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Wybalena Grove. Photo: 5 Foot Photography
Wybalena Grove. Photo: 5 Foot Photography

Wybalena Grove

Wybalena Grove is a group of over 100 townhouses sited in natural bushland in Cook.

The housing group was designed by Sydney architect Michael Dysart in 1974, with construction completed in 1977.

The townhouses are an excellent example of late twentieth century Sydney regional style: split level with dark tiled roofs, clinker bricks, stained timber posts and beams situated on a sloping site in a natural bushland setting.

The housing development was built by the Cook-Aranda Housing Cooperative, a private group of Canberra residents interested in designing and building a medium-density townhouse complex. The group pooled their resources to maximize cost efficiencies by building at the same time. They sought to explore the idea of ‘living cooperatively’ in an urban space which encouraged community interaction, an equal say in the management of their community, the sharing of common spaces, and a respect for the surrounding environment.

A cultural heritage significance assessment of Wybalena Grove notes that these kinds of residential projects ‘were an integral part of the creation and planning of Canberra, intended to maintain the small town character of the bush capital,’ (West, 2009, p3). The assessment states that “The Wybalena complex is innovative both in terms of its design but also in terms of the cooperative approach taken to its development. It is a rare Canberran example of this kind of work undertaken by Sydney architect Michael Dysart. The complex provides a valuable resource to help understand this part of Canberra’s architectural and cultural history,” (West, 2009, p5).

By: Martin Miles, Canberrahouse.com.au

The Wybalena Grove development is one of two cooperative housing developments designed by Dysart in Canberra. The other is Urambi Village in Kambah.

Miles, M (2007). ‘Wybalena Grove Cook (1974)’ on The Canberra House website. via: <http://www.canberrahouse.com/houses/wybalena-grove-cook-1974/>

West, K (2009) Cultural heritage Significance assessment Wybalena Grove, Cook, ACT, http://www.wybalenagrove.org.au/content_ext/CulturalHeritage_KWest.pdf