Although the shouting, welding and banging of 100 years ago can no longer be heard, the industry behind Kingston’s heritage buildings can still be felt in the three cultural attractions that now call the area home.
Then: Power House.
Now: Canberra Glassworks
Designed by the first Commonwealth Architect, John Smith Murdoch, to supply coal-generated electricity to Canberra, Queanbeyan and Captain’s Flat, and built by the Department of Works and Railways in 1913, the Power House was the capital city’s first permanent structure. For a functional building that was many miles away from the state capital cities, the standard of its design was high and technology and construction innovative. Since 2007, the Power House has been home to the studios and galleries of the
Canberra Glassworks but its original features – including the boilers, engine room and steam turbines and the rail sidings that delivered and discharged coal and ash – remain in place.
These days, the industry taking place here is that of glass artists. Visitors can watch them pulling molten glass from hot furnaces and blowing, shaping and engraving it to create unique – and sometimes magical- looking – works of art.
Then: Transport Depot.
Now: Old Bus Depot Markets
Opened in 1927 and added to many times over the years, the Transport Depot and its vehicle-turning courtyard were part of the government’s early plans to develop a public and parliamentary omnibus service in Canberra.
Built in the industrial area because of its proximity to the Kingston and Manuka shopping centres and the railway station, the original Transport Depot provided shelter for four buses, 13 chauffeured cars (for parliamentarians and higher-level public servants) and 18 lorries in its first year, and completely transformed Canberra’s social scene.
In 1998, four years after it closed, the Old Bus Depot Markets moved into the buildings’ vast spaces. When you visit the markets on Sunday, check out the welded steel frames, gable roof and brick and exposed timber trusses of the original building and imagine the vehicles that were once garaged here.
Then: Transport Depot Administration Building.
Now: Megalo Print Studio + Gallery
The Administration Building of the former Transport Depot is on the western edge of the precinct and is now the home of the busy Megalo Print Studio + Gallery. The building is ideally suited to its new use and has large open galleries and working spaces and excellent natural light. Its use as a print studio continues the industrial origins of Kingston.
The pleasing modern appearance of the 1940s building with its distinctive clock tower make Megalo a recognisable presence on the Wentworth Avenue streetscape.
Opening soon, Abode Kingston will have a boutique feel that complements the surrounding streetscape and ambience of this historic area. Local architect Marcus Graham of Stewart Architecture has designed the hotel in line with the ‘vibrant, diverse village’ objective of the Kingston master plan. Its prime location is set to be popular among business and leisure travellers alike.