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Yowie Man wants Tralee development to trumpet its European ancestry

Date

Ewa Kretowicz

The Environa bandstand, photo taken earlier this year.

The Environa bandstand, photo taken earlier this year. Photo: John Evans

TRALEE wasn't the first controversial development planned for land south of Canberra Airport.

The area was divided up and promoted as a grand European-style city with French street names in a designed suburb to be known as Environa. A bandstand was built, and the grand stone entrance to the estate still stands today.

The Great Depression ensured the exclusive suburb was never built but Canberra cryptonaturalist Tim the Yowie Man said although the area's jinx seemed to be broken the unmet promise of the developer-cum-town planner Henry Halloran design should be incorporated into the new suburb of Tralee.

The Environa bandstand as it appears on the front cover of the 1978 booklet <i>Undiscovered Canberra</i>.

The Environa bandstand as it appears on the front cover of the 1978 booklet Undiscovered Canberra.

''It would be fantastic if some of the novel design features of Environa such as the stone pillars, grand boulevards and summer houses were worked into the Tralee development,'' he said.

To capitalise on fear about Canberra's 99-year leasehold system the Environa designer announced that the closest freehold land to the new nation's capital would be developed

He bought land in NSW near Tralee and subdivided it into 1700 blocks.

How the <i>Australian Woman's Weekly</i> featured Environa in its 24 February 1971 issue.

How the Australian Woman's Weekly featured Environa in its 24 February 1971 issue. Photo: Peter Hardacre

Mr Halloran's sales brochure boasted that the exclusive estate, was to be ''a magnificent subdivision, the design a masterpiece of town planning on beautiful undulating land with far-reaching views and overlooking the wonderful city of Canberra''.

Its roads were designed in concentric circles around grand tree-lined boulevards named Rue de Paris and Speaker's Way to complement the new suburb's European design and in a nod to the political nature of new territory.

Tim said some of the original plans should be referenced.

The main arch at Environa.

The main arch at Environa. Photo: John Evans

''It would be disappointing if at least one of the streets wasn't named in honour of Henry Halloran whose grand plans for Environa were quashed due to the Great Depression,'' he said.

Village Building Company managing director Bob Winnel, the proponents of the Tralee development, said he had more important things to consider.

''It's simply not on our agenda, we haven't even looked at street name policy,'' Mr Winnel said.

One of the second set of pillars at Environa.

One of the second set of pillars at Environa. Photo: John Evans

''We have seven years' work to get Tralee complete and that's what we are focused on.''

The Tralee development was approved for up to 2000 homes.

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