Majura (district)

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Majura
CanberraAustralian Capital Territory
View of Fairbairn from Mount Ainslie.jpg
View of Canberra Airport in southern Majura, the Majura district largely lies to the left of the photo.
Majura Parkway and Road - Impression.png
Majura Parkway being built through the Majura valley
Coordinates 35°16′15″S 149°11′52″E / 35.2709°S 149.1977°E / -35.2709; 149.1977Coordinates: 35°16′15″S 149°11′52″E / 35.2709°S 149.1977°E / -35.2709; 149.1977
Population 249 (2011)[1]
 • Density 2.616/km2 (6.774/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 2609
Area 95.2 km2 (36.8 sq mi)
Territory electorate(s) Molonglo
Federal Division(s) Canberra
Localities around Majura:
Gungahlin Sutton Wamboin
Canberra Central ' Kowen
Canberra Central Jerrabomberra Queanbeyan

The Majura District is a district of Canberra, with a population of 249 in 2011. It is situated in the northeast corner of the ACT, to the east of the North Canberra district, Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura, north of the Molonglo River, west of Sutton Road and south of the New South Wales border. It is located in the Majura Valley, which is drained by Woolshed Creek. Majura is primarily covered by the Majura Field Firing Range, open grazing country and Canberra Airport. Majura Road runs through it from the north to the south. This will be replaced as the major road by the Majura Parkway, which is due to be completed in mid 2016.[2] Majura District is not generally zoned for residential development, partly because of the nearby airport. Its only significant settlement is Pialligo, which lies on its southern edge and is semi-rural in character.

The Majura Park Gun Club[3] and Australian Federal Police driver training facilities are located on the northern part of Majura Road and a forensic facility is being built.[4] The Majura Vineyard is located further south and the Mount Majura Solar Farm has been proposed for part of its land that has been cut off by the Majura Parkway project.[5][6] The Majura Park Shopping Centre is on airport land at the southern end of Majura Road. The Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy lie to the south of Fairbairn Avenue on the edge of the Majura district.

In 2011, the Majura district contains 14 rural holdings in a thin strip along Majura Road between the nature reserves to the west and the defence, Airport and AFP land to the east. It was observed that "no-one in the Valley is a farmer, as they don’t receive their main income from farming."[7]

History[edit]

The Majura Valley was used by the Ngunnawal people (Australian Aboriginals) before settlement by Britons in the mid-1820s and 1830s. Settlements were scarce, and recent surveys show that this was likely a transitory camping area during nomadic journeys between Lake George and the upper Yass River catchments.

A Scotsman, Robert Campbell settled the area, having been granted land in 1825. His compensation grant was 4,000 acres (16 km2) of land and 710 sheep, after Campbell's ship the "Sydney" was lost off the coast of India while chartered to the New South Wales government.[8][9] Campbell named his property Majura probably after "Majura in India", according to the ACT National Trust.[10] In 1825 James Ainslie by assignment of Campbell started a sheep station in the area which today is Canberra. Campbell named the property Duntroon. The origin of this name was Duntrune Castle at Argyll and Bute in Scotland.[11] The house was later acquired for the establishment of the Royal Military College and eventually became its mess.

Campbell was assigned convict labourers, but also sought to bring free settlers as farm workers. These people were settled on small holdings of around 2 acres. Such a holding appears to be "Majura House" which is reputed to have been built for Alfred Mayo and his family between 1846 and 1860, the house remaining in family ownership until 1981. By the mid-1850s there were approximately 50 people residing in the Majura Valley (see links).

Following land reforms in 1861, other families sought free selection of Crown Land in the Majura Valley in the 1860s and by the late 1800s had established what was a proto-village with school, community hall and Post Office, near the "Avonley" property. By 1891 there were 83 dwellings, housing 393 people within the Majura Valley. A major land holder was the Harman family.

Creation of the Federal Capital Territory in 1912 ended freehold title, with the land becoming Commonwealth lands that were then leased to former occupiers.

The Majura District was designated by the Districts Act of 1966[12] as one of the 18 districts of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Majura (SA 2)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Majura Parkway: FAQs". ACT Government. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Majura Park Gun Club". Majura Park. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Media Release: AFP’s new Forensic facility to break ground and new driver training track officially opens" (Press release). Australian Federal Police. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  5. ^ John Thistleton (18 March 2013). "Majura Parkway to flank solar fields". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mount Majura Solar Farm, Works Approval Submission for National Capital Authority". Solar Choice. March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Sustainable Farming in the Majura Valley". ACT Rural Landholders’ Association in collaboration with the Molonglo Catchment Group Inc. September 2011. p. 20. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Majura Parkway, Majura Valley, ACT Cultural Heritage Assessment". Navin Officer Heritage Consultants. June 2006. pp. 9–10. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Steven, Margaret (1966). "Campbell, Robert (1769–1846)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Place name: Majura". ACT government. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Robert Campbell". Monument Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Australian Capital Territory Districts Act 1966 (repealed)". ACT Government. Retrieved 1 February 2014.