Caamberra Prediction Fulfilled

Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer

29 June 1920

The following letter written to the Queanbeyan (Cuumbean) "Observer" on   the Canberra (Caamberra) Capital site, will be read with interest:


I was very pleased to read in the "Sydney Morning Herald " of to-day   the account of a meeting at Qeeanbeyan respecting the desirability of making Canberra the site upon which the capital of the Commonwealth should be built. You have Mr. J. C. Watson's favorable opinion on this question, as he was good enough to say, in answer to a letter from me to him, that if he had previously seen Canberra, Dalgety would not have engaged his attention. Could a more picturesque spot be imagined?

How often in riding up the plain have I turned round in my saddle to admire the prospect. This backed up by Gundaroo, which it is to be lamented, was not cut up in small holdings, would make it perfect. Gundaroo had not been a thriving place at the time, I visited it after a long interval, in 1885. It had decreased in population ten in a decade, and the reason assigned was that Mr. Massy held all the property around, and it would not thrive until after his death, but it has gone over to another single owner, and consequently is in a stagnant condition. But this will be amended.

Then there is Lake George. Can anyone prophesy what a gay scene would be enacted there, if means could be devised to keep it full. How many villas would be erected on its shores, and how its waters would he enlivened with boats, gondolas and steamers.

Mr. O'Sullivan had an idea that the Snowy River could be conducted into the Lake, but it was found at a cost too heavy to be entertained. Dalgety would never do for us, it is too cold. Who, knowing Monaro, would live there from choice, with its frosty nights and perishing winds, which a recent writer in the Herald said such as no great coat was a protection from its effects.

I had an interest in sheep at Kybean, and can anyone point out a more miserable place in the long trying six months winter there. Dalgety must be the same, I think most Australians love the sun and genial life-giving warmth it imparts, and I am sure Sydney residents, on that account, would never consent to establish businesses at Monaro.

The Dalgety advocates think they would   have a port at Eden. How much they are mistaken in this, except at a cost of millions for breakwaters. Not even a boat can find shelter in Twofold Bay in an east or south-east gale, and ships lying there at the time would become total wrecks, as did Mr. Boyd's hulk at Boyd Town.

In addition, what would it cost to build a rail way down "Big Jack," alias the "Coal-hole"? A fabulous amount. I hope that Canberra will be called by its native name " Caamberra." Queanbeyan is "Cuumbeyan", Tidbinbilla is "Tchinbillee", Giggerlite is "Djidgheline" (it was called by the former name because it rhymed with Wright, its owner), Yarralumla, Yarrowlumla is " Arralumna", Tumut, now Chewmut is "Doomut-th", Goodradigbee is spelt with a C, and so on.

With reference to the fish in the Upper Murrumbidgee River, Mr. Dennevig ascribes the scarcity of cod and perch to certain causes which may exist, but they were never very abundant in the upper portion of that river and its affluents, and seldom gave a good day's sport.

With best wishes. Yours etc., S. M. Mowle. Spencer Lodge, Woolahra, 27th July, 1907.



In my letter to you of the 27th, I omitted to discuss the question of water supply to, what I am assured, will be the site of the Federal City, viz., Caamberra, for does any other than it present so pleasing a picture?

The Cotter River, an affluent to the Upper Murrumbidgee, on its left bank, is a permanent stream coming from the same direction as that of the Cooradigbee, and in the disastrous drought of 1837-38-39, when the main stream was a chain of ponds it was still flowing.

Engineers say there will not be any difficulty in bringing it to Caamberra, augmented by its affluent the Paddy. In addition there is the Queanbeyan River coursing through the site, and that is joined by the Mologlo not far front the township. I call that the Molonglo, where it is crossed by the bridge on the road from Queanbeyan to Bungendore.

If the Cooradigbee could be taken to Caamberra then the discussion of a water supply would be superfluous, and there would be no engineering difficulty about this - but under the circumstances at present presented the question need not be further considered.

Yours etc., 29th July, 1907. S. M. Mowle.