2 Mar 2024—17 Jul 2024

Duntroon Estate: Work with all your might

Duntroon Estate: Work with all your might

Objects from CMAG, Australian Army Museum Duntroon, Canberra and District Historical Society and the Campbell family featuring in the Duntroon Estate exhibition.

Photography credit: Brenton McGeachie

Nearly 200 years ago, merchant, philanthropist and politician Robert Campbell was granted 4,000 acres of land - advised by James Ainslie, he established a sheep station on the banks of the Molonglo River. Expanding his landholding and building a stone cottage, he named the growing estate Duntroon after his family home in Scotland. This exhibition brings together never-before-seen objects and images from the house, families, woolshed and dairy that made up this extensive early estate.

In 1825, Robert Campbell, a Scottish merchant based in Sydney, acquired 4,000 acres of land, 700 sheep and £3,000 as compensation for the shipwrecking of his ship during government use. With the help of James Ainslie, and a local unnamed Aboriginal girl, Robert Campbell selected land on the Molonglo River to establish a sheep station. Duntroon Estate went from a humble sheep station in 1825 to an extensive, thriving estate by the 1860s that was home to the Campbell family for nearly a century.

The family motto, ‘Work with all your might’, rings true for the Campbells as well as the multitude of individuals and families that worked on the estate. Many of these worker families progressed to owning their own land, property and businesses. The estate and its inhabitants were self-sufficient as a result of vegetable gardens, the dairy and the woolshed.

After the declaration of Canberra as the new capital of Australia, Duntroon Estate became the new Royal Military College in 1912.

For the first time, this exhibition brings together domestic objects, family textiles, estate records, early photographs, and archaeological finds associated with Duntroon house, dairy and woolshed. It celebrates the people who lived and worked on Duntroon Estate during the era of the Campbell family.

Duntroon Estate: Work with all your might

Objects from CMAG, Australian Army Museum Duntroon, Canberra and District Historical Society and the Campbell family featuring in the Duntroon Estate exhibition.

Photography credit: Brenton McGeachie