ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collection

HMSS 0074 Tocumwal Houses Archive

Scope and Content Notes 

Call Number

HMSS 0074

Collection 

Tocumwal Houses Archive

Date Range

1940–2000

Quantity

1.76m  (5 manuscript boxes & 1 newspaper box)

Access Conditions

open

Copying Conditions

with consent of donors

Related Collections

 

The Tocumwal houses were first erected during the Second World War as part of the Tocumwal Air Force Base. The Base was built for the US Army Air Corps by the Australian Civil Construction Corps and Allied Works Council between February and April 1942, as a response to the bombing of Darwin. The base was handed over to the RAAF in November 1942. It was then used as a training base and an aircraft storage and repair depot.

The houses were shells used as dormitories, but were designed and laid out to give the appearance of a township rather than an air force base. The Federal Government saw the houses as a resource after the Second World War in the post war accommodation crises in Canberra. As a result of planning and discussion by members of the National Capital Planning and Development Committee, about 200 houses were transported to Canberra and located in Ainslie and O’Connor. By far the larger number were sited in O’Connor, and from 1946 the Committee discussed the layout of a particular area, block sizes, school and shops in acc0rdance with contemporary town planning policy (NCPDC).

The Committee consulted the architect, H. M. Rolland, then Director of Architecture for the Federal Department of Works and Housing. The same department implemented the plan and Jim Perry was contracted as the builder and Tom O’Connor the Site foreman. Owen Tavener was contracted by Jim Perry to do the brickwork on footings and chimneys.

The houses, known in Canberra as “the Tocumwals”, are fibro and weatherboard and are recognised for their wide verandahs, high-pitched roofs and red brick chimney. They have either three or four bedrooms and a well-proportioned lounge room with open fireplace. Typically the lounge leads into the dining room through double doors. Various modifications have been made to houses; often the enclosure of the verandah but long term government ownership has meant that overall their original form has remained intact. In O’Connor the houses were erected in a block bounded by Macarthur Avenue, McPherson Street, Tate Street and Miller Street. Within this frame two sets of our cul-de-sacs were laid out opposite each other with a narrow reserve running between them.

During the 1990s the ACT Government recognised the heritage significance of the houses and their precinct; the subdivision pattern, the cul-de-sac layout and streetscapes and the reserve. In 1997 the precinct was included in the ACT Heritage Places Register.

The Tocumwal Archive project was initiated as a response to the heritage classification; the project was initiated by Mary Hutchison and developed with photographer, Katherine Pepper, with administrative and equipment support from Photo Access and funding from the ACT Government Heritage Council Grants Programs of 1996 and 1997. At the time of the project both Mary and Katherine were living in the precinct.

The records cover stories and memories by past and present residents, oral history interviews (tapes and verbatim transcripts), notes from conversations, letters and notes; photographs including negatives, contact prints, prints and cd-rom; documentation of project and list of contributors; introduction to the Archive and how to use it; a street index documenting past and present residents’ and “The Tocumwal Archive” a large format album of text and scanned images. The records were presented to the Library in 2000 by Mary Hutchison.

 

Box List

BOX

SER-IES

DESCRIPTION

 

 

DATE RANGE

 

 

CONTRIBUTOR

ADDRESS

KEYWORDS

 

1

1

Arndt, HW & Ruth.
Recollections, correspondence, newspaper cuttings.

Ainslie houses.

Ainslie

1950s

1

1

Andrews, Sue.
Scribed conversation: Sue Andrews with Annie Bolitho.

2 Hart Street

 

1981-

1

1

Barty, Alma & Norman.
Scribed interview with Alma Barty. Jeanette Harper’s dedication to her mother Alma. Norman Barty’s recollections.
1xaudio cassettes 2xCD-R: 3315 2117 0417. Includes permission form.

Also see D. Clark.

10 Quinn Street

 

1953-1977

1

1

Battisson, Bridie.
Scribed interview with Bridie Battisson. Recollections of 4 Todd Street by Maureen Bourne (nee Battisson)
Photos, proofs, negatives.
2xaudio cassettes Includes permission form.

4 Todd Street

Ceilidhs

1953-1976

1

1

Burn, Doreen.
Doreen Burn’s recollections and notes from a conversation with Doreen.
Photos, negatives.
Includes permission form.

5 Peel Street

 

1950-1980

1

1

Burns, Phyllis.
Brief life of Phyllis Burns.
Photocopy of photos, proofs, negatives.
Includes permission form.

1 Quinn Street

64 Miller Street

 

1950-1979

1999-

1

1

Callahan, Ina.
Recollections by Ina. List of some other Busby St residents.
Includes permission form.

13 Busby Street

Residents list

1950-1962

1

1

Chevalier, Barbara & Gordon, Peter.
Transcript of interview with Barbara & Peter. Winter Solstice material.
Proofs, negatives
1xaudio cassettes 1x Floppy Disc. 1xCD-R. 3315 2117 0405.
Includes permission form

58 Miller Street

Home-Birth Association

Winter Solstice Fair

1978-

1

1

Clark, Dymphna
Photos, proofs, negatives.
1xaudio cassettes

(D. Clark & A. Barty) 2xCD-R

3315 2117 0415
Includes permission form

4 Todd Street

Manning Clark

Australian National University

1950-1953

1

1

Day, Dot.
Notes from a conversation with Dot.

2 Hart Street

 

1949-1970

1

1

Dowling, Jean, Eddie & Edgar.
Recollections & Additional Notes. List of other residents. Material from North Canberra Bowling Club.
Photos with comments, proofs, negatives
Includes permission form

5 Quinn Street

Canberra North Bowling Club

List of residents

1950-1952

1

1

Dunn, Bob.
A Renovation Story by Bob Dunn.
Some photos as part of A Renovation Story.
Includes permission form

39 Macpherson Street

Renovation

1976-

1

1

Fleming, Rosie.
Scribed interview with Rosie Fleming.
2 photos. Others mentioned but missing.
Includes permission form

8 Busby Street

Home Birth Association

Co-operative School

Family Centre

1984-

1

1

Frame, Ian.
Ian Frame’s Memories. Information on Jacqueline and Harry, Ian’s parents.
Photo collection from Morris (?), 11 Quinn Street
Includes permission form

2 Lord Street

 

1948-1959

1

1

Geary, Marcia.
Recollections from Marcia Geary.
2 photos and negatives.
Includes permission form

11 Peel Street

 

1950-1975

1

1

Harding, Evelyn.
Handwritten recollections from Evelyn Harding, child of Thelma and Ken.

11 Quinn Street

 

1950-1961

1

1

Harrington, Annette & Laurie.
Notes from a conversation with Annette and Laurie.
3 photos and negatives of children on Sullivan’s Creek Bridge.
Includes permission form

4 Quinn Street

68 Miller Street

Sullivan’s Creek

1961-1972 (4 Quinn Street)

1972- (68 Miller Street)

1

1

Hatton, Joan.
Recollections from Joan Hatton, wife of James.
2 photos of children (Anthony and Christopher Hatton). No negatives.
Includes permission form

7 Hart Street

 

1949-1954

1

1

Hayes, Peg.
Letter from Peg Hayes.
Family photos and good early photos of houses, proofs, negatives.
Includes permission form

3 Hart Street

 

1948-1992

1

1

Hill, Claire.
Notes from a conversation with Claire Hill. Letter from Dawn Ryan.
Photos of houses and children (twins).
Includes permission form

10 Quinn Street

Twins

1950-1957

1

1

Holgate, Dorothy and Bruce.
Recollections from Dorothy. “Official” correspondence by Bruce regarding damp.problem.
Includes permission form

8 Quinn Street

Damp

1950-1952

1

1

Hollier, Sylvia.
Recollections of visiting Bob Peake and family at 5 Tate Street by Sylvia.
1 photo of 5 Tate Street Negatives of family groups.
Includes permission form

5 Tate Street and Tocumwal.

 

1940s-1950s

2

1

Igoe-Taylor, Liz
Transcript of interview with Liz and First Impressions from 1986 by Liz and Peter.
Includes permission form

5 Way Street

 

1986-

2

1

Jack, Sheena.
Recollections and letter from Sheena.
Includes permission form

3 Todd Street

 

1950-1954

2

1

Johnston, Moya Gayle and Ray.
Recollections from Moya Gayle and Ray.
Blown-up photo of old lady and Holden. Proofs and negatives.

4 Hart Street

Police Boys Club Dances

Old Lady Holden

1962-1982

2

1

Johnston, Mary and Kevin.
Mary’s and Kevin’s recollections including other residents’ names.
Includes permission form

8 Hart Street

List of residents.

1950-1995

2

1

Kerr, Wendy.
A new beginning by Wendy.
Includes permission form

2 Way Street

 

1994-1998

2

1

Kerridge, Joan.
Recollections by Joan.

8 Todd Street

 

1966-

2

1

Laffan (Laffin?), Laurie.
Photocopies of photographs with written comments.

7 Busby Street

 

1955-2001

2

1

Le Grand, Michael.
Interview with Michael.
Proofs with written comments and negatives.
2xaudio cassettes 1xfloppy disc. 2xCD-R

3315 2117 0406/ 0408
Includes permission form

4 Macarthur Ave.

Studio Nundah

1954-1991

2

1

Lewis, George.
Scribed conversation with George Lewis.
1xaudio cass, 1xCD-R 3315 2117 0401.
Includes permission form

12 Quinn Street

Square Dancing

Two-bedroom houses

1949-1997

2

1

McGregor, Lei and Dick.
Recollections and list of residents.
Proofs and negatives of house.
Includes permission form

2 Quinn Street

Quinn Street residents

1950-1983

2

1

Marriot, Mel.
One-page “Tocumwal House Survey” featuring “weighting” assigned to each street based on condition and modifications.

47 Macpherson Street

 

 

2

1

Maxwell, John.
One-page impressions of house and plans for the future.
Includes permission form

52 Miller Street

 

1996-

2

1

Mayo, Dot.
Recollections.
Includes permission form

2 Macarthur Ave.

 

1950-1998

2

1

Menzies, Eric.
Recollections from Eric. Conversation between Eric and Minihan and Susan Levett (1996-).current residents Colin
Includes permission form

11 Hart Street

Fruit trees

Walnut tree

1955-1995

2

1

Meyer, Bobby and Vandy.
Interview with Bobby and Vandy. This house’ll suit me fine. Song Black Billy’s Folk Café by John Warren.
Slides of Family Centre mural.
Includes permission form

6 Finn Street

Family Centre

Folk Café

Mural

1979-2000

2

1

Morris, Aileen and Andrew.
Recollections from Andrew. My Life with Ponies and Horses.
Proof and negative of unknown person on veranda.
Includes permission form

11 Quinn Street

Ponies

Horses

1966-

2

1

O’Connor Family Centre
Photocopied Family Centre brochure.

4 Finn Street

Family Centre

1979-1999

2

1

Oldfield, Vince.

Robinson, Joyce.
Scribed interview with Vince Oldfield. Recollections from Joyce Robinson, Vince’s stepdaughter.
Photos, proofs, negatives.
Includes permission form

12 Hart Street

 

1950-1999

3

1

Peak, John and Clare.
Recollections from John and Clare, son John and daughter Sue (Whisker).
Proofs, negatives.

10 Way Street

Tocumwal air base

Children

1950-1996

3

1

Peak, Elizabeth.
Correspondence from Elizabeth Manson (nee Peak).
Proofs, negatives.

5 Tate Street

 

1953-1954?

3

1

Quinane, Mary and Fred.
Correspondence from Mary Quinane.

7 Way Street

 

1951-1958

3

1

Raccosta, Jim.
Recollections from Jim Raccosta.
Proofs, negatives.
Includes permission form

6 Macarthur Ave

Immigrants

Italy

1958-

3

1

Reed, Donna.
Transcript of interview with Donna Reed.
Photos, proofs, negatives, descriptive legend.
Includes permission form

9 Quinn Street

 

c1950-

3

1

Ryan, Alison (nee Marks).
Recollections with mention of Quinn Street “incident.”

Quinn St

Macarthur Ave.

Milk run

Gang-gang

1950s-1960s

3

1

Ryan, Dawn.
Handwritten legend for photographs.
Photos missing.

16 Macarthur Ave.

 

1950-1999

3

1

Ryan, Julia.
Legend to photographs.
Photos missing.

45 Macpherson Street

 

1974-1991

3

1

Simpson, Margaret
Short chapter “The Table” from Home Grown Anthology.

N/S

Table

N/S

3

1

Smith, Rebecca, Annie.
Handwritten notes by Robin Elphinstone (granddaughter).
Photos, proofs, negatives.

1 Lord Street

 

1948-1987

3

1

Temme, Joan and Gordon.
Recollections and additions.
Proofs with legend, negatives.
Includes permission form

5 Hart Street

 

1949-1957

3

1

Taverner, Owen.
Recollections regarding bricklaying in Tocumwal precinct.
Includes permission form

N/A

Bricks

Late 1940s-1950s.

3

1

Tobin, Gary.
Typed and handwritten recollections from Gary Tobin. Legend for (missing) photos and slides.
Photocopies only.

10 Quinn Street

 

1957-1981

3

1

White, Shirley.
Recollections from Shirley and daughter Sophie.
Includes permission form

7 Quinn Street

 

1985-

3

1

Wilkie, Stella.
Recollections from Stella. Legend for photos.
Photos, proofs, negatives
Includes permission form

6Todd Street

2 Lord Street

 

1958-1959 (6 Todd Street)

1963-2004 (2 Lord Street)

3

2

Photograph contributors.
List of photo contributors for cross-reference with CD. Notes to files on CD.

 

Contributors

 

3

2

Historical background and description of Tocumwal Archive.

 

 

 

3

2

Mysteries for checking and further research ideas
Photo of unknown house.

 

 

 

3

2

Cutting of “The Tocumwal House Archive” from The Canberra Review.

 

Canberra Review

Hindsight

 

3

2

Tocumwal Archive updates and flyers.

 

Updates

 

3

2

Open Weekend 1996.
Material including small Visitors’ Book pertaining to that event.
Photos of open weekend.

 

Open Weekend

Visitor’s Book

1996

3

2

Guide to using and contributing to the archive. Spare permission forms.

 

Using

Contributing

Permission

 

3

2

List of Contributors.
Obsolete list of contributors to archive

 

Contributors

 

3

2

Secret Life of those Houses.
Material pertaining to The secret life of those houses exhibition,2004. Copy of CT article.

 

Secret life

2004

3

2

Carlon, Judy.

Brown, Bob.
Recollections and information from Tocumwal Historical Society concerning air base.
Photos of houses at Tocumwal.

Tocumwal Air Base.

Tocumwal

 

3

2

Heritage Places Register.

 

 

1997-

3

2

Photos from Official Sources.
Photocopies of aerial and other photos.

 

 

 

3

2

Box, Bob.
Photocopies of images from Tocumwal, 1943.

Tocumwal Air Base.

Tocumwal

1943

3

2

Party in the Park 2005.
Photocopy of CT article, archive information.

 

Party

2005

3

2

Hutchison, Mary.
Photos of houses in Tocumwal.
Includes permission form

Tocumwal

Tocumwal

 

3

2

Pepper, K.

Houses .
Photos of houses in precinct taken 1996-7

 

 

1996-1997

3

2

Pepper, K.

Residents 1.
Photos, proofs, no negatives.

 

 

1996-1997

3

2

Pepper, K.

Residents 2.
Photos, proofs, negatives.

 

 

1996-1997

3

2

Pepper, K.

Houses and Residents.
Photos, negatives.

 

 

1996-1996

3

2

O’Shaughnessy, Alison. History essay: “Tocumwal Houses,” ANU, 1999. Photocopies of old CTs.

 

 

 

3

2

Organisational Records.

 

Organisational Records.

 

4

3

Tocumwal Archive Album.
Many copies of photos included.

 

Album

 

5

3

Visitors’ Book (large). pertaining to The secret life of those houses exhibition.

 

Visitor’s Book.

2004

6

4

Card index of streets,addresses, and residents suitable for additions and updates.

 

Card Index

 

6

4

CD-Rs

 

CD-R

Interviews.

 

6

4

Visitor’s Book (small) from Open Weekend 1996 and Heritage Festival 2004.

N

Visitor’s Book

1996, 2004.