Blowfly Insectary Buildings

The Blowfly Insectary Number 1 and Blowfly Insectary Number 2 (also known as Buildings 123 and 132) are located at our main Canberra site at Black Mountain.

Description and plan (including name and location)

Block 3 Section 2 Acton and Block 4 Section 85 Acton on Deposited Plan No. 8378
Street Address: Silo Road, Acton, ACT 2601
Building 123 and 132 – Blowfly Insectary Buildings

Discrete heritage place identification number for each place

Place ID: 105559
Place File No: 8/01/000/0540

Details of ownership or other tenure arrangements

The site is occupied on a 99 year Crown Lease. All buildings on the Black Mountain site are owned by CSIRO.

Summary description of any significant physical characteristics and elements of the place

The Blowfly Insectaries are extant survivors of a form of insectary no longer favoured. Open air insectaries such as these were used until the advent of constant temperature facilities in early 1970s. Note: These buildings were larger than most other insectaries of their time.

Sequential summary of the use of the place 

1929 – 2015: CSIRO until their demolition in February/March 2015. The buildings were demolished due to structural disrepair. Reference EPBC 2011/5895 submission and approval.

Statement of significance, identifying heritage values and specifying any that are Commonwealth Heritage Values

The Blowfly Insectary Number 1 and Blowfly Insectary Number 2 (aka Buildings 123 and 132) established in 1929 are important for their association with the development of applied word on veterinary entomology and the biological control of weeks. Blowfly Insectary 2 was the first purpose built veterinary entomology laboratory in Australia. (Criterion A4) Australian historic Themes 8.10.5 Advancing knowledge in science and technology.

The insectaries are part of one of at least five scientific buildings or complexes established by the Commonwealth in the Australian Capital Territory as part of the early divisions of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The CSIR, established soon after Federation in 1901, was an initiative for scientific research instigated by the then new Commonwealth Government. It later became CSIRO, the major scientific research organisation in Australia with an international reputation. The insectaries provided focus as the location for important scientific research, in particular, the studies by Drs I and J Mackerras on the transmission of protozoan blood parasites of cattle by blood sucking flies. (Criterion A4) Australian Historic Themes: 4.3 Developing Institutions, 7.4 Federating Australia.

The insectaries are also of interest as they were, at the time, larger than any others in Australia. They are extant survivors of a form of insectary no longer favoured. Open air insectaries such as these were used until the advent of constant temperature facilities in the early 1970s. (Criterion D2 and B2)

A record of any other heritage listings

Also on former National Heritage List – RNE 102826.

Dates and natures of any works, maintenance or other activity that is relevant to conservation of heritage values 

N/A – The buildings have been demolished.

Property or information access restrictions/requirements

N/A – The buildings have been demolished.

Consultation requirements relating to the place

Invitation for public comment was made during the submission and approval process for the demolition of the insectaries. Ref: EPBC 2011/5895 for more information. Note: An interpretive study and archival recording was prepared by Peter Freeman Pty Ltd. Copies have been placed on file and are available for viewing on the CSIRO Black Mountain site.

Relevant conservation documents or references

  • 2013 Heritage Assessment and Options Study 2010 prepared by Peter Freeman Pty Ltd.
  • 2010 Structural Assessment of Building 123 and 132 by Advanced Structural Designs.
  • 2005 CSIRO Black Mountain Heritage Study (Stage 1) prepared by Duncan Marshall, Madelaine Maple, Alistair Grinbergs, Brendan O’Keefe and Michael Pearson.
  • 2005 Conservation Management Plan prepared by Duncan Marshall and Marilyn Truscott.
  • 1997 Heritage Places on the CSIRO Black Mountain Site Report by Duncan Marshall and Dr Robert Boden.

A record of when information has been updated

1997, 2005 and 2013.

Records of any objects that are significant by association with the place, indicating their current location and/or archived records of particular importance to the heritage values of the place

The Australian National Insect Collection is housed in another building on the CSIRO Black Mountain Campus. 


Have an enquiry about this page?

Contact us