The history of Gungahlin
One of Canberra’s most historic districts, Gungahlin’s rich heritage can still be experienced today when visiting ancient Aboriginal sites and the original European settlement.
The region known today as Gungahlin has been inhabited by humans for at least 20,000 years, evidenced by a number of tool making sites, clay pits and other significant archaeological sites now protected by the ACT Government.
Those original settlers were the ancestors of the Aboriginal Ngunnawal tribe, who occupied the land when the first Europeans arrived. The name ‘Gungahlin’ was originally given to the homestead of Edward Crace, and may be derived from the Ngunnawal word for ‘white man’s house.’
The Palmerville Estate
The first major European presence in the area was George Thomas Palmer’s ‘Palmerville’ estate. Built around 1826, the estate was originally worked on by convicts, who were later joined by free settlers and established a self-sufficient community.
Today, Gungahlin residents and visitors can get a taste of this simple farming life by visiting the Gold Creek Homestead.
As the various farms expanded, owned by notable local families such as the Gillespies, Gribbles, Rolfes and Shumacks, Ginniderra Village was established to serve the needs of the growing community.
Taking its name from the Ngunnawal word for ‘sparkling’ or ‘throwing out little rays of light’ – a reference to the nearby Ginninderra Falls – the village played a significant role in the growth of Canberra as a hub of agriculture, employment and entertainment.
Many of those original buildings have been well preserved, and Ginninderra Village is today a must-visit attraction in Gungahlin for anyone with an interest in Australian history.
The district of Gungahlin was formally named and established in 1966 as one of 18 districts of the Australian Capital Territory, reflecting its strong Aboriginal heritage in its name and in the naming of suburbs such as Ngunnawal.
Gungahlin became the fourth and northernmost town centre of Canberra in 1991, which led to significant development in the region. Its population exploded from just 381 residents in 1991 to more than 50,000 today, and Gungahlin is now home to some of the Canberra’s leading shopping centres, attractions and entertainments.