Eric Bondfield

Eric Charles Bondfield

Blocks 7 & 9 Belconnen District

Eric Charles Bondfield was born in Sydney in 1893. He enlisted in Winton in Queensland on the 7th January 1915 where he was working as a station hand. Bondfield arrived on Gallipoli with the 11th Light Horse Regiment in August 1915 but was transferred shortly after to the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, positioned near Rhododendron Spur. He was wounded in the thigh a few weeks later and upon recovering rejoined his original regiment.

In 1916, the 11th Light Horse fought in the Sinai campaign and then into Palestine. During the Second Battle of Gaza in April 1917 Bondfield received a second wound to the thigh, recovering by June 1917. Thereafter followed battles around the Jordan Valley before the Turks surrendered and the Light Horsemen returned to Australia.

In 1922, Bondfield married Edith Wright, sister of Albert Wright, who was a fellow Soldier Settler.

In 1923, Bondfield was allocated a ten year lease on the Soldier Settlement Belconnen Block 26 (538 acres - 218 hectares) beginning the 14th June 1923. He soon concluded that although "he didn't want to be a grumbler right at the beginning", he hoped to get more land so that he could make a living. In June 1923, at the suggestion of the Commonwealth Surveyor General, Bondfield gladly swapped Belconnen Block 26 for the larger area of Belconnen Block 7 (259 acres - 105 hectares) and Belconnen Block 9 (665 acres - 269 hectares). John Fingleton, a grazier from Gunning, NSW, had leased both blocks since March 1923. In October 1923, Bondfield signed the leases for both blocks for a ten-year period beginning on the 14th June 1923.

Plan for Belconnen Block 7

Plan for Belconnen Block 7.

Back to Top

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 7 boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 7 boundary in red.

Back to Top

The 924 acres (374 hectares) in the combined blocks included the site of the original Charnwood homestead (on Belconnen Block 9). Bondfield built his own house there taking out a loan of £745 over 14 years under the Housing Ordinance (1928). He also took the opportunity of buying 2000 bricks, from what was described as the old Ginninderra homestead, for £2/10 per thousand. There was also an old cottage already on the block that had once been the home of Henry Siggs, the stock overseer at Gungahleen.

Plan for Belconnen Block 9

Plan for Belconnen Block 9.

Back to Top

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 9 boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 9 boundary in red.

Back to Top

The old cottage was described as consisting of a verandah (24 feet x 4 feet 10 inches - 7.3 x 1.5 metres), living room (11 feet x 8 feet x 11 feet 3 inches - 3.4 x 2.4 x 3.4 metres), two bedrooms (11 feet 3 inches x 11 feet 4 inches - 3.4 x 3.5 metres and 8 feet 6 inches x 10 feet - 2.6 x 3 metres) and a kitchen (13 feet x 8 feet 6 inches - 4 x 2.6 metres). It was constructed of hardwood framing covered inside with T&G matched board, externally with feather edged weatherboarding and had a galvanised iron roof. The cottage was valued at £175/8 but the total value of buildings, including the laundry and an old slab shed, was £207/8. Bondfield agreed to purchase the old house in eight equal installments for £208.

Plan of house for Belconnen Blocks 7 & 9

Plan of house for Belconnen Blocks 7 & 9. Click on plan for larger view.

Back to Top

Bondfield was a leading sportsman in the Ginninderra district, not only playing rugby league for Hall but also captaining the team to the A Grade premiership in the Federal Capital Territory and District Rugby League Competition in 1927. He was a member of the Federal Territory Lessees' Association and served on its executive committee.

By April 1930, Bondfield was feeling the strain of the Depression and he sold his blocks to Thomas Ianson Gellibrand, the son of Major General John Gellibrand. In 1935, the Kilby Brothers (Athol and Keith) paid £1200 for the 259 acre (105 hectare) Belconnen Block 7.

In July 1930, Bondfield and his family moved to Queanbeyan, NSW. Bondfield Street in Gungahlin is named after him.


Back to Top