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Government House Lookout

Home > Canberra > Free | Historic Houses | Lookouts | Views
by Sue W (subscribe)
New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published July 28th 2015
Step back in time to when sheep grazed this property
Government House Lookout is located on Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla (on the way to the National Zoo and Aquarium) and it is worth pulling over for a look at this impressive view....

Government House Lookout, Canberra, Lookouts
Although far away, Government House is a stunning sight.

Government House, Canberra
A closer view of the house with a large cedar tree out the front, planted in 1840. Photo courtesy of

The property itself was developed in the 1830's and the first house was built on the land by the owner at the time, Francis Mowatt. He built a small stone hunting lodge on the property to sleep in after hunting for kangaroos and dingos with his foxhounds.

The next owner was Terence Aubrey Murray, an Irish born pastoralist who then became the district's first Member of Parliament and was later knighted. Interestingly, he was a successful politician but became almost bankrupt running this property, so 50 convicts were employed as shepherds to get him out of trouble.

Although Murray made improvements to the stone lodge during this this time, it wasn't until the property was bought by the Campbell family in 1881 that most of the lodge was taken down and replaced.

Government House, Canberra
Aerial view of the size of the property. Photo courtesy of

In 1891 a red brick three-storey double-gabled house was built, which now forms part of the present day Government House. With over 40 rooms, it was then the districts largest house with over 40,000 sheep on the property.

In 1913 it was acquired by the Government and then used as a Military College before being extended and becoming the Governor Generals Residence in 1927. Since this time new wings and rooms have been added and it now includes 53 hectares of gardens and parklands.

If you would like a closer look, Government House has Open Days each year (advertised in local newspapers) and Canberra Southern Cross Cruises has a Government House Gardens Cruise which includes a guided walk through the gardens. The cruises run from September to November and February through until April. See here for more details.

Canberra Southern Cross Cruises Government House, Canberra
Photo courtesy of the Southern Cross Cruises website.

The Lookout itself is wheelchair/pram friendly, with a ramp up the hill to the Lookout and then a series of ramps up to the actual platform.

If you love local history you will enjoy this Lookout and learning more about the historical significance of the area, including the Yarralumla Woolshed nearby.

From this higher vantage point it is also a scenic spot for a rest with a country view.

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Why? View a piece of Canberra's history and the modern day home of the Govenor General.
When: Lookout open all year around.
Where: Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla - located closer to the Cotter road end.
Cost: Free
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