The Lyneham and North O’Connor Heritage Trail is an initiative of the Lyneham Community Association (LCA).
- The Heritage Trail is approximately 9km long, following footpaths, bike paths and bush tracks around Lyneham and north O’Connor.
- It can be followed on foot or by bike.
- All sections (except the optional loop into the O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve) are accessible for mobility vehicles and prams.
- The trail can be followed as a complete loop, as north or south sections, or sites can be visited individually.
- Take a picnic or stop for refreshments at Lyneham shops or North Lyneham shops.
The development of the trail was supported with a 2020-21 ACT Heritage Grant. The LCA engaged historian Ann-Mari Jordans to develop a history of the Lyneham area and four new Canberra Tracks signs and artist Paul Summerfield to develop a wayfinding map incorporating the route of the heritage trail. The LCA was also assisted by the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre.
The LCA welcomes contributions of information about the sites included in the trail and about additional sites that could be added to the Trail over time. The LCA would be pleased to auspice or collaborate with members of the community on future heritage projects. Please send us an email or contact us via the contact page on the website.
Lyneham and O’Connor history: a short overview
The LCA acknowledges that the Heritage Trail is on the lands of the Traditional Custodians of this part of Australia, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.
Nearby Black Mountain is a significant cultural place for local Aboriginal people. Black Mountain Peninsula was a site for gatherings of Aboriginal people from surrounding regions for trade and for ceremonial purposes. Significant scatters of stone tools and ceremonial ochre have been found on Black Mountain and the surrounding ridges, including O’Connor Ridge. The ‘Ngunnawal Country’ Canberra Tracks Heritage Trail provides more insight into the Aboriginal story of Canberra, which goes back at least 20,000 years.
The land between the Molonglo River (where the ANU now stands) and the Lyneham shops/St Ninians area was colonised by European settlers around 1823. It was held as part of the ‘Canberry’ pastoral property granted to Joshua John Moore. The name derived from the Ngunnawal word Kamberra (a meeting). Although Moore never visited his landholding, his employees grazed sheep and were the first resident Europeans in the Canberra area. In the 1840s Moore sold this land to Arthur Jeffreys, son in law of Robert Campbell from Duntroon. The ‘Limestone Plains’ Canberra Tracks Heritage Trail provides more insight into early European colonisation of the Canberra area.
Closer settlement policies in the 1860s resulted in the ‘free selection’ of smaller portions of land along the Yass-Queanbeyan Road by small farming families such as the Shumack, Maloney and Read families. The Yass-Queanbeyan Road ran along the alignment of Mouat and Ellenborough Streets to St Ninian’s Church and then in a straight line to Limestone Avenue and on to Queanbeyan. The homesteads built on these blocks were relatively close together and the community they formed came to be known as ‘Upper Canberra’ – to distinguish it from the ‘Canberry/Canberra’ area closer to the Molonglo. Information about many of the places and people associated with Upper Canberra is available on the Rediscovering Ginninderra portal of the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre.
In the early 20th Century this area was incorporated into the Federal Capital Territory and designated as part of the District of ‘Ainslie’. The suburbs of Lyneham and O’Connor were surveyed in the early 1950s and building works began on the suburbs we know today. The ‘Looking at Canberra’ Canberra Tracks Heritage Trail provides more insight into the process of creating a national capital in the rural landscapes of the Limestone Plains.
Community Map (incorporating the Lyneham and North O’Connor Heritage Trail)
Heritage Trail sites 1-11
- Lyneham Shops
- St Ninian’s Church
- Old Canberra Inn
- Gungahleen School
- Upper Canberra – O’Connor Ridge
- Old Weetangera Road
- Toll Dairy Farm and Cottage
- 13th Canberra Scout Hall
- Jandura Park
- Lyneham Wetland
- Lyneham Commons Food Forest
Sources for Lyneham and O’Connor history
- Lyneham/O’Connor: Historical Phases, Essay and Bibliography – Ann-Mari Jordans, 2021
- ANU Indigenous Trail (Trail pamphlet)
- ANU Trails and Tours
- ANU Acton Campus Heritage Study
- Black Mountain Symposium 2018, including proceedings
- Guide to Upper Canberra, CDHS newsletter No. 408, December 2006/January 2007
- Lyneham Primary School – Our History
- Lyneham High School Memories
- Friends of Black Mountain