Reconciliation at Ginninderra

Ngunawal Custodian Wally Bell will officially welcome community planters onto Country at Ginninderra on Sunday 27 May, as National Reconciliation week opens across Australia. It’s the final two days to register to take part in the event.

Community volunteers at this weekend’s shrub planting day will have the privilege of being ‘Welcomed to Country’ by Ngunawal Elder and Custodian, Wally Bell.

As well as the formal Welcome, Wally will be leading a walk through the old scribbly gum trees at Ginninderra, providing insights into Indigenous history and heritage of the immediate landscape and broader Ginninderra catchment.

Wally, who also represents the Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation and Mulanggang Traditional Aboriginal Landcare Group, has an ongoing involvement with the Ginninderra site and with our community planting partner, the Ginninderra Catchment Group.

Above: Ngunawal Custodian, Wally Bell at a recent cultural ‘cool’ burn.

He has provided input into the salvage of artefacts at Ginninderra and on conservation measures for protecting heritage features, as well as strengthening the connection between Aboriginal communities and their heritage values.

Wally mentored the Aboriginal Green Army plantings at Ginninderra that complemented the community plantings in 2017, and regularly provides advice on the cultural/‘cool burns’ to guide autumn burning activities such as at the grassland restoration trials at Ginninderra, and across the catchment.

We are very thankful to Wally and indeed to all of the Aboriginal Groups who contribute their knowledge, expertise, wisdom and advice to CSIRO and the Ginninderra project.

Recreating shrub layer in Dry Forests

Many thanks to all of our community volunteers who planted around 750 plants at the first planting day of 2018 last Sunday. Your enthusiasm and efforts are helping to recreate a shrubby layer in the Box Gum Woodlands and Dry Forests at Ginninderra.

Above: Planting action from community volunteers last Sunday.

Project update – May

Planting days off to a great start

The 2018 community shrub planting days got off to a great start under blue skies on Sunday 20 May.  A big ‘thank you’ to the 45 volunteers who launched into planting 750 shrubs across three plots. We were very impressed by the enthusiasm of the planters and their efforts to help restore the shrubby layer in the Box Gum Woodlands and Dry Forests at Ginninderra.

Our planters of all ages enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate from the Our Dream Café and a barbecue lunch catered for by the Evatt Primary School P&C. After lunch, everyone had the opportunity to visit some of the plantings from 2017 and see how well the shrubs had survived and grown over the past year.

Last days to register for 2018 planting day

The second planting day is on this Sunday 27 May. There are still some spots available, however you will need to register soon to ensure your place.

This is also a great opportunity to visit CSIRO Ginninderra, find out more about the area and vision and be part of the woodland restoration initiative. This year we’re aiming to plant ‘dry forest species’ that will attract a wide range of native birds. We are building on the fantastic efforts of all the community volunteers who planted more than 3500 shrubs in 2017.

Reconciliation at Ginninderra

We are excited to announce that for the 27 May Ginninderra planting day we will be joined by Ngunnawal elder and custodian, Wally Bell, who will give the ‘Welcome to Country’ before providing insights into Indigenous history and heritage of the immediate landscape, and broader Ginninderra catchment. Together, with the efforts to restore native vegetation and wildlife, this event will mark the opening of National Reconciliation Week on the long weekend, during which the ACT will celebrate its first ‘Reconciliation Day’.

Community participation and engagement

Our Project Team has been busy sourcing the plants and planning all the arrangements to make this month’s planting days possible. This year, we have again joined forces with the Ginninderra Catchment Group (GCG), as well as community partners to provide a barbecue lunch, mobile coffee and hot chocolate van, and on-site transport.

Over the past month we had the opportunity to present an update to the GCG and answer their questions about the Ginninderra site and the project. We greatly value the ideas, input and collaboration with GCG and its associated Landcare, Waterwatch and Frogwatch groups. This growing partnership is reflected in activities like the grassland restoration trials and community shrub planting days.

We also hosted a site visit for ACT Equestrian Association (ACTEA) members Christine Lawrence, President; Beth Stone Secretary; and Warren Hudson, ACT Section Coordinator for the Bicentennial National Trail. ACTEA represents equestrians in Canberra and the local region, and has been talking with CSIRO for some time about the plans for Ginninderra.

The site visit provided an opportunity for ACTEA to experience the property and learn more about CSIRO’s vision for a vibrant and sustainable community. We were able to learn more about horse riding in the Canberra region and, in particular, the value of the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT), as a significant route connecting different parts of the ACT with each other and other parts of Australia.

With the BNT being so close to Ginninderra, we appreciate the active interest and input from ACTEA and look forward to further conversations as the project unfolds.

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If you would like to know more about the Ginninderra project, visit or email us at

Immersed in interactive technologies

A wave of new interactive computer technologies is set to transform industries like retail, agriculture, manufacturing, health and construction. CSIRO’s Data61 is leading the way through a new research centre in Canberra.

Australia’s role in augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D Web technologies received a boost this week with CSIRO’s Data61 launching its new Immersive Environments Lab. The purpose-built Lab inside the $100M Synergy research facility, will allow researchers to develop new interactive computer graphics and computational imaging services.

Above: Visualising energy usage data overlaid directly on the appliances consuming the energy.

Senior Research Engineer and Experimental Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61, Matt Adcock, said AR and VR technology would change the way Australians interact with digital systems at work and at home, for example by enabling emergency services to ‘beam in’ to help administer first aid, to allowing maintenance workers to interact directly with smart buildings, and tapping into vast catalogues of 3D data.

“AR technologies can sense elements of the physical environment and enable delivery of holographic data right where and when it is needed most,” Matt said.

“Some smartphone apps already let users see, for instance, what furniture would look like in their own home. But while the hardware is evolving at a rapid pace, the digital services that can run on that hardware are just beginning to be explored.”

Above: The Lab features wearable holographic computing devices, cameras, 3D scanners, displays and interactive technologies.

The Lab itself features a fleet of wearable holographic computing devices, spatial cameras, 3D object scanners, haptic (virtual touch) displays, interactive projection mapping stages and motion capture rigs.

The CSIRO building which houses the lab contains a cloud-based smart glasses system, developed by Data61, which displays historical and real-time energy usage data overlaid directly on the appliances consuming the energy. This is one example of what is possible in smart buildings of the future.

CEO of Data61 Adrian Turner said the Lab was a unique facility which will build upon Data61’s deep expertise in areas such as decision sciences, data sharing and visualisation, collaborative systems, Internet of Things, machine learning, in-situ analytics and robotics.

Above: Demonstration technology in the new Immersive Environments Lab.

“Augmented reality now is where the Web was several decades ago – on the cusp of broad adoption, as the technology and compelling use cases have matured,” Adrian said.

Data61 is already working on AR projects related to health, education, agriculture, manufacturing and future cities.


Ready, set…let’s go planting!

Plants are ready, plots prepared and the coffee van is coming back! All we need is you and if you are quick, you can still book your place to be part of this vital woodland shrub restoration.

With just eight sleeps to go, most of the key preparations are in place for the shrub planting days. A week out, we have also had some rain to soften the soil and boost our planting success.

Those who took part last year will recall the tremendous teamwork and planting effort from all our volunteers, interspersed with coffee, hot chocolate and a BBQ lunch. The good news is, it’s on again!

For a quick glimpse of 2017 planting days watch here.

Above: The popular coffee van will return again in 2018, supplying our volunteers with a warm beverage of their choosing.

Yes… you and your family can still be part of the action this year. We have places for both the 20 May and 27 May events – simply REGISTER HERE.

This year we have selected a site with high conservation value, but where little natural shrub regeneration has occurred in recent times.

Above: This year we have selected a site with high conservation value close to the venue for first planting in 2017.

We’ve purchased 1800 plants from nine species that are found in Dry Forests. These plants will complement the species planted in 2017 in the nearby Box Gum Grassy Woodlands

Restoring the shrub layer is helping to increase diversity in native plant, animal and bird life, while boosting the overall quality of the woodlands.

Our team has also prepared six plots or patches and put in ‘riplines’, that will help with planting and root development of the young plants. We are again working closely with the Ginninderra Catchment Group and community partners to put this event on.

Above: Volunteers of all ages can join in.

The final steps will be to set up the event area with coffee van, refreshments and BBQ catering, toilets, plant and water supplies, while organising a bus to transport our volunteers to the planting location.

All that remains is you! CSIRO recognises that it is the volunteer planters who make these events and the planting effort a success. In advance, we say, “thank you”, as we look forward to welcoming you to the Ginninderra site.

The infamous ‘Ginninderra Eleven’ and Tale of Two Villages

Visitors can traverse tens of thousands of years of human history in the space of a couple of rooms at the enlightening Tale of Two Villages (Ginninderra and Hall) exhibition at the Hall Museum and Heritage Centre.

Above: Tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal history – Robert Hoddle reproduction of watercolour of Ginningininderry Plains, 1832-35. Courtesy of: National Library of Australia – on display at Hall

13 December 1862

‘The Ginninderra Eleven will be willing (at two days’ notice) to play twenty two of the township of Queanbeyan …,’ was the brazen challenge issued to the cricketers of Queanbeyan by team leader and ‘Squire’ of Ginninderra, William Davis. Davis was more than a little confident in his Ginninderra squad as they were ‘practically invincible’ and infamous throughout the colony. With the skills of Aboriginal and early settlers in the team, Ginninderra not only played the Queanbeyan 22, but won. The rest is, as they say … history.

Above: Famous across the district for his horse-breaking and cricketing skills, Bobby Hamilton was one of the Aboriginal players in Davis’s ‘invincibles’. Bobby is pictured with wife Queen Nellie and children Eddie and Millie.

This cricket history, along with Aboriginal stories, artefacts and heritage, and accounts of European settlement are recorded and visually captured in the striking Tale of Two Villages exhibition at the Hall Museum and Heritage Centre. The exhibition put together by volunteers from the Hall community was launched in April as part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival.

“Tale of Two Villages tells part of a much larger story about Ginninderra, Hall and the surrounding district,” said Honorary Curator Alastair Crombie. “It’s about where and when and how it began, who the movers and shakers were and how the early villages faded and Hall took over. The exhibition also provides great insights into the indigenous ways of life in the district.”

Above: Old Ginninderra school at Gold Creek is at the heart of the old Ginninderra village.

For tens of thousands of years before Davis and his team graced the fields, Ngunnawal custodians knew the place as Ginnin-ginnin-derry. Traces of the Aboriginal landscape include the woodlands and fields shaped by firestick farming. Throughout the Ginninderra Creek catchment, stone artefacts, axe-grinding grooves and scar trees used for shelters and coolamons can be found.

Above: Southwell and Brown Premier Store. C. 1911. Mural by Shaun Robson at the Hall Museum and Heritage Centre.

European settlement began with the establishment of Palmerville in 1826 and this was followed by a small ‘unofficial’ village nearby called Ginninderra. Once created by Government edict in 1882, Hall eclipsed Ginninderra and became the village that the earlier settlements never quite became. After surrounding lands were resumed for the building of Canberra, Ginninderra was ‘repurposed’ as the Gold Creek tourist precinct and Hall became a bush village on the urban edge.

Above: Southwell and Brown Premier Store. C. 1911. Mural by Shaun Robson at the Hall Museum and Heritage Centre.

Connecting the past to the future

For more than 60 years, CSIRO has become part of that history using some of the fertile floodplains of Ginninderra as home to agricultural and crop research. While Palmerville and Ginninderra village sites are mostly adjacent to CSIRO land, the field (now open grassland) where Davis and his invincibles played cricket, straddles the eastern boundary.

Above: The infamous Ginninderra Eleven, led by William Davis, played here at the boundary of CSIRO Ginninderra and the Palmerville Heritage Park.

History and heritage are important to the place that we understand as Ginninderra and this is a key reason we want to keep learning more from groups like the Hall community, historians and Indigenous custodians, as we plan for CSIRO Ginninderra’s future.

The Tale of Two Villages exhibition is open from 10.00 – 4.00pm on Hall Market days, Thursday mornings 10.00 -12.30 pm or for groups by appointment –