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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2991..


Belconnen—40th anniversary

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.38): I move:

That this Assembly notes the recent 40th anniversary of the establishment of Belconnen.

I would like to begin by taking members back in time and quote what author Eric Sparke stated in his book Canberra Nineteen Fifty Four to Nineteen Eighty. He stated:

Canberra's society in the mid-1960s reflected the changes taking place in the social mores of the nation—the age of telly, bikinis, the Pill, mini skirts, jet setting, the Beatles, flower power and hippies. Bob Brissenden raised a willy-willy when he challenged the prudish censorship laws by setting the banned novel Lolita in a literature course at the ANU. The Albert Hall (of all places) regaled patrons with "topless"films such as Playgirls of Paris. Women university students staged sit ins in the Hotel Civic's saloon bar, a previously segregated stronghold for men. Late in 1966, the commonwealth Government at last permitted married women to become permanent public servants. At the ANU, Bruce Hall, already a pace setter as the first "mixed"hall of residence in Australia, served wine with meals as a further civilised innovation, and, as the decade ended, the University Union gained permission to sell liquor on campus.

Just before we talk about celebration, I should note that Mr Sparke has not been well. I am sure you will all join with me in sending warmest wishes to him. His book, by the way, is a wonderful and comprehensive resource on the history of Canberra in the 20th century.

Belconnen was established at a time of change. Originally, the site set down for Belconnen was composed of several rural properties, including Strathnairn, Kama, Melrose, Belconnen and a few others. The naval transmitting station was established in 1939. There was no active church. Weetangera public school had not been used since the end of World War II. Access to the Belconnen area was via Weetangera Road, a gravel road originating from Dryandra Street in O'Connor. By the early sixties, Belconnen was well and truly in the planning pipeline. The electricity authority connected the area. There was water and sewerage and a new telephone exchange. A few of the arterial roads had been constructed, while the basic street layout for Aranda was almost in place.

On 23 June 1966 the then minister for the interior, the Hon. John Douglas Anthony, turned the first sod at the inauguration of Belconnen in Aranda. The commemorative stone is located at that site in Aranda next to the Aranda oval. I must say how happy I was when Mr Hargreaves organised, at my request, for the foundation stone to receive proper maintenance and upkeep in the middle of last year. There were a number of local residents who were also pleased that the then urban services undertook this work. I would like to thank the minister and urban services for that work.

Doug Anthony had notable connections to Canberra. He spent a great deal of his youth visiting here when his father, Larry, sat in parliament. There are stories of Doug as a child playing in Barton and enjoying unfettered access to every room of old Parliament House, including the Prime Minister's private office.


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