Harold Bingley

Harold David Bingley

Block 13 Belconnen District & Blocks 11A & 11B Woden District

Harold David Bingley's family arrived in the Queanbeyan district of NSW in the 1840s. The Bingley's farmed at Woodfield near Amungula, NSW on the Sutton Road and Harold Bingley was born there on the 13th August 1886. Bingley enlisted in January 1916 as part of the Men from Snowy River Route March (from Delegate to Goulburn, NSW) and embarked overseas with reinforcements for the 55th Battalion in September 1916. A few days before embarking, he married Sarah McInnes from Amungula.

Bingley joined the 55th Battalion in the trenches near Flers in France on Christmas Eve 1916. By March 1917 the unsanitary and damp conditions caused him to suffer a severe case of piles and he was evacuated to England for treatment. That was effectively the end of his war and he returned to Australia where he was discharged in April 1918.

Belconnen Block 13

When the first advertisements for Soldier Settlement blocks in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) appeared in 1919, Bingley was one of the unsuccessful applicants. After a brief stint in Sydney, Bingley returned to Amungula and was living at Wirriwa Station near Bungendore when he obtained the lease to Belconnen Block 13 in 1924. Belconnen Block 13 lay to the north of Parkwood Road and between the old Weetangerra Road and the New South Wales border. The site included the recently developed area of West Macgregor and part of Ginninderra Creek where it flows into New South Wales.

Bingley signed the 25 year lease for the 535 acre (217 hectare) block starting on the 1st September 1924 at an annual rental of £167/3/9. He did not occupy it immediately, instead gaining permission for his brother Ewan to agist sheep on the land for one year.

Plan of Belconnen Block 13

Plan of Belconnen Block 13. Click on plan for larger view.

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By February 1926, the Kilby brothers (Athol and Keith) from Hall had agreed to purchase Belconnen Block 13 from Bingley. Bingley had insufficient capital to work the block and wrote to the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) that he was unable to get the standard advance of £625 available to returned servicemen from the Repatriation Department. Being a married man with a family, he wrote "I find it rather a hard job to carry on."

The transfer of the lease was delayed because of uncertainty about the alignment of the proposed Yass-Canberra railway line that was to run through the Belconnen area. The lease was eventually assigned to the Kilby brothers effective from the 1st March 1927.

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 13 boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 13 boundary in red.

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Woden Blocks 11A & 11B - Property Name: 'Flanders'

Bingley's younger brother Ewan Bingley, also a returned serviceman, had acquired the leases to Woden Blocks 11A and 11B, a combined area of 712 acres (288 hectares). Ewan transferred the blocks he had named Flanders, to Harold Bingley on the 2nd April 1930 for the nominal amount of £10. The northern boundary of the land was the Queanbeyan-Canberra railway line (in Fyshwick) running from near the end of Yallourn Street eastwards to the closest point of the Molonglo River. Much of it is now incorporated into Cookanulla homestead, which appears to be on the site of a building erected by Ewan Bingley in about 1922. This earlier building became Harry Bingley's home in 1931.

Plan of Canberra City Blocks 11A & 11B

Plan of Canberra City Blocks 11A & 11B (formerly Woden Blocks 11A & 11B).

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Plan of Woden Block 11B

Plan of Woden Block 11B.

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Soon after taking over the leases Bingley inquired about the price of trees to provide shade. The Lands Inspector, James Brackenreg, told him that the Forestry Section of the FCC had ponderosa pines free of charge provided he protected them from stock. Bingley planted 51 of these trees in three rows on Woden Block 11A and another 66 pines around what was described as a hut on Woden Block 11B. Although he used the land for grazing, Bingley ploughed 40 acres (16 hectares) for crops and another five acres (two hectares) along the creek for lucerne. When water began to run short he also built two 220 cubic yard (168 cubic meters) dams.

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Woden Blocks 11A & 11B boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Woden Blocks 11A & 11B boundary in red.

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From the 1st July 1933, Bingley was granted new 25 year leases on both his blocks but they had now been reconfigured. The boundary of the Canberra City District had been extended and almost all of Bingley's land became Canberra City Block 11A. A small portion outside the city boundary remained as Woden Block 11B. By October 1933, Bingley was seeking more land as his 712 acres (288 hectares) was too small a holding to make a living.

In October 1933, the owner of radio station 2CA, Jack Ryan, sought Bingley's permission to erect wireless masts and a small building on what became known as Radio Hill (near the corner of Canberra Avenue and Newcastle Street in Fyshwick). Bingley agreed and 2CA began broadcasting from the site in 1934.

Remnants of 2CA transmitter

A guidewire post for the 2CA broadcast antenna and foundations of the 2CA transmitter hut on the former Woden Block 11A.
Photos taken 15th March 2009.

A few months later Bingley sold the land to Bob Stewart of Horse Park in Gungahlin. The contract for sale for £1000 was finalised on the 14th March 1934. Bingley and his family moved to Redfern in Sydney during Easter 1934. He died in South Sydney Hospital on the 17th May 1937 aged 50 years.


  • ArchivesACT: Government Property & Tenancy Registers - Belconnen Block 13 (PDF Icon PDF 355Kb)
  • ArchivesACT: Government Property & Tenancy Registers - Woden Block 11B (PDF Icon PDF 336Kb & PDF 781Kb)
  • ArchivesACT: Rate Book : Territory for the Seat of Government - 1927 (PDF Icon PDF 17.8Mb) - 1928 (PDF Icon PDF 18.7Mb) - 1929 (PDF Icon PDF 8.88Mb)
  • ArchivesACT: TL1256 - Block 13 Belconnen - A.C. & K.K. Kilby
  • ArchivesACT: TL1018 (Part 1) - Block 11B Woden
  • ArchivesACT: TL1018 (Part 2) - Block 11A Woden - H.D. Bingley
  • ArchivesACT: TL1018 (Part 3) - Block 11A Canberra City and Block 11B Woden (Consolidated Lease) - R.A. Stewart
  • ArchivesACT: TL1018 (Part 4) - Block 11A Canberra City and Block 11B Woden Consolidated Lease - R.A. Stewart
  • NAA: (B2455) First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920: http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/89473
  • Additional Recruits. Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer, 25 January 1916, p.2: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31669059
  • Family Notices. The Canberra Times, 18 May 1937, p.2: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2433380

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