A special place
The region surrounding Googong in the Monaro district of New South Wales is alive with history. Throughout Googong’s development, we’ve attempted to find ways to acknowledge the site’s fascinating past.
There are five Indigenous groups that have identified a connection to the area, which will be celebrated in public art and place/street naming for the town.
The European connection
The area around Googong has a long history of European farming and settlement which has been acknowledged through the naming of roads and parks in the first neighbourhood.
A public art piece near the entrance to the first neighbourhood is dedicated to Irish immigrant and selector, Patrick Connolly. This art piece features an old stone fireplace excavated from one of the area’s old homesteads dating from the late 19th Century. After the site was excavated and numerous small treasures discovered, the fireplace was taken down and painstakingly reassembled in its new location.
Googong is named after one of the largest farming properties in the area but, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to conclusively determine where the name came from or what it means. (If you can help, we’d love to hear from you.)
The area around Googong township has a number of historic features including the old London Bridge Homestead and the London Bridge Arch, a remarkable natural limestone bridge formed by Burra Creek over thousands of years.
The Googong Dam, fed by the Queanbeyan River and numerous creeks, is by far the largest in the ACT region. It was completed in 1979 and was upgraded in 2010.
Meet the pioneers of women’s cricket
Rockley Oval in Googong North is named after an old variant of modern cricket that was played by women. Popular in the 1890s, Rockley was invented in the town of Rockley in Central West NSW, but spread throughout the country. The sport was brought to Queanbeyan by the inventor of the game, Mr J. Still O’Hara. ‘The Rockley Game’, as it was originally known, was essentially the same as regular cricket, but with a slightly shorter pitch and smaller play area. The ball was softer, more like a tennis ball and women of the time played the game in full bustles and skirts! The sport is thought to be the first instance of modern women’s cricket.
At Googong, we felt these early sports pioneers shared our own trailblazing spirit, so we’ve named not only Rockley Oval for the sport, but the streets surrounding the oval bear the names of some of Queanbeyan’s local Rockley legends. A fitting tribute, we think!
Where the streets have meaningful names
Other street names in Googong have also been chosen for similarly significant reasons.
Serving as the entrance road to Googong North, Beltana Avenue – and indeed Beltana Park – were named for the original farm homestead that was built around 1843. The homestead was located 300m from the Googong Dam wall, but in October 1976, it was covered by the rising waters of the dam.
We’ve paid homage to many notable women from the early days of Queanbeyan’s history. Elizabeth McGowan (McGowan Crescent) saved many lives during her time as a midwife, and Maria Bambridge (Bambridge Parade) was the well-known wife of landowner Sanders Helman.
A number of Googong’s streets have been named after pioneer photographers from the early history of Queanbeyan. The first is Insley Street, whose namesake – Lawson Insley – is credited with taking the earliest known photograph in Queanbeyan. Then there’s Merlin Crescent, named for Henry Beaufoy Merlin, who immortalised Queanbeyan with a photographic collection featuring all the town’s homes.
For more on this fascinating subject, you can read our document ‘Googong’s Street Names: A History’.