Well before the high-rise buildings started going up in Braddon - now the most densely populated suburb in the capital - residents had to walk through sheep paddocks to get to work.
Far-removed from the now hipster, cosmopolitan centre of Canberra, it was a daily reality for thousands of the capital's first public servants almost 100 years ago.
Lonsdale Street is considered the beating heart of the suburb (and Canberra's premier dining district), but streets away sits the original building that took that title, Gorman House.
"Where the Founders Lane construction site is today, there used to be giant paddocks. It was this big, weedy expanse from Braddon that stretched all the way to City Hill," Gorman Arts Centre director Joseph Falsone said.
"People would often have to walk through fields just to go to their offices. There were only a couple of thousand people in Canberra at the time, and it was very future facing to invest in the early days of the city."
Today, cranes tower over much of the suburb. But Gorman House, Braddon's first housing area for public servants, has remained a constant.
The heritage listed site's exterior has stayed the same, but its interior has had a dramatic makeover over the years. It has evolved into an arts centre, which hosts more than 140 events a year.
Mr Falsone said Gorman House has been an intrinsic part of the northside suburb.
"Gorman House was the original Braddon. It was Braddon before it was Braddon," Mr Falsone said.
"In 1924, this place was one of a handful of government hostels that was built in the lead up to Canberra becoming the capital, before parliament opened in 1927.
"It was built to accommodate the young public servants moving out from the cities to Canberra."
Links to the past still remain within the Gorman Arts Centre including relics from the early days.
"We still have a tiny telephone booth that's adjacent to the main hall. It was a place where on a cold winter's night in Canberra, there'd be countless young public servants calling home saying 'what have I done moving here?'," Mr Falsone said.
Originally called Hostel No. 3 or Hotel Ainslie, Gorman House got its name in 1927, named after one of the first federal capital commissioners Clarence Gorman, who died earlier that year.
A second storey was added to Gorman House shortly after it opened, and soon became a permanent feature of Canberra's growing inner north, with houses and suburban streets popping up around it.
The house also became home to many post-war migrants during the 1940s.
"Gorman House is the link between the past, present and future," Mr Falsone said.
"It's grounded in Canberra's origin as a growing city, and reflects the aspirations of Canberra to be a national capital, being built by one of the leading Commonwealth architects at the time."
For many Canberrans, Gorman House is known as an artistic hub, filled with some of the capital's leading groups in fields from photography, dance, acting and music.
Talk about converting Gorman House into an art centre began during the 1970s.
Major refurbishments took place during the 1980s, with five theatres installed during construction.
The centre was eventually opened on September 15, 1981 by Tammie Fraser, wife of then-prime minister Malcolm Fraser, then federal minister for the capital territory Michael Hodgman and Canberran Elizabeth Grant.
"Gorman Arts Centre is a living and breathing place that puts creativity at the centre of what we do," Mr Falsone said.
"More people are living in Braddon and there are lots of new neighbours, but as a community, the centre is essential.
"We preserve these places that tell our story and provide a space for the community to tell their stories."
In more recent years, Gorman Arts Centre has expanded, with more than 40 tenants permanently using the site and 185 bookings being made for spaces in the centre for a 10-day period.
Mr Falsone said the growth of the centre has been part of an expanding cultural hub in Canberra.
"We've had huge growth over the last five years. We've also grown in staff from three to 13," he said.
"There's been a rebirth of activity here."
Mr Falsone said the first stage of refurbishment of the centre was completed in 2015, with plans under way for further work.
"This will see the place renovated for the first time in 40 years and the second time in 100 years to make it safe, accessible and fit for purpose," Mr Falsone said.
The centre was heritage listed in the early 2000s, with the facility now being used as an art centre for almost as long as it housed public servants.
While Gorman House was part of the old Braddon, parts of Braddon's newer image of being Canberra's food centre can now be seen in the facility with a cafe and bar attached.
In the more than 16 years Mr Falsone has lived in Canberra, six of those being the art centre's director, he said Braddon has changed dramatically.
"There are now a lot more places to get fantastic coffee," he said.
"The high-rise buildings around us are the most obvious sign of change, but the other major changes around us have been the type of businesses on Mort Street and Lonsdale Street, moving on from car yards and mechanics to being a cultural hot spot with bars and restaurants."
As Gorman House approaches its centenary, Mr Falsone said the suburb is likely to see many more changes but the centre will always be a constant.
"Braddon is a diverse and vibrant community beyond just bricks and mortar, and we're focusing on celebrating the changing, but exciting suburb that it is," he said.
Rosalie Lovell moved to the Canberra suburb of Fisher in 1970 having lived in Sydney for most of her life.
"Most of our Sydney friends and family thought we were mad, however it is the best thing we ever did," she said.
"We bought our home in Namatjira Drive Fisher in 1970 and we still live there. It has been extended over the years and now has a garden and topsoil - a vast improvement on the solid clay that required a jackhammer to plant anything.
"Like Chris Wilson we went overseas on various DFAT postings but we always returned to the same house, as we liked the area and it provided some continuity for the family. The school community was very friendly and I still have a monthly coffee with friends I made at Chapman Primary."
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