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The post-colonial history of Yarralumla

The Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the land on which Government House sits. We recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region and acknowledge their continuing culture and contribution to this region. We pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Yarralumla prior to being the residence of the Governor-General

The first evidence of post-colonial settlement is in 1825. In 1833, a hunting lodge was built and in 1837 gardens began being established. The Deodar Cedar was planted in 1841.

In 1881, Fredrick Campbell purchased the property. Under his ownership, the property grew to 39,000acres (15,800 Ha) grazing 40,000 sheep. In 1891, Campbell demolished the old house and built the front double gabled section. The Campbell crest can be seen under the gable.

A black and white photo of Yarramlumla - believed to be taken in the early 20th century
Circa early 1920s
a black and white photo of a building with a tree in the foreground
The stables building - believed to be taken 1895
A black and white photograph of a three story house
Circa. 1900.

In 1912, the Federal Government acquired Yarralumla after Canberra was chosen as the national capital site. Between 1912 and 1921 Thomas Weston had become responsible for the grounds of Yarralumla and presented a design to government for the development of the grounds. The trees lining what is now Dunrossil Drive were planted in 1918. 

In 1921, the house became a hostel for members of parliament visiting the new capital.

a black and white photo of 6 men standing and 3 seated on steps. All are dressed in 1920's style suits
Taken before or after a meeting of

Federal Cabinet in 1924

In 1925, major modifications to the house and gardens began in preparation for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of York when they came in 1927 to open Parliament. In 1927, Lord and Lady Stonehaven became the first Vice-Regal copy to live at Government House.

a black and white photo of a three story building
Construction works during the 1920's
A black and white photo of a dirt road leading to a white house with a large tree in the foreground
The main drive of Government House in the 1920's


a black and white photograph showing a large building in the disance
Government House in 1930s


a black and white photograph taken from an airpliane showing buildings, gardens and roads
An aerial view of Government House taken in 1942