Our School

The seven units that make up Gowrie Primary School were named after seven properties in the Tuggeranong Valley. School architect, Enrico Taglietti, designed the school buildings to reflect a rural theme.

Athllon comes from the names of Harry Oldfield's family - Alfred, Ted, Harry, Les, Lile, Oldfield, and Nancy. Their original home stood where 'Blinky Bill' child care centre is now. The house was destroyed in the 1952 bushfires, which also wiped out nearby Fadden Pines. The foundations of Oldfield's second home can be seen in the City Parks Depot beside the Scout Hall in Gowrie. Their farm covered Gowrie, Monash, and parts of neighbouring suburbs.

Gulla Gulla was the property of Mr Geoff Hyles. Baby Noel Hyles used to say, "Gulla, gulla, gulla," while crawling around the house and that gave their family the idea for the name. The cotoneaster hedge that was around the house can be seen in the children's playground in Watkins Street, opposite the Padua campus of McKillop College.

Yamba The property was one of the soldier settlements located in the Woden Valley in the vicinity of Eddison Park. Walter Eddison drew block 28 in the 1920 allocation of leases for returned servicemen from World War 1. He named the lease Yamba. The family moved into the newly built homestead on the 560 hectare property in 1928. Originally from England Walter Edison an accomplished horse rider joined the Australian Light Horse Brigade. After the war he and his family consisting of wife Marion and children, Tom, Diana, Jack and Keith emigrated to Australia. The children became skilled in horse riding and helped their parents with the hard work at Yamba – mainly a grazing property. The three boys served in the armed forces during the second world war. All three were killed on active service. Yamba was sold in 1955 with the property later being subdivided to become part of the Woden Valley development.

Lambrigg was built brick by brick in 1894 by the internationally famous wheat experimentalist William Farrer for his wife Nina de Salis. The house stands beside Farrer's scientific laboratory just beyond Point Hut Crossing. Farrer's cross-bred varieties grown beside the Murrumbidgee River rescued wheat from the world-wide collapse caused by rust.

Lanyon was first occupied following white settlement by Timothy Beard, who grazed cattle on the limestone plains as early as 1829.  Beard had been transported to Australia for life and arrived in the colony in 1806.  The Wright family were next to occupy the farming land around Lanyon in 1835 establishing an orchard, vegetable gardens, wheat crops and grazing cattle and sheep.  Lanyon was later purchased by Andrew Cunningham and he built the current homestead that stands today from local fieldstone in 1859.  In 1930 the property was sold again to Thomas Field who had large land holdings across NSW and Qld.  The Federal Government acquired the Lanyon property in 1974 for $3.7m and withdrew the rural leases in the surrounding regions.

Cuppacumbalong is the school administration block, Parent Hub, library information centre, Teacher Conference room and hall. Built near the junction of the Gudginby and Murrumbidgee Rivers, near Tharwa, the original homestead was aptly named after the "Meeting of the Waters".

Booroomba was a farming station located near Tharwa.  Originally owned by William Davis he established the property as a rural development grazing cattle in the 1840's.  He experienced regular altercations with local bushrangers during this time.  William Davis sold the property to the McKeahnie family in 1859 where they continued to farm crops and graze cattle.  The Booroomba Rocks area also holds significant meaning to the local Aboriginal people.

The Canberra suburb of Gowrie is located in the Tuggeranong Valley in the southern area of the nation's capital city. Gowrie is named after the Earl of Gowrie, Brigadier-General Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven (1872-1955), Governor-General of Australia from 1936-1944.

The streets in Gowrie are all named after members of the Australian Armed Forces who won distinctions, including the Victoria Cross. The Primary School, opened in 1983, is located on Jeffries Street. This is named after Captain Clarence S. Jeffries, VC (1894-1917) who was in the AIF. He won his Victoria Cross in Belgium in 1917.

European history of Tuggeranong and surrounding areas dates from the 1830s. But the area has been occupied for 21,000 years prior to this.

The Ngunnawal people were the first residents of the Canberra region. A rock shelter near Birrigai dates Ngunnawal activity at 20,000 years ago int the last Ice Age. They may have lived here much longer than that, possibly 60,000 or more years.

20,000 years ago is about the time of the coldest period of the Ice Age (Pleistocene). 'Tuggeranong' comes from the Ngunnawal language and means cold place - snow would have covered the valley for much of the winter, with icy streams and cold winds blown from a glacier near Mt Kosziusko.

Gradually the climate changed and the winters were not so severe. The Ngunnawal people could stay in the valley all year, hunting marsupials, birds, freshwater fish and yabbies.

In spring, fish and yabbies, wattle pods and orchid tubers appeared. Bogong Moths began to arrive to spend summer in cool rock crevices. The moths were also an important source of food. The Ngunnawal people gathered in great numbers for the arrival of the moths and it was a time of feasting and ceremonies.

There are more than 100 Aboriginal sites in the park, including art sites, a stone axe quarry, stone arrangements and many campsites.

The arrival of Europeans was disasterous for the Ngunnawal and their numbers had been severely reduced by the end of the 1800's.

More reading:

Blunt, P, Hunter, M, Hutchison M (Ed) Tracks Through Time, Canberra Stories Group 1997.

Flood, Josephine, The Moth Hunters, Canberra, 1980.

Lhotsky, John, Dr, A Journey from Sydney to the Australian Alps 1834, Alan E J Andrews (ed) Hobart, 1979.

Interesting links

Reconciliation in Australia

Services and Supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples