The Old Canberra Inn was originally built as a timber slab and pole home by Joseph Arya Shumack in 1857. It was built on the main Yass to Queanbeyan Road.
Since then the building has had four main phases of use:
- 1857-1875 – a home for Joseph and his wife Bridget;
- 1876-1887 – The Canberra Inn – a stopping place on the mail and passenger coach route from Yass to Queanbeyan;
- 1888-1973 – a home called ‘The Pines’ for members of the Read family, who had bought the property from the Shumack’s in 1887;
- 1976-present – a licensed Inn, the Old Canberra Inn.
In the 1880s a racecourse was located opposite the Canberra Inn, on the site where the Hockey Centre is now. Publicans were often supportive of races as patrons would’ve used the Inn as a watering hole. The last recorded race meeting at this site was in 1886.
The Read family were a driving force in local cricket, tennis and ploughing matches. Cricket matches between the Canberra and Ginninderra sides were played in a paddock near Lyneham Primary School until the 1930s. A new cricket ground was then built on the north side of the intersection of Ginninderra Drive and Mouat Street.
More information on the history of the Old Canberra Inn and The Pines can be found at:
- The Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre website
- The Old Canberra Inn wikipedia article (including a copy of the 1887 advertisement for sale of the Inn)