“For years Rusten House has lain forlorn and largely forgotten, its empty corridors and darkened rooms echoing with a history filled with equal parts heartache and happiness,” writes NICHOLE OVERALL
THREE new walking tracks at the historic Glenburn Precinct at Kowen Forest will be opened on May 5, says amateur historian Col McAlister.
He says route markers have been installed, which direct visitors to most of the historic sites.
Col says he’s part of a volunteer group, Friends of Glenburn, through the National Parks Association of the ACT, that has been working with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service to carry out protection and conservation on some of the early European sites in the area, including Glenburn homestead, the ruins of Collier’s homestead and orchard and Coppins homestead.
“There’s still work to be done on making some of the sites safe and secure,” he says.
“We have been working on ‘capping’ the ruins, which prolongs the life of them by 40-plus years and protects them from the elements.
“It’s a hugely fascinating spot, settled by Europeans in 1831 with evidence remaining of the community they built there.”
These include the graves of the Colverwell girls, who drowned aged five and six in the nearby creek in 1837, and are the oldest marked graves in the ACT, a dilapidated shearing shed and the three homesteads.
There’s also evidence of an 1878 trigonometrical station for land surveys and mapping, the site of 12 charcoal kilns that produced charcoal for burners to produce gas to run Commonwealth vehicles during World War II, and the site of a public school that operated from 1882 to 1906, says Col.
Col says the three walking trails are of varying difficulty and lengths – the Glenburn Heritage Trail, the Glenburn Trail and the Burbong Trail, with green, blue and red markers for visitors to follow.
“There are also a series of new interpretive signs, with information on how the early settlers lived, worked and played,” he says.
Col says the Glenburn Precinct, located in Kowen Forest, was added to the ACT Heritage Register in November 2015.
For more information, visit npaact.org.au under Friends of Glenburn.
Access is restricted because the site is located in a commercial pine forest. Pedestrian and cycle access is via the locked gate at the intersection of Charcoal Kiln Road and the Kings Highway, about 1km past the bridge over the Queanbeyan to Goulburn railway line. Group visits can be arranged. Contact Col McAlister on 6288 4171 or email@example.com.
Photos by Andrew Finch