Early Canberra

Special people

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Early Canberra-Special People by Ann Gugler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://earlycanberra.webs.com/.


During my years of research and work towards saving the history of Stirling Park (former Westlake) - one of the Gura Bung Dhaura hills I have read about and met a number of people whom I feel are special and have contributed a great deal to our heritage.  This section has some of their stories.

The web - Hidden Canberra (see Home for direct link) also has some stories written by Westlake, Acton and Westridge people.  They too are special people. Vlad Bondarenko and Ronnie O'Rourke (both deceased) have written their memories.

One find in an obituary for William Schmidt is the owner of the hut on Corkhill's property.  Now there are still a few more still to find.

Because I am not competent at organizing a web page I accidentally put the following story about the Sheen family first - the CONTENTS section follows this story.

Harriet & Walter Sheen

Walter and Harriet Sheen (nee Marchant)

A story of ordinary people who came to build the city


Walter Sheen first came to Canberra in the early year when construction work on the city began.  He witnessed the naming of Canberra before moving back to Sydney when work slowed because of the war.  One of the jobs he worked on was the construction of Canberra's first hospital at Acton.  In Sydney he married Harriet Marshall where both their sons, Desmond and Gordon were born.  When Gordon was three weeks old in January 1923 the family moved to Canberra where the family moved into 3 Howie's Cottages.  The site of their home is opposite Lotus Bay, Yarralumla on what is now Block 3, Section 128 Stirling Park Yarralumla. 


Howie's settlement consisted to 25 timber two and three bedroom cottages erected for his married men and 18 timber huts for his single men. He also had a recreation hall built for each section.  The latter was known as THE HOSTEL CAMP and in October 1924 in the recreation hall the Burns Club was founded.  Many of Howie's men were Scots.  The settlement, which was part of the area known as Westlake [Gura Bung Dhaura Hills - Ngunawal - stony ground] was connected to the electricity and water supplies, but not a sewerage system.  The nightsoil pans were collected twice weekly at a cost of one shilling and three pence per service (13 cents) and deposited in the nightsoil dump Westridge [in the vicinity of the overpass over Adelaide Avenue from Kent St to Novar Streets Yarralumla].  This settlement was taken over by the Federal Capital Commission by October 1926 when a plan was put forward to connect the cottages to the main intercepting sewer - the tunnel went as close as 50 yards from the cottage where the Sheen family lived.  Walter Sheen in his reminisceces recalled that the explosives used in the making of the tunnel went off at midnight every night and the children had cotton wool put in their ears so that they would not be woken. [reasearch information courtesty K Alexander].


Walter worked for Howie Bros [later John Howie & Son/s] and this contractor won the tender to construct Hostel No 1 - the Hotel Canberra - the hostel to house the politicians.  When this work was completed Walter left Howie's and began work for the Government.  This change of employment probably occurred around the time when the family moved into 19 Causeway.  The first twenty cottages constructed at the Causeway Settlement was another Howie's job which was completed in 1925. 


The family later moved to Ainslie [now part of Reid] for a short time into a brick cottage, but this dwelling was a long way from Telopea Park School and Walter's work with the result that they moved back to 121 Causeway where Walter and Harriet remained for the remainder of their lives.


Harriet was a keen worker for the community and for many years was the President of the Causeway Progress Association - this was at a time when women did not usually hold these types of positions.  She was also a keen worker for her church.  She organised many concerts and other community activities.  Walter was mentioned in the Canberra Times as designing an air-raid shelter for the patients at the hospital. 


Both sons served in World War II - Des went to England prior to the war where he joined the RAF.  During took part in the Battle of Britain and was awarded the DFC - later he was awarded the Bar to the DFC.  Gordon served in New Guinea in the AIF.


After the war, Des returned to Australia with his bride, but remained a relatively short period before returning overseas and finally to settle in England.  Gordon remained in Canberra.


Des's daughter, Diana Foster-Williams, living in England, wrote the following about her grandparent's family and sent photographs.  These photographs along with ones loaned by Gordon's wife, Noela, are in the photograph section of this web.  These photographs have enabled me to identify the exact sites of Howie's Cottages and along with those loaned by the Canberra & District Historical Society, Harry Hamilton and Ken Dinnerville have expanded the knowledge of a small construction era settlement that could have been lost.  The cottages built by Howie's men influenced the government architect, HM Rolland, design the small portable timber cottage erected in The Gap at Westlake - Acton and Causeway.



WALTER & HARRIET SHEEN - by Diana Foster-Williams


Walter was born in 1885 in Lambeth London. Lambeth being not too far from the river Thames was not the healthiest part of the world. Indeed most of Walter’s siblings, up to eleven of them, died.  It has been passed down that there was a ‘Plague, however, it is not certain what type of plague or epidemic this was. Walter, Esther and May survived.


Walter’s father Frederick, a stonemason, was born in Lambeth in 1852 and he married Harriet Grossmith in 1871. Frederick’s father Charles E Sheen, born 1799 in Norwich in Norfolk, also a stonemason but brought his family down to London one assumes to get work. Likewise in 1911/12 Walter decided to go to Australia, he had had health problems and at that time the prescription for health was to immigrate to South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. By this time he had lost his father and in the 1911 Census he was already listed as a plasterer.


Harriet’s, known as Hart to the family, beginning in life could not have been more different, she was born in Semley, deep in Wiltshire country side twenty miles south of Salisbury. She was the seventh child out of the nine born to Elizabeth nee Burt and Henry Marchant. The Burst and the Marchants are still well known families in Wiltshire. There is Inn (pub) in the centre of the village, still there today, which was run by the Marchant family. When Harriet’s grandfather John died, her father Henry gave up the pub and moved to a farmhouse along the lane. On the death of her grandmother Elizabeth Burt they moved into her house, which Harriet thought of as ‘home’. Henry took over the workshop at the back of the pub where he continued to work as a wheelwright.  Her father was the sexton of the church which he and he father had helped to build. He was also the foreman bell ringer and in Harriet’s words "they were considered the loveliest bells for miles around”. She did return to Semley in 1949 but wrote, “I could have wept as it had changed so much, most of the pretty thatched roofs had gone, houses pulled down and others in their place, but one place cheered me up, the church that had changed the least”.


In March 1912 Harriet, her married sister Edith, brother-in-law John Wawrick, set sail on the steam ship Benalla for Australia. John’s occupation is listed as a carpenter, Harriet’s like most of her sibling sisters worked as a ‘Domestic’. She married Walter on the 27th December 1916 in The Methodist Church, Waverley, New South Wales.


Dr Robert Boden - Obituary


The above photograph on the front page of The Canberra Times 1 September 2009 shows a recent photograph of Dr Robert Boden a few months before his death.  The following article accompanied the photograph.



by Rosslyn Beeby, Science and Environment Reporter


Robert Boden, one of Australia’s most influential environmental thinkers and passionate champion of Canberra’ heritage treescapes, has died aged 74.


Dr Boden – who died on Saturday [29.9.09] after battling leukemia – was the founding director of the Australian National Botanical Gardens and a driving force in shaping national conservation policy under the Whitlam and Frazer governments.


Scientists, politicians and conservationists have paid tribute to Dr Boden as a man of ‘deep impeccable and meticulous scholarship’ who enjoyed lively debate and ‘brought a sharp intellect and a wise and dignified air to environmental advocacy.’


Australian National University landscape architect Emeritus Professor Ken Taylor has suggested a new city park and urban landscape scholarship should be established to honour Dr Boden’s immense contribution to local conservation.


Canberra should have a major park named after him.  That would be a fitting tribute to his legacy,” he said.


One of Dr Boden’s favourite green spaces in the city was the yellow box woodlands on Stirling Ridge in Yarralumla, which colleagues say could form a part of park named in  honour of his heritage work and eucalypt research.


The former head of the ANU’s forestry school, Professor Derek Ovington, said many Canberrans would fondly remember Dr Boden ‘as a local tree expert, but his conservation achievements were far more varied and substantial, particularly at the Federal level.’


Dr Boden, a forestry graduate from the University of Sydney began his career looking after parks for the federal Department of the Interior.  He later worked in India and Pakistan for five years as a Colombo Plan adviser on reforestation. Returning to Australia in 1968 Dr Boden spent three years studying ecological aspects of land use planning in the Canberra region. He joined the federal government as a senior executive responsible for national parks and tourism in the Northern Territory.  He became assistant secretary to the Department of Department of the Environment and later, assistant director to Professor Ovington, who was appointed to head the newly created National Parks and Wildlife Service – the first federal body dedicated to managing Australia’s national reserves system.


Professor Ovington, said it was difficult to single out particular achievements ‘because Robert was involved in helping the new department develop so many ideas and policies – everything from whaling and wildlife protection to negotiating Australia’s role in new international treaties to protect wetlands and migratory birds.’


Dr Boden had ‘ a great gift for seeing a way through, finding a glimmer of hope,’ when confronted with politically complex and controversial environmental issues.  ‘There was a great deal of political suspicion and antagonism toward our new department.  Robert was wonderfully supportive and determined to find a way forward to take us out of the mess. His influence on national conservation policy in those formative years cannot be overestimated.’


ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope said the look and shape of Canberra’s treescape  ‘owes much to Dr Boden, as does our collective understanding of the role of trees in our urban life.’


ACT Senator Gary Humphries said Dr Boden was ‘ an educated and articulate advocate for a greener Canberra.’

Dr Boden is survived by his partner, Susan Parsons and family.

Jo Grimsley Canberra High 1942-1974



Joyce – always known as ‘JO’, was not a member of the Canberra & District Historical Society – or I don’t think she was, but she was one of the pioneers of early Canberra and a person who influenced for the better the lives of her many students including mine.  She was a well loved and respected person.

Jo never married and one of the stories that was told was that her fiancée, a pilot, had been killed in the Battle of Britain.  Whether or not this is true I don’t know.

Jo was the PE teacher at Canberra High School between 1942 and 1974.  I first met her when I went to Canberra High in 1949 as a pupil in First Year and again in my adult years when I was appointed to Canberra High in 1959 as an Art Teacher.

Sports Mistress is a title that is totally inadequate for duties she carried out at Canberra High.  As well as the usual PE and sports she created programmes that included all members of the school.  Perhaps one of the most important was the Royal Life Saving Programme that was held for the three weeks after the final examinations.  People were not forced to join in, but if they chose not to they remained at school to do school work, with the result that around 98% of students joined in.  I worked my way through the various awards up to the highest one that one could do at that time –the Award of Merit –  which I did  twice rather than school work.    I also completed my Instructor’s Examination and when I went back to teach at Canberra High at Jo’s suggestion I sat the Royal Life Saving Examiner’s Examination along with Hockey Umpire. 

Jo also had a hand in teaching students to dance. The weeks prior to the School Socials, all PE Classes were spent learning – the waltze, Pride of Erin etc etc.  We did not have a school hall so the small Girl’s Tuckshop became the dance floor and music provided by a wind-up gramophone player.

Canberra High had four Houses – Gowrie (green), Lyons (white), Denman (red) and Fisher (purple).  I belonged to Fisher and at the beginning of the year I brought in my white blouse for the boiling in the school copper with the appropriate colour dye.  Mine of course, was purple.  Other days were set aside for Denman and Gowrie.  Jo was in charge of this work.

Sports Carnivals and Wednesday afternoon interschool and house sports were a major part of the school year.  Amongst the events were the team ones that included Captain Ball, Tunnel Ball and another which meant the ball was passed over and under and I cannot recall its name – probably OVER & UNDER.

On a Wednesday afternoon the interschool sports consisted of Hockey, Tennis, Football, Basketball, Cricket and probably a few others.  Some were Summer Sports and others, Winter.   The school also entered teams for Saturday Sport. In the case of Women’s Hockey and Basketball this usually took place on the sports ground at Acton.

Every year there was the intercity school sports & debating competitions held over several days, followed by a dance.  We visited Parramatta High one year and they visited up the following.  The reason for choosing Parramatta was that it was the only co-educational school in Sydney at the time.  Competitors were billeted by families.

Jo was the basketball person. Miss Dunicliff was the hockey mistress and Girls Supervisor.  Both always attended the school dances held in the Albert Hall. Both always wore long frocks.  Both were always integral to the organization and celebrations Fourth Year Farewell to Fifth Year Dinner Dance held at the Albert Hall and other important dates in the School Calendar such as Speech Night (also held at the Albert Hall). 

One grand event I recall and I can’t remember what it was for except all schools eventually became involved.  This event required all the students to carry out movements to music. One of the problems was that those at the rear or to the side heard the music at a slightly different time – it was provided by a gramaphone.  Jo did solve the problem and the day was a great success.

Jo’s staff room was really a large cupboard with a window at one end.   It was above the boiler room and I believe that the early staff were paid in addition to their normal salary, around 10/- a week or fortnight  compensation as danger money. 

I moved into this staff room that held around four or five teachers.  It became a focal point for many of the staff who lived in either the men’s or women’s staff rooms.  The urn was always boiling in our staff room and a cuppa tea at the ready for anyone who wanted one.  Rus Rix who taught Japanese during the war and was a member of the Philharmonic Society, Terry Steinmetz an English Teacher and Ralph Wilson whose name is remembered at Gorman House were three of the regular visitors.  The conversations were always of great interest. 

The main staff rooms were the Ladies on one side of the main entrance and the Gentlemen’s  on the other.  I made the mistake of entering the Men’s Staffroom and was quietly picked up and put on top of a high cupboard.  Students who came to the door would have seen a pair of legs dangling down from the cupboard.  Arthur Martin was one of the ringleaders I think.  But it was all in good fun.

The school library was under the bell tower and the lady there Miss Firth (I think it was) absolutely terrified me.  In First Year we learnt the dewy system and were not allowed to browse through the books.  Instead I used to call into the National Library (then in Kings Avenue) on my way home, where we were allowed to go to the stacks, select and read.  An area of magic.

Jo lived at Havelock House, where she had a room that was larger than most. It may have been two rooms, but whatever – it too, I believe, became of focal point for good conversation and good food.

Jo is the last of my teachers to die, but the legacy she gave to many of us continues and I hope that I have been able to pass on some of the lessons that I learnt from her.  Farewell Jo.  

Ann Gugler (nee Austin)


Bert Sheedy

Photo of Bert taken before he died.  His collection of books were given to the Queanbeyan Library.

The Queanbeyan Age 12 July 2000


The sudden death of well-known Queanbeyan historian and Kawaree resident Philip 'Bert' Sheedy, 79 on Friday is a great loss to the Queanbeyan district.

Bert's great wealth of knowledge and his ability to quote references and incidents left younger historians and friends in awe.

He lived and breathed history and history came alive when Bert spoke about it.

Philip 'Bert' Sheedy passed away quickly and quietly at historic Kawaree Lodge, Queanbeyan on Friday whilst talking to a friend about the history of the Queanbeyan district which he knew and loved so well.

While shocked by his sudden death, many people expressed gratitude that Bert's life had been prolonged for so long and that he had accomplished so much.

The legacy of his work in books such as Moneroo to Monaro Street Queanbeyan. A Brief Overview of Garryowen, Queanbeyan and his many contributions to historic journals and articles will live on in the minds and hearts of those who will use them for research in future years.

Bert also worked tirelessly helping record the three large volumes Queanbeyan Pioneer Cemeteries, Burials and Index.

The Sheedy family were one of the earliest pioneering families in the district.  Bert's grandfather, Patrick Sheedy, arrived in the colony of NSW from Ireland aboard the ship,'Lascar' in 1841. [And, according to Bert, the family was brought out to work for Klensendorlffe.  Another family was that of the Gillespie's.]

He had a farm on Royalla Creek in the 1840s and Bert's father, Bertie Sheedy was born at Tidbinbilla.

Bert's father later owned 1400 acres near Black Mountain reserve whihc is now under Lake Burley Griffin and Sheedy's Dairy is where Yarralumla Nursery is today. [Bert mentioned that the name was Curlew - after the bird and later Robert Corkhill leased the same area and it was renamed Riverview. - they were tenant farmers.]

His mother, Ellen Alvina Denley was born at Mac's Reef Sutton and Bert was born at Bowral under a waggon while his family was taking cattle to the Sydney show in 1921.

Beret came to Queanbeyan with his parents when he was about 18 months old.  He served with the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion and the 7th Australian Machine Gun battalion AIF in New Guinea and was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1972 for his contribution to local history.

In 1964 Bert suffered a massive stroke which left him bedridden for  three years.  Showing the tenacity which would make him such a great historian he overcame this obstacle and went back to work.

He was educated at St Gregory's Queanbeyan and the Canberra Technical College where he trained as a bricklayer.  He was a leading hand in the Department of Works at Canberra and worked in the Attorney General's Department, the Prime Minister's Department, and with the Commonwealth Police.  He retired in 1985.

Bert had two great loves in his life: his wife Marjorie and the history of the Queanbeyan district.  These two loves were interwoven, as Marjorie was his right hand when it came to typing and helping with research. Bert was devistated, and part of the light that made his life so special went out when Marjorie died in 1994.

Marjorie was a faithful companion who according to Bert, knew as much as he did but never received the recognition whe deserved.  Bert will also be remembered for his encouragement to other historians.  He will also be remembered for taking the role of the devil's advocate to challenge history and to activate the community to fight for its built heritage.

As a well built heritage, Bert recognised the importance of environmental heritage.  The famous Tree of Knowledge stands today because Bert and other Queanbeyan citizens fought against its removal in the 1960s.

Recently Queanbeyan City Council proposed to name a lane after the Sheedy family.  Fellow historian and author of Queanbeyan District and People, Errol Lea-Scarlett, said that, 'bert was meticulous when researching and his contribution to local history was immense.'

Bert also worked with another local historian, the late Rex Cross, author of Bygone Queanbeyan. Bert helped Rex tape the oral history of older residents as they went from farm to farm and from house to house in the 1970s.  This resulted in the joint authorship of Queanbeyan Pioneers - First Study 1983 by Rex Cross and Bert Sheedy.

He also worked hard in supporting the Queanbeyan Historical Museum.

His legacy to the district is undisputed. he gave so all might learn.  He was a walking encyclopaedia and his tireless work will carry future historians on his shoulders.  Everyone who visited Bert to question his great knowledge will miss the banter and historical debate as he demanded they research history thoroughly and get it right.  He corrected mistakes unmercifully, but after the dust had settled his eyes would twinkle and he would give that infectious  smile and laught his infectious laugh.

He was a very special man, a gentleman, a scholar, and one worthy and deserving of the high esteem and love given to him by his many friends, family and acquaintences.  Bert is survived by his sisters, Olive Borman of Oaks Estate, Phyllis Lindstedt of Tamworth and May Thomspon of Yass. A sister, Melba Triffett of Launceston Tasmania passed away in 1958. Bert was  a favourite uncle to all his sisters' children and their families.

A mass of thanksgiving for Bert's life will be celebrated at St Raphael's Catholic Church Lowe Street Queanbeyan tomorrow at 10am. His burial will follow at the Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery.

Connee Colleeen

[Bert build a small brick cottages in Griffith where he and Marge lived. Following her death he moved into Karawee.  Bert was a dear friend and from him I learnt much - including that the statue of George V in front of the Provisional Parliament House is built from brick and faced with stone.  Must have made it difficult when it was moved from the centre to one side in front of the House.  Ann Gugler






Lasseter wrote many articles under the nom-de-plume of THE GLEANER many of which were published in the THE CANBERRA COMMUNITY NEWS between 1925-1927.  Following is a poem found in the NAA records in the Social Service Section for the Community News.


Dear Editor:- As we are approaching the anniversary of the late War, and indications are sadly a variance with our hopes that it would be ‘The last War,’ the enclosed verses may be appropriate reading.





T’was the dawn of Armageddon

And glorious and grand

Methought I saw the hosts of Earth

In Cattle order stand

And all was gay with panople

Loud martial music rolled

And the breeze swept across the plain

Stirred each proud banner’s fold


The legions marshalled rank on rank

Were massed in stern array

The best and bravest of the land

All gathered for the fray.

I saw them there as from a peak

That overlooked the plain.

Ten thousand warriors grim

As thick as ripening grain.


On the left and right extended wide

Were troops of Cavalry

And far beyond all these was spread

The rolling sunlit sea

And on the sea great ships of War

Like waiting monsters lay

Ready to belch forth hate and death

On all who crossed their way.


For here was gathered the pride of Earth

From all its corners borne

The young, the strong, the true, the bold,

Upon that fatal morn

But all was for a moment hushed

No sound disturbed the air

As the troops on the land and those at sea

Knelt down in silent prayer.


Then strange the sight mine eyes beheld

And wonder came over me

For all there prayed to the Christian God

And the Christ of Calvary

But now the sign of the Cross displayed

Was the symbol of Power and Pride

For man had forgotten the lessons taught

When Christ the Redeemer died


And now the obvious(?) performed

The armies rose again

And straight to practical strife

They marched, they rushed amain

Earth shook beneath their armed tread

As the charging squadrons met

While shot and shell fill thick as hail

Till the face of the Earth was wet.


With the red life’s blood of the best of Earth

Whose slaughter corpses spread

Were shattered and mangled, gashed and pieced

And crushed neath the horses tread

Loud curses, groans and trumpet calls

Resounded far and wide

Mixed with the roar of babble heard

Across the heaving tide.


But as the day was Warning past

And shades of Evening fell

Sudden a glorious light appeared

Amid those scenes of Hell

A form came waling on the waves

As erst on Gallilee

Awe-struck, the warring nations chopped

On reverential knee


The carnage of the fighting ceased

All gazed in dumb carnage

Upon the living and the dead

He fixed his pitying gaze

‘Is this the mission of the Cross’

In stern and sad words he spoke,

‘Is this ‘Goodwill to men’ – behold

A dream – For I awoke


The Gleaner


I have just been gleaning a few figures from the ‘Statesman’s Year Book’, and they are interesting as showing the  ‘The costliness and futility of War’. Great Britain lost in Killed 946,023 men Wounded 2,121,906 and the cost of arms, ammunition and other incidentals to war is set down at 9,590,000,000 pounds if figures out at costing are over 9.000 pounds to kill a man. This amount is apart from other expenses such as ships lost at sea, 700,000,000 pounds – 400,000,000 pounds written off as losses on War contracts owing to raw materials not coming hand. And the (re)percussion bill calls for an annual expenditure of 1,455,000,000 pounds.  It makes one wonder ‘Is War worth while?’


Another letter to the Social Service Secretary Mr Honeysett, dated 1.12.26 reads:


Dear Sir:- As President of the Russell Hill Social Service Association  I have been requested to ask if you would approach the Commission with a request from us that they allow us the use of a Marquee in which to hold our ‘Children’s Christmas Tree.’  There are 73 children now in this camp and as there is no hall here and no House/cott(?) available to them to go so Le...(?) or elsewhere and as it is also considered much more suitable to hold the function right in our home camp.


We will undertake to see that it is well taken care of and returned in good order. 


Yours faithfully,

LHB Lasseter


PS We would also like to have the loan of a Christmas tree. LHBL



Letter from Lasseter to Joe Honeysett [NAA CP69/9 Bundle 2/12/6].  Honeysett did not publish the letter in the Canberra Community News because he was concerned that it could cause trouble for Lasseter and told him so.


Northbourne Camp, Canberra 22.7.1926

Mr Honeysett

Social Service Officer

Canberra Capital Commission

Dear Sir:- As I understand that my advocacy of independence for Australia has incurred the displeasure of those in Authority, May I be permitted to state my reasons for wishing this.


The ‘powers that be’ of recent years in England do not seem to get a proper grasp of Australia’s needs and aspirations and have perpetuated a series of blunders that have been very detrimental ot Australia’s welfare.


Suppose we trace Britain’s foreign policy since 1873.  In that year Russia officially suggested to GB that Great Britain and Russia divide Asia into two spheres of influence along the 37th parallel of Latitude.  This proposal was turned down by GB because it would allow Russia an ice free port and outlet from the Black Sea. GB backed Turkey instead.


A generation later the same proposal was renewed by Russia. Again it was turned down by GB which in this instance backed Japan.


Now I take the same poor business policy of a grocer to subsidize another man to start in opposition to him in the same business and this is exactly what Britain did.

Britain and Japan are both nations that have to rely on commerce and industry for their existence and it was very poor policy for Britain to subsidize Japan in a war against a nation that was the biggest producer of raw materials on Earth and will be again. These raw materials are just what Britain needs to keep her industries going, and if she would just agree to cancel the Russian debt to her today and establish friendly relations again, she would get the money ten times over in trade, and what nation or group of nations would dare bark if England and Russia spoke together.


Today Japan is spending 64% of her total revenue on her navy. Is she doing this for a joke?  Japan today is in the same position as England was in the days of Queen Elizabeth, a rich and ambitious nobility and an ignorant proletariat.


Land hungry and ambitious, she is forced by economic pressure to seek an outlet for her overcrowded population, and looks to Australia as that outlet.


In 1905 Baron Tukahira, Japanese Minister to Washington, and John Hay, American Secretary of State, met at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium to discuss the school question as affecting Japanese in California. I happened to be in a position to overhear the entire  conversation, and these are almost the exact words of Baron Tukahira, ‘Let American keep free from entangling alliances with a European power, and she never need fear a conflict with Japan.  What we got to hope for in fighting America, we must transport our troops 4,000 miles over ocean and land on an iron-bound coast, where there are only two good harbors, both well fortified, and we must make this landing good in the face of a navy of at least twice our numbers and immeasurably superior in the manufacture and transport of munitions and oil that goes to the prosecution of a successful war – while no further away lies an empty continent just as rich in potentialities’.


He didn’t need to say another word as there was only one country that filled the bill and that was Australia.


That Japan is a serious rival to GB is recognized at the Bradford Wool Sales in 1923 when the chairman of the stock exchange sounded a note of warning. 


Today Japan has a 99 year lease on a harbor in the New Caladonia and although it is nominally a sulphur lease – a crane with a lifting capacity of 150 tons is installed there.  This harbor is only 1200 miles from Sydney.


When Australia recognized the need for defence she sent to England for an expert to plan naval bases etc and we paid Admiral Henderson 15,000 pounds good Australian money to advise us to elect suitable sites for naval bases. Result he located two bases on the south coast of Australia and we spent 2,000,000 pounds in perpetuating this blunder.  What do we need with a naval base on the south of Aussie?  We are not going to be attacked from the South Pole.  One of the first essentials is a naval base that must be as near as possible to the scene of probable hostilities commensurate with safety.  If any attack comes to Australia it will come from the north and in the event of Japan attacking her objective will be Sydney. Instead of fortifying Sydney as it should be – with 18 inch guns – our Britain controlled defence department is talking of fortifying King George Sound and other prost on the South Coast. Jellicoe, the cautious, even  went as far to recommend moving the naval base 600 miles further south – to Hobart.  Now in the event of war with Japan, and indications point that way, our best hope is the American fleet.  This fleet needs to be assured of an efficient and well protected base, where it can refit etc. Fancy expecting it to travel an extra 2,000 miles to scrape its bottoms.

The best place geographically speaking – for a naval base to defend Australia is Townsville on the Queensland Coast.  It is well protected in all weathers, has the Great Barrier Reef as a natural breakwater for its first line of defence, 1,300 miles long, and there are only three gaps where a big ship can get thro in this reef and these can be defended by submarines and mines.  The high rugged country at the back of Townsville is its best security on the land side and with a good equipment of anti aircraft guns could be rendered impregnable and there is ample depth of water to enable a floating dock to operated to receive the biggest ship afloat and also this Townsville is connected by rail with the rest of Aussie.


Again in the layout of Flinder’s Naval Base a tough lunacy show thro’ the oil reservoir is situated on a slight rise and surrounded by the war room, wireless room, Power House, Boat Shed and Hospital – one shell dropped into this oil reservoir, or a bomb from a aeroplane would put the base out of business.


Two millions have been wasted there and yet there is not even a slipway to haul up a destroyer on.  The ‘Australia’ had to lie 3 miles out to sea.


The Singapore Naval Base may protect the Borneo Oil Fields but with Marshall Isles New Caledonia transformed into Japanese Navel Bases will not be of much assistance to Australia.


I think we should have our flag. We had our own distinctive postage stamp once, were we any less loyal to Britain on that account?  We cut ourselves from the best supply of immigrants and lost 60,000 of our best men in helping England out of a scrap which we had no say so in bringing about, and on top of this we are billed with 400,000,000 pounds for that privilege.


In short we are grown up now and want to set up house of our own.  If England will not form an alliance with Russia and America we should be able to do so. This alliance would be the best security for a world peace and I am an earnest advocate of it.



LHB Lasseter.


Labor Daily, September 21, 1927

Government by Commisson

Sir:- it may interest your readers to know something of how the workers are treated in Canberra, where I have been trying to make a home for the past two years.


At present most of the river flats are a wilderness of thistles, and most of the vegetables sold in the territory are grown in Sydney and Yass. The present revenue from these River flats is 8 pence per acre.  I offered a pound an acre for six acres. I was refused, and others have fared the same.


The Commission asked the workers to help build a hall at Causeway on a 50/50 basis which we understood to mean that if the workers supplied the labour the Commission would supply the material.  We built the hall. Then the Commission addressed the value of the labour at 800 pounds and the material at 2,000 pounds; and charged interest on the difference. Result- The Commission has a tangible asset worth 2,800 pounds and the worker has nothing. 


There being absolutely no provision made for recreation  halls in any of the other camps on the territory I offered the Commission 5 pounds per week for the right to run open air pictures in the three camps of White City, Northbourne and Russell Hill. Permission refused and no reason given.


The Commission established a ‘suggestion committee’ and asked the workers to send along suggestions that might be of advantage in building the Capital. I sent in a couple – was notified – ‘not worth considering’ – later both suggestions were adopted by architect of thee HC Branch of the Commission. 


Australians are discriminated against. I know two Australians, married men with families, who were sacked to make room for foreigners. I would suggest that no ordinance or law of the Commission should become effective till it has been published in the local paper, and at least one daily paper in each state capital. 


I pray that Sydney’s civic government may never be handed over to a Commission even if it well ‘buttered’.  LHB Lasseter  [Buttered refers to Sir John Butters First Commissioner of Federal Capital Commission – who ruled in an autocratic manner.]

Lt-Col John Thomas Hill Goodwin

The Canberra Times, 24 September 1935



Lieut-Col John Thomas Hill Goodwin has been selectively identified with Canberra development for 21 years.


He was born at Yelta, Murray River in 1865.  He was educated at the Church of England Grammar School Melbourne and served under articles as a pupil surveyor and draughtsman in the Lands and Surveys Branch Melbourne, in 1875-90.  In private practice 1891-96, he joined the Western Australian Government service in 1896 resuming private practice in Victoria in 1899 until 1908, when he was appointed staff surveyor in Victoria to the Department of Lands, later joining the Commonwealth Service as Lands Property Officer.


In 1914 Lt –Col Goodwin succeeded Mr CR Scrivener in charge of t he Commonwealth Lands & Survey Branch.  On the retirement of Col Miller, he was appointed officer-in-charge of the Federal Capital Territory which post he held until the appointment of the Federal Capital Commission.


He was also a member of the Federal Capital Territory Advisory Board from its inception until the conclusion of its functions.


Lt-Col Goodwin has also a distinguished military career.  He received his first commission on May 1891 and retired in 1918 with the rank of Lieut-Colonel.  He was also awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces decoration.  He volunteered for active service on the declaration of war but was detained in Australia for home service.


Lt-Col Goodwin can be truly said to have been associated with every public movement in Canberra from its earliest day.  He is a patron of the FCT Cricket Association and holds office in other sporting bodies.  He has been in touch with Canberra social life for many years and can fairly be described as one of the best-known and most widely respected figures in the community.


He has done outstanding work in connection with the Canberra Relief Society since 1930.  In 1931 he was elected as the head of the poll for the Advisory Council election and is deputy chairman of the Council.  He was appointed by the Advisory Council to be a member of the Hospital Advisory Committee.

ST JOHN'S CHURCHYARD by Jean Salsbury provides the additional information about John Thomas Hill Goodwin and his wife, Harriet Mary Goodwin both of whom are buried in St John's Church Cemetery.

Hariet Mary was the daughter of a clergyman and married John Thomas Hill Goodwin in 1893 at Ballarat Victoria.  She was born 18.9.1864 and died 13.10.1933 aged 69 years.  Her husband was the son of Thomas and Letitia Goodwin and born on 28.10.1865 and died 18.9.1950.

The couple who had two sons, came to Canberra first in 1914 and stayed at Yarralumla House, then used for visiting dignitaries.  From 1916 to 1924 he was the Commonwealth Sueveyor-General in charge of the Federal Capital Territory.  He was a member of the Advisory Council of the FCT from 1931 to 1943.  The couple's permanent home in Canberra was 10 Wilmot Crescent, Forrest.

Sergeant Cook Retirement and History FCT

The Canberra Times 24 December 1936



Constable Bailey Raised to Sergeant

When the business before the Canberra Court was concluded yesterday the Chief Officer of Police (Col HE Jones) announced that in view of the pending retirement of Sergeant PJ Cook, the Attorney General had recommended that he be promoted to the rank of honorary Sub-Inspector on retirement. Constable (First Class) ES Bailey would be promoted to Sergeant from December 28, 1936.

Col HE Jones said that the Attorney-general in recognition of the services of Sergeant Cook had rendered to the Commonwealth, had much pleasure in offering him and honorary Inspectorship on his retirement.

During the years in which he had been in charge of the Canberra Station, said Col Jones, the Sergeant has been very definitely and closely associated with the activities of the city, and had seen rapid and extensive changes in this area. He had at all times proved himself a zealous officer.

On behalf of the Canberra Law Society, Mr WHB Dickson expressed thanks to Inspector Cook for courtesy and assistance which he had at all times given to the solicitors having business with the Court.  He was an officer who had always tempered his duty with justice. This had been evident in the early days of Canberra when the population had been more or less unsettled and restless.

‘Now we have 8,000 law abiding citizens by whom Inspector Cook is held in very high respect,’ he said. ‘He has maintained public confidence in the force and it would be in the interests of the police generally throughout Australia if there were more like him.;

Mr FCP Keane, on behalf of the staff of the Clerk of Petty Sessions Office, extended to Inspector Cook, hearty congratulations on the honour which had been conferred upon him.

Col JTH Goodwin, SM on behalf of the Honorary Bench, said that as officer in charge of the Administration of the Federal Capital Territory in 1920 he had been mainly responsible for bringing Inspector Cook to Canberra. He had asked the Department to send along a man with common sense and sound judgements, one’ who would do his job and not cause too much trouble.’  Col Goodwin referred in glowing terms to the manner in which Inspector Cook had carried out his arduous duties in the early days.

Sergeant ES Bailey said that he had been associated with Inspector Cook for ten years and had always found him a very good chief.  When his own time came to leave the force he hoped that he would leave with goodwill of the public such as was enjoyed by Inspector Cook.’

Mr WF Britz PM said that Inspector Cook had a difficult task in introducing police control to a new district where a different act of circumstances existed. Inspector Cook had proved a good friend to the tourists, many of whom had spoken highly of his interest in their welfare. In fact, the Canberra police as a whole had been of great assistance to the travelling public.

Inspector cook said that he had regretted that the time had arrived when he should retire from active duty.  He still felt that he had a bit of a kick left in him. He thanked Col Jones and Col Goodwin for their remarks as he had been associated with them for many years. Although he had had ‘friendly little scarps’ with the two solicitors at times each side had had their responsibilities and differences of opinion were not carried beyond the court room. There had always been a friendly relationship between the force and other sections of the community.  He congratulated Sergeant Bailey on his promotion and felt that he would fill the position with dignity.

Farewell Gathering

At the Police Barracks Acton, last night, the members of the Canberra Police Force made a presentation to Inspector PJ Cook on the eve of his retirement from the Federal Police Force.

The Chief Officer (Col HE Jones) presided and the members of the Force present were Messrs Bailey, Fellowes, Weiss, Perriman, Broadribb, Bresnan, Hilton, Hush, Ivey, Goodall and Grove. Mr FCP Keane, Clerk of Petty Sessions, and Mr Keith Forbes of Police Headquartes were also in attendance.

Col HE Jones on behalf of the Police presented Inspector Cook with an enlarged photograph of himself seated at his desk in the Sergeant’s Office Canberra Police Station. The photograph bears the following inscription: ‘Presented to Sub-Inspector Cook by the members of the Federal Capital Territory Police Force on the eve on his retirement Canberra, December 1936.

Col Jones gave a resume of Inspector Cook’s record as a member of the New South Wales Police and later of the Commonwealth Police at Canberra.  Inspector Cook had joined the NSW Police Force in February 1901 and after the usual probationary period he was stationed as a mounted constable at Carrathool, Hay, Whitton,  Mt Hope, Booligal, Gunbar, Braidwood, Captain’s Flat, Bungendore, Gundaroo, Picton, Bankstown, Bega and Kiandra.

In May 1923m Constable (1st Class) Cook was transferred to Molonglo Settlement Police Station which was at that period the only police station at Canberra. He was one of the first Constables to be stationed there, as his predecessor Constable Stewart had been at Molonglo for only two months. On July 1 1925 Constable Cook was promoted to Sergeant third class.

By this time the police establishment had grown. The construction of capital was in full swing and the NSW police at Queanbeyan and Canberra had stirring experiences in the keeping of the law and order throughout the Territory.

On December 1926 the head police station was removed from Molonglo which then became a police lock up and was established at Acton. Sergeant cook was the first officer in charge at the building which is now used for the Canberra Community Library.

When the Federal Capital Territory Police Force was formed on September 28 1927, Sergeant Cook, transferred from NSW Police to the new force with the rank of Sergeant (1st class).

During November 1928 the Police Station was transferred to the building now used as Parkes and Gardens Office and November 1930 when the Court of Petty Sessions was established in the Territory the Police Station was transferred to the building now occupied.

In his closing remarks Col Jones mentioned the many stirring times the Inspector had experienced in the early days of Canberra and the many changes he had seen in the Territory during the period 1925-36.  He hoped that the photograph which was inscribed also with the name of all the towns at which the Inspector had been stationed would help to remind him of many pleasant associations in various parts of New South Wales and at Canberra.

The toast ‘Our Guest’ which was moved by Col Jones was supported by every member of the Force and all wished the Inspector and Mrs Cook the best of good health and happiness for the future.

Col Jones made a personal presentation of a fountain pen to Inspector Cook at the gathering.


The Argus 28 March 1938


National Capital’s First-Policeman (sic second) Had Many Strange Jobs.


‘Kings Police Medal Sergeant Phillip James Cook, Federal Capital Territory Police.’

Everyone who was associated with the early days of Canberra knows ‘Cookie’ and when the announcement appeared on the New Year honours list, the postman who serves the quiet street where he now lives in retirement at Eastwood Sydney was burdened with congratulation letters from all over Australia.

When I visited Sergeant Cook recently he was busy in his fine garden handcuffing an obstreperous gladioli to a stake and within a few minutes had launched into stories of the days when the activities of the infant Canberra provided him with plenty of fun and times nearly drove him mad.’

...(section missing) many jurisdictions sometimes. Spielers who would hang around the camps on pay day simply had to be hunted away. I for one of my men when I was later given assistance would go up to a suspicious character and say, ‘We know all about you. Now get away and save yourself the trouble of being vagged.’ They always got away. Loafers who come on pay days to join the two-up schools had to be treated in the same way.

I had one big athletic constable with me at one time whose strength made him worth his weight in gold. There were often fights in the settlement messes and one day a man rushed into my house covered from head to foot with blood. ‘I’ve had enough,’ he yelled. ‘I’m getting out.’ And before we could question him he turned and ran. We never saw him again. We went over to the mess and there obvious signs of a fight but there were no men in sight. We found them all in their bunks.  Some were snorting rather forcibly.

The constable with me suspected –rightly – that the man who had knocked the other man about was a big tough (...part missing)

Sergeant Cook went to Canberra in 1923 on loan from the New South Wales police to the Commonwealth. He left the comparative quiet of Kiandra’s mountains and snow for the tumultuous life of what was then little more than a great construction camp – the Molonglo Settlement.

As he drove in he saw a string of wooden tenements divided up by wood partitions with no yards or verandahs.  In the Great War they had housed German prisoners. [not POWs].

It did not take long for him to discover that one of his most onerous duties among the camps was to be that of chief umpire in domestic disputes.

‘The community life naturally led to a lot of squabbling,’ he said. ‘The most serious difficulty was that there was a community washhouse and it was impossible for all the wives to wash all the clothes on one day.  So different days had to be allotted to groups of families. But that didn’t bring peace. There was a beaten track to my house. I had Mrs O’Reilly pounding on my door to tell me that Mrs McTavish was a wild spalpeen(?) of a woman who for the life of her couldn’t keep out of other people’s business and leave the clothes-line alone when she had no right to be using it, and added as for her putting her tablecloth in the copper when it wasn’t her washing day.

Well she ought to be locked up and that would be doing her a favour. Mrs McTavish, arriving in a cloud of dust with the glint of her Highland ancestry as her eyes would announce that she would put her tablecloth in the copper if she wanted to and if she had much more cheek , she would put Mrs O’Reilly in with it.’

‘We met some wild characters,’ the Sergeant continued,’ There was one woman who would get some beers across her chest roll up her sleeves and yell, ‘I’m .. O’Flaherty’s daughter, and then would sally forth to wage war with the world.  A man rushed up to seek protection from her one day, and she stood off, arms ...*?) and told him that he was a cowardly rat always crawling to the constable and telling tales.

And (?) We had some fun. But at times it nearly drove me mad.’

There was never any serious crime in the settlement except one case of manslaughter (?). We had to adopt summary...(section missing)  fellow who made a speciality of bullying and had most of the men scared. The constable went to his bunk and asked him to get out of bed.  He did surlily and with his prestige in mind, began giving cheek.  The he lunged at the constable. Within a second a battle royal was in progress. But the bully had met his match. He got a father of a hiding. We took no further action, and we never had the slightest trouble with that man thereafter.

We had sundry cases of grog-selling to cope with in the week-ends, men would take lorries to Queanbeyan and return with them heavily loaded with liquor. There was money in it.

‘I was once asked to  give an estimate of the amount of liquor consumed on the territory. [The sale of alcohol was illegal in the territory between 1913 and towards the end of 1928]  That was a pretty ouch question. Strange to say, just about that time the first bottle-oh arrived on the scene and helped me with my estimate.  The man had seen his opportunities – they were stacked in huge piles in various parts of the camp, not little heaps, but real stacks.  He got busy with chaffbags.

He collected 170,000 dozen bottles – or 2,040,000 single bottles – and sent them by a special train to Sydney. That helped me to make my estimate.

‘I was often worried about the amount of money carried about on pay-day because it appeared to have so little protextion. I have seen as much as 16,000 pounds taken around in an old Ford car managed by a constable, the paymaster and a driver. How we got away with it I don’t know. It would come to a camp at lunch hour. The men, stray hawkers or loafers would gather round like a hive of bees. Yet not  ...was ever missed.

Sergeant Cook’s wife was for some time his ‘relieving station sergeant.’ When he was away she settled many squabbles for him. On one occasion two girls robbed their father and a boarder and hired a car for 20 pounds to take them to Sydney. Sergeant Cook was away so his wife took charge. She telephoned every station on the line from Sydney to Queanbeyan until the runaways were captured at Liverpool.

If Sergeant Cook should ever decide to forsake his gladioli for a month or two he would be able to write some fascinating stories. But as he says, with regret, ‘You cannot print the best ones.’



Retirement of Sergeant Cook 1936

Sergeant Cook, who was promoted to Sub-Inspector Cook just prior to his retirement, was the second police officer to serve in the Territory.  Stories about him abound.  For many years the police station was at Molonglo.  The following article was published at the time of his retirement. 

The Canberra Times, 28 January 1937



“A Canberra Institution”


Sub-inspector Cook, who will leave Canberra this morning with Mrs Cook to live in retirement at Eastwood was farewelled at a gathering of friends at the Albert Hall last night drawn from all sections of the community.


Sir Robert Garran expressed the feelings of all when he said that ‘Sergeant Cook was not only the senior officer of the Canberra police force, he was an institution, and will be greatly missed.’


The chairman, (Lieut-Col Goodwin) presented Sub-inspector and Mrs Cook with a wallet of notes on behalf of these present.


Valedictory speeches during the evening were interspersed with entertaining items rendered by Mrs Wells (songs), Mr S Atkinson (songs), Mr R Miller and Master R Smith (vaudeville sketch), Mr Miller also gave a humourous recitation.


Lieut-Col Goodwin said that the idea of the farewell gathering had been conceived by the large number of personal friends of Sub-Inspector Cook who felt that he should not be permitted to leave Canberra without some recognition being shown of the services he had rendered to the public generally.  He said the organising committee believed that the simple method adopted would appeal most to Sub-Inspector and Mrs Cook.


‘Of course,’ said the Chairman, ‘policemen are generally considered to be stickybeaks, but the sergeant always had a gentle way of sticking in his beak at which no offence could be taken.  He considered that the duty of a constable was to prevent crime and he always made it a practice to help people to observe the law.  He had a very difficult career in the early days of the Territory but showed himself an officer with initiative and tact.  During his 13 years at Canberra he had always  been a very popular officer, and has always carried out his duty fearlessly and with credit to himself and the force.’


Sir Robert Garran said that although he was present in the capacity of an ordinary citizen and friend of the ‘Sergeant,’ he might also be permitted to represent the past, as he was the head of the department controlling the police force soon after Sergeant Cook was first appointed to Canberra. He had always recognised that the Sergeant was the right man in the right place. He understood that in the early days the community was not quite so easy to handle as it was to-day.  But Sergeant Cook had handled his men with tact and discretion, and helped the community to realise that the police were their friends and not their enemies.


‘He was much more than a policeman.’ Said Sir Robert. ‘He was an institution. He is one of those ‘young’ men like myself who according to the rules of the game, have reached that age when they must go on the shelf although they feel and look as young as ever.  He has many years of happy life ahead of him, with time to do those things which he has always wanted to but which his public duties have precluded.  He can really begin life now, and I am quite sure his active body and mind will find plenty of occupation.


Mr AG Whitlam, Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, expressed appreciation on behalf of the law authorities of the long and trusted service given by Sub-Inspector Cook.  He said that the Solicitor-General (Mr Knowles) who was unable to be present because of the amount of work to be cleared up before he left for England had asked him to express the appreciation of the department and to wish Sub-Inspector Cook every future happiness.


Mr Whitlam paid tribute to the restraint shown by Sub-Inspector Cook in the performance of his duties, and contrasted him with the type of officer who attempts unwarranted officiousness.


The President of the Canberra Chamber of Commerce (Mr WHB Dickson), said that it was rather paradoxical that Sub-Inspector Cook should be retiring while his father was still actively engaged in business. Mr Dickson referred to the numerous but hitherto unknown acts of kindness and charity shown by Sub-Inspector Cook to those who appealed to him for aid.  He conveyed his best wishes of the business community to sub-Inspector and Mrs Cook.


Sub-Inspector Cook, in returning thanks said that he came to Canberra nearly 14 years ago.  He had grown with the place, and it was not without deep regret that he was leaving it.


Reminiscing he referred to Canberra’s comparative freedom from crime and complete freedom from major crime as was illustrated by the equanimity with which payrolls amounting to 16,000 pounds were distributed in the early days with only one police escort.


‘When one considers the opportunities and the temptations for crime in those days,’ he said, ‘ one realises that Canberra has a record better than that which can be claimed by any other city in the world.’


He spoke of the sterling work done by Constables Bottrell and Lowther in the days when the police station was at Molonglo, and of the check they caused by the meeting out of ‘summary’ punishment which occasioned them a healthy respect.  He also expressed thanks to Mrs Bland, still at Molonlgo, but almost forgotten for the ready assistance she rendered to those of the population of 700 to 1000 at Molonglo in those days, who might still be ailing and in need of nursing and help of any kind.


One of his most difficult early assignments, said Sub-Inspector Cook, was the preparation of an estimate of the amount of liquor consumed in Canberra at the time that the administration was determining the number of licenses to grant in the city.


‘That was dry Canberra, don’t forget,’ he added.


‘With the assistance of an energetic bottle-oh from Sydney, who made a special trip to have a clean up at Canberra, he ascertained that Canberra when dry, consumed at least 17,000 dozen bottles of beer!’


Sub-Inspector cook also paid tribute to his wife, instancing several of her ‘police cases’ in which she had been of great assistance to him in the performance of his official duties.’


‘I would sooner have a tooth pulled  than start this sort of stuff,’ he concluded, again thanking those present for the parting gift and giving him an opportunity publicly to say farewell.


On the motion of the Chairman, a vote of thanks was conveyed to the artists, and a vote of thanks passed for the chairman, on the motion of Mr TM Shakespeare.


Canberra Pioneer - Mr John Murray who built the first Commonwealth building

The Canberra Times, 3 August 1933, page 3



Erected First Building for Commonwealth


The death occurred at Canley Vale on Friday last of Mr John Murray, formerly a well-known identity of Canberra at the age of 80 years.


The late Mr Murray was the pioneer businessman in Canberra, having established the first business in Canberra in the glebe lands adjacent to St John’s Church about the year 1900, and later erected a store and bakery at Molonglo.


The bakery was destroyed by fire in 1926, and the ruins can be seen in a clump of trees near the track across St John’s common to Scott’s Crossing.


The late Mr Murray also erected the first building in Canberra for the Commonwealth after the surrender of the territory by the State.  The building was a shed for housing of the surveyors’ plans and records and still stands in the site known as Surveyors’ Gully, near the West Block of Commonwealth offices.


At the first sale of Canberra leases in 1926 (sic first was December 1924), the late Mr Murray purchased two leases at Braddon, one being the present one of Sackett’s bakery. He disposed of his business interests in Canberra in 1926, however, and retired to Canley Vale near Sydney.


Almost up to the time of his death he was actively engaged in manufacturing machinery and implements of his own invention in Sydney.  Two of these were the Murray wool press and the Murray wire strainer.  The late Mr Murray was a descendent of Captain John Murray of the 50th Foot Regiment, who served in the Peninsula War, and subsequently came to Australia in 1833.  Captain Murray took charge of the garrisons at South Head and Dawes Point batteries.  Later he retired to Collector, where Mr Murray was born.


As a young man, Mr John Murray was identified with the building trade in Sydney where he carried out work on old landmarks – the Sydney Town Hall, Hordern Bros (Pitt Street), Anthony Hordorn’s old building on Brickfield Hill  He later became identified with mining operations at Michelago.  From there he went to Cowra Creek and district, where he was interested for a number of years in gold and copper mining.  He then came to Canberra.


He leaves a widow at Canley Vale and a daughter, Ruth (Mrs Bruce Brown) who was for many years connected with the Lands Department at Canberra.  Other children are George of Bourke Street Public School Goulburn, Ernest of ‘Kurrumbene’ Canberra, Mrs Christie, Harry Murray and Rowland Murray of Sydney, Dorothy of Castlemaine, Victoria, John Murray of Bundaberg, Queensland, Max Murray journalist, and author of the books of travel, ‘The World’s Back Doors,’ and ‘The Long Way to London’ and Malcolm and James of Griffith NSW.


Ernest Murray of Kurrumbene, Canberra, wrote a letter of correction dated August 3, 1933:


Canberra Times, 7 August 1933





The Editor, The Canberra Times

Sir –

In the obituary notice concerning may father, John Murray, in to-day’s ‘Canberra’s Times’ there was one inaccuracy regarding the first building erected I would like to correct.


Your article states: ‘This building still stands on the site known as Surveyors’ Gully near the West Block of Commonwealth buildings.’


This should read: ‘ This building was first erected at Surveyors’ Cully.’


The first building erected in Canberra for t he Commonwealth, and which was erected by John Murray was a wooden building.  It stood on its original site for many years and was afterwards removed and re-erected at the rear of the present Administration Building at Acton.


It was used for office purposed for some years at Acton and may still be in use.  His photograph hung for many years in the Lands Office of the Administration prior to the formation of the Federal Capital Commission.


Yours etc


‘Kurrumbene’ Canberra

August 3, 1933



HLB Lasseter

Lasseter came to Canberra in 1925 or early 1926 and worked as a carpenter.  He lived in Northbourne Camp until his wife could join him in 1927 following the birth of their daughter.  For his family he built a 'humpie' at Russell Hill.  Lasseter wrote under the nom-de-plume of THE GLEANER and a number of his articles were published in the Canberr Community News. A number of his letters are found in the National Australian Archives.


Following is an example of his work written at the time of the opening of Parliament by the Duke of York.  The Duke was well known for his liking of alcohol. Canberra was still dry at the time.  John Butters was the local man in charge - First Commissioner.  During the procedures on 9 May 1927 (opening of Parliament) the Duke rode a horse - the local story is that the first mount given to him was a bit foisy and a new mount was found.

The Community News, June 11, 1927




(To the Editor, Community News)


Dear Editor.- As a member of the Press, it was my good fortune to get in close touch with both their Royal Highnesses and I found them both charming.  The smile with which the Duchess greeted me will linger long in my memory.  Being desirous of recording my impressions from the point of view of “One of the Public.” I took my place with the procession, and I feel sure that it was marked respect for our Royal visitors that caused the cheering to be rendered in a minor key, and it speaks volumes for the orderly conduct of the residents and visitors to Canberra that the services of the police were not called into action to prevent crowding.  I believe I was the only one of all that vast assemblage who threw anything at the Duke, my contribution in that respect taking the form of a “boky” from our own garden.  I caught the Duke’s eye as I threw the flowers, but as the flowers missed, I returned his eye and exchanged smiles.  Later the flowers were retrieved by the police at the request of the Duchess, and I was honored to see her wearing one of them at the banquet, and when, at leaving for the Review, she singled me out and bestowed an individual smile on me and wished me good luck.  I wouldn’t have changed places with Sir Jawn.  Now, Mr Editor I know that some may think that it was the ribbons I was wearing that caught her eye, still among so many beribboned and bemedalled gallants, a splash of red and blue and another of salmon and red would be inconspicuous I am pleased to flatter myself that it was recognition in myself of a resemblance to the late St George that inspired the gracious wish.


But isn’t it a shame, Mr Editor, that etiquette forbids Royalty from joining in our sports.  I could see the Duke itching to get into the saddle and join the dance of police horses, which, by the way, was the best exhibition of trained horses I have seen, and I have seen the best that America, England and Germany could provide.  Now Mr Editor, if I may voice an opinion as to the reason why the camping grounds were not crowded, it is this:-


The general public of Australia were more interested in the Royal visitors than in the opening of Parliament, and as the opportunity of seeing them had been given to the residents of the big cities before their Royal Highnesses visited Canberra; the opening of Parliament was not considered a sufficient lure to entice the general public hundred of miles in the beginning of winter.


I would recommend that the next time Royalty visits us the first port of call be Jervis Bay, from which port they can be transported to Canberra without going through any of the big cities…




The visit of the Duke and Duchess is now a matter of history, and Eastlake has resumed the even tenor of its way.


The business people have expressed themselves well satisfied with the material results of the festive weeks, while the ordinary citizen arises in the morning, and goes to bed at night in the same regular and prosaic manner as before.


It is understood that their Highnesses were greatly impressed with the patriotic and progressive appearance of Canberra’s first suburb, and the magnificent bearing of its residents.


The Duke’s famous remark to the Duchess that while the spirit of Eastlake burnt in the hearts of the wind-kissed, sun-burnt Eastlakians, the Empire need have no fear – is likely to go down in history.


Anyway Eastlake extended a very hearty and loyal welcome to the Royal pair when they passed through on Tuesday afternoon.  A great concourse of people gathered at the Eastlake strongpost opposite the shopping centre and the Causeway post opposite Dr Finlay’s.


The business people co-operated in a most hearty manner with the citizens in fittingly decorating the area, and the individual decorative displays of the various shops were the subject of the most favorable comment.


A large crowd gathered in the morning, but owing to the alteration of the programme were disappointed.


Grateful appreciation of Sir John Butter’s action in arranging for the tour to be made during the afternoon so that the public would not be disappointed was expressed on all sides.


Final touches are being given to the Government Printing Works preparatory to its being put into commission next month.


The impending invasion of the Stores Area by the fair employees is causing quite a flutter in the many breasts of the store’s staff, many of whom have already assumed quite a respectable appearance.


The absence of street lights in this suburb is being keenly felt and severely handicaps the movements of the married residents after dark.  It is becoming quite a common occurrence to fall over bridges and walk into shrubs,  and other objects.  We are pleased to state, however, that it has the effect of bringing the young people together.


Bon-fire night was a complete success, and the suggestion that the valuable pine forests of the Commission had been “butchered” to make a children’s holiday, did not seem to dampen their ardour one little bit.  The fiercer the pin needles blazed, the more joyful the shouts, and the sinister and lugubrious newspaper reporters lurking in the fitful shadows at the back endeavouring to calculate the cost to the country of these revels, one by one slunk into the grateful darkness of the night.


Considerable interest is being taken locally in the forthcoming Association Tennis Tournament, and the local courts are being patronised by the aspirants for honors, who are endeavouring to secure all the practice possible before the fateful day.


We are pleased to record that the Gorman Cup is still in possession of the Eastlake club, despite the spirited attempt of the tennis giants from outback to wrest it from our grasp.


Now bring out the cat!




The local branch of the Social Service Association is receiving indifferent support from residents, which is much to be regretted, as so much good can be done for the mutual benefit and general welfare of all.  Were it not for the untiring work of the committee, the district would indeed be neglected, and so it is felt that it is up to the people to take a little more interest in local matters, and to assist those who are doing their best to make local conditions better.


The thanks of all should be given to the Branch Committee for the manner in which they arranged and organised the strong posts for the Royal Visit, which were indeed a great credit to them, and with which their Royal Highnesses were delighted, and Sir John Butters expressed great satisfaction.  It was a day of great pleasure to the district to have the honor of a personal inspection by the Duke and Duchess of the interior of one of our modern and comfortable bungalows, with which they expressed themselves in very favourable terms.  The Duchess captivated the hearts of all by her unaffected simplicity of manner, and the direct interest she manifested in all she had the opportunity of seeing.


It was a happy, memorable day for little Gwen Pinner of Ainslie, when she had the distinguished honour of presenting the Duchess with a bouquet at the opening of Parliament House.


The Ainslie School is making great progress, and general satisfaction is expressed at the fine modern structure the Commission is providing for the children.


The Civic shopping centre is going on well, and by September the locals should not be dependent upon Eastlake for their requirements.


There is no slump in cottage building, and generally Ainslie is about the busiest centre of the city.


The bus service has improved considerably, for which all are thankful.


The cricket season is now closed, and the honour of Premiership goes to our local club in both grades, to which we offer our congratulations.


The Ainslie Football (Australian Rules) Club and Social Entertainment Club, have recently formed with a very big membership, and the kick off for the season was most enthusiastic.  We hope they will emulate the Northbourne Cricket Club, and be Premiers for 1927.



A splendidly attended meeting of residents of Westridge was held at the local hall on Monday, 30th May, for the purpose of discussing various matters affecting the welfare of the community.


At the requests of residents the Social Service Officer was present at the meeting. Mr Woolands was unanimously elected to the chair.


In his opening remarks, Mr Honeysett explained the aims and objects of the Canberra Social Service Association, and stressed the importance of a strong branch functioning in each welfare district, of which Westridge was one.  He realised that it was not always convenient for the Westridge delegate to attend meetings of the Council of the Association, owing to transport difficulties, but the retention of a strong branch committee at Westridge would undoubtedly prove of great benefit in the social well being of residents.


When once the meeting had warmed up, Mr Honeysett was subject to a veritable bombardment of complaints of which he took careful note, and promised to see what could be done in the matter.


The present dilapidated condition of the tennis court was brought under notice, and it was decided to again request that the necessary material be made available to recondition the court.  Other matters strongly stressed were the necessity for the provision of street lighting on Mountain Way [Novar Street], and the provision of storm water drainage.  On the motion of Mr Taylor, seconded by Mr Shepherd, it was unanimously resolved that the old Progress Association be superceded by the new body to be known as the Westridge Branch of the Social Service Association.  The following officers were thereupon elected:-

                Chairman: Mr Woodlands

                Hon Secretary and Treasurer: Mr EP Corey

                Committee: Mesdames Turbitt, Boag, J Ware, Messrs J Dillon,

                                 M Ware, J Riddle.

Mr J Dillon was unanimously elected as a representative of the Westridge Branch of the Board of Trustees of the Westridge Hall.  Mr Woodlands was also elected as a delegate to the Council of the Canberra Social Service Association.



Our tennis court is now taking shape, and in the course of a few weeks members will be forming a club.


After several requests for an Anglican Church Service to be held here, Canon Ward has endeavoured to hold Service in Westlake Hall on the fourth Sunday of each month, at 7 pm.  Continuance of the Service will depend upon the interest taken in attendance of residents.  After so much difficulty in making arrangements for these Services, we hope to be able to maintain them.


A good many residents views the Royal Procession from our strong post.  Four flag poles were erected by some of the Social Service members on Sunday 8th May, but by Monday 9th, one flag had been souvenired.  The only regret of those gathered was the speed at which the Royal couple passed.  They were hardly recognised before they had gone.



The strongpost at Acton during the visit of the Duke and Duchess was notable for its artistic decoration, and the effective greenery and streamer display.  The splendid effect was the result of the efforts of the Acton branch whose members joined heartily in the work of erection.  A large number of residents attended to give their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess a hearty cheer as they passed through Acton, and the enthusiasm of the crowd must have been very gratifying to the Royal visitors.


The branch is very grateful to the Commission for the assistance given and the supply of poles, flags, and bunting and to the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens for the lavish contribution of greenery.



Since our last appearance in your columns we have had a feast of holidays and recreations.  First, Anzac Day with its usual parade and Requiem, to perpetuate the valour of the heroic dead that they may be a source of inspiration to the young men of to-day.  The succeeding days saw streams of visitors motoring through, which together with the elaborate preparations for the Royal Visit, made the place quite city like.  On Saturday, 7th May, we were treated to some amateur horsemanship by the light horse, which would reflect credit on professional fields.   Then, the one event of the opening of Parliament with the military review in the afternoon, amid the splendour of dress and sunshine, was certainly a sight not to be forgotten.  On the 10th everybody was on the tip toe of excitement anxiously waiting at every vantage point to get a view of the Royal visitors on their tour of inspection.  All or most were rewarded to a great extents, and, I can also add, very much satisfied.  A social where the toast to the health of their Royal Highnesses was drank rather liberally, and the National Anthem rendered in squadron formation brought the week end to a close with everybody in the best of spirits.


Back to routine work again we are somewhat set aback by the rumour in camp we believe to be partly true, that a large number of the workmen will be put off.  Everybody selfishly asks – Is it I?  Well, waltzing Matilda in the winter season is not a very enviable pastime.


We had Messrs Bodkin, Kelly and O’Neill of the AWU here during  the week, who informed us that our camp was to receive further attention regarding sanitation, the heating and lighting of the cubicles, etc.


The new billiard room is taking shape fast, and ought to prove a great boon in the long nights.


Our caterer has taken a well earned rest to recuperate his health, which we all trust will have the good results desired.


Our friend Joe has purchased a new truck.  We sincerely hope his ambition will be rewarded.


The football season is booming here just now.  The young men of the camp are representing many teams, and from the keen interest taken in the game by the various rivals we can look forward to having some well contested matches this season.

Funeral TM Shakespeare

The Canberra Times, 19 September 1938

Late Mr TM Shakespeare



SYDNEY, Sunday

‘He was my friend and I think of him chiefly as a great friend,’ said the Rev John Edwards of Vaucluse, at the funeral to-day of the late Mr TM Shakespeare, known as ‘The Father of the NSW Country Press.’

‘I am sure,’ added the Rev Edwards, ‘ that there are many around who knew TM, as he was affectionately called, as a loyal and great-hearted friend.

It was not surprising to find those who do a kind turn in gratitude for kindness received, or in anticipation of some favour to come, and these expressions of gratitude are among the happiest experiences of life.

But TM Shakespeare did not wait for such motives. I have known him to do many a fine deed for which there seems no other motive than pure goodwill and spontaneous generosity of a naturally kind heart. He was a true, loyal, generous, large-hearted, great and broad minded friend.’


The Rev Edwards made reference to the man in the scripture. The Good Samaritan who proved himself a neighbour to one whose only claim was his need.

Many people heard this eloquent tribute to the late Mr TM Shakespeare as they stood bare-headed at his graveside overlooking the ocean in the South Head Cemetery this afternoon.

People of all walks of life were represented. A short service was held at the Chapel of Motor Funerals in City Road before the cortege proceeded to the cemetery.

Floral wreaths carried in the accompanying cars showed the estimation he was held in by all those who came in contact with him.

The police depot made available a special escort of motor cyclists to accompany the cortege to the cemetery and traffic was suspended while it proceeded through the streets.


The late Mr Shakespeare who was a well-known member of the Masonic Craft was accorded a service by Worshipful Master Alan Owen of Lodge Tranquility at the graveside.  The late Mr Shakespeare was a member of this lodge for many years and was Worshipful Master in 1912 and 1913.

The Lodge Tranquility carried out the ceremony at the request of the Commonwealth of Australia Lodge, Canberra, of which he was also a member.

‘On behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, I desire to express to you and other members of your family our deepest sympathy in your husband’s death,’ read a message from the Prime Minister (M r Lyons) to Mrs Shakespeare.


The chief mourners were his widow, Mrs Shakespeare, three sons, Arthur, William and Jack, and daughter Bessie, and his brothers, Jim, Jack, Mrs and Mrs Hartley, nephews, Reg, Norman and Lionel Bartley, Tom Shakespeare of Parkes, Chris Shakespeare of Dubbo, Mrs E Dunn and Mrs M Ford.

Other mourners were the Assistant Minister for the Interior (Mr VC Thompson,); Sir Harry Sheehan, Governor of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia; Mr EH Farrar MLC, Acting President of the Legislative Council of NSW; Mr J Ryan, MLC; Mr H Latimer, MLC; Dr FE Wall, MLC; Mr R Campbell, Usher of the Black Rod; Mr EX Sommerlad, General Manager of the Country Press Ltd; Mr WE Brander, Secretary of the Country Press Association; Dr LW Nott, of Canberra, Mr EP Sheedy, Chairman of Directors of the AUP; Mr DR Utting and Mr WT Tiernan representing the Australian United Press; Mr SR Musgrave, deputy-chairman of the Country Press Ltd; Mr DH Bertram, ex Warrigan Club.

Mr Justice Boyce, Mr Leslie G Priestley, Mr LW Robinson, Mr W Pucan, Mr WSL Bailey, Mr DR Hall of the Vaucluse and Nielson park Trust, Mr RS Paddington representing Associated newspapers, colonel T Pinell, The Rev JH Craic, Mr H Heyde late of Forbes, Mr WF Treloar, Mr J Kirkham, Mr WW Maldan of the Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, Mr E Pembroke.

Mr C Todshead, Mr HH Watson, Mr E Dixxon, Mr Sidney Owen, Mr Alan Owen, Mr LA Baitley, Mr M Ford, Mr H Dunn, Mr JR Glick, Mr J Anderson, Mr HJ Flishie, Inspector F Cook, Alderman A Collett, Mr HJ Ford, Mr JW Dunlop, Mr George Sidman of Camden representing the NSW Country Press Association.

Mr JF Wilson President of the PIEUA, also representing ‘The Canberra Times’ sub branch of the Union, Mr GL Crithley, Mr JA Martyn, Mr HE Dysen Austin, Mr JR Jenkins, Mr C Gibb-Beckett, Mr JJ Mulligan, Mr R Miller, Mr P Tarlington, Mr HH Saker, Mr JW McCutcheon, Mr R Gray (Canberra), Mr AC Grant, Mr G Carney, Mr JP Banks, Mr HP Christison, Mr CW Everett, Mr JT Kelly, Mr J Reid, Mr J Goulston, Mr S Owen, Dr H Owen, Mr HF Odgers, Mr JD Oubrey, Mr W Duncan, Mr J Taylor, Mr H Hynes of Grafton, Mr AH Collett, Mr F Palmer, Mr F Lock, Mr F Whitlam, Mr G Dodderell, Mr T Laird, Mesdames Parson, Putner, Kirkham, Beale, McCutcheon and Kelly.


Among the floral tributes were from ‘His loving wife and family.’ Mr and Mrs JW Shakespeare and family of Woy Woy, Mrs and Mrs JC McNally, Eileen Shakespeare (Wellington), Mr and Mrs Harold Dunn, Jack and Tonia Shakespeare, Mrs Forster, Chris Shakespeare (Dubbo), The Ven CS Robertson Archdeacon of Monaro (Canberra), Mr and Mrs PA Gourgaud (Canberra), RWA and C McMurray (Forbes), Mrs M Beale and family, Mr Thomas Green and family, Mr and GR Miller, Ralph and Tess Miller, Keith and Ethel Miller, Mrs Thompson of Merrick, Kevin and Havy(?) Thompson, Mr AE Graham, Miss J Gourgaud, Dysen Austin, the staff of CJ Shakespeare and Sons (Parkes, Wellington and Dubbo), Mrs Harry Parsons, Miss Wym Hayward, Mr and Mrs RW Shelton (Canberra), Mrs Baird (Canberra), Mr and Mrs F Hambridge, Mr and Mrs ER Snow (Canberra), the Hon VC Thompson, FL Smith, Mr and Mrs McLeod (Wellington), Mr and Mrs A McMurray, Lt-Col TH Goodwin and Mrs Howard Goodwin (Canberra), Mrs RJ Bartley, Mr and Mrs Farmer-Whyte (Canberra), the Warren and Lewis families (Queanbeyan), Mr and Mrs Kirham, Miss Lena Welcon (Wellington), Mr and Mrs AH Truelove (Canberra), Mr and Mrs Cleary, Mr and Mrs Mccutcheon, Dr and Mrs J Holmes, Tom and Phyllis Shakespeare (Parkes), Mr and Mrs C Jenkins, the management and staff of Lintas Pty Ltd, the directors, management and staff of the Australian United Press Ltd, Mrs Turner, Principals Companions of Emulation BH, Chapter 455, SCC, Sir Robert Garran, Mr John Garran, the Blackall family, the directors of JB Young Pty Ltd, Mrs H Barltley and family, the Horticultural Society of Canberra, Edward Dunlop and Co Ltd, the Rev and Mrs J Edwards and family, the Canberra Furnishing Co Ltd, FCT Rugby Union, officers and brethren of the Lodge Commonwealth of Australia No 633, the directors and staff of Country Press Ltd and Gotham P Australia Pty, president, executive and members of the Country Press Association, the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery (Canberra), the directors, management of the Newcastle ‘Morning Herald’ and the ‘Newcastle Sun’, the Australian Capital Territory Hockey Association, the Worshipful Master officers and brethren of the Lodge Tranquility, the staff of “The Canberra Times,’ the Australian Provincial Press Association, Grand Superintendent of the NSW and members of the Supreme RA Chapter of Scotland, the Victorian Provincial Press, the management of the Hotel Civic Ltd, members of the supreme Grand RA Chapter of Scotland, district of New South Wales (WT Moulden Grand Superintendent), the staff of the Vaucluse Park Trust, the chairman and trustees of the South Head general Cemetery Trust, the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, president and trustees of the Neilson and Vaucluse Park Trust, the Advisory Council (Canberra), Matron Connell of Murwillumbah.

Death Dr Blackall

The Canberra Times, 9 December 1932


Death at Canberra


The death occurred at his home at Braddon yesterday of Dr P Blackall, MD MAO MCh, Government Medical Officer in the Queanbeyan District.

Dr Blackall who had practiced at Queanbeyan for 40 years and was more than 70 years of age, died after a short illness at about 5pm in the presence of his daughter, Dr Moya Blackall.

The funeral will be held at 3pm today at St Gregory’s Church Queanbeyan.  Dr Blackall announced his retirement late last January and shortly after disposing of his Queanbeyan premises moved to Canberra taking over the residence formerly occupied by Mr WH Sharwood, Commonwealth Crown Solicitor.

Dr Blackall who was widely known and respected over a wide area owing to his philanthropic actions, both medical and private, received his education in Ireland and secured his degree of MD in 1881, MAO in 1885 and MCh in 1884 at the University of Ireland. He practiced for a period in London and then left for Australia. His first duties in the Commonwealth were at places along the South Coast of New South Wales, after which he arrived in Queanbeyan in 1892.

At the death of Dr Richardson more than twenty years ago he was appointed Government Medical Officer and held the post until his death.

He was four times Mayor of Queanbeyan. He took a keen interest in local affairs and politics and many years ago contested what was then the Queanbeyan seat in State Parliament, suffering defeat by only 16 votes.  He as an alderman of the Queanbeyan Council for two terms.

Not long after his arrival in Queanbeyan he married Miss Alice Hayes of Sydney and settled at Killard, a Queanbeyan property which some years ago was subdivided and sold by auction and private sale. The original building was retained by him however for his practice.

His district consisted of the Municipality of Queanbeyan and Yarrowlumla Shire. For many years he did his own dispensing and on numerous occasions when called to a patient at Brindabella, endeavoured to ascertain the type of case and took his drugs and instruments with him on horseback. On one occasion he returned from Brindabella to find another call awaiting him at Captains Flat. Immediately he changed horse and proceeded to the case.

Dr Blackall leaves a widow and seven children. His eldest daughter, Moy, practices at Canberra. The other children are George, Gregory, Charles, John, Patricia and Helen.

Lasseter - some letters


Lasseter wrote many articles under the nom-de-plume of THE GLEANER many of which were published in the THE CANBERRA COMMUNITY NEWS between 1925-1927.  Following is a poem found in the NAA records in the Social Service Section for the Community News.

Dear Editor:- As we are approaching the anniversary of the late War, and indications are sadly a variance with our hopes that it would be ‘The last War,’ the enclosed verses may be appropriate reading.


T’was the dawn of Armageddon

And glorious and grand

Methought I saw the hosts of Earth

In Cattle order stand

And all was gay with panople

Loud martial music rolled

And the breeze swept across the plain

Stirred each proud banner’s fold


The legions marshalled rank on rank

Were massed in stern array

The best and bravest of the land

All gathered for the fray.

I saw them there as from a peak

That overlooked the plain.

Ten thousand warriors grim

As thick as ripening grain.


On the left and right extended wide

Were troops of Cavalry

And far beyond all these was spread

The rolling sunlit sea

And on the sea great ships of War

Like waiting monsters lay

Ready to belch forth hate and death

On all who crossed their way.


For here was gathered the pride of Earth

From all its corners borne

The young, the strong, the true, the bold,

Upon that fatal morn

But all was for a moment hushed

No sound disturbed the air

As the troops on the land and those at sea

Knelt down in silent prayer.


Then strange the sight mine eyes beheld

And wonder came over me

For all there prayed to the Christian God

And the Christ of Calvary

But now the sign of the Cross displayed

Was the symbol of Power and Pride

For man had forgotten the lessons taught

When Christ the Redeemer died


And now the ovious(?) performed

The armies rose again

And straight to practical strife

They marched, they rushed amain

Earth shook beneath their armed tread

As the charging squadrons met

While shot and shell fill thick as hail

Till the face of the Earth was wet.


With the red lifes blood of the best of Earth

Whose slaughter corpses spread

Were shattered and mangled, gashed and pieced

And crushed neath the horses tread

Loud curses, groans and trumpet calls

Resounded far and wide

Mixed with the roar of babble heard

Across the heaving tide.


But as the day was Warning past

And shades of Evening fell

Sudden a glorious light appeared

Amid those scenes of Hell

A form came waling on the waves

As erst on Gallilee

Awe-struck, the warring nations chopped

On reverential knee


The carnage of the fighting ceased

All gazed in dumb carnage

Upon the living and the dead

He fixed his pitying gaze

‘Is this the mission of the Cross’

In stern and sad words he spoke,

‘Is this ‘Goodwill to men’ – behold

A dream – For I awoke


The Gleaner


I have just been gleaning a few figures from the ‘Statesman’s Year Book’, and they are interesting as showing the  ‘The costliness and futility of War’. Great Britain lost in Killed 946,023 men Wounded 2,121,906 and the cost of arms, ammunition and other incidentals to war is set down at 9,590,000,000 pounds if figures out at costing are over 9.000 pounds to kill a man. This amount is apart from other expenses such as ships lost at sea, 700,000,000 pounds – 400,000,000 pounds written off as losses on War contracts owing to raw materials not coming hand. And the (re)percussion bill calls for an annual expenditure of 1,455,000,000 pounds.  It makes one wonder ‘Is War worth while?’


Another letter to the Social Service Secretary Mr Honeysett, dated 1.12.26 reads:


Dear Sir:- As President of the Russell Hill Social Service Association  I have been requested to ask if you would approach the Commission with a request from us that they allow us the use of a Marquee in which to hold our ‘Children’s Christmas Tree.’  There are 73 children now in this camp and as there is no hall here and no House/cott(?) available to them to go so Le...(?) or elsewhere and as it is also considered much more suitable to hold the function right in our home camp.


We will undertake to see that it is well taken care of and returned in good order. 


Yours faithfully,

LHB Lasseter


PS We would also like to have the loan of a Christmas tree. LHBL


[Trees were usually supplied for the children’s Christmas parties.  The Masonic Hall at Acton built by John Howie’s men of Westlake was moved to Russell Hill where it became the school.  It is now in Corroboree Park Ainslie where it serves as the Ainslie Hall].


Moriarty,  Arthur William



The FCT strip maps produced circa 1913 contain on them very detailed information collected by Arthur William Moriarty in 1912.  He was a stock and station agent and auctioneer based in Queanbeyan. His notes that are in the National Australian Archives in Parkes ACT give us an accurate picture of the land  and what was on it before the city covered the paddocks of the FCT.  As well as the name of the lessee or owner of each property he noted all the dwellings including age and condition along with information such as fences, materials used etc.    His notes on Yarralumla property and part of Klensendorlffe’s for example note:


[Ref: A538/2 10]  … gum trees and box throughout the land … heavily cleared.  Part of Portion 6 (next door to Klensendorlffe’s) near the river and part of Sheedy’s Paddock and Dairy North of fence – 15 acres alluvial deposit black soil first class cultivation. 36 acres Principally undulating red soil to sandy loam on River bank over 2 miles frontage to Queanbeyan or Molonglo River; first class grazing; 2nd class cultivation considerable number (said to 127 & 116) willows, healthy and well grown on River.


Part of Portion 6 parish of Narrabundah (Willows part of plain paddock N of main Queanbeyan Road and Gibbs paddock S of main road) 1360 acres. All red soil undulating plain country except small patch of sandy granite formation on south boundary fence of Gibbs paddock and on Yarralumla Creek.  Fringe of box and gum timber on east boundary-say chains from S boundary fence.  1st class grazing and 2nd class cultivation.  Balance of 1124a por 6 & 57  29 Parish of Narrubundah, Romes, Campbells & part of Donnisons and Stud pdk 1124 acres  Undulating granite formation; originally box & gum open forest now almost cleared over the greater part 1st class grazing, 3rd class cultivation.


Part of Portion 145 (150 acres) Part of Portion 7 [Klensendorlffe’s] 70 acres of Yarralumla, Quartz Paddock.  Quartz iron and slatey ridge  [Stirling Ridge]; stringy bark, gum, box and pine; tussocky grass; inferior country – no cultivation; 2nd class grazing.  Also mentions a Dam used for water supply.


Karen Williams  provided an update of the call numbers  for Moriarty’s Notes in the NAA.  My references date from the time when the then Australian Archives were based at Mitchell.  Following the move to Parkes ACT some changes were made to call numbers. 


Moriarty’s valuation notes - Australian Archives (ACT) Series A358/2 Item 33a, b, c, e, 42. Series A358/1 Item 32, Series 566/1 Item M1, B1



Just who was this man Moriarty who left the Queanbeyan in 1917?  Glimpses of him are found in a number of sources that include Karen Williams Oaks Estate- No Man’s Land self-published, Canberra, 1997.  Page 151


Arthur William Moriarty married Nora Marion Broughton, daughter of John Broughton, of Young in 1897 (ref: Queanbeyan Age, 8 May, 1897). During their time at Hazelbrook, a daughter was born to the family in August 1911 (ref: Queanbeyan Age, 15 September 1911), and their fourth son, Frank Alexander, was buried at Queanbeyan Cemetery. By 1919, however, Moriarty was a land valuer with a postal address at Goulburn (ref: Queanbeyan Rates Books). He remained titleholder of this extended acreage, some 41 acres in total until title transferred to Hilton Arthur Clothier, wool-buyer, of Queanbeyan, by deed dated 1st April 1925 for £1000. For a period, before selling to Clothier, Moriarty had tenants occupying the house at Hazelbrook. Maxwell was one family known to have lived there during this period.” (Mr Moriarty’s cottage empty since 1st Aug. 1917, then tenanted by November 1917 – sanitation records).


Lyall Gillespie’s cards (loaned by his son Neil) provide further information.  Lyall Gillespie’s cards hold information from many sources that include local and district newspapers collected over many decades. Following are some examples on AW Moriarty: 

Mr AW Moriarty one of the local auctioneers took the opportunity during the week to join the ranks of the Bendicts.  On Tuesday 4th instant at Young, Dean Pownall performed the marriage ceremony between Nora Marion Broughton daughter of John Broughton of Young and Mr AW Moriarty of Queanbeyan.  The bride was given away by her father while Mr Frank Broughton brother of the bride acted as best man’ Queanbeyan Age 8.5.1897


Son Harry Broughton born to Arthur William Moriarty auctioneer and Marian Moriarty of Queanbeyan on 24.1.1898 and baptised 4.3.1898 by Rev WM White.  Register of Baptisms Christ Church Queanbeyan


 Son William Orpen born to Arthur William Moriarty commission agent and Norah Marion Moriarty of Queanbeyan on 13.12.1903 and baptised 17.1.1904 by Rev WN(orM) White on 17.1.1904. Register of Baptisms Christ Church Queanbeyan. 


Son Frank Alexander born to Arthur William Moriarty agent and Norah Marion Moriarty on 6.5.1905 and baptised 3.7.1905 by Rev WM White. Register of Baptisms Christ Church Queanbeyan


It is understood that Mr AW Moriarty, one of the oldest auctioneers in this town intends removing to Goulburn.’ Goulburn Evening Penny Post (Qbn from local papers). 17.2.1917


Mr AW Moriarty has received private and unofficial information that his son Harry Broughton Moriarty previously reported missing (3 May 1917) was killed in action’ Queanbeyan Age 4.12.1917


Roll of Honour Australian War Memorial Records.

MORIARTY, Harry Broughton. Service number 2941B – Rank Private died 3rd May 1917.  Memorial Details – Villers Bretonneaux,  France.


Other details on the net in AWA records show that he enlisted 22.5.1916 and embarked on HMAT Ascanius.  Harry was 18 years of age, single, clerk, born Queanbeyan and gave his mother, Mrs Nora M Moriarty, Snierwick Queanbeyan as his next of kin.  Descriptions found in the Red Cross records describe him to be between five foot six and five foot nine in height, nuggety build, fair complexion.  One of the statements said ‘Informant added that Moriarty was a very popular chap and was ever ready to help his mates.’  He was buried where he fell and the record noted that he was Methodist.


Following is an example of one of the typed pages from Moriarty’s note books.  The reference to DRAINING – PLOUGH FURROW was one that explained the many ploughed furrows that show up in the numerous1920s Mildenhall aerial photographs taken in the open areas in the vicinity of the tenant farms (Kaye & Kinlyside), the Hotel Canberra and Capital Hill.

Below is a portion of a strip map of the land known as Klensendorlffe’s.  The area outlined and noted at Block 84, R Corkhill was the property leased by Corkhill before the family moved to Yarralumla and took over the dairy there – renamed RIVERVIEW. On the site of this earlier property are the buildings of the National Library, National Art Gallery and the High Court.  The hill on the property is probably the one in front of the Provisional Parliament House known as Cork Hill. This hill was the one that Flight Officer Francis Charles Ewen nose dived his plane into on the 9th May 1927 during the fly-over to mark the opening of the Federal Parliament House.  He is buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard.  Val Emerton in one of her books about early Kingston noted that  Bob Norgrove (one of the men who helped remove the hill – good brickies sand now in may Canberra homes) said it got its name because of the number of corks thrown there by the men from a nearby construction camp.  I wonder if the name also had links with the Corkhill family.


Parts of the big curved track that goes to the Quarry (Attunga Point) has survived on the hill opposite Lotus Bay (Section 128, Block 3 Yarralumla.)  I printed Howie’s and Briar Farm on this map.


Ann Gugler May 2009


Obituary Jane Smith

The Canberra Times, 7 April 1952


Jane Gertrude Barker Smith who passed away at her home in Queanbeyan yesterday, is believed to be the oldest woman born in the present Canberra city area.

She was born 86 years ago at Acton House, when the old homestead was the rectory of the Church of St John the Baptist.

She was the daughter of the Rev Pierce Galliard Smith, who was the third Rector of Canberra and who was appointed on June 1, 1855.  He was a cousin of the second Anglican Bishop of Australia, the Rt Rev Frederick Barker, whose family name the late Miss Smith bore in her Christian name.

The Rev Galliard Smith was one of the most notable figures in early Canberra history, his ministry in the parish having extended until 1906, when he resigned.  During that time he had baptised, married and buried members of two generations of Canberra families.

At the time of his appointment, Acton House was used as the rectory and it was there that Miss Smith was born.  In 1971 the building was commenced of a new rectory, which is now Glebe House at Reid [pulled down].  The site was near a swamp which the rector overcame largely by the planting of trees which now surround Glebe House with luxuriant growth.  Bricks for the rectory were burned from clay taken close to St John’s Church.

When the Rev Galliard Smith resigned in 1906, due to advanced years, he went to live in Queanbeyan where he died in 1908.  Jane Smith continued to live in the old home and was a well-known figure in Queanbeyan. Each year she made a point of attending the Easter services at St John’s Church.

Her remains are to be laid in the family grave in the old churchyard after a service commencing at 3pm to-day.

DJ Callaghan (early surveryor)

The Canberra Times, 8 September 1949


The death occurred last night of Mr David James Callaghan of Kennedy Street Kingston who had been connected ...survey work in Canberra and the ACT for 35 years.

In 1912 he was employed in ....(unreadable) in the original survey of the territorial boundary and was engaged continuously from that time in the various clearing of land and engineering surveys required for the development of the national capita;

Mr Callaghan was born in Queanbeyan 56(?) years ago.  For the last twenty years he has been an overseer in the property and survey branch, Department of the Interior in charge of field assistants and transport for survey parties.  His death removes one of the few remaining links with the first surveys for the layout of Canberra. Mr Callaghan left a widow and four children.

SC KAYE of Klensendorlffe's & Sprinbank


Top photograph Kaye girls on banks of Molonglo River and below RMC Cadets on exercise Klensendorlffe stone villa (ruins) - photographs courtesy of Gordon Kaye.

The Canberra Times, 16 March 1933



Another of the Canberra pioneers passed away yesterday morning when Mr Samuel Charles Kaye, owner of ‘Springbank’ dairy farm, Acton, died at his home yesterday morning after a long illness.

The late Mr Kaye was born at Canberra in 1861 on the site of the existing Canberra Golf Club House [slab cottages built 1892(?) next to Klensendorlffe’s stone villa then used as a barn).

The late Mr Kaye’s father landed in Australia in 1832 and was engaged by Hart and Buckley, who owned pastoral properties in the Monaro district. He was stationed at Queanbeyan and later became the occupier of the first licensed premises built in that town, namely ‘The Oaks Hotel’ which was erected by Mr John Campbell.  After that he became associated with a Mr Hunt in the construction and subsequent occupancy of the ‘Rose and Thistle and Shamrock,’ a hostelry, which like ‘The Oaks’ has long since passed out of existence. {sic the Oaks is still at Oaks Estate.]

The deceased’s father eventually forsook the hotel business and took up property at Canberra, the site of which is now the Canberra Golf Links and which he erected what was known as Klensendorlffe House [sic – Klensendorlffe’s villa was a stone building erected in the late 1830s by William Klensendorlffe and named after his wife, Elizabeth.  The Kaye family moved into this house in 1954 after they left Springbank where they farmed for a number of years.  Samuel Charles Kaye built a new slab cottage for his family around 1892 and the old villa was used as a barn.)

He married Miss Sambford of Gloucestershire (Eng) and acquired ‘Springbank.’ [see earlier comment.] He hewed the wood and drew the water used by the first survey camp stationed in the Territory. [This fact was told to me by one of his sons who mentioned that the water was put into metal tank and drawn on a wooded sled to the site of the Surveyors Camp.]

He is survived by his widow and ten children, six of whom still live at ‘Springbank’ [The family moved back to Springbank in 1924 when their land was required by the Commonwealth.] and two others in other parts of Canberra. The children are: Frank (Braddon), George, Joseph and Gordon of ‘Springbank’, Leonard, headmaster of Marrah (NSW) Public School, Mrs HJ Paynting (Richmond NSW), Mrs RH Shannon (Forrest Canberra), and Edith, Alice and Clara of ‘Springbank’.

The funeral will leave ‘Springbank’ for internment at St John’s Churchyard.

Arthur Percival

The Canberra Times, 12 October 1938


Wedding Interest

The wedding was celebrated at St John’s church on Saturday of Miss Wilma Percival elder daughter of Mr and Mrs A Percival of Forrest and Mr Lindsay Pryor, son of Mr and Mrs Oswald Pryor of Adelaide.

A gown of cream lace was chosen by the bride for the occasion.  The design was in bower pattern and had a short train.  A bolero jacket of lace was also worn whilst the tulle veil was held in place by small white flowers.

The bridesmaids were Miss Norma Percival and Miss Peggy Piggin, and they wore full skirted frocks of turquoise blue. Posies of sweet pea and cyclamen were carried whilst they also wore flowers in their hair.

The best man was Rev Thomas Timpson and the ceremony was performed by the Venerable Archdeacon Robertson.

The reception was held at the Hotel Canberra, and during the evening the quests danced in the Blue Room of the Canberra. Guests who attended the reception were Mr and Mrs Oswald Pryor (SA), Mr and Mrs SR Whitford (SA), Mr and Mrs Doug Brahe (Sydney), Mr and Mrs J Halcrow (Sydney), Mr and Mrs Ted Bell (NSW), Mr and Mrs Arthur Dickson (Sydney), Mr AA and Miss Hilda Brahe (Melbourne), Miss F Hinze (Melbourne), Mr and Mrs F Piggin, Miss Peggy Piggin (bridesmaid), Messrs Fred and Geoffrey Piggin, Archdeacon and Mrs Robertson, Mrs Lane Poole and Miss Lane Poole, Mr and Mrs RJ Rain,  Mr and Mrs TG Marshall, Dr C MacKenzie, Col and Mrs Goodwin, Mr and Mrs JC Brackenreg, Mrs and Mrs WE Davidson, Dr and Mrs Max Jacobs, Mr and Mrs A Townsend, Dr Clyde Finlay, Mr and Mrs H waterman, Mr and Mrs WG Chapman and Miss Chapman, Mr and Mrs K Binns, Mr and Mrs K Binns, Mr and Mrs Harry Haydon, Miss Norma Percival (bridesmaid), Miss Margo Weatherston, Mr A Weatherston, Mr Bob Hume, Mr Alan Jones, Mr MR Millett and Miss Millett, Miss Law, Miss Margaret Whyte, Miss A Swindell, Miss N Sheils, Miss Gladys Joyce, Mr H Speed, Miss E Shackell, Mess S Edwards, Miss Mavis Allen, Mr Norman Lynravn, Misses J and G Fieming, Miss M Israel, Rev  TH Timpson (best man), Mr Clem Kuchel (Groomsman Sydney), Miss Althea Mouat, Miss A Mildenall, Misses Pat and Honor Tillvard, Miss Margaret Daley, Messrs C Fawsey, Brian Kugelman, Copeland, King, Jack Whyte, P Barrett, SC Hay, Paul Unwin, C Boomama, VM Heasley, R Whale, T Ryley, EH Meroar


The Canberra Times, 14 February 1940


A gown of ivory brocaded taffeta was chosen by Norma Brahe, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs Arthur Percival of National Circuit, Forrest for her marriage with the Rev TH Timpson, son of Mr and Mrs H Timpson of Melbourne.

The wedding which aroused considerable public interest, took place at the Church of St John the Baptist, on Saturday evening.  The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Goulburn, assisted by the Ven Archdeacon Robertson.

The gown of the bride was touched off with a bouffant skirt and bustle.  She wore a tiered veil of hip length secured by a posy of franjipanni and carried a bouquet of franjipanni.  The bride was attended by her sister, Mrs Lindsay Pryor, as the matron of honour and the Misses Jacqueline Elliott of Melbourne and Lillian Timpson sister of the bridegroom, also of Melbourne.

The frocks of the attendants were of old rose taffeta with bouffant skirts and short matching lame jackets.  Each carried a sheaf of pink carnations and blue delphinium.  They wore small posies of the same flowers in their hair.

The best man was the Rev Gordon Arthur and the groomsmen, Messrs N Monaghan and Peter Moyes whilst the ushers were Messrs Harry Haydon and Larry Lake.

After the ceremony a reception and dance were held in the Hotel Canberra, where the guests were received by the bride’s mother, who wore a black silk jersey frock with bolero effect bodice of ivory white guipure lace and carried a bouquet of dark red roses.

The bridegroom’s mother wore an ice blue lame frock with matching jacket and carried a posy of autumn tinted gladioli.

Apart from many Canberra friends the guests also included relations and friends from Melbourne and Sydney.


The Canberra Times, 11 January 1944


To Retire from Public Service


Regret was expressed at the meeting of the Advisory Council yesterday at the approaching retirement from the Commonwealth Public Service of the Commonwealth Surveyor-General (Mrs A Percival).

Mr Percival said that the meeting would probably be the last occasion that he would be present, but when the annual election of chairman was held, the Council re-elected him.

At the conclusion of the meeting Mr FA Gourgaud moved that this Council notes with very great regret that in view of the retirement of Mr A Percival from the Advisory Council he may cease to function as chairman of this Council, and places on record its high appreciation of his services as member  of the Council for many years and as its chairman during the last 13 months.

Mr Gourgaud said that he had probably known Mr Percival for more years than any other member of the Council.  He felt that the people of the Commonwealth were deserving of sympathy that the Department was losing such a valuable officer.

Mr W Hurley said that he had known Mr Percival for about 30 years since he first came to Canberra and he was sorry that he would be leaving the Department.

Mr AT Shakespeare said that apart from the debt of gratitude that the country owed to Mr Percival as Commonwealth Surveyor-General, he had been a friend of Canberra for its early years, having been responsible for the early surveys. He had hoped that the public would be privileged to read in years to come some of the fine personal records which he understood Mr Percival had kept of Canberra’s history.

Messrs M Ryrie, WJ Lind and JV McCloskey joined in wishing Mr and Mrs Percival many happy years of retirement.

In reply Mr Percival said that it is within a few days of 34 years that he came to Canberra and established the survey camp in the gully near Capital Hill on January 18, 1910.  He had many happy memories of the intervening years.  He had particularly enjoyed his association with the Advisory Council and its discussions.


The Canberra Times, 30 April 1947

Mrs Arthur Percival of National Circuit Forrest has returned from Whyalla where she performed the launching ceremony of the 8,000 ton steamer Barringun. Mrs Percival is the first woman resident of Canberra to receive such an honour.  She is the wife of Mr A Percival, former Commonwealth Surveyor-General and a member of the Shipping Board.  She was for many years president of the YWCA.


The Canberra Times, 28 May 1949


Mrs A Percival

The death occurred at her home in Dominion Circuit Forrest after a sudden illness of Frieda Marie Percival, the wife of Mr Arthur Percival, a former Commonwealth Surveyor-General.

The late Mrs Percival was a daughter of William Brahe, noted figure in the Burke and Wills expedition.

The later Mrs Percival devoted many years of her life to the encouragement of the youth of the National Capital.  She was president of the YWCA on two occasions and worked unremittingly for the organisation.  Much of the progress made by the YWCA was due to her unflagging enthusiasm.

The late Mrs Percival some years ago presented a cup for basketball competition among YWCA Clubs and her memory will be perpetuated by the trophy.

The deceased was held in high esteem for her quiet and unassuming manner, combined with a charm, which allowed no call for her assistance in any worthy cause, to go unanswered.  She was a prominent member and diligent worker for the Canberra Branch of the Women’s Voluntary Services.

The late Mrs Percival first came to Canberra in 1911.  Her husband was at that time engaged on the important work of surveying the National Capital. She lived in survey camps at Googong and Gudgenby in the early years of the National Capital.

She is survived by her husband and two daughters, Mrs L D Pryor of Canberran and Mrs T Timpson of Uppingham, England.

The funeral will take place on Monday when a cremation will be held at the Northern Suburbs Cemetery at 11.30am.


The Canberra Time, 16 December 1950




The Canberra Times, 11 February 1954


Seven residents who have watched the National Capital grow will be presented to Her Majesty at the civic reception at Civic Centre on Saturday afternoon...

[includes] Mr Arthur Percival ...was born in Dunedin New Zealand in 1879.  He was a member of the first survey party of Canberra and was responsible for much of the initial survey work in relation to the layout of the city. He was the Commonwealth Surveyor General from 1921 until 1944.


The Canberra Times, 19 January 1954


The Beginnings of Canberra

Sir,- I was pleased and interested to see in the issue of your paper on Saturday last a reproduction of the photograph of the first building erected by the Commonwealth for official office purposes in Canberra. I have kept a personal diary since 1896 to date, and therefore looked up the record of events with regard to the year 1910 (41 years ago).

I left the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works on Friday January 14, 1910, after eight years as a surveyor and engineer on sewerage and water supply.  Previous to 1902 I had been for four years in Central Queensland on mining and surveys generally.

I received my appointment to the Federal Government on Wednesday evening January 18 accompanied by the late WG Chapman, Sam Clark and Norman Whittenbury. Mr Chapman was the first permanent Commonwealth public servant to arrive in Canberra to reside in the capital.

The party reached Yass at 5.40am and a Mr Clark met us at the station with a wagonette and pair and drove us to Yass town.  We had breakfast at Murrumbateman, and left at 8.30am for Hall and Canberra which we reached at 10 to 1pm.  I met Mr CR Scrivener and his party comprising of Messrs Morgan, Kirkwood, Moorehouse and Hall and a cook.  Tents arrived from Cralie Carters, Sydney just after we reached camp gully, and the first camp was erected for carrying out of the major initial work of obtaining the general configuration of the city site in accurate 5ft contours in vertical height intervals and accurate survey of the boundary of the territory to be transferred in the Commonwealth from the State of New South Wales, and an investigation of the water supply possibilities covering the Cotter, Gudgenby, Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers.

After the camp was up Mr PL Sheaffe surveyor, arrived with his survey party at 4pm. On Friday, January 21, the late Mr FJ Broinowski arrived as draughtsman.

On Tuesday February 1, our Minister, Mr Fuller (Department of Home Affairs), Mr Oakshott, Works Director for New South Wales and Colonel Vernon, visited the camp.  The late Mr M Martin surveyor, and engineer, joined the camp on Thursday April 26 Mr Rain, surveyor and civil engineer, joined the party.  The malthoid offices were erected in April.

On April 15, we were advised of the success of the Labour Party at the elections and on Friday June 24 our new Minister, the late King O’Malley visited the camp and spent the evening talking about the proposal  regarding a State Bank, now the Commonwealth Bank.  Colonel Miller, the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs was also at camp, while on Thursday, June 30, Colonel Owen, Tom Hill and General Bridges arrived.  A Percival Canberra

An article in The Canberra Times 19 January 1951 – ANNIVERSARY OF CANBERRA SURVEY - has much of the  same information which suggest it was written by Arthur Percival.  There is some additional information.

...the party reached Yass Junction at 5.40am and was driven from Yass to the capital site in a wagonette and pair, reaching the Ainslie Post Office at 12.50pm on Thursday January 20, 1910.  The Melbourne party was joined by the late Mr CR Scrivener, a District surveyor of New South Wales, Mr L Morman, field assistant and survey party comprising of Mr L Moorehouse, Mr Hall and the camp cook.  The tents and equipment made by Chas Carter, Sydney arrived by wagon from Queanbeyan Railway Station and the camp was pitched in Camp Gully just adjoining the small concrete structure to the south-west of West Block.  The concrete building was erected in 1911 to store plans and equipment.

At 4pm on January 20, the third survey party arrived under Mr PL Sheaffe. On Friday January 21, the late Mr FJ Broinowski joined the survey camp to do the work of plan compilation and Mr Jack Kirkwood also joined the camp to look after the horses, as the motor car was, at this period, an unknown means of transport.

[The obituary on SC Kaye also refers to water and wood being supplied by him to the first camp in 1909 and the later ones. – This information was also conveyed to me by his grandson, Gordon Kaye and it is published in True Tales From Canberra’s Vanished Suburbs of Westlake, Westridge & Acton, Gugler 1998.

The following obituary to John Kirkwood refers to his work with the 1909 camp - from memory, he looked after the horses.

Mr John Kirkwood - obituary

The Canberra Times, 7 September 1949



The death occurred at the Canberra Hospital on Saturday after a short illness of John Kirkwood at the age of 67.  The late Mr Kirkwood spent the last 50 years of his life in Canberra. He arrived in the future capital in 1909 [or 1900]  from Hay and resided near Scott’s Crossing.  The remains of the house can still be seen from the roadway.

The deceased took an active interest in union affairs in the early days of Canberra. On his arrival he obtained a position as official driver to the Commonwealth surveyors then making a survey of the Territory. [Percival who arrived in 1910 said that Jack Kirkwood looked after the horses.]

In the early 1920s the late Mr Kirkwood worked at the power house where he was in charge of the waggons. Later he transferred his occupation to Beauchamp House.

The late Mr Kirkwood is survived by his daughter, Mrs J Sells of Causeway. The funeral took place at the Church of England portion of the Canberra Cemetery on Monday.

Burial Register Woden Cemetery: 5th September 1949 Mrs Doris Sells 3 Causeway paid for the grave of John KIRKWOOD Mulwala House died 3rd September 1949 aged 67 years.  C/E. 

General  Bridges RMC Duntroon

General Bridges was the first man in charge of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.  Following his death on the field his body was returned to Australia for burial.  A story is told that his horse was also returned.   A local story by one of the Grooms is that this is not true.  The horse's brother was used in stead.  General Bridge's body is the only one returned to Australia.   The Scouts  also took part in the ceremony.


The Advertiser, 4 September 1915



Sydney September 2

The body of Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB CMG was buried at Duntroon with full honors this afternoon. The special train conveying the body by which a number of distinguished visitor also travelled, arrived at Canberra at 11 o’clock.  Colonel Miller, Administrator of the Federal Capital and a large staff were awaiting the arrival of the visitors who were taken to various residences within the territory where they were accommodated until the hour fixed for the funeral.  The coffin was placed on a catafalque in the chancel of the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist and all military honors were strictly observed.  Among the congregation were the Governor General and Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, the Prime Minister, Mr Fisher, the Minister for Defence, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Cook), about forty members of the Federal Parliament, Admiral Sir Wm Creswell and officers and cadets. Lady Bridges and family were also in seats especially set apart for them.  The first part of the beautiful burial service of the church of England was conducted by the Primate (Dr Wright), who was assisted by the Bishop of Goulburn (Dr Radford) and the Rector of Canberra (The Rev Fred Ward). The hymns were, ‘Now the laborer’s task is o’er,’ and ‘For all the saints who from their labor rest’ and the Psalm was the favourite 20th.  The service which was marked by a deep spirit of sympathy and devotion concluded with the singing of the national Anthem.

The place chosen for the internment seems to have been selected with careful regard for the fitness of thing. A crest of one of the hills overlooking the college grounds was specially set apart and dedicated for the purpose.  It is situated within the grounds between Mount Pleasant and the Yass-road at the rear of the officers’ quarters and adjoining the site upon which the college chapel will eventually be erected.  The procession formed outside the church gates and eight gunners of the RAGA cortege moved off to the strains of Chopin’s majestic ‘Funeral March’.  The long journey by road occupied a considerable time.  The Bishop of Goulburn having consecrated the site of the grave, the burial service was concluded.

The Primate, in a sympathetic address referred to the life work of the dead soldier. ‘He sleeps in his last resting place,’ he said, ‘ until the resurrection day  - the brave Australian soldier, the first soldier to command an Australian division in the field, the first Australian soldier holding such a command to give his life in action for his King and country. So from this grave we turn to the high duty in front of us, a tremendous task, victory in the war. First his voice and the voice of those comrades who fell along with him, call us in triumphant tones to shrink from no sacrifice to spare no sacrifice.  We must finish at any cost the task which they began at so great a cost.’

The Primate pronounced the benediction, the second artillery salute of 12 guns was fired, the military reformed in procession and to the inspiring and popular, ‘Boys of the Dardanelles,’ swung briskly down the road to the parade ground, where the troops were dismissed.

CS  Daley

CS Daley 1927 


The Courier-mail (Brisbane Qld), 28 August 1933



Mr Lyon’s Car

Canberra August 27

Canberra women are crowing with delight at the victory of one of their sex over the Prime Minister (Mr AJ Lyons) in a social tussle. The heroine of the episode is Mr CS Daley, wife of the former Civic Administrator of the Federal Capital.

It was all over a number plate of a motor car.  For years ever since the deposition of Canberra overlord, Sir John Butters, the Daleys have used plate No 1 on their official car and have continued to use it even though Mr Daley has been relegated to a lower position with the change of social administration. 

Recently it was considered that Mr Lyons, whose official residence is at Canberra, should have No 1 plate but polite requests to Mrs Daley to relinquish her first place met with equally polite refusals.

It ended in stalemate with Mr Lyons compromising by bringing out an entirely new number plate specially designed for ministerial cars. Now his big Hudson carries another No 1 black plate, which is distinguished witgh a seven pointed white star. But Mrs Daley proudly retains the original plate, which also carried No 1.


The Canberra Times, 21 February 1936


Lecture by Mr CS Daley

With a wealth of intimate detail concerning many aspects of the development of the national capital, Mr CS Daley gave an illustrated lecture on the progress of Canberra to members of the North Canberra Branch of the Returned Soldiers Club last night.

Mr Daley outline the early history of Federation leading up to the decision to establish a national capital, the choice of Dalgety as the site in 1904 and the eventual relinquishment of the site for the Yass-Canberra some four years later.  The difficulties encountered in laying down Walter Burley Griffin’s prize winning plan on the ground were recounted by the speaker, who explained how the plan was eventually nailed to the ground during the visit to Australia of Mr Griffin.

Provision had been made on the original plan, said Mr Daley, for an initial city to be built approximately on the site of Manuka to function while the city proper in its balanced halves was being developed.  It was realised that if once that initial city would never be built according to the Griffin plan. It was wisely decided to cut that out.

After a period of languishment during the war [WW1}, the commencement of buildings on their proper locations was made and the first real progress was made under the Federal Capital Commission which functioned from 1925 until 1930.  Since then, however, the activities of the territory had been distributed among various departments.

Mr Daley told and interesting story of the establishment of the Royal Military College at Duntroon – which was the first large constructional work in the territory. Originally he say, it was to be erected at Tuggeranong, but when Sir George Pearce, then Minister for the Defence came to the territory to inspect the site he was nearly frozen in the car trip to Tuggeranong. Obviously not impressed with the climate of Tuggeranong at any rate, he casually asked fellow Minister the meaning of ‘Tuggeranong.’ It was left to the car driver to volunteer the information that it meant ‘wind swept’.  On learning that Sir George said. ‘It’s not going here.’  The college was then erected under the lee of Mt Pleasant so that it would be sheltered from the chilling westerlies.

Taken from attractive photographs by Mr J Mildenhall some very fine slides were shown of various parts of the city, including some excellent aerial views which showed the layout in bold relief. The contrast between the treeless state of 1926 was well shown and a representation of how the city would look with the lakes scheme inaugurated was especially interesting.

A vote of thanks was moved by Mr OS Bilson and Mr E Israel (New Zealand) and carried with enthusiasm.


The Canberra Times, 4 July 1952


Mr CS Daley, Assistant Secretary Civic Administration Branch the Department of the Interior, will retire today after 47 years as an officer of the Commonwealth Public Service.

Mr Daley was tendered a farewell and presented with a wallet of notes by fellow officers yesterday afternoon.

Present at the farewell were representatives of the many branches of the Department of the Interior, representatives of the Department of Works, the National Capital Planning and Development committee, the Public Schools and Technical College and retired officers of the Department of the Interior, Mr WA McLaren, secretary of the Department was chairman at the function and he made the presentation to Mr Daley on behalf of fellow officers.

Mr McLaren said that Mr Daley had established a record which would probably never be excelled.  He had been closely associated with the growth of the National Capital over a period of 40 years.  It was a record without parallel in other individual.  The work of Mr Daley had been of the greatest value to the Department and to the Commonwealth.  It had always been completed in a thorough manner.

The chairman of the National Capital and Development Committee Mr HJ Waterhouse, said that in the ten years he had known Mr Daley he had been impressed with his sincerity and devotion to every matter which affected Canberra. His work was greatly appreciated by the Committee. He possessed characteristics and qualities of a personal kind which endeared him to all.

Mr H Barrenger, Assistant Secretary, Administration branch said that the Department was losing a valued and experienced officer.  He traced the career of Mr Daley as an officer of the Service saying that he joined the Public Works Branch, Department of Home Affairs in April 1905 as a junior clerk at  the salary of 40 pounds a year.

He was promoted through various classes until he attained the grading of senior clerk in July 1919.  He held several positions with Public Works notably  Secretary to the Commonwealth Fire Board and Secretary to the Arsenal Town Committee. He became secretary to the Federal Capital Advisory Committee in July 1921 and when the Federal Capital Commission was established he was appointed Acting Secretary in November 1924.  The position was later confirmed and he continued as secretary until the abolition of the Commission in 1930.  He then became secretary Federal Capital Territory Branch Department of Home Affairs. He was the first secretary and first chairman of the Advisory Council.  He became Civic Administrator in August 1930 and in June 1932 he was appointed assistant secretary (Civic representative) Department of the Interior.  Later he became Assistant Secretary, Civic Administration branch, the position from which he will retire today.

Mr HR Waterman said that he worked with Mr Daley for many years.  He was always a fearless officer, noted for his good judgement.  His energy was tremendous. He was loyal to both his senior and junior officers.

‘We regard knowing you as a privilege,’ said Mr Waterman.

The Commonwealth Surveyor General, Mr JN Rogers and Mr G Crease (Accounts Branch) also paid tribute to the work of Mr Daley. They stressed his courtesy and efficiency at all times.

Mr JF Hingham, Inspector of Schools, said that Canberra had a debt to Mr Daley in his work to help the school children of  the National Capital.  He was most sympathetic at all times towards the needs of the children.

Mr A Percival spoke on behalf of the retired officers of the Department of the Interior, while Mr RM Taylor, Director of Works, represented the officers of his Department.

All speakers wished Mr Daley health and happiness in his retirement.

Mr Daley in his response thanked the officers for their presentation and the remarks they made.  Anything he had done for Canberra was done for the love of the city.  He thanked the officers who had worked with him throughout the years.

H Mouat lecture lakes and obituary

The Canberra Times, 14 September 1933





The possibilities of the permanent lake scheme in Canberra were dealt with extensively by Mr H Mouat in a paper on ‘Hydrology in relation to the Federal Capital Territory,’ read to the monthly meeting of the Canberra Branch of the Institution of Engineers last night. The meeting was presided over by the President of the Canberra Division (Mr AC Fleetwood).

The lecture was effectively illustrated by lantern pictures the projection of which was under the supervision of Mr J Mildenhall.  Among the illustrations were some unique and extremely interesting photographs of the big floods of 1921 and 1925 which wrought such tremendous havoc in Canberra.

Outlining the history of the lake scheme of Canberra, Mr Mouat said: ‘I do not propose to discuss whether the lakes of Canberra will be constructed in t his generation, but that they will someday be accomplished fact is, I think, assured.  It is acknowledged that any form of landscape beautification is incomplete without a water element, and if it be granted that Canberra to-day has much beauty in its environment, that beauty will be enhanced one hundredfold by the creation of the Lake Scheme.

Mr Mouat said that before t he scheme could even be started upon a vast amount of fundamental data had to be obtained. This, he said, had been in progress on the Canberra rivers for a number of years.

‘In November 1916,’ said Mr Mouat, ‘ the Parliamentary Committee of Public Works published its report relating to the proposed dams for ornamental waters in Canberra.  This report contains a mass of interesting evidence and bears witness to the extreme differences of opinion and data which exists between the designer of the city and the Departmental authorities.  The principal evidence given by Mr EN de Burgh, the Chief Engineer for WS and S of NSW, Dr JHL Cumpston, at that time Director of Quarantine; Mr Walter B Griffin, designer of the plan of Canberra; Mr Thomas Hill, Department of Works; Colonel D Miller, Administrator of the Federal Territory, Col PT Owen, Director-General of Works and Charles Scrivener, Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys.

The committee’s principal recommendations were:-

a. That the suggested eastern lake be indefinitely postponed.

b. That the provision of the ornamental lakes be delayed for a period of years.

The committee at that date estimated the cost of the completed proposal including a dam on the Queanbeyan River at 897,250 pounds.

The speaker outlined the early construction of measuring weirs on the upper reaches of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers for the purpose of obtaining data as to the average annual flow from these rivers.

‘We in Canberra,’ the lecturer proceeded, ‘ are peculiarly apt to anticipate a flood and an inch of rain has repeatedly caused alarm.  It may be stated that before a flood of any magnitude can arrive there must have been previous rainfall sufficient to saturate the soil and, even then, no undue alarm need be felt until there has been a further two and half inches of continuous rainfall.  When this has occurred, and not until then, need we anticipate any serious rise in the river.’

Mr Mouat said that the question of evaporation was one which entered vitally into the consideration of any water conservation problem.  In Canberra evaporation of open water surfaces may amount to as much as 10 inches in one month and as little as three quarters of one inch in the same time.

Referring to the value of meteorological observations, Mr Mouat said, ‘It is to be regretted that since 1930, Canberra has for meteorological purposes been treated as a country town, and the scope of observations has been very materially reduced.

‘As to the snow ranges,’ he said, ‘It must be noted that Nature was responsible for a gross and unforgivable error in failing to make the dividing range of Eastern Australia another 3,000 feet higher. This additional height would have given us an almost continuous snow belt with snow fed rivers pouring their beneficent  water upon a fertile land.’

The speaker outlined briefly the instruments and methods used for computing the flow of a river over a confined period.  Interesting statistics were given concerning the annual run off through the rivers compared with the total rainfall for the year.

‘It is remarkable,’ said Mr Mouat, ‘that about 92 per cent of the total water received on the watershed of the Molonglo does not reach Canberra.’ He pointed out that a much better state of affairs existed on the Cotter and Murrumbidgee rivers.

In conclusion, Mr Mouat said: ‘Without a doubt the relation of stream flow records to the economic development of a country, especially to Australia and more especially to Canberra, is one of continually increasing interest.  The desirability of investigating its water resources one of the most valuable natural assets that a country possesses cannot be too strongly emphasised.

At the conclusion of the address some interesting reminiscences were given by some members present, who had been closely associated with the development work in connection with the question of Canberra’s water supply.

Mr A Percival recalled some humorous incidents in connection with the survey work of the Cotter and the weirs on the upper Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers.  He said that considerable disabilities had to be overcome mainly through the flooding of the rivers and often the men engaged in survey work were cut off from their supplies.

Mr CS Daley said that Mr Mouat’s lecture had strikingly illustrated the responsibility which rested on the engineers engaged in providing a supply of water to a city in the making such as Canberra.  He added that expense should not be spared in the direction of the compilation of the meteorological statistics so vital in connection with undertakings such as those Mr Mouat had outlined.

In moving a vote of thanks to the speaker Mr Hollins paid tribute to Mr Mouat’s ability as an engineer, and stressed the importance of lectures such as these, which went a long way towards bringing home to residents of Canberra the immensity of the tasks which were undertaken by the engineers.

Mr Hollins was supported by Mr Moss.


The Canberra Times, 11 October 1952


The death occurred in Sydney on Wednesday of Mr Harry Mouat, 72, one of the earliest surveyors connected with defining the ACT territorial boundaries, and laying out of the city of Canberra.

It is understood he was leaving St Luke’s Hospital after recovering from an operation when he slipped and fractured his neck.

The deceased was born in New Zealand and carried out work in the Pacific Islands and Newcastle before coming to Canberra in 1913.

His work on the boundaries concentrated mainly in the south-west corner of the Territory near Yaouk.  He also carried out reconnaissance surveys in the Adaminaby area when consideration was being given to early hydroelectric scheme for Canberra and the South Coast.  The Snowy Hydro Electric Authority referred to his work when carrying out present development.

For several years the deceased was in charge of all survey work in the ACT but left Canberra in 1944 to become commonwealth Property Officer at Sydney. He retired from the service in 1946.  He leaves a widow and daughter, Mrs WAF de Salis of Red Hill.




Schmidt's hut

The Canberra Times, 9 October 1934




The death occurred at the Canberra Hospital on Sunday of William Schmidt, who for  the past sixty years had been a resident of Canberra.

The age of the deceased was given as 100 years, but old friends considered that he was at least 108.

The late Mr Schmidt arrived in Australia from Germany when two years old, his father being a doctor who practised in Melbourne and Ballarat.

When about 17 years of age, William Schmidt ran away from home and tried his luck on the goldfields, and after travelling about the country reached Canberra where he was employed on various stations in the district.  For many years he lived in a small cottage on the hill in front of Parliament House and was later transferred to a hut at the lower end of the Royal Canberra  golf links where he had resided for the past twenty years.

The late Mr Schmidt took no part in local affairs being of a retiring disposition.  He was cared for in his declining years by the Corkhill and Kaye families.

The funeral took place at the Church of England Cemetery and was attended by old friends. The Rev Canon Robertson officiated at the graveside.

Below is a detail of a map dated 1934 that shows a hut near Corkhill's Dairy - Riverside. The track is not through Stirling Ridge, when another track from the early days still exists.  The hut is bottom left just above the lettering noting the site of Riverside house. The latter was built in the 1890s by a man named Young.  It was constructed on the instructions of Fred Campbell, owner of Yarralumla.  It was for the dairy tenant farmer.

Dr Lewis Windamere Nott

Dr Nott is well remembered by many early Canberrans.  Particularly during the Great Depression he helped many with no thought of being paid.   He died either a short time after arriving in Melbourne or just before on the plane.  He was about to start a new job.  His body was returned to Canberra and he is buried in the lawn section of Woden Cemetery. Above is the plaque on his grave.  The rhetoric in the following article tells the story of his work and the high esteme in which he was held. He was the first member of the House of Representatives for the ACT and one wonders why some recognition of his service is not on the grave. 


The Canberra Times, 29 October 1951




Mr UR Ellis, former colleague on the Advisory Council said, ‘ As first member of the House of Representatives for t he ACT, Dr Nott was a historic and national figure.

His work as present of the Citizen’s Rights Committee was responsible for more than any other factor, for the granting of representation in Parliament and his memory will inspire others to continue the fight which he commenced – for some form of self-government in the territory.

His wide knowledge of local conditions was an invaluable asset to the Advisory Council during his long term of office.  But he will be remembered best for his understanding and sympathy for and his assistance to the poor, the needy and the suffering.

Standard Bearer

Mr MJ Moir, president of the Canberra Chamber of Commerce stated, ‘Canberra had become reconciled to the departure for Yallourn of one of its most colourful personalities and public spirited citizens, but the death of Mr Nott underlines the greatness of the city’s loss.

In a community dominated by officialdom, his voice was always heard upholding individual rights, and he was the standard bearer of the common man.

Grief will be widespread indeed in the ACT.’

Women’s Tribute

Mrs UR Ellis, president of the National Council of Women of Canberra said, ‘A group such as the National Council of Women is always glad to pay tribute to individuals in the community who like Dr Nott, have fought a continual battle for the under-privileged.

My Council has appreciated Dr Nott’s sympathetic support for such movements as the Emergency Housekeeper Service and for the establishment of a district nursing scheme.

He took great interest in our project for a club for older people in Canberra, and we had planned originally top have him perform the opening ceremony.

My council extends deep sympathy to Mrs Nott, who has shared so fully in her husband’s work in the community.’

Representatives of many sections of the Canberra community yesterday paid tribute to the work of Dr Nott and expressed regret at his passing.

His eagerness to fight for individuals rights, for assistance to the underdog, and his outspoken support of any cause where he believed injustice was occurring, was approved by all.

A Staunch Friend’

Mr JR Fraser, member for the ACT, said that Dr Nott was a man who for nearly a quarter of a century of association with the life of the ACT had established himself firmly and by right in the affection and regard of people in all walks of life.

His passing in such particularly sad circumstances will be mourned by the many who regard him truly as a staunch friend.

In his years of public life in Canberra, Dr Nott  was a man who performed a great many kindnesses to a great many people.

Particularly will his memory be honoured by the older members of the community to whom in the adverse depression years he gave without a stint his services as medical advisor, counsellor and friend in need.

In the hearts of these people his kindness, ready sympathy, and helpful advice will always be cherished.

He was a man whose loveable qualities endeared him even to those who opposed to him in public affairs.

I believe the community will recognise his service.

To his gracious helpmate, Mrs Nott and their family the sympathy of the community will be warmly extended.

Hospital Board Tribute

Professor LF Crisp, chairman of the Canberra Community Hospital Board and president of the Canberra branch of the ALP said, ‘For the Hospital Board and for those associated with the hospital in many different capacities, I would like to offer deep sympathy to Mrs Nott and their family in their great and untimely loss.

On behalf of the Labour Party I express the same feelings of sympathy.  They will be shared by hundreds of Canberra people, who over the years received from Dr and Mrs Nott irrespective of class or creed help in time of illness, hardship, and difficulty.’

Devotion Unwavering

Mr AT Shakespeare who was closely associated with Dr Nott as a member of the Advisory Council, said thee Dr LW Nott was an example of that small band of enrichers of human society that sought to give rather than to take, to obey the impulses of the heart, rather than the calculation of the head, and to build up riches and comfort for others rather than for themselves.

‘I have known Dr Nott for 25 years,’ he said, ‘since the days when as a member of Parliament in Melbourne he was active in advocating the claims of Canberra and its people and whatever his own fortunes his devotion to uplifting the less fortunate and his service to public causes were unwavering in sincerity and strength.

In service without compensating reward, he outwore his strength and bestowed freely his resources. His treasure lies in the hearts of his family and those whom he loved in life.  They have suffered an irreparable loss, but they will not mourn alone, for there is great company that has also suffered loss, and which will forget neither his generosity of spirit not humanitarian example.’

Colourful Citizen

Mr RS Rhodes, president of the ACT Trades and Labour Council said, ‘Canberra has lost its most colourful citizen.

Dr Nott was a man of great fighting qualities, and would go far to achieve something for the people.

I was privileged to know him during the depression years, and of his remarkable work he did for the people.

The citizens of Canberra will regret his passing.’

Great Fighter

The president of the ACT Rural Lessees’  Association (Mr F Southwell) expressed the regret at the death of Dr Nott and extended deepest sympathy to his family.

His many friends in Canberra will feel his passing deeply.  I feel that there are very few people in Canberra who cannot recall some kind action by Dr Nott on their behalf and it will be these memories that remain foremost in their minds.

He was always a great fighter for any cause he thought worthwhile, and never sought or gave any favours.


Lewis Windermere Nott, eldest son of Frederick Lewis Nott was born at Windermere  plantation at Bundaberg Queensland on February 12, 1885.

He received his early education at the Maryborough Grammar School and later studied at the School of Mines, Ballarat where he obtained his diploma as a geologist.

His university training for a medical degree started at Sydney University, but he later visited the United Kingdom to further his studies at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh.

On August 7,1914 he enlisted as a private in the Scot’s Greys and was posted to a squadron of Lovat’s Scouts.  By May 1915 he was serving as a commissioned officer in the Royal horse Artillery transferring to the Royal Scots’ Infantry Regiment in October the same year.

Until 1917 he held the post of adjutant to the 15th Battalion being wounded in 1916 on the Somme.  He was twice mentioned in despatches.

Subsequently he transferred to the RAMC becoming senior resident and acting surgical registrar at Norfolk War Hospital, a 6,000 bed establishment.

During his residence in England he also served as senior resident physician and surgeon at the Royal Infirmary at Edinburgh, and at the Pilkington Orthopaedic Hospital St Helen’s Lancashire.

Returning to Australia shortly after the war he was appointed by the International Health Board to take charge of a survey relating to the incidence and treatment of malaria in Central and Northern Queensland.

Twelve months later he was appointed medical superintendent of the  Mackay District Hospital and be became Mayor of Mackay from 1923 to 1926. Dr Nott burst into the political limelight in 1925 when he staged a thrilling battle with the former Queensland Premier, the late Mr EG Theodore to win the seat for Herbert by 265 votes.

On the transfer of Parliament to Canberra, Dr Nott made his home here, one of his first tasks being to assist in the appointment of a superintendent for the Canberra Hospital.

In 1928 he made the first of many moves for ACT representation in Parliament, when he presented two petitions from local citizens asking for a seat in the House and representation on the Federal Capital Commission. He lost his seat at the 1928 elections.

In 1929 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the third Commissioner and in the same year contested the North Sydney seat against WM Hughes, after the defeat of the Bruce-Page Government.

In October 1929 he was appointed Superintendent of the Canberra Community Hospital and occupied the post until July 1934 when he stood unsuccessfully for Calare.

During these years the basis for Dr Nott’s popularity was laid.  Most of the older residents remember the depression years when hundreds of workmen reached Canberra in the vain hope of finding employment.

Mr AB Gardiner, one of his strongest political opponents, yesterday acknowledged that Dr Nott’s understanding and kindness in these difficult years set many men on the feet again.

Following his defeat in Calare, Dr Nott set up in private practice in Canberra, contesting the Advisory Council election for the first time on September 28, 1934 and heading for the polls.

He held this position for fifteen years, retiring in November 1949 to contest the election for the first ACT member to the House of Representatives.

Dr Nott returned to the post of superintendent of the Canberra Community Hospital prior to World War II and continued in office until November 1949.

He served the people of Canberra approximately 16 months before he was defeated in the election in April last by Mr JR Fraser.

He retired from public life until requested by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Kent Hughes) to continue as a member of the Advisory Council until the elections took place in September.

Until his appointment at Yallourn, Dr Nott attended to the medical needs of the Canberra residents, although he did not set up a permanent practice at Westridge (now Yarralumla) where the Department of the Interior made a home available for him and his family.

Ill-health caused him to take a less active part in local affairs in recent weeks, although he still greeted friends with his former cheerfulness.

During his years in Canberra, Dr Nott has been closely associated with many welfare and progressive movements, both as superintendent of the Hospital and a private citizen.

He was president of the Citizens’ Rights Committee, a senior vice-president of the Canberra Relief Society and a member of Legacy Club.

He became president of the ACT Branch of the RSL in 1932 and the same year was co-founder (with DR BT Dixon) of the Canberra Repertory Society, later becoming a life member.  He had previously been an active figure in the Canberra Society of Arts and Literature which was founded in 1927.

He was also a life member of the St John Ambulance, a founder and life member of the Canberra Horticultural Society, and the first permanent president of the Canberra Kennel and Trial Dog Association.

In the canine sphere he became one of the best known breeders in the Southern Tablelands, winning many prizes with his champion setters.

He took an interest in other cultural and citizenship movements in the ACT acting as representative for rural Progress Associations.

Amongst his staunchest followers were aboriginals from the colony at Jervis Bay, in whom he took a particular interest during his term in Parliament.

He was instrumental in initial moves for the establishment of a light opera company in Canberra.

With a flair for voicing popular discontent outspoken criticism by Dr Nott often was not well received in Departmental circles.

He leaves his wife, formerly Miss Doris Ashbury, whom he married in 1913, two daughters, Joy and Lyndall and a son.

Funeral Dr Nott  - Parliament Stops

The Canberra Times, 30.10.1951


A large gathering is expected to attend the funeral of the late Dr LW Nott at St Andrew’s Church as 2.45pm to-day.

The time of the service was put back 15 minutes after the Deputy Prime Minister, (Mr Arthur Fadden) announced last night that the House of Representative would adjourn after opening prayers at 2.30pm to allow members to attend.

Sir Arthur Fadden, also ordered that flags should be flown at half-mast on all Commonwealth buildings to-day in tribute to Dr Nott.

The house will resume at 4pm after the funeral.

Mr Nott, her son David, and daughter, Lyndal, returned to Canberra late last night and the casket will arrive in Queanbeyan at 10.30 to-day.  It will be taken to the Church at 11am.

Seating to accommodate approximately 600 persons is being installed for the funeral service to be conducted by the Rev H Harrison.  Special buses will run from Civic Centre and Causeway to the Church and will later follow the cortege to the Cemetery.

The ACT Advisory Council has advanced its meeting to this morning to enable members to attend the funeral.  Chairman of the Council, Mr CS Daley, will be organist in the church and also a pall bearer, Dr JB Mathieson, Dr Clyde Finlay, Messrs R Rowe and H Preston Stanley and Sergeants HH Grangel and J Courtney.

The cortege will be headed by a police escort, and will move along State circle to West Block, past t he Prime Minister’s  Lodge, and along the Cotter Road to the Cemetery.

One and possibly two floral floats will follow the hearse and four taxi drivers have offered free use of their vehicles for the drive to the cemetery.  At the graveside in the Presbyterian portion of the cemetery the Rev H Harrison will officiate in a brief service.

Further Tributes

Further tributes were paid to Dr Nott yesterday

‘Beloved Physician’

The president of the General Branch of the Liberal Party in the ACT Mrs G Swayne-Thomas said, ‘On behalf of the Liberal Party in the ACT I should like to add a heart-felt tribute to the memory of Dr \Nott, and to the esteem with which we – like so many others – will continue to remember him.

Like St Luke, he will be known to us as the ‘beloved physician’ and there must indeed be many who will have good cause to remember him thus with gratitude and affection. In politics, as in medicine, his influence was good and worthy one. He made his name in the world through merit and character; and left it with the affection and esteem of all who knew him.  To his bereaved family, we wish to join with many others in extending cordial sympathy and regret.’

Labour Tribute

The Leader of the Opposition Dr HV Evatt, said:- ‘On behalf of the Labour movement I pay tribute to the outstanding public work of the late Dr LW Nott. It is especially poignant that his sudden collapse and death took place while journeying away from Canberra for which he has done so much.

I have no doubt that his death was hastened by the strain of his long public career.  He was a remarkable personality with a kindly manner and a warm heart.  I imagine that his happiest years were those when he superintended the Canberra Hospital.  No one who knows will ever forget his unremitting care not only for the sick and injured but for the always anxious and often stricken relatives of the patients.

As the first representative of the Capital Territory in Parliament he was respected for his real independence and forthrightness of mind. In all his public duties he was greatly assisted by his devoted wife, who was his fellow student at Sydney University. His services to the Capital of Australia must always be remembered with pride and gratitude.’

Helped Every Cause

Mr JL Mulrooney (on behalf of the Christian Brothers War Memorial College Trustees) said:- ‘Dr Nott helped every cause. Only last week he sent me a substantial un unsolicited donation toward the War Memorial saying, ‘It is the creation of something of inestimable advantage not only to your Church, but to Canberra and Australia.’

We have all lost a true friend and I am sure our citizens will erect and appropriate monument to his memory.’

Nott & Oaks Estate

At the time of Dr Nott's death the family had negotiated to buy The Oaks at Oaks Estate from the Eddison family for the sum of 2,250 pounds.  The sale was completed in February 1952 after the death of Dr Nott and two months later the property was sold to J & M Jager for the sum of 4,650 pounds.  Karen Williams - No Man's Land.

Mrs Burley Griffin visit

The Canberra Times, 4 October 1937


Amazing Advance


There is no reason why Canberra should not become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This is the view of Mrs Burley Griffin, widow of the late designer of Canberra, after her first visit to Canberra in ten years.

Mrs Griffin, who spent the weekend in Canberra revisiting scenes of interest was particularly impressed with the growth of the suburbs. The late Mr Griffin, she declared, had never expected this expansion to take place within his lifetime.

The development of Canberra, generally, she declared, represented an amazing advance on early expectations. The growth of trees and shrubs in a setting of natural beauty had made this advance all the more striking.

Condolence to Mrs Griffin

The Canberra Times, 16 February 1937


Suggested Record in Canberra


Early action will probably be taken to name some prominent part of Canberra after its designer, the late Mr WB Griffin, the American architect, whose death has been reported from India.

Owing to the policy of not naming any part of the capital after a living person, Mr Griffin’s name has not been commemorated during his life-time – yet he was responsible for the design of the city and some of its early works.


With reference to the death of Mr Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of Canberra, Mr TM Shakespeare moved that the Council express through the Minister of the Interior, its sincere regret at t he death of Mr Griffin, and convey its sympathy to the widow.  The motion was carried.


The Prime Minister (Mr Lyons) sent the following message to the widow of the late Walter Burley Griffin: ‘On behalf of the Commonwealth Government I extend to you my deepest sympathy in your bereavement. We recall with appreciation your husband’s association with the development of our National Capital.’

Monument to Griffin

The Canberra Times, 11 May 1937


Portrait for National Library

The National Library [first one in Kings Avenue] has received a fine portrait of the late Walter Burley Griffin. The portrait has been hung in the basement at Parliament House alongside the original plan of Canberra submitted by him at the time of the competition. The portrait is a fine character study by a leading studio in Chicago and was presented to the National Library by Miss Alice Henry of Melbourne.

In connection with this presentation the Librarian, Mr Kenneth Binns, has made the suggestion that perhaps the most appropriate memorial to the late Walter Burley Griffin would be in the form of a living tree such as a well grown oak transported to a central site and encircled by an artistically designed stone seat.  The Librarian’s idea of a living memorial seems peculiarly appropriate as symbolising the continual growth of the city. As the oak is the fulfilment of life in the acorn, so Canberra is the unfolding of an idea in the fertile mind of Walter Burley Griffin. Some elevated and central site such as the hill in front of Parliament House, might form a suitable setting where visitors could sit in the shade of the tree and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.  Perhaps no more suitable inscription could be selected for engraving on the stone seat than that inscribed on the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren in St Paul’s Cathedral:-

‘Si monumentum requires circumspice.’ If you seek a monument, look around.’

AM Fraser 1914-1948 in Canberra

The Canberra Times, 22 January 1948


‘Canberra to-day is a good place to live in, but we are all disappointed with its progress. We did not expect so may setbacks to interfere with its development, but at last we are starting to see the foundations of a great city as it was originally planned.’

These were the final comments of Mr ‘Andy’ Fraser, principal electrical engineer at the Department of Works and Housing who, after approximately 30 years work in Canberra, will leave on Friday for Melbourne where he will retire at the end of the year.

It is a far cry from January 1914, when Mr Fraser first arrived at the tented camp of a gully off State Circle, which was the beginning of Canberra.

He said not the least alarming procedure for the new arrival was the immediate issue of a snake bite outfit, which was continued up to 1925.  They rivalled the rabbits for the land, and combined with heat, dust and fleas, made early occupancy unpleasant.

Mr Fraser could recall grass hopper plagues in those early years, but commented the rabbits left very little for them to live on.

‘The recovery of the land when anti-rabbit measures were adopted was amazing, but it is unbelievable that 30 years later the territory could be virtually devoid of the pest.’ He said.

There are few people to-day who would contemplate a five mile walk to Duntroon to see silent pictures once a fortnight but that was one form of entertainment enjoyed by the early workers.

Shooting was also popular, with quail in Westbourne Woods and plover on Duntroon Flats. Tennis became the most popular sport after enthusiasts made their own courts, then two codes of football boomed and eventually the first gold course in Canberra was mapped out behind the Institute of Anatomy [now the Film and Sound Archives.] It was a ‘braw’ game with one player constantly in advance of the others ‘shooing’ sheep from the greens.

Mr Fraser revived memories when the only communications between railheads was by coach to Yass (with 40 gates to be opened and shut or jinker to Queanbeyan. A trip to Queanbeyan became a one day affair at the weekend.

Commenting on the roaring camp days, Mr Fraser said these conditions were natural outlet and no one here objected to their behaviour. Most of the men were hard working country men, and had very little to keep them occupied in their spare time.

Early camp conditions at times were very bad, especially one winter when a plague of flies invaded the ACT.  In dry seasons, washing was restricted to the Molonglo River.

The only aborigine he saw in the ACT was at the opening of parliament in 1927 but Mr Fraser strongly suspected this man had been brought down especially for the occasion. [Not correct]

Mr Fraser played an active part in Canberra’s earliest development including the establishment of the water supply and the power house. Despite the intense activity of the pre-World War I and post war years he believes the first real steps towards achievement of the Griffin plan resulted from the formation of the Federal Capital Commission.

‘The new settlement received set-backs in the depression and was just finding its feet again in 1937, 38 and 39 when World War II hit us.

We are again in a period of achievement and it remains to be seen whether more unforseen difficulties hinder its progress.’

Mr Fraser intends returning to Canberra in nine months to renew old friendships and see ‘how the old town’s doing.’

Corkhill and 1952 flood

Above painting of Riverview which was loaned to me.


The Corkill family had a tenant farm in the area of the hill in front of Parliament House. In 1913 they moved to Riverview on the former Yarralumla Estate.  The house that they moved into was built by Young in the 1890s as a dairy for the tenant farmer on the estate.  Fred Campbell, the owner who commisioned the building was away during the time of building and was angry that the builder had moved the site up the rise away from the river. However the next flood proved Young's choice to be a wise one.  The Corkhills had to move when work on the lake began. The site of their old home today is in the vicinity of the Water Police Buidlings on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. The night paddock used by Corkhills is on the end of Stirling Ridge, Stirling Park, Yarralumla.


The Canberra Times, 20 September 1932


Sister Phyllis Corkhill ATNA OBS RMB daughter of Mr and Mrs R Corkhill of Riverview Canberra, recently returned to the Federal Capital after a very successful course of training at the Mater Misericordiae and St Margaret’s Hospitals Sydney.


The Canberra Times, 19 August 1933


On Tuesday last, the marriage of Eileen Veronica third daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Corkhill of ‘Riverview’ Canberra to Edmund James, second son of Mr and Mrs John Morrison of ‘Tralee’ Queanbeyan was celebrated at St Christopher’s Church Canberra. The wedding was of special interest because of the fact that is joined two of the oldest families in the district, relatives of the bride having settled in Canberra 93 years ago.

The Rev Father John Morrison (Young) a brother of the bridegroom, celebrated the Nuptial Mass and performed the marriage ceremony.  Assisting him were the Very Rev Father PM Haydon, PP VF and the Rev Father C Gleeson of Queanbeyan.

The bride who was given away by her father, wore a gown of ivory ring velvet cut on classical lines, the skirt ending in a train. The veil which was made by the bridegroom’s aunt, Mrs J Morrison of Clovelly, was mounted on tulle and was caught with a coronet of orange blossoms.  The bride carried a sheaf of cram hyacinths, Lilly-of-the-valley and forget-me-nots. The bridesmaids were the bride’s two sisters, Miss Kathleen Corkhill and Miss Phyllis Corkhill, both of whom wore Madonna blue chiffon velvet with turban toques of the same material and carried sheafs of cream stocks, hyacinths and forget-me-nots.  The bride’s veil and train were carried by Miss pat Clowry and Master John Corkhill. Mr Brendan Corkhill was bestman and Mr Pat Morrison acted as groomsman.

Mr E Goss officiated at the organ and during the Offertory of the Mass, Mrs G Jago sung the ‘Ave Maria’. The church had been beautifully decorated by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and Mrs RJ Cork.

The guests numbering one hundred, assembled at the Hotel Wellington where they were received by the bride’s mother assisted by Mrs Morrison. Mrs Corkhill wore black wool charmelaine relieved with touches of white and carried a bouquet of sweet peas, carnations and hyacinths; whilst Mrs Morrison wore a frock of nigger morocain and carried a bouquet of wall flowers. Fr Morrison presided at the reception.

The happy couple left by car during the afternoon for an extended tour of the Blue Mountains and on their return will be taking up residence at Letychworth via Queanbeyan. The bride’s travelling frock was of nigger wool morocain with beige trimmings and was covered with a coat of nigger diagonal tweed.


The Canberra Times, 14 September 1937




The fatal shooting of Edmund Joseph Morrison, 30 at the Copperfields near Tralee Station marked a tragic sequence of events in the family of Mr and Mrs John Morrison of Tralee in which two sons have been fatally shot and one wounded in the last few years.

Edmund Morrison was killed instantly late yesterday afternoon in a gun accident in almost identical circumstances and at the same spot as his brother had been killed about three years ago. The deceased went out shooting rabbits with a younger brother and another lad, the son of Constable Hilton of Canberra.

It is understood that Morrison’s horse tried to run away, and, in attempting to pacify the animal the deceased tripped and his gun exploded, the charge entering his body.  The tragedy occurred a few miles from Morrison’s home at a spot known as the ‘Copperfields’.

It was the place that a brother was killed under almost identical circumstances about three years ago, while a third member of the family was injured as a result of gun accident near the same spot but recovered.

About 12 months ago the late Edmund Morrison married Miss Eileen Corkhill, a member of another well known district family, and the couple made their home at Letchworth near Tralee holding. The remains were brought last night to Auberne Private Hospital Queanbeyan.


The Canberra Times, 5 December 1949


The death occurred at the home of her parents, Mr and Mrs R Corkhill of ‘Riverview’  Canberra on Saturday of Mrs Eileen Morrison at the age of 45 years. The late Mrs Morrison had been in ill health for some time and during the past 15 months had been confined to her bed.  Her husband the late Mr E Morrison predeceased her 12 years ago.

The late Mrs Morrison who was well known in Canberra, was well known in Canberra, was an indefatigable worker for the Catholic Church, particularly in the construction days of the national capital.  She was a member of one of the oldest families in the district. Her great grandmother was born in Canberra as were her grandmother and her mother.

Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the deceased will be offered at 8am to-day at St Christopher’s Manuka. The funeral cortege will leave St Christopher’s at 10.30am for the Queanbeyan Cemetery.


The Canberra Times, 14 July 1941


The wedding was celebrated at a Nuptial Mass at St Christopher’s last week of Eileen only daughter of Mr and Mrs JJ Corkhill and grand-daughter of Mr and Mrs Robert Corkhill of ‘Riverview,’ Canberra and John Clifford, sixth son of Mr and Mrs HA Carter of Nyngan.

The bride walked to the altar on the arm of her father to the strains of the Bridal March, played by Miss Mollie Bates.

The bride chose a gown of white satin and her lace tulle veil was held in place by a coronet of orange blossom. A sweeping train completed the effect. The bride’s bouquet was of hyacinths and snowdrops, relieved with pink colouring.

Miss Nancy Bates attended the bride and wore a misty blue frock with head dress of flowers and tulle to match. She carried a bouquet of pale pink carnations.

The ceremony was performed by the Rev Father J Twomey.  Mr Mathew Carter, brother of the bridegroom, was best man. During the signing of the register, Mrs G Welch sang the ‘Ave Maria’.  A reception was held at the Hotel Canberra where Mrs Carter received the guests. The happy couple are spending their honeymoon on tour of the South Coast and at Sydney. They will make their future home at Warren.


The Canberra Times, 17 June 1952



An immense volume of water pouring down the flooded Molonglo River near Bungendore last night was expected to reach Canberra about 5 o’clock this morning.

Barricaded behind a sandbag levee at the Cotter kiosk wired and anchored to strong supports Mr and Mrs AR Lude, the proprietors, and four men, yesterday, watched the swirling Cotter River break its banks and come within a few yards of the building.

Mr and Mrs Lude remained on guard throughout the night awaiting the expected rise in the river later this morning.

Speaking by radio telephone from the Cotter Kiosk, Mr Lude said that the water at t eh Cotter was greater in extent that the flooding of 1950. ‘Our ordinary telephone line was washed down. We worked making sandbags throughout the afternoon and have barricaded them in front of the kiosk.  We will be on our toes throughout the night and if the water rises much higher we will have to get out.’

Mr Lude said that the water had risen about 18 inches between 6pm and 8pm but after that time had remained more or less stationary.

Volunteers began building a sandbag levee near the Cotter kiosk at 3pm. They worked knee deep in water to prevent the water from flooding the kiosk.

The playground are is front of the kiosk was flooded was flooded and the water was racing three feet  high over the dam.


Mr J Corkhill of Riverview Westridge was another who remained on guard throughout the night with volunteers. The waters of the Molonglo gives an added impetus by torrents from Sullivan’s Creek and the creek draining from Red Hill rose quickly. At 9.30pm however there had been no further rises.

Mr and Mrs Corkhill, the aged parents of Mr Corkhill were evacuated from the house during the afternoon.

Mr Corkhill said that the decision to transfer his parents to Queanbeyan was made a precautionary measure, although there was no immediate danger.  At 7pm the police issued a warning to all residents in outlying areas near the river to be ready to evacuate their homes and to get stock moved to safe ground.

The water moved up to within a few hundred yards of several houses at Causeway, but at a late hour no residents had been moved.

The rainfall in Canberra for 24 hours ended 9pm last night was only 162 points. Torrential rains fell in the watershed areas of the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers.

At 10pm Mr AW Scott at Carwoola Bungendore told ‘The Canberra Times’ that the volume of water passing his property was the greatest he had seen in 15 years.

Fences had been torn down, and he believed that a few of his cattle had been carried away by floodwaters.

At 10.30pm the depth of water under Commonwealth bridge was 16 feet. It reached ,,,(?) feet 11 inches in 1950. 

At 9pm Canberra had received a total of 322 points of rain during June. This is the highest June total since 1939, when 314 points were registered.  The record June rainfall for Canberra occurred in 1931 when a total of 586 points when the total was 586 points.

The highest monthly rainfall recorded in Canberra was in May 1925 when there were ...(unreadable) points.

The forecast from the Fairbairn meteorological station for Monday (?) is for unsettled conditions with rain in the morning contracting to showers in the afternoon.

The enormous volume of water which poured down the Molonglo was reflected in the flooding of the Acton sportsground.  At 2.30pm an area of about 200 acres was covered with water for only about a quarter of its length. At 4pm the entire area was inundated.

Water which had only been inches high around dressing sheds two hours previously was lapping the tin roofs of the shed.

The water lapped the steep bank at the rear of the hospital. At 2pm the river reached 13 feet at the Commonwealth Bridge. With the three other bridges in the southern suburbs under water, Commonwealth Bridge carried an immense amount of  traffic.

At 5pm when the Government office staffs were returning to the northern suburbs the line of cars waiting to be allowed to cross the bridge extended past the front of the Hotel Canberra.

The heavy rain and the flooding of the creeks hampered workmen throughout the day in attempts to repair breakdowns in the Southern district electricity supply system. Unscheduled blackouts may occur in Canberra at any time. Last night officials asked consumers to keep electrical requirements to a minimum for  the next two days.

They asked that electricity be used as sparingly as possible between 7.30am and 9.30 am and 5.30pm and 8pm.

A pump used for cooling a conductor at the Canberra power house broke during the afternoon.  This restricted the use of a generator and engineers worked at top pressure to keep the electricity supply available until the breakdown was repaired.

Late last night only one of the four normal exists to the Turner-O’Connor area was open to traffic. This was through University Avenue.  Condamine, Gould and Masson Streets had been closed earlier in the day because of the flooded Sullivan’s Creek had broken its banks.

The Queanbeyan police state that 11pm that the river at the Monaro Street bridge had fallen 12 inches in two hours. The greatest depth during the day was 11 feet.

Mr Neville Gorman at Googong, stated that the Queanbeyan River at t hat point was remaining stead at 12 feet between 9 and 11pm.

The river reached a depth of 14 feet at the Sutton Road railway bridge during the afternoon.  The Queanbeyan telephone exchange reported that late last night two lines between Queanbeyan and Sutton and the Queanbeyan and Tarago were out of  order because of floodings.

Firemen from the Canberra Fire Station yesterday used  pumps to drain water from the basement containing cable lines from the Post Office. They worked continuously for more than five hours to clear the water.

[continues with reference to no stock losses.]


The Canberra Times, 17 September 1952


Mrs Katherine Corkhill, a direct descendent of one of the first settlers in Canberra, died on Monday at her home, ‘River View,’ on the Molonglo River.

The late Mrs Corkhill was buried yesterday in the Catholic section of the Queanbeyan cemetery after a  Requiem Mass was offered for the repose of her soul, in the pro-cathedral of St Christopher’s at Manuka.

The Mass was celebrated by the Very Rev Father S O’Donnell, Administrator of Canberra.

The late Mrs Corkhill was born on a homestead near Parliament House 85 years ago.  She was the daughter of Edmund Rolfe and Margaret Logue. While she was still an infant her mother died and she was cared for and educated by her grandmother, Mrs F Crinnigan who arrived in the Canberra district in the late 1820s.

In 1893 the deceased married Mr Robert Corkhill and next February they would have celebrated the 60th wedding anniversary of their wedding.

The late Mrs Corkhill was well-known for her charity and support of the Catholic Church both Canberra and Queanbeyan.

She is survived by her husband, Mr Robert Corkhill, six sons and one daughter.  Three daughters are deceased.


The Canberra Times, 5 June 1954


The death occurred in Sydney yesterday of Mr Robert Corkhill of ‘River View,’ Canberra after a short illness.

Mr Corkhill who was 91 last Monday, died at about 11am at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital Crow’s Nest Sydney where he was receiving attention.  The deceased was a well-known figure in Canberra and was the oldest of the surviving Canberra pioneers.

He arrived in Australia from the Isle of Man when he was20 and came to Canberra on a bullock dray to take up a position with the Campbell family first at Duntroon and later at Yarralumla.

Mr Corkhill branched out on his own first taking up a selection ‘The Horseshoe,’ on the Murrumbidgee River near Yass. He later acquired ’Hill’ station, ‘The Rivers” and ‘Normanhurst,’ at Boorowa, the latter being in his possession at the time of his death.

For many years the hill in front of Parliament House was known as Corkhill’s Hill because of the Corkhill home nearby.

Almost 40 years ago, Mr Corkhill moved into ‘Riverview’ which became the first dairy in Canberra. From a herd of six cows the dairy was increased until Mr Corkhill became Canberra’ main milk supplier.

He retired shortly before World War II the property being worked by his sons.  His wife, formerly Catherine Rolfe of gold Creek near hall, predeceased him in 1952.  Mr Corkhill is survived by five sons and a daughter. His body will be brought from Sydney and buried at Queanbeyan on Monday after a service in  Canberra.

Miss Southwell

The Canberra Times, 7 May 1946



The death occurred in the Canberra Hospital yesterday after a brief illness of Isabelle Eliza Southwell. The late Miss Southwell was one of the best known and popular residents of Canberra, having been since 1915, continuously in the Commonwealth services as hostess and manageress of establishments at which Ministers, Members of Parliament, commonwealth Officers and visitors to Canberra who came in contact with her.

Born at Brindabella, she was a grand-daughter of John Southwell, original selector more than 90 years ago of Rose Vale Sutton, which is now in the hands of the fourth generation of the family.

John Southwell was a brother of Thomas Southwell, the pioneer settler at Parkwood in 1838.

The late Miss Southwell came to live at Rose Vale in 1910 before the resumption of the lands for the Australian Capital territory for the purposes of the Federal Capital and from 1912 to 1913 she was in charge of the Yarrangobilly Caves House.

When Yarralumla House was taken over from Mr Fred Campbell in 1915 it became the residence of Ministers and Commonwealth officers in Canberra, and Miss Southwell was appointed in charge and remained there until the opening in 1925 of Hotel Canberra.

She was the first manageress of Hotel Acton when it was opened and then became the manageress of Hotel Kurrajong where she has remained for the last 15 years.

Her gracious personality earned for her the friendship and affection of Ministers and Members of Parliament during the past 20 years she has been ministering to their comfort in Canberra and her circle of friends was legion.

Two brothers, JA and MM Southwell predeceased her, and she leaves two sisters, Eleanor (Mrs JE Walker of Yass) and Una (Mrs PF Douglas of Canberra) and two brothers, (George Stanley and Frederick Silas of Canberra).

The funeral will leave St Andrew’s Church at 3.30 pm to-day for Canberra Cemetery, after a service in the church commencing at 2.45pm

A bus will leave Giles St at 2.30pm and will travel via Manuka to St Andrew’s Church then to the cemetery and return.


Immediately he learned of the death of Miss Southwell the Acting Prime Minister (Mr Forde) forwarded a message of sympathy to her relatives.

Shortly before he left for London, the Prime Minister (Mr Chifley) received a message announcing the death of Miss Southwell and his last act before leaving for America was to send a message of condolence to her family.

Father Haydon


The Canberra Times, 20 April 1949



The death is announced of the Rt Rev Monsignor Patrick Maurice Hayden, Prothonotary (?) Apostolic Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn and Parish Priest of Canberra.

The late Monsignor who was 59 years of age became ill yesterday morning and passed away in the Canberra Community Hospital shortly before mid-night.

Since his ordination in 1912 he had served in the Canberra District, first in Queanbeyan and since 1928 when the new Canberra parish was created, at Canberra.


Monsignor Haydon was born at Hornsby on March 19 1890 and after completing his school education at St Joseph’s College, Hunter’s Hill, he went to St Patrick’s College Manly, to study for the priesthood.

Always foremost in his classes at Manly he showed himself a student of exceptional ability and it was written of him on the occasion of his jubilee in 1937, ‘Literature lost a writer of eminence when he entered the seminary, history lost a historian and languages lost a master.’

At the age of 22 he was ordained at St Mary’s Cathedral on November 30, 1912 by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Dr Kelly and his first appointment was as assistant to Father M Hogan at Queanbeyan. In January 1918 he became Pastor of the Queanbeyan, Canberra district.

The building of Canberra had been deferred by war and was about to be undertaken seriously when he began to celebrate Mass in a canvas tent at Canberra and he watched the beginnings of the city and contributed to its building.

Services were first conducted from the early twenties in the Acton Hall which Father Haydon made the centre of his Canberra activities and regular weekly Mass was celebrated from January 1925.

Meanwhile, Father Haydon had commenced at Queanbeyan the first notable series of church buildings. In 1925 St Gregory’s hall was built, followed by a new convent school near the showground. In 1926 leases were signed for the Cathedral site on Commonwealth Avenue and the convent school at Manuka.

While these preparations were being made for the physical buildings of the Roman Catholic Church in Canberra the fast growing community found a warm welcome from Father Haydon.

In January 1927 the foundations were laid of St Christopher’s School and the Convent at Manuka. In 1935 St Patrick’s School was erected at Braddon. St Christopher’s church was commenced in 1938 and was opened in 1939. Meanwhile the Presbytery had been built on Cathedral Hill. Theresa’s Church was opened at Causeway. The last work on which Monsignor Haydon had been engaged at the time of his death was a Christian Brother’s School at Canberra negotiations for the site of which had been well advanced.

Although tireless in his energies, the late Monsignor was of a retiring disposition. He took a keen interest in Canberra activities, but the only position which he had occupied in civil matter was a member of the ACT Patriotic Funds Board during the war years.

In 1940 he was created a Prothonotary Apostolic and his investiture by the Apostolic Delegate (the Most Rev Dr Panico) in March 1941, was attended by a large gathering at which Commonwealth Ministers and members of Parliament, a representative of the Governor-General, the diplomatic corps and leading Canberra citizens joined with leading prelates of the Church and the clergy and laity in offering their congratulations.

New Phone Directory 1927

The Canberra Times, 17 March 1927


New Automatic Numbers

The new numbers now allotted to subscribers under the automatic telephone system which comes into effect in Canberra on Monday6 next are given in the appended official list.

,Complaints – To report say trouble with your telephone, dial 60 and the complaint officer will attend.

Trunk Line Calls – Call 06 and the trunk line officer will attend.

Party Line Calls – Call 08 and when the trunk line officer attends request the party line number required, connection will then be made.

Information.- When any information is desired call 07 and the Information Officer will attent.


·         Ambulance                    866

·         Fire Station                    522

·         Hospital                          566

·         Police Station Acton    744

·         Police Station Eastlake 709

·         Police Station Molonglo 743



Subscriber                             New Automatic No

Abattoirs                                                769

Adam Bros Butchers Eastlake            769 (?)

Alcorn, Dr RM Blandfordia                 789 (?)

Ambulance                                            ??6 (partly obscured)

Bachelors’ Quarters                            707

Bailey, FW 75 Causeway                     731

Bancroft, E Acton                                 882

Bank of NSW                                         726

Baxter, A                                                869

Bourke, W Carrier 25 Causeway       762

Brackenreg, JC Acton                          898

Brownless, WS Blandfordia                850

Brickworks, Westridge                        867

Briton, Nurse FA Eastlake                   968

Bruce, Eden & Griffiths Ainslie          774

Burgess, DS Ainslie                              782

Campbell, A Eastlake                           741

Campbell, CT Chemist Eastlake          715

Canberra Bakeries Ltd Ainslie           761

Canberra Bld & Invest Co Ltd            

Office                                                     718

Eastlake Workshops                            771

Residence                                             728

Civic Centre Workshops                     790

Manuka Workshops                            937

Canberra Motor Sales Ltd                  720

Canberra Motor Sales Mr BL Tyson  784

Canberra Garage Ltd Civic Centre    779

Canberra Steam Laundry Ltd Ainslie759

Caretaker Cotter River: call 08 and

Ask for                                                   134

Caretaker Molonglo Settlement        828

Chennels, AJ Eastlake                          920

Cleaver, HH Westlake                         798

Commonwealth Bank                          701

Cox, F Blandfordia                                897

Crapp, JS Carrier Eastlake                   781(?)

Cunningham, FW Comm Bank            701

Dillon, J Westridge                               848

Donnelly, PJ ‘Iona’ Ginninderra

Call 08 and ask for                               292 ‘S”

Dunn, JM Eastlake                                748

Dunne, RJ Fed News Agency Eastlake 732

Edlington, CS Duntroon                       765

Edwards, CT RMC Duntroon               735

Edwards, L Acton                                 742

Electrical Workshops Eastlake,          842

Fed Cap Commission (8 lines)            511

After 5pm Monday – Friday and 12 noon

Saturday, the following numbers should

Be called individually

Butters, JH Canberra House               792

Daley, CS Acton                                    793

Potts, WS Acton                                   794

Saunders, JH Acton                              890

Finlay, Dr C                                            770

FIRE STATION                                        522

Fire Station Residence                        884

Force, JM Commission Offices           786

Francis, C Blandfordia                         859

Garage (FCC) Eastlake                          866

Gee, WS Eastlake                                 785

George & Elphistone Ains Ave          748

Government House Yarralumla

2 lines

Private Secretary                                 529

Government House Kitchen              520(?)

Gungahlin Homestead                         721

Gunn, JC Eastlake                                 741

Harvie, EH Dentist Eastlake 749

Hayes, J Eastlake                                   812

Hayes & Russell Ltd Gen Mer            708(?)

Healey, P Eastlake                                788

Hill, R Produce merchant E’lake        773

Horan, M Yarralumla Woolshed

Call o8 and ask for                               ‘17’ ‘1’

HOSPITAL                                              566

Hospital Bld Const Foreman               961

Hotel Acton                                           571

Housing Department Architect

In Charge                                               971

Hotel Ainslie                                         558

Hotel Canberra (3 lines)                     545

Hotel Kurrajong (2 lines)                    575

Hutcherson Bros Builders                  756

Irons & O’Reilly Eastlake                     962

Jackson, AE Blandfordia                      943

James, Dr RJ Ainslie                             756

Joseland, JH Ginninderra call

08 and ask for                                       292 ‘Z’

Keegan, ?W Manuka Circle                716

Knox, E Ainslie                                      951

Laverty, J Eastlake                                761

Limburg, DE Ainslie                              990

Martin, V car proprietor                     751

Mason, WH Build contractor             736

Maxwell, J ‘ The Rivers’ Call

08 and ask for                                       ‘17’ ‘S’

McNamara, PT Ainslie                         739

McAndrew, L Eastlake                         857

Monolyte Concrete Co Ltd River

Works                                                    775

Monolyte Concrete Co Blandfordia 776

Moaut, H Acton                                    762

Mount Stromlo Observatory                 731

Mount Stromlo Office                         746(?)

Mount Stromlo Bachelors Qtrs             767

Mount Stromlo Drcts’ Residence           954

Mt Russell Reservoir                           832

Mugga Quarry                                   835

Nightwatchman FCC Offices                 961

Nish, SG Ainslie                                 831

Nolan & Edwards Manuka                    975

Nursery Yarralumla                            881

Owen, Col PT Blandfordia                    845

Parliament House Caretaker                992

Parliament House Librarian (K Binns)    956

POLICE STATION Molonglo                   742

POLICE STATION Acton                       741

POLICE STATION   Eastlake                 709

Postmaster’s Office                            972

Potts, WR Acton                                938

Power House Eastlake                        841

Printers Quarters Eastlake                  947

Railway Station                                703

Read, J Ainslie                                 712(?)

Rectory, Canberra                             997

Red Hill Reservoir                             883

Rolland, HM Acton                             852

Rowse, WN Acton                              882

Rudd, IH Architect Blandfordia            763

Ryan, Inspector  Acton                       910

Ryan, SJ Dentist                               772

Secretariat Build No 1 Caretaker          894

Sewer Outfall Works                          849

Sheaffe, PI Acton                              878(?)

Shumack, E ‘Kio Ora’ Ainslie                743

Snows, Drapers Eastlake                    778

Southwell, F Ainslie                           71?

St Gabriel’s School Ainslie                  711

Sub Garage (FCC) Acton                     960

Swan Bros Butchers                          737

Stores Office Eastlake FCC

Extensions (2 lines)                          569

Tantau, CA Ainslie Bakery                  753

Tantau & Pattison Causeway Mess       988

Taylor, JG Builder                             723

Taylor, SG Draper Eastlake                719

Telopea Park School                         724

‘The Times’ Fed Cap Press                  754

Thornhill, RJ Dairy Prod Merchants       705

Turncock Water Supply                      836

Turton, CW Sth Ainslie                       991

Tyson, BL                                        784

Universal Distributing Co                    702

Walker, J Col Acton                           767

Walker, J Telopea Park Eastlake          971

Waterman, HR Res Acton                   964

Weaver, Cotter River Road call

08 and ask for                                  ‘17’ ‘H”

Welch, RA Car Proprietor                    780

Whyte, RA Tailor, Eastlake                  965

Woodger, WG Res                             729

Wright, AE Eastlake                           704

Young, JH Ltd Gen Mchts                    525


Rose Garden - Bruce & Foster







The first Parks & Gardens Superintendent in the Territory was Thomas CG Weston.  On his retirement he was replaced by Alexander Bruce who remained in the job until 1937 when he resigned and moved to Sydney to take on a similar position there.

Documents about the work of both these men are plentiful as are newspaper articles.  Information about the men who worked for Parks & Gardens are few and in many cases this information is provided by family members.  One man who worked on the Rose Gardens at the Provisional [Old] Parliament House and the nearby Hotel Canberra was John Foster.  His daughter,  Claire Brinkmann provided the following information:  Her father was born at Forbes NSW in 1916 and came to Canberra aged 15 at the time of the Great Depression where he found some work on planting trees on Mt Franklin.  He married in 1937 and settled in Canberra where he worked on the Rose Garden and gardens at the Hotel Canberra  until retirement. 

His father, Charles Frederick Foster had come to Canberra earlier where he worked at a Cook at White City Camp and also as caretaker at Parkes Barracks  He was born in Forbes in 1864 and had enlisted in the army in the Boer War conflict, then in World War One in the 1st Light Horse.  He tried to enlist in the AIF in the Second World War, but was turned down because of his age. 

Claire provided the information about her family background.  The family were lace makers of Calais where four of the children were born. They moved to Nottinghamshire and in 1848 sailed on the Agincourt for Australia and settled in the Forbes area.

My neighbour, Eric Menzies, an Italian by birth who arrived in the territory in the teen years of the last century, also worked at Parks & Gardens as did his son, Neville.  Colin Smith, another Westlake lad, and his father, Tom Smith also worked for Parks and Gardens.  This was at a time when the front hedges of houses were kept trimmed by the men of Parks and Gardens.


When I heard in the local news a few years back about the renewal of the Rose Garden in the grounds of the Provisional Parliament House – now known as the OLD Parliament House there was no mention of Alexander Bruce who was one of the men responsible for its being. 

My attention was first drawn to AE Bruce’s connection with and work in relation to the Rose Garden came about when I met his daughter, Mrs Jessie Gibbs who lives in Canberra.  She is the only surviving child of a family of three children.  I met her before her second marriage to Arthur who turns out to be a distant relation of both myself and another Westlake person, Yvonnie Arnell (nee Gibbs).  Our common ancestors were second fleet convict Edward Merrick and third fleet convict, Mary Russell – a small world.

Jessie as well as telling me about her father and his work, showed me many wonderful old photographs of eg men working in Acton offices, the construction of the CSIRO and numerous newspaper cuttings. [some reproduced in Hidden Canberra Web in the section on 1930s newspaper articles http://hiddencanberra.webs.com/1930s%20Canberra%20Times.pdf.

Now many more are available on-line in the Nla newspapers.  One such example Horticultural Show : http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2386000?searchTerm=AE+Bruce+Canberra

Jessie wrote a story for our True Tales From Canberra’s Vanished Suburbs of Westlake Westridge & Acton  [Gugler 1998]. An excerpt follows:


Alexander Dickson Essen Bruce was born on 8th February 1884 at Arbuthnott, Kincardinshire Scotland, fifth son of William and Martha Bruce, farmers of Kincardinshire, Scotland.


Alexander Bruce became the second Superintendent of Parks and Gardens in Canberra and was responsible for much of the early street plantings in the city as well as the rose gardens in front of Provisional Parliament House...


The family arrived in Canberra in May 1927 in time to attend and view the official opening of Parliament House on the 9th. ..The family spent the first two nights in the Hotel Canberra before moving to a cottage in Torrens Street Braddon.  This house was far too small and shortly afterwards they moved into an Acton cottage usually kept for a bank manager.  When Mr Weston retired and moved from Acton the Bruce family moved across the road into Weston’s former House.  At this time Alexander Bruce was appointed Superintendent of parks and Gardens.  In July he was admitted to the Public Service and in 1935 was awarded the MBE for his work which was the responsibility for preparing of planting schemes, selection of trees and shrubs and the planting of the city area...


Mr Bruce is well remembered by a neighbour, Mr Charles Daley, who wrote a series of articles in the Canberra Times.  These stories have been collected and edited by Shirley Purchase and reprinted in a book called ‘AS I Recall, Reminiscences of Early Canberra.’ In the Chapter, ‘Garden Tradition’ Mr Daley speaks highly of Mr Bruce and records that ‘Bruce gave strong support to the Canberra Horticultural Society, of which he was a president and his help to the new residents in establishing their gardens was readily accorded and widely appreciated.  It was very unfortunate that an unreasonable official attitude lost us his services, in the mid thirties, when the City of Sydney eagily appointed him as the Superintendent of its Parks and Gardens...




The Canberra Times, 16 July 1932 has an article on Canberra Roses – Feature of City Gardens that notes Alexander Bruce’s love of Roses and his promotion of their plantings in Canberra’s private and public street and park gardens.  It in part reads:  An interesting pamphlet, ‘ Roses in the Federal Capital,’ written by the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens (Mr AE Bruce FRHS) has been issued.  The pamphlet is compiled from an article which was contributed by Mr Bruce to the ‘Australian Rose Annual’ in its July issue.


‘The article,’ says Mr Bruce, ‘ has as its prime purpose a brief exposition of the reason why the rose has been selected as the backbone (so to speak) of the floral decorative scheme for the Federal Capital and why it has so rapidly achieved the place of honour in private gardens throughout the Territory. There is presented also a brief appreciation of the roses that have been found most suitable to the soil and climate.


In the districts of Goulburn and Yass are to be found many ...growers of repute, and there were fine gardens within the area now occupied by the Federal Capital Territory before its purchase by the nation. The Campbells, of Duntroon (later the Royal Military College) and Yarralumla (the present Government House) were notable gardeners, and knew their roses.’


Reviewing the history of the rose planting in Canberra, Mr Bruce said: ‘In the year 1925 Mr Weston, who at that time held the position of Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, laid the grounds of the Hotel Canberra, and in addition to his piece de resistance – tulips – planted a number of roses, among which (it is recorded) were Carline Testout, Paul Neyron, FK Druschki, Dr Grill, Clara Watson, Papa Gontier, Marion Manifold, Beety, H Dickson, Madame Lambard La France and Sunny South, together with American Pillar, Crimson Rambler, Hiawatha and Dorothy Perkins.


In January 1926 the writer was appointed to the position and was charged with the responsibility of laying out the public parks and gardens of the Federal Capital.  It was quite obvious from the growth and development of the plants established by Mr Weston – many on their own roots – that the rose would be a success in Canberra and it took no great time to make up one’s mind that, from the point of view of floral decoration, here was a clue to be beautification of the Federal Capital...


The Canberra Times,  11 March 1933 in part reads: National Rose Garden – Progress of Canberra Scheme...The Minister for the Interior (Mr Perkins) stated to-day that the beds were now ready for planting. One section had already been started and all roses received to date were growing well. The superintendent of parks and gardens, Mr Bruce, was particularly anxious to secure roses from all parts of Australia so that the garden would be filled as early as possible and be representative of all parts of Australia and truly what its name portrayed: ‘The national rose garden of Australia’/

Apart from the areas on the east and west sides of Parliament House, which it was proposed to fill with roses as early as possible, he said, an area of approximately five acres had already been laid out in the form of a rose. A committee consisting of the Council of the Horticultural Society of Canberra and including the Superintendent of parks and gardens was now actively engaged upon the preparation of a colour scheme of planting which would ensure that every rose planted would be in its correct position as part of the whole colour design for the completed garden.  Taking as a guide, the spectacle of 20,000 roses in Commonwealth-avenue when in full bloom, it could be imagined what a magnificent sight would be presented from the avenue in front of Parliament House when the planting of this garden was completed and the roses were in full bloom.

Gifts of roses would be received by the superintendent of parks and gardens Canberra, from individuals, municipal and shire councils, public bodies, commercial rose growers and others.

The Canberra Times, 15 March 1935

...A definite plan of securing donations of roses for the project is being prepared by the sub-committee of the society which is co-operating with the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens Mr AE Bruce) in promotion of the scheme...

The Canberra Times, 17 December 1935

MR WESTON’S ASHES – Distributed on Canberra Parklands

In accordance with the wish of the late Mr TCG Weston, formerly officer in charge of Afforestation and Superintendent of Parks and Gardens in Canberra, his ashes were quietly distributed in the large park which forms the permanent administrative area of Canberra.


Mr Weston’s family was presented by his son-in-law (Mr Willis) and the distribution was carried out by the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens (Mr AE Bruce) and Chief Inspector of the Lands Department (Mr AE Bruce) and Chief Inspector of the Lands Department (Mr JC Brackenreg) and the Controller of Stores (Mr CE Francis).


The Minister for the Interior (Mr T Paterson) said it was fitting that Mr Weston’s ashes should find their resting place among the trees and shrubs of the principal park area of Canberra as he would always be remembered for the distinguished part which he played in the foundation and development of Canberra’s parks and plantations.


The Canberra Times, 27 August 1937

RESIGNATION – Parks and Gardens Superintendent.  After an association of nearly twelve years with the development of Canberra, Mr AE Bruce, the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, resigned on Wednesday...In tendering his resignation, Mr Bruce stated that his reason for doing so was the absolute impossibility of carrying on under existing circumstances...In 1926 Mr Bruce  was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of Parka and Gardens for the Federal Capital Commission. He was later appointed Acting Superintendent and on the retirement of Mr TGC Weston in 1928 was appointed Superintendent. 

Mr Bruce who has a comprehensive technical training was during his association with Canberra, wholly responsible for the control and management of the horticultural section of the city’s construction including nurseries, recreational areas, street planting and gardens.

In 1935 in recognition of his work in Canberra, Mr Bruce was awarded an MBE by the late King George C.  Mr Bruce and Mr Weston who received an MBE in 1927 are the only two horticulturalists in Australia to receive decorations.

When the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens (Sir Arthur Hill) visited Canberra he referred to the work here as the most successful and extensive ever attempted and on his return to London elected Mr Bruce to a fellowship of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Alexander Bruce has almost been forgotten in Canberra’s history as have the many men and women who came to build the city of Canberra. Most books and other informative material about early Canberra rarely mention the temporary camps and settlements and many refer to a Canberra that ‘began’ in 1927 with the arrival of the federal parliament and the men and women who came to run the business of the federal government.


John Foster Rose Garden Old Parliament House - courtesy his daughter,




Farewell to Fred Sullivan of Springbank 1915

The Queanbeyan Age, 18 May 1915


Again it is our duty to chronicle another function arranged to say goodbye to one more of our early residents and to mark the respect and esteem felt for the son of one of the most genuine and popular early pioneers of the district.  We refer in this connection to the late Mr William Sullivan of ‘Springbank’ Canberra who, half a century ago, settled and built up that snug and always hospitable homestead at Canberra surrounded by its fertile lands. 

The estate has been resumed by the Commonwealth Government, and consequently Mr Fred Sullivan found it necessary to quit the old home of his childhood and very many happy associations connected with ‘Springbank’ and the fine stately building ‘The Residency’ , where Colonel Miller resides, within a couple of years past a regular little township has sprung up, and neat cottages dot the landscape where years ago fine flocks of sheep and herds of cattle depastured and a profitable living was made out of agricultural and pastoral pursuits. 

When his Canberra and Queanbeyan friends learnt of the early departure of Mr F Sullivan from the district decided on making that gentleman a presentation, and movement was taken up with enthusiasm by both town and country folk. Mr Sullivan had been connected with every movement having for its object the advancement and furtherance of the welfare of the district. 

For sometime he was a councilor of the Yarrowlumla Shire, was vice president and an active member of the P and A Association and was connected with other clubs and societies.

On Saturday night, in the commodious supper room of the Protestant Hall, a large representative gathering assembled, despite the heavy rain and altogether uninviting weather conditions, where a complimentary banquet was tendered Mr Sullivan and presentation made to him and his sister, Mrs Maguire.

The building had been specially decorated with flags and bunting, the Belgian flag supported by the flags of the Allies being conspicuous.  The decorations were carried out by Messrs J Keeffe, JG Harris and SH Statter.

The festive board was also decorated with much taste by Mrs Keeffe and the Misses M Thompson, M Moore, Alice Moore, I Butt, Walsh, Slatter, Maguire and L Pike. These ladies also helped in many other ways and  a dainty and appetizing spread was provided. All concerned threw themselves into the work in a way which showed that the object6ive was dear to t hem.

Dr Blackall, JP occupied the chair and seated on his right was the guest of  the evening and Mrs Maguire and other ladies.

The Chairman, after proposing the Loyal toast, read apologies from Messrs AG McKeahnie, TE Woodger, AH Collett, CT Campbell, SJ Ryan, GA Boreham and P Gallagher.

Mr EG Crace wrote conveying his regret that owing to important business at Yass he could not attend the function. He had known Mr Sullivan for many years, had sat with him when he was a member of the Shire Council and the P and A Association and altogether he was a respected and estimable citizen. He trusted that wherever he went he would have good luck and in time, a good wife and a large family (loud laughter).

Dr Blackall then rose and said he had a very pleasing duty to perform and that was to propose the toast of the evening, ‘Their Gust,’ coupled with the name of his sister, Mrs Maguire. Mr Sullivan and Mrs Maguire were natives of the district and well and favourably known by all present.  In the departure of Mr Sullivan the district was losing one of its most esteemed and popular citizens.  It had been their experience of late to lose many of their best citizens as a result of their estates and holdings being acquired by the Commonwealth Government.

As the resumption of lands with the Federal capital territory went on they would find that some of the best men of the district would be departing from them. Still, added the speaker, t here would be few men who would leave a greater gap than the guest of the evening. (Applause).

From childhood upwards he had commanded the respect of all who knew him. Some present could claim acquaintance with him ever since he was a child. He had been capable at his own particular line of business, had the welfare of the district at heart, and by his integrity and judgment had made his mark.  Therefore it would be hard to replace a man of Mr Sullivan’s ability who was in every respect a son of a worthy sire.  Dr Blackall, referring to the late Mr William Sullivan characterized him as one of the grandest men that ever resided in the district; and said it was pleasing to find that his son had so worthily followed in his footsteps. Mr Sullivan and Mrs Maguire would be an acquisition wherever they went.

The Rev Father Hogan jocularly said when they lo9oked at the elements outside and the bottles inside he would not be surprised at finding the company singing that old familiar refrain, ‘We won’t go Home till Morning.’

It was a pleasure for him to be present at such a magnificent gathering – a gathering assembled to say good-bye to ‘Fred’ Sullivan, and one that any man might be proud of; a gathering of true friends all of whom were sorry at losing their guest.

He (Rev Father Hogan) had been a resident of the district for four years and during that period had found out a good deal of ‘Springbank’ and Canberra.  The Sullivan family had the highest respect of everybody being honest and straightforward.  The late Mr William Sullivan was a real true Irishman and most fervent member of his church.  His character was pourtrayed [sic] in his son who ranked among the finest men Australian had ever produced.  He trusted that happiness and prosperity would be showered upon him wherever he went; yet he was sorry he was leaving as a bachelor and would rather have seen by his side a young woman worthy of him and capable of looking after him.

Speaking with some humor the reverend gentleman said that when Mr Sullivan leaving there would be many young ladies secretly shedding tears at his departure.  Many happy days had been spent at ‘Springbank’ but now the Sullivan family had gone times would change and it would be good-bye to the grand old times.

Alderman Richard Moore, JP had great pleasure in supporting the toast. He had known their guest since childhood and it was in the year 1860 that he first became acquainted with his father. If all people were like the late Mr Sullivan there would be no occasion for police or police courts. He was pleased to see that his son was following his father’s footsteps.  He spoke highly of the excellent traits of character possessed by Mrs Maguire and Mrs Lenane, the latter having been his next door neighbour for years. He wished Mr Sullivan God speed and prosperity wherever he went.

Mr J Keeffe, JP was pleased to have the privilege of being associated with the Canberra and Queanbeyan people in making a presentation to and farewelling Mr Sullivan with whom he had been associated privately  as a friend and publically as a colleague. His departure from the district was a wrench to the speaker as they had always been fast friends.  The building of the Capital at Canberra had caused many of their old and respected families to leave the district and seek fresh fields and pastures new.

Locally Mr Sullivan had been successful in business undertakings and he was confident that he would be a success wherever his lot in the future was cast. He sincerely trusted that he would have every blessing God could bestow upon him, and wished Mr Sullivan and Mrs Maguire every success in their new homes.

Mr Alex McIntosh expressed deep regret at Mr Sullivan’s departure. He and their guest were natives of the district. He had known their guest’s  father for very many years and had found him a warm-hearted, true and jovial Irishman. Mr Fred Sullivan was a genuine son of a worthy father, who at all times extended the hand of good fellowship to all, and unlike others, did not pass one by without the slightest sign of recognition.  He too, added his best wishes for the future prosperity and happiness of their guest.

Mr CH McKeahnie, JP said it was with feeling of pleasure and sadness that he rose to support the toast of their worthy guest. He was pleased to be present to show his respect and esteem, while at the same time he felt sad at having to part with a friend possessing such excellent qualities as their guest. He could not speak in too high terms of Mr Sullivan. He had known his father and mother and had also known his grandparents of whom he spoke in very flattering terms. He had known Mr Sullivan’s worthy mother before she was married and of the late Mr Sullivan naught but good could be said. Nothing gave him higher greater pleasure than in meeting the late Mr William Sullivan whom he always looked upon as one of the most exemplary men of the district.  He was pleased to see Mr Fred Sullivan following in the footsteps of his father. Other young men might well emulate the good example set by him.

Mr Fred Sullivan had many good qu7alities and had led a life that was a credi8t to himself and of advantage to the district he resided in. He hoped that where ever he went he would make a host of friends and that prosperity and success would be his. Under the circumstances there was no inducement for him to remain here and his going was only another link in the long chain of departures that would follow.

Mr FJ McGee had known Mr Sullivan for 25 years and had watched him develop both physically and mentally into a fine specimen of a young Australian. They required men of Mr Sullivan’s stamp to build up the country.  He hoped he would come back to this district and make a home equal if not better than old ‘Springbank’.

Mr JM McIntosh JP considered it an honor to have the opportunity of being present that night. He  had known the guest’s worthy parents for many years and it would be hard to find better. Personally he had known Mr Fred Sullivan both in private and public and had always found him a man. He regretted his departure and felt that in losing him and Mrs Maguire they were parting with two very worthy citizens. Wherever they went he trusted they would be happy and prosperous and have every blessing that God could bestow upon them.

The toast was drunk in bumpers to the accompaniment of ‘He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.’

Dr Blackall said he had another very pleasant duty to perform and that was to present their guests with a memento of the esteem in which he was held by his Canberra and Queanbeyan friends. On their behalf he asked him to accept a costly gold watch and chain.  To Mrs Maguire he presented a silver hot water kettle as token of regard from her Canberra friends.

Upon rising to respond, Mr Sullivan was greeted with loud and continuous applause.  He said he could not adequately thank them for the honor they had conferred upon him. He thanked them for the hon or they had conferred upon him.  He thanked them sincerely for the enthusiastic manner they had drank the toast and for the complimentary remarks made about himself and Mrs Maguire. It was very gratifying to them both to see so many people come long distances to attend the functio9n in such adverse weather conditions. He reiterated that he could not find words to suitably thank them sufficiently for what they had done that evening. Their gifts would be treasured by himself and sister, not alone for their intrinsic value, but for the good wishes they conveyed from the friends they were parting with. Although it was a bitter wrench for them to leave their old home at ‘Springbank’ they had to accept the inevitable. Mrs Maguire would make her home in Queanbeyan and the presentation made to her by her Canberra friends would ever remind her of her old associations with ‘Sprinbank.’  At the present time he did not know where he was going. He would be leaving the district in a few days but had no idea where he would settle down. Wherever he went he could assure them that he would be only too pleased to give his old Queanbeyan friends a right royal welcome. Although leaving the fact that the Federal Capital had been established at Canberra to a degree tempered any regret, inasmuch that it would in time be the centre of a great city, and would be a distinct advantage to the district, although not to people in rural pursuits. He fully realized that individual interests of the State and Canberra would be the central interest of trade and commence when the chosen representatives or the people would assemble there and put into practical form the legislative wishes of the people.  His chief regret at leaving the district was that he was parting with friends and acquaintances of a lifetime. He thoroughly appreciated the honor they had done him that night and fully recognized the labors of the ladies who had arranged such a splendid repast and the trouble the secretaries had gone to. He again thanked them for their presents and resumed his seat amidst rounds of applause.

The toast, ‘Prosperity to the Town and District of Queanbeyan,’ was then proposed by Mr JM McIntosh JP. As a native of the district and a pioneer of the olden days he could look back many years and notice the marvelous strides the district had made.  I had been said the times were now hard, but they were nothing compared to the times of the early days. He felt certain that the town of Queanbeyan was in for a good time. He deemed it an honor to have the privilege of handling such a toast.

Mr R Moore, had pleasure in responding to the toast. They did not want to look back, they wanted to look forward. The first thing required for the town was a water supply which he always had been, and would still be found, advocating. He would like to see the act relative to the resumption of the land in the territory altered so that they would have something settled and definite tenures arranged.  Many people had no desire to break up their homes, and would prefer to stop if any inducement were held out to them. He felt sure the district would be prosperous and the beautiful rain would gladden the hearts of all.

Alderman JG Harris, in a manly and stirring speech, gave the toast of ‘The Allies’ and mentioned the part the Allies were playing in the titanic struggle now raging.  The toast was enthusiastically honored.

Mr AH Nevell, JP in a very humorous address, proposed, ‘Success to the Federal Capital Area.’  He had come that night to show the good felling and appreciation he had for Mr Sullivan. He said with a merry twinkle in his eye, that perhaps he should have brought a revolver with him considering the recent happenings in which he took part in his capacity as stock inspector.  The acquisition of the lands within the Federal area had resulted in the sending away from the district very worthy citizens who had won and commanded the respect and good-will of the residents of the district.  He had known Mr Sullivan a long time privately and had watched his career as a public man whose opinions had been actuated by the best motives in doing what he could for the public institutions of the district.  He had an intelligent mind, showed good judgment and an honesty of purpose.  He then gave the toast.

In responding Mr CH McKeahnie said he was one of the oldest inhabitants and residents of the territory. Being a resident all his life he naturally took a keen interest in it. With good government, good administration and good seasons there was no reason why the territory should not be prosperous.  He had watched the lands within the territory being transformed from a timbered wilderness to what it was at the present day.  He had seen 40 and 50 bushels of wheat and 60 bushels of oats to the acre garnered off lands within the territory, while the wool always topped the marked at the wool sales. With all these advantages he saw no earlthy6 reason why the territory should no prosper.

Mr FJ McGee proposed the toast of ‘The Press,’ and paid a high tribute to Mr John Gale JP pioneer of the local press in Queanbeyan.

Mr WE Gale representing ‘The Queanbeyan Age,’ responded. 

The toast of ‘The Ladies’ was proposed by Mr Major and responded to by Mr WO Russell.

Mr F Sullivan proposed a toast of ‘The Chairman.’ Dr Blackall was a man so well-known that it was not necessary for him to mention his good qualities, as he enjoyed the confidence of everyone in the district; his advice was sought and he was universally respected.

Dr Blackall suitable acknowledged the compliment.

During the evening songs were rendered by Messrs W Hatchett and J Morawn, while Mr Major gave an amusing recitation.

A very convivial gathering terminated by the company singing ‘Auld Land Syne’ and the National Anthem.  Misses N and M Cullen acted as accompanists.