Leslie Lee

Leslie William George Lee

Block 7 Stromlo District - Property Name: 'The Cliffs'

Leslie William George Lee was born in Moree, NSW to Harry and Alice Lee in 1890. He was 23 years old when he enlisted in Sydney on the 4th May 1915 with the rank of Sergeant Major and spent the next 4 ½ years serving in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. In 1918 Lee was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in an attack. He mounted a captured machine gun when the objective was reached, and did exceptionally good work by silencing enemy machine guns, which were firing at the men during the consolidation. He worked unceasingly, and set a fine example to the men of his company."

Lee had attained the rank of Lieutenant by the end of the war and was officially discharged on the 30th January 1920.

After the war Lee was living at Darling Point, Sydney and working as a salesman when, in November 1925, he successfully applied under the Soldier Settlement Scheme for the 962 acre (389 hectare) Stromlo Block 7. In his application, Lee stated his practical experience in farming to be "8 years working on sheep and cattle stations at Moree, NSW and Queensland (managing Sheep Station period 18 months)."

Plan of Stromlo Block 7

Plan of Stromlo Block 7 1926. Click on plan for larger view.

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

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

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In 1927, Lee constructed a house on Stromlo Block 7 that he was now calling The Cliffs. Like most other rural lessees in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lee struggled to keep the weeds on his block under control. He was repeatedly warned by the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) that he was required to do so under the terms of his lease.

House plan for Stromlo Block 7

House plan for Stromlo Block 7. Click on plan for larger view.

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Lee also struggled to pay his rent falling behind on his payments throughout 1929. He hoped to repay the money owed when he sold his wool but by April 1930 Lee wrote to the FCC "that wool sold over a period of the last four months has dropped between 50% and 60% since the opening sales of 1928." He continued "To carry on my block at the high rentals which the Federal Capital Commission are imposing is impossible, and therefore I am relinquishing Block 7."

By the time Stromlo Block 7 was transferred to dairy farmer, Robert Brendan Corkhill, in July 1930, Lee owed the FCC in excess of £1000. On transfer, Lee was:

"required to liquidate the whole of his indebtedness to the Commonwealth, including the two advances made to him under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. He effected payment of his debts to the Commonwealth on 1/8/30."

However the farm was not Lee's only commercial venture at the time. In 1928, Lee had patented an improved livestock drenching gun that he sold as the Lee Drenching Gun. As the sole distributor in NSW, Lee had spent time away from The Cliffs to demonstrate his invention. The Lee Gun was also the subject of a 1935 patent suit that Lee brought against Gabriel Peter Kauzel for infringement of his patent. The following letterhead was used by Lee on some of his later correspondence with the FCC.

L.W.G. Lee company logo

L.W.G. Lee company logo for the Lee Drenching Gun.

By 1936, Leslie Lee had moved to Sydney and was a resident of Northbridge when he died on the 23rd October 1970 aged 80.

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