State of the Environment Report 2007
Snapshot: The Hibernia Hotel – a story of discovery
Few ACT region residents travelling to and from the coast know about the historic treasure trove that lies beside the road as they cross the NSW-ACT border. 19th century settlers would certainly have known when the Hibernia Hotel thrived, until closed in the 1880s. The hotel and surrounds are an important place on our track through time.
The hotel site is on the edge of the highway to the coast, between Queanbeyan and Bungendore, right at the turn to the new Defence HQ buildings. In preparatory works for that project, several indigenous artefacts were found and brought to the attention of the ACT Heritage Unit. Follow up exploration revealed many more artefacts, Indigenous and European: at last count, over 20,000 indigenous artefacts had been salvaged.
Within a small area can be found a natural spring, scarred tree, indigenous rock quarry, five historic elms from the 1860s (now being protected), kilns for bricks for railway construction in the 1880s, and material from the pub site itself, now extensively excavated. Pioneer homesteads and sites, including cemeteries, are not far away. The pub has no beer, but it does have many stories to tell about our region’s early European settlement.
The site exploration and protective measures tell a story of good cooperation between authorities and individuals from the ACT, NSW, and the Commonwealth Departments of Defence and of Environment Heritage and Water Resources.
In a small area, we can find facets of our 20,000 year Indigenous history, pre-ACT white settlement, recent and current ACT rural landholders, travellers, nearby NSW farmers and townspeople and, soon, the people of the future, in the Defence complex.