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Going, going, gone!

9 Hazel Street, Oaks Estate (Blocks 11 & 12, Section 7)
The Robertson house and yard

Classified by: National Trust of Australia (ACT)

The title was originally transferred to Amelia Southwell in 1895, transferring to Mary Robertson in 1919. Walter Richard (Dick) and Mary Robertson (nee McCauley) built the house that stands on block 11 in about 1912/13. The house is the last example of a worker's shanty left in the ACT. It was built in stages, using make-shift building materials including bush poles, flattened kerosene tins, flat iron off-cuts, packing case boards and weather boards. Some materials were off-cuts from construction jobs in early Canberra including the Provisional Parliament House. The sheds in the yard were used as cookhouse and sleep-outs at different times.

The original house block was divided into two in recent years however, the original 1920/30s plantings of pines along the east and west boundaries are still standing. The chook house, the first tiled structure in Oaks Estate, still stands on block 12. This part of the yard was used for vegetable gardens and to run turkeys and provided much of the sand for the cement bricks made by Dick Robertson.

Dick Robertson came to the Oaks Estate with his parents John and Rebecca in 1888. His son Les was born on the block in 1912 and lived in the house all his life. After the Commonwealth Government resumed freehold titles in Oaks Estate in 1974, Les leased the house from the ACT Government on a life lease until his death.1

Marilyn Folger adds that a fence has been erected around the site, but on the off-road side it is down, with grass growing between the wire netting. It's really in a sorry state. Thanks to Marilyn for the photos of the cottage.

Karen William's book "Oaks Estate-No Man's Land", self-published in 1997 with the assistance of the ACT Government, has more detail of this and other properties in Oaks Estate and the families living there.

Update on heritage activity regarding the Robertson house:

In mid 2010 the ACT Government allocated money for conservation work to be carried out on the Robertson house. In March 2011 a consultant was engaged to develop a conservation plan.2

1 Dec 2001 report by Monaro Consultants & Burnham Planning "Oaks Estate Planning Study" for ACT Dept of Urban Services, Planning & Land Management.

2 Karen Williams March 2011

Hazel Street image 1.

Hazel Street image 2.