Black Mountain Tower Site Visit Reflection

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Site selected: Black Mountain Tower

Rob, the guest of our site visit, started the site visit session by providing information about Telstra Tower.

Telstra Tower is Canberra's iconic telecommunications tower at 195.2 meters height from the summit of Black Mountain. According to the online trip advisor, in addition to being a landmark, it is one of Canberra's most visited tourist destinations that offers panoramic 360-degree panoramic views of Canberra and its surrounding countryside. At the entrance of the tower is the Telstra Heritage Exhibition.

Over the past few decades, according to blogger Elias Hallage, the tower has hosted millions of visitors, famous international tourists, dinners, dates and wedding offers. Due to the amazing views from the observation deck and its unique location, it is still on the list of most visitors when they are in Canara.

History of the Tower

The Telstra Tower was officially opened on 15 May 1980 by the then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. The name Black Mountain Tower became known to locals after the location of Black Mountain, on which the tower was built.

The Telstra Tower was originally designated as the Telecom Tower, although locally it was known as the Black Mountain Tower. Black Mountain is a sensitive and stunning part of the Canberra environment, a national park of significant interest in the ecological world with a unique collection of flora and fauna. The tower was clearly going to be a milestone, which some felt would dominate other aesthetic Canberra structures.


The square was headed for the Black Mountain Tower which is also known as the Telstra Tower via Black Mountain Drive, Acton, ACT. The class was joined by our guest Rob, who is a consulting agent of Urban Planning. We went from the first level to the second level of the tower. We started talking about the city from the level two corridor of the tower which gave the best 360 view of the city. The Telstra Tower was chosen as the study site for its beneficial features mainly due to the highest position in the city of Canberra, which would give a better view of studying land use patterns and its existing structures. The eyes of the Canberra city bird from the tower were mesmerizing and as a piece on the cake, the guest speaker explained the structural bodies and other important information of the city, saying that everything was prosperous.

The guest began the session with the introduction of the city. I came to know that the city began to develop rapidly as a capital city right from the end of World War II, i.e. 1945. The city is about 70,000 years old, with a population of about 400,000 people. There are several suburbs that are essentially concentrated with medium-density housing apartments. Of the many suburbs, Belconan and Gangahlin are two of the largest suburbs that offer maximum business opportunities. Gungahlin is an area located in the northern part of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. Gunglin is a tribal word meaning small rocky hill. Until the recent development of Molonglo, Gungahlin was the newest area in Canberra and has seen dramatic growth over the years. According to the 2016 census, Gangahlin has a population of 71,140 people.

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Belconnen is forty years old in 2006 in terms of urban settlement. Development began at Aranda in 1966 and eventually became Dunlap and Bruce. The belcans had been inhabited by European farmers since the mid-1800s and there are few traces of agricultural activity. Earlier it had been home to the Nobunaval people for a few thousand years. According to the 2016 census, the district had a population of 96,049 people; And was the most populous district within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Robb shared that the southern part of Canberra is an early part of Canberra when the city began to be developed as the capital of Australia in 1920. After this the commercial center is known as City Center and is also commonly known as Civic. This city center provides an adequate, commercial and retail base. There are also employment opportunities in each city center. To the south is the Parliament Triangle. Most if employment is available in and around the city center. This lake is very important for the city, where the Melglow River flows into Maraby and which in turn flows into the Mayari River for South Australia.

Question and Answer Session

The café was led by a guest after informing him about the city of Canberra. The café provided a pleasant indoor view of Canberra. A few question and answer sessions took place inside the cafe. The following are some of the questions Rob has asked all of us. They are:

What are the Infrastructure that Exists in Canberra?

Some of the students' answers that I can remember were as follows:

  • The bridge
  • transportation
  • The accommodation
  • The schools
  • Community park
  • The roads
  • Hospital

If you were a Minister in Canberra, where would you put the Government Money?

Some of the students' answers that I can remember were as follows:

  • Improvement of transport facilities like bus services, construction of proper cycle tracks and pedestrian tracks. It was also brought into the discussion that light rail is not beneficial for the Belconnen people and is prejudicial and a challenge for planners to think on it. Rob seemed positive for the idea.
  • Building more community libraries where people can read socially and spend some time reading and researching productive things. Rob used to approve the idea of spending money on such infrastructure.
  • I suggested spending money on the construction of an international level stadium, where important events such as sports and entertainment programs and other cultural events could take place. The idea was presented with the aim that the project would boost the local economy by increasing the number of tourists visiting Canberra to attend or witness events held in Canberra. Rob was not so optimistic about the idea as the city does not have very large space available to accommodate such large structures. It was also brought into the discussion that the current stadium of Belcon was planned to be moved to the city a few years ago, but could not be implemented till date.
  • One of the students replied that if she was a minister, she would allocate money to improve affordable, convenient and comfortable public housing. She expressed that the current rent within Canberra is quite high. Rob was positive for the idea, but also informed all of us that the current housing system in Canberra is well planned.

From where does the ACT Government Receive Funds for all Developmental Activities?

The answers of the students were as follows:

  • By personal tax, GST
  • From trade tax levied by trade holders
  • Insurance tax
  • Corporate tax and
  • payroll tax

At the end of the session, I asked Rob what is the scope of Canberra's growth in the future? Is it open for development?

Answer from Rob: Canberra is a well-organized city with inclusive and substantial elements. This can be slow for development but ensures that quality is not compromised.

In the future, Canberra may develop vertically instead of considering some factors such as horizontally

  • Its area size - which is not very large,
  • Environmental factors like conservation of flora and fauna
  • Water and electricity supply - where horizontal development will demand more water and power supply structures which is not really economical for the government.

At the end of the discussion, Rob shared what a person should be as a planner. Planners have a very important role in implementing projects. We should always try to strike a balance between economic benefit and social benefit. The planners acted as a bridge and as an important agent between the government and the consultants in delivering the project for public interest and benefit. After a site visit, I came to know a lot about Canberra and its existing infrastructure.

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