Hector McIntosh

Hector Gordon McIntosh

Block 110G Woden District - Property Name: 'Callum Brae'

Hector Gordon McIntosh was born on the 17th February 1889 to John and Ann McIntosh (nee Williams) of Majura. Both the McIntosh and Williams families were amongst the earliest settlers in the Canberra region with both John and Ann being born here during the 1850s.

Hector enlisted on the 10th August 1918 at Queanbeyan. At the time he was married to Hilda Hayward (nee Hayter) and lived at the Ainslie Post Office where Hilda was Postmistress. However, McIntosh did not see any action as the war ended one month later on the 11th November 1918. He was discharged in December that year.

Despite not having seen action, McIntosh was still entitled to apply for a Soldier Settlement block. In 1920, he received a 25 year lease for the 372 acre (151 hectare) Woden Block 110G at £85/5/6 per annum. The block is located close to Mugga Mugga with Jerrabomberra Avenue (now Monaro Highway) running along its eastern boundary. McIntosh named his property 'Callum Brae', the name being a Scottish Celtic translation of Malcolm Vale, which was the name of his father's property in the Majura Valley.

Plan of Woden Block 110G

Plan of Woden Block 110G

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Between 1920 and 1925, McIntosh continued to reside at the Ainslie Post Office. During the week he lived at Callum Brae in a 'portable camp', a hut towed to the site by tractor. During this period, he built a four roomed weatherboard homestead on the block consisting of two bedrooms, a dining room and a bathroom. When the Ainslie Post Office closed in 1925, the McIntosh family moved into the homestead at Callum Brae.

In 1931, McIntosh added a living room, a bedroom and a verandah around the front and northern side of the house. The original portable hut was joined to the rear of the house by a covered fibro and weatherboard breezeway with an enclosed rear entry.

Google Maps image of area c2014 with Woden Block 110G in red

Google Maps image of area c2014 with Woden Block 110G in red.

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Like many Soldier Settlement blocks, Woden 110G proved too small for a viable living. In 1923, McIntosh purchased two adjoining leases, Woden Block 110F (319 acres - 129 hectares) and Woden Block 110H (640 acres - 259 hectares). In 1931, he also acquired Woden Block 110D (200 acres - 81 hectares) creating an economically viable holding of 1,531 acres (620 hectares).

McIntosh was a keen sporting shooter. He was a founding member of the Canberra Rifle Club in 1914, the oldest active sporting club in Canberra. His son, Jim McIntosh, was also heavily involved with the club after joining in 1930 when he was just 16 years old. As a tribute to the McIntosh family's association with the club, the Gungahlin shooting range was named the 'McIntosh Rifle Range' in 1969.

In 1933, McIntosh sold his properties to Dick Reid and bought Glendon, a sheep property near Murrumbateman. The McIntosh's were still at Glendon when Hector died in April 1957. Hilda moved to Yass where she died a year later on the 8th April 1958 aged 71.

Callum Brae was placed on the ACT Heritage Register in 2011. The site was assessed as the most outstanding extant example of an FCT Soldier Settlement lease in the ACT. Its significance derives from the very high integrity of its Soldier Settlement structures and fabric and from the high integrity of its Soldier Settlement boundary. These structures have been, and continue to be, conserved through their ongoing use as a working rural property.

Callum Brae is a significant example of a successful WW1 Soldier Settlement lease. Beginning as a small economically non-viable block that was rapidly expanded into a viable holding by the acquisition of adjacent unsuccessful Soldier Settlement leases. The homestead and outbuilding precinct contains small simple structures built by the lessee himself using inexpensive and often recycled materials. Callum Brae demonstrates the principle characteristics of soldier settlement leases established in the FCT.

See Also

Hector McIntosh's cousin, Arnold McIntosh, was also a Soldier Settler in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).


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