  Curran of Deasland near Ginninderra Village achieved a world record price at auction. That year s record auction prices helped perpetuate the myth that the country s woolgrowers were all millionaires. The centre of the local wool industry was the Ginninderra Woolshed, the district s largest, (the site of which was located close to the presentday intersection of William Slim Drive and Baldwin Drive in the suburb of Giralang. The structure was demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the urban development of Belconnen.

In 1962, with the retirement of local schoolteacher and postmaster, Richard O Sullivan, the last of the Ginninderra Village original buildings, the post office and the Ginninderra Public School permanently closed. Students moved to the nearby Hall public School. The few remaining buildings in the former village are a timber hall (the former St Francis Church) and the Ginninderra Schoolhouse which are both located today within the tourist precinct of the Gold Creek Village in the suburb of Nicholls.

Ginninderra Falls