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CSIRO: a trusted contributor to the Canberra community

CSIRO has a long history working in the Canberra community, first opening its Black Mountain offices in 1927.

Since then, CSIRO has attracted world-class researchers to Canberra to collaborate on research projects with industry and local universities.

The Black Mountain site was a hub for research in agriculture and the natural sciences, with the Department of Entomology moving into its own building in 1934. The Australian National Herbarium was also established there in the 1930s.

While CSIRO’s presence in Canberra began with Black Mountain, it wasn’t long before its research facilities started to expand.

Research sites in Canberra have shifted around in the past to accommodate urban development. Although hard to imagine now, Dickson was a main site for agricultural research in Canberra. The Dickson Experiment Station operated from 1940 to 1962 before moving to Ginninderra, which has been home to the agricultural research station in Canberra to this day.

The Dickson area turned out to be much-needed land for urban development, as the ACT population almost doubled from 55,000 to over 90,000 in the five years between 1960 and 1965.

Photos from the time show the rapid pace of development in Dickson and the surrounding suburbs once this land close to the centre of Canberra was repurposed.

These two images show the rapid development of Dickson between 1960 and 1965

These two images show the rapid development of Dickson between 1960 and 1965

Before Dickson’s establishment as the main site, the very first site for agricultural research in Canberra was a 40 hectare site from Duntroon Farm, leased in 1926 to research more nutritious lines of stock feed. This site became Canberra Airport in the 1930s.

In 1965 the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla opened and has worked with NASA on key space exploration missions ever since.

CSIRO corporate headquarters are currently located at the Black Mountain site in Canberra.

The Gungahlin Homestead property at Crace was used by CSIRO for nearly 60 years for the Sustainable Ecosystems research program.

Outreach to the Canberra community has long been a priority for CSIRO through public centres like the Canberra Space Centre and CSIRO Discovery Centre at Black Mountain.

With hundreds of staff working in Canberra, CSIRO is a major employer and contributor to the ACT economy.