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How It All Began

Cockington Green - December 3, 2018

It was 10 o’clock on Saturday morning November 3, 1979. For the Sarah family of Canberra, this was no ordinary Saturday morning – it was life changing. The extent of that change was unknown. It was as unknown as the extent of success or otherwise of the new venture they were just about to embark upon.

In some ways, some of the change began as far back as 1972. This was when Doug and Brenda Sarah and their three young children, Mark, Sally-Anne and Melinda had set off on an extended holiday to the United Kingdom. Brenda was born in England some 30 years earlier and this was a long-awaited return to her country of birth after arriving in Australia with her mother, father and sister in the early 1950s.

During this UK odyssey, Doug and Brenda visited many places. One of those places was Babbacombe, near Torquay in the south-western English county of Devon. Babbacombe was home to a model village established by Tom Dobbins in 1963. With a building background and an eye for detail, Doug was immediately impressed by what he saw. He and Brenda also had a strong interest in gardens, a major feature of Babbacombe Model Village.That visit was stuck indelibly in their memories as they made their way around the UK for a good part of 1972. It was the catalyst for the life changing event on November 3, 1979. That was the official opening day of Canberra and Australia’s very own model village – Cockington Green.

And here it is, almost 40 years later and one of Canberra’s most loved landmarks is celebrating its special birthday. Early in the new year we will be releasing further details of events and activities coinciding with our 40th birthday and the aim is to have something for everyone.

Over the course of the year, we will also be populating our website with a series of articles and photographs that will tell many of the previously untold stories of the history, planning and operations of this Australian Tourism Award-winning attraction. We look forward to keeping in touch.