Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A future township of the past  ...

On the outskirts of Canberra and just over the ACT border, in NSW, lies the site of a proposed town.  This town was named Environa, but it never materialised; it remained just a plan on the drawing boards.

Environa was planned by an opportunistic individual - Henry Ferdinand Halloran - to accommodate people not wishing to lease a block of land in the newly selected site for Australia’s capital city. In Environa, purchasers would gain freehold title to their block of land (ie. ownership in perpetuity). In addition to full ownership, purchasers would be on the very doorstep of the planned city of Canberra. “Everybody should have at least one block” proclaimed Halloran’s Environa promotional poster:

While not a bad idea, no blocks were ever sold and the Great Depression cruelled his plan.

Interestingly, Halloran built some structures at key points on the site – a rock pillar, capped with a bust of Henry Parkes (I think).
Sir Henry ParkesImage via Wikipedia

A number of other rock and timber structures were also built, to help prospective buyers visualize his grand plans for the town.

I first visited Environa in 1979.  This is how Halloran’s rock pillar appeared then (looking northwards).

I returned to Environa last weekend for the first time in 32 years.  Here’s how the rock pillar looks now.  The bust of Henry Parkes was vandalised several years ago – a bit of a shame.

Other structures at Environa:

(looking southward)

(looking eastward)

Now, the site for Environa sits smack under the flight path into Canberra Airport, so perhaps it's just as well the land remained farmland!

(looking upward!)
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