Blocks 98A & 98B Gungahlin District
Cecil Read was born at Sutton in 1897 and grew up on the family property Oakhill just west of Sutton Village, NSW. He joined the Men from Snowy River Route March when he enlisted in Queanbeyan, NSW on the 23rd January 1916. Read embarked from Sydney in September 1916 as a Private with the 4th reinforcements to the 55th Battalion. However, he was offloaded at Durban in South Africa and hospitalised with emphysema and pleurisy. As a consequence he returned to Australia without seeing any action and was discharged in Sydney on the 8th April 1917.
In 1920, Read successfully applied for Soldier Settlement blocks in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and was granted the leases to Gungahlin Blocks 98A (289 acres - 117 hectares) and 98B (349 acres - 141 hectares). Located in the vicinity of modern-day Mitchell, the blocks were divided by the Old Well Station Road. His 25 year leases on both blocks began on the 1st January 1920.
Plan of Gungahlin Block 98A.
Like his neighbours, Read's blocks suffered from a plague of rabbits and he was regularly reminded of the need to dig out burrows. Read believed he had insufficient land to make a viable living, a problem he shared with many Soldier Settlers in the region.
Plan of Gungahlin Block 98B.
In 1923, Read built a cottage on Gungahlin Block 98A. It was a two room building with a roof and walls of galvanised iron, a six foot wide verandah and a garage built of galvanised iron (15 feet x 10 feet in size - 4.6 x 3 metres).
Google Maps image of area c2013 with Gungahlin Blocks 98A & 98B boundaries in red.
In October 1928 the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) purchased both blocks from Read for £600, including £313 for his improvements and the cottage. The FCC's aim was to terminate the last of the 25 year leases in the Ainslie-Majura Subdivison of Gungahlin District. This would then make the land available for an abattoir and agistment blocks for master butchers and established dairy farmers. Read vacated the blocks in March 1929 and the leases passed to Ted Shumack of Kia Ora (Belconnen Block 55, now the modern-day suburb of Lyneham) for a ten year period terminating on the 28th February 1939.
Cecil Read married twice and died in 1972 near Wagga Wagga, NSW.
- ArchivesACT: Government Property & Tenancy Registers - Gungahlin Block 98A ( PDF 526Kb)
- ArchivesACT: Rate Book : Territory for the Seat of Government - 1927 ( PDF 17.8Mb) - 1928 ( PDF 18.7Mb)
- ArchivesACT: TL980 (Part 1) - Block 98A Gungahlin District - Edward Shumack
- NAA: (B2455) First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920: http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/287800
- Soldier Settlement Subdivisions in the Federal Capital Territory After World War 1 by Susan Pfanner, Canberra Historical Journal (CDHS), March 1996
- Additional Recruits. Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer, 25 January 1916, p.2: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31669059