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Published November 19th 2017
A 19th century relic along the Murrumbidge River
The Tuggeranong Boundary Wall is a historical wall of stacked stones, located in the suburb of Greenway, 20 minutes south of Canberra. It was built by the early settlers in the region between 1867 and 1875 as a divider between two large properties and due to its stacked and balanced design, it still remains today. When it was first built, the boundary wall stretched for 1800 metres starting from the Murrumbidgee River, between the Lanyon and Yarralumla properties. Only 790 metres of it remains.
It is a fascinating part of Canberra's early settler history and it is possible to walk along its length and admire the patience and dedication it took to build, using a technique used in Europe for many centuries. Now 150 years later, it has stood the test of time and quietly sits amongst the bushland, waiting to be discovered...
The Tuggeranong Boundary Wall, built in the 19th century
The start of the Tuggeranong Boundary Wall can be found along Athllon Drive in Greenway, with easy parking at the Lakeside Leisure Centre across the road. Look for the signage at the end of the wall, which has a map and details which explain its history. I assumed that there would be an entrance to access the boundary wall from this sign, however, if you take a walk over the grassy mound next to the sign, you can see one end of the Tuggeranong Boundary Wall - however, it is blocked off by a barbed wire fence.
The only way to get to it is from the other end of the wall, located on the 8km stretch of path on the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track between Kambah Pool and Pine Island. With no obvious signage or way to get down to it, I walked back along Athllon Drive a short way and discovered a Canberra Centenary Trail sign pointing down in the direction of the Murrumbidgee River. Unfortunately there was no signage to say where the track went to, however, I was looking for a bushwalk and an adventure - and this track was going to give me both...
The walk along this track was an enjoyable amble past hundreds of kangaroos, dozens of wildflowers and a few wombat holes. After a short time (and with some relief!), the Centenary Trail signage led me down to the Murrumbidgee River and like a vision appearing before me - the other end of the Tuggeranong Boundary Wall came into sight!
A short, but enjoyable walk down to the Murrumbidgee River
When you reach the wall, there are a few options in which to take. The Murrumbidgee River Discovery Track heads in both directions along the river, so if you would like to extend your walk further you can continue along the river and turn back the way you came. Alternatively, like I did, you can walk along the right-hand side of the wall and stop and look at the exact craftsmanship of the stacked stone and admire the view as it snakes over the countryside.
Looking back down to the start of the wall. This dry stone wall was built to be double the thickness on the base than the top and with smaller rocks wedged in the crevices to keep it secure.
The walk along the wall isn't well-marked and it is overgrown in places, however, you can see where other people have trodden a path before you. After a short hill, there is a gate in the path, which you need to bend down and climb through the centre of to get through. As this gate is on a hill, it isn't the easiest gate to squeeze through, however, some thoughtful walkers have positioned rocks either side to try and make it easier.
The Tuggeranong Boundary Wall is in such a quiet, remote location, it is easy to imagine what it would have been like when it was first built. It has been added to over the years, with a rabbit-proof fence installed on both sides in the early 1900's - with some of the wire and timber posts still remaining today. The height of the stones start to get lower the further you walk along and by the time you get to the top end of the wall, the stone is almost down to ground level in some places - showing how time and trampling livestock have taken its toll.
Gate on a hill to climb through and the boundary wall getting lower...
At the end of the stone wall is the barbed wire fence which I encountered at the beginning of this walk. This time, however, I noticed that a little further along the fence to the right, previous walkers had lowered the fence enough so that you can climb over. I was then able to climb over and finish the historical walk, all within half an hour - making it a short walk, but an interesting one. It may not have been the easiest walk to do in some places, however, it was an insight into the lives of the early settlers before us - and an adventure off the beaten track.
I personally recommend that you start this walk early, as you will see the kangaroos when they were the most active and the scenic beauty of the Murrumbidgee River in morning light. The traffic along Athllon Drive isn't as loud either, so you can walk along the wall in near silence and hear the sound of birds - just like it was for the early property owners patiently stacking these stones, 150 years before...
The remains of a traditional dry stone wall from England, in a green Australian countryside