Chapter 5 - National Capital Works


Program 1.1.3

Advocacy, enhancement and management of the National Capital Estate

Section 6(c) and (d) of the Act provides for the NCA:

  1. on behalf of the Commonwealth, to commission works to be carried out in Designated Areas in accordance with the National Capital Plan where neither a Department of State of the Commonwealth nor any Commonwealth authority has the responsibility to commission those works;
  2. to recommend to the Minister the carrying out of works that it considers desirable to maintain or enhance the character of the National Capital.


The public spaces throughout Canberra’s Central National Area are important to fostering and reinforcing the special meaning of the National Capital for all Australians. As the city matures, the density, diversity and quality of commemorative and other nationally significant places combines to create and enrich the experience for visitors and others interested in the National Capital. Through the process of delivering new capital works, opportunities are enhanced for ceremonial events and a wide variety of other community activities reflecting Australia’s history, spirit, culture and aspirations.

As part of its statutory function, the NCA continually strives to ensure that the capital works, assets and the places created and maintained are of a standard appropriate to the National Capital. These efforts are recognised from time to time through industry awards and publications.

The NCA’s commitment to consultation has been a leading factor in NCA projects meeting the aspirations of stakeholders, regular users and visitors to the National Capital. Effective community, intergovernmental and other stakeholder engagement informs and guides the desired outcomes for the NCA’s capital projects

Major Achievements and Highlights

During 2014–15 the NCA advanced a number of key capital works projects, including:

  • continuation of the Bowen Place Crossing project works
  • completion of Stage 1 path network lighting replacement in Commonwealth Park
  • refurbishment of the King George V Memorial stone cladding
  • resurfacing and enhancement of the Borella Street car park
  • development of a design for the John Gorton Building southern car park
  • completion of the Constitution Avenue southern carriageway duplication between Anzac Park East and Wendouree Drive.

Bowen Place CrossingBowen Place CrossingBowen Place CrossingBowen Place CrossingKing George V MemorialKing George V MemorialBowen Place CrossingBowen Place Crossing

During 2014–15 the following awards were received for NCA projects:

  • On 8 May 2015 the Scrivener Dam Anchor Bolt Replacement project received a Civil Contractors Federation Award in the $2 million to $10 million category.
  • On 26 June 2015 the Scrivener Dam Anchor Bolt Replacement project received an ACT Master Builders Award in the Civil (Other) category.

Capital Works Program

The NCA has a statutory function to develop, enhance and replace assets on National Land under its responsibility to achieve compliance with current Australian Standards, improve public amenity and establish sites of national significance.

Key Achievements

The 2014–15 Capital Works Program included a diverse range of infrastructure, public amenity, commemorative, new and replacement works.

Bowen Place Crossing

The pedestrian and cyclist crossing in Bowen Place forms part of a popular circuit around the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake), as well as a busy arterial road, especially during peak periods.

Since 2009 the NCA has been working towards improving the safety and amenity of pedestrians and cyclists at the Crossing. Extensive public consultation on the scope of improvements has occurred.

The chosen design solution includes a 300-metre-long path connecting Kings Avenue to the existing path network next to the Lake. Pedestrians and cyclists will pass under the existing road at Bowen Place, allowing continuous access for all users.

Commencement of construction was delayed for almost two years as a result of urgent bolt anchor replacement works required at Scrivener Dam.

Completion of construction has been delayed due to wet weather, in-ground services complications and contractor construction issues. The final stage of the project is scheduled to be completed in September 2015.

The NCA is working closely with the National Gallery of Australia to install a sculpture in Bowen Place.

Key Achievements

On 17 December 2014 contraflow traffic arrangements were introduced, following construction of the project’s first road bridge in the westbound carriageway of Bowen Drive.

On 5 June 2015 the replacement lakeside path was completed and reopened to the public. By 30 June the second road bridge in the westbound carriageway of Bowen Drive was substantively complete

Commonwealth Park Footpath Replacement Lighting

Commonwealth Park is a highly used public open space within the National Triangle. Within Commonwealth Park there were approximately 150 spherical, post-top light fittings which serviced the primary shared path network. These lights were prone to being vandalised and had passed their useful life. Electrical service reticulation associated with the lights was also in need of replacement.

The NCA is undertaking a program to replace the existing lights with new energy efficient, low maintenance fittings. The works will improve safety and amenity to the areas affected. Electrical reticulation to the lights, including switchboards is being updated in accordance with current standards. Special care has been taken to avoid damage to tree roots in the area of the works and to minimise the impact on users of the popular path network.

Key Achievements

In mid-April 2015 the first stage of the path network replacement lighting, generally west of Nerang Pool, was completed.

At 30 June 2015 installation of the path network replacement lighting, generally east of Nerang Pool, was well advanced and scheduled to be completed in August 2015.

King George V Memorial Stone Refurbishment

The King George V Memorial is a 13-metre-high monument in the Art Deco style, located on King George Terrace adjacent to Old Parliament House. The Memorial is constructed of brick and clad with Hawkesbury sandstone blocks and panels sourced from the Sydney region. It features a tapered central column mounted on a granite-faced podium, flanked by a carved sandstone statue of Saint George on a horse on one side and a bronze sculpture of King George V on the other.

The memorial’s stonework required refurbishment owing to deterioration of the lime mortar jointing between individual stone blocks and resultant water ingress into the structure. Some blocks, including components of the King George V sculpture, were also in need of full replacement or replacement indents owing to stonework cracking or detachment from the structure.

The memorial works also included roof repairs and the introduction of skateboard deterrents to prolong the life of the podium’s stepped stonework.

Key Achievements

The stoneworks refurbishment commenced on 24 February 2015 and was completed on 15 June.

Pedestrian Crossing Upgrade Works

The NCA is undertaking a program of pedestrian crossing upgrades in the Parliamentary Zone and in Russell to improve safety and amenity for all user groups. The works include the introduction or enhancement of additional safety measures, including pedestrian signs and associated line-marking adjustments, crossing and/or pre-crossing lighting, signage, crossing hazard lighting and speed cushions.

The works have been designed to reduce safety risks. This includes improving day and night crossing visibility, reducing or better controlling driver speed/movement through crossing areas and addressing increased usage over time.

The intersections in the Parliamentary Zone include Kings Edward Terrace (between the John Gorton Building and the High Court of Australia), King George Terrace (between the John Gorton Building southern car park area and Constitution Place), Kelliher Drive (between the Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre and adjacent car parks), Kings Avenue Overpass (western side) un-signalised crossings (between the Boundless Playground and the Russell Defence precinct).

Key Achievements

On 16 April 2015 work commenced on site in the Parliamentary Zone. On 29 June 2015 the King Edward Terrace and King George Terrace crossing works were completed.

At 30 June 2015 the Kelliher Drive and Kings Avenue Overpass crossing works were substantively complete, with remaining works scheduled to continue until mid-July.

Pay Parking Supporting Infrastructure Works

As part of the introduction of pay parking on National Land, the NCA was provided with funding to upgrade car park infrastructure on National Land in Russell, Acton, Barton and Parkes. The car parks form a key part of Canberra’s parking infrastructure for workers and visitors to the Central National Area, major Australian Government departments and national institutions.

The works, which are being delivered as a rolling program across financial years, are improving safety and amenity for all user groups. Key initiatives of the supporting infrastructure works program progressed in 2014–15, including Borella Street and Kelliher Drive car park works and the John Gorton Building car park upgrade.

Borella Street and Kelliher Drive Car Park Works

The gravel parking area south of Borella Street and Borella Street on-street parking has been upgraded. Civil works included resurfacing, new car park entries, line marking, lighting, associated verge works, re-installation of pay parking ticketing machines and improved pathway links to adjacent areas.

The gravel parking area north-east of the Russell Hill Early Childhood Centre was temporarily closed until further notice because it was found to be surplus to needs. This car parking area, which does not meet current standards, will be reassessed in two years time to establish whether it is still surplus to needs and, if so, is likely to be permanently closed.

Key Achievements

On 19 January 2015 work commenced on site at Borella Street and the Kelliher Drive gravel car park was closed.

On 23 March 2015 the Borella Street car park was reopened for public use.

John Gorton Building Car Park Upgrade

The current car park located to the south of the John Gorton Building in the Parliamentary Zone is in need of a major upgrade. The car park has various issues associated with its current configuration and dated construction which affect the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians, both day and night.

Proposed car park upgrade works include car park resurfacing, footpath and associated pavement treatment replacement, new line markings, on-and-off street lighting, street furniture, signage, raised pedestrian crossing points, ticket machine relocations, new drainage and irrigation, and new soft landscaping.

Reconfiguration of the main parking area has historically resulted in many trees being adversely affected. Consequently, the work necessitates the removal of 53 mixed remnant trees which are in varying states of decline. Replacement trees will be introduced at spaces more conducive to healthy growth.

Consistent with the Plan, the upgrade has been designed to enable efficient future development of the John Gorton Campus.

The works are currently scheduled to commence on site in late 2015 and be completed in mid-2016.

Key Achievements

On 23 and 24 June 2015 the design for the John Gorton Building car park upgrade was granted Parliamentary Works Approval in the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament respectively.

Car Park Lighting Works

Car park lighting upgrade works form part of the NCA’s asset management strategy for its car parks, of which there are around 55 of varying ages and conditions. While these car parks are generally in sound condition, the age of some of the associated lighting structures, their intensity of use and their critical function requires that they be actively managed to ensure that they remain safe for users and serviceable into the future.

The NCA’s approach to undertaking car park lighting works includes prioritising to ensure that upgrades are carried out in the car parks of greatest need. Logical works packages are being developed to ensure the works are delivered efficiently.

The current group of lighting works were delayed owing to underground service installation complications; they are scheduled for completion in August 2015.

Key Achievements

Replacement lights were ordered on 13 April 2015, and work commenced on site on 9 June 2015.

Constitution Avenue East

The NCA has extended the southern carriageway of Constitution Avenue from Anzac Park East to Wendouree Drive. This work was undertaken concurrently with northern carriageway works carried out by the ACT Land Development Agency as part of the Campbell Section 5 development. Roadworks completion was delayed owing to stone kerb supply issues.

Associated Constitution Avenue Upgrade works being undertaken by Roads ACT in the southern verge and median have been modified to include lighting, irrigation services, soft landscaping and a bus stop. These remaining works are scheduled to be completed in late 2015.

Key Achievements

On 12 September 2014 the section of Constitution Avenue from Creswell Street to Anzac Park East was reopened to the public. Further road works continued under traffic until late March 2015.

Scrivener DamScrivener Dam

Scrivener Dam Rolling Capital Works Program

Scrivener Dam (the Dam) is a concrete gravity dam that controls the water level in the Lake Burley Griffin. A continuous program of capital works is required to maintain and enhance the capability of the Dam, which is now more than 50 years old, having been built in 1963.

Key Achievements

Capital works undertaken during 2014–15 included:

  • refurbishment of the upstream face of floodgate 3
  • refurbishment of the floating gates
  • restoration of sluice gate 3.

Old Parliament House GardensOld Parliament House Gardens

Old Parliament House Gardens Patron Signage

In November 2002 Mrs Tamie Fraser AO, patron of the Old Parliament House Gardens (the Gardens) reconstruction project, launched a campaign seeking public support for the project through rose patronage. Over 3,000 people from around Australia became rose patrons, providing a valued contribution towards the reconstruction, which was opened to the public on 4 December 2004.

To mark the conclusion of the rose patronage scheme, two interpretive signs were added to the Gardens, each providing an overview history of the patronage scheme. On request, rose patrons were provided a copy of the John Gray’s newly completed book titled Roses, Tennis and Democracy, which was commissioned by the NCA.

Key Achievements

On 4 December 2014 the two interpretive signs were unveiled in the Senate and House of Representatives Rose Gardens.

Lobby Restaurant Veranda Weather Screens

The Lobby Restaurant (The Lobby) was one of at least eight cafeterias constructed in the ACT in the 1970s to provide food services to public servants. The NCA owns and manages The Lobby as a place with potential Commonwealth Heritage Values on behalf of the Commonwealth.

In 2014 The Lobby’s restaurant manager approached the NCA seeking installation of a drop-down blind system to extend venue seating capacity. Consistent with the building’s heritage, the NCA designed and facilitated the installation of a proprietary roller blind system, enclosed in a custom-made housing. The blind system design has been integrated with the veranda’s architectural character. The system is removable should it not be required in the future.

The new hand-operated translucent blind system enables the veranda to be closed in on three sides, providing protection from rain and light winds. By enclosing a large portion of the surrounding veranda, dining capacity has been significantly increased for periods of mild inclement weather.

Key Achievements

On 4 February 2015 the veranda blind system installation was completed on site.

Embassy of Turkey in Canberra Tree Planting

In March 2015 the Embassy of Turkey in Canberra sought assistance from the NCA regarding preparations for a ceremonial planting of three trees at the Kemal Atatürk Memorial on Anzac Parade to mark the Anzac Centenary. The trees proposed were Pinus halepensis, a progeny of the Gallipoli ‘Lone Pine’. The trees were planted by:

  • The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial
  • Air Marshal Atilla Gülan, representing the Turkish General Staff of Turkey
  • His Excellency Mr Reha Keskintepe, the Turkish Ambassador to Australia.

In conjunction with the tree-planting ceremony, the NCA arranged for three new commemorative plaques to be installed on stone hobs adjacent to the new trees and for the three existing commemorative plaque hobs nearby to be refurbished.

Key Achievements

On 23 April 2015 the tree-planting ceremony was held at the Kemal Atatürk Memorial.

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration

In December 2014 the Magna Carta Committee of Australia approached the NCA regarding assistance with hosting an event at the Magna Carta Monument on 14 June 2015, to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede, England, in June 1215. As part of hosting the event, the NCA also assisted with the design and installation of a commemorative plaque and hob, which was installed on the edge of the primary approach footpath to the Monument.

Key Achievements

On 14 June 2015 the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, attended the Magna Carta 800th anniversary commemorative event and unveiled the new commemorative plaque and hob.

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