Maurice Fergusson

Maurice Alfred Fergusson

Block 52B Belconnen District

Maurice Alfred Fergusson was born on the 5th December 1895 at Caulfield, Melbourne, to Ernest and Alfritha Fergusson. He was living in Jerilderie, NSW when he enlisted within weeks of the start of World War 1, aged 19 years old.

Fergusson served with the artillery on Gallipoli and in France before being sent to an officer training school in England in 1916. There he met and married Effie Skinner. On being commissioned he returned to France and fought at Bullecourt and Messines where he was Mentioned in Despatches. He earned the Military Cross and Bar for his work between February and August 1918, was wounded twice, and finished the war as a Lieutenant with the 10th Field Artillery Brigade. He was discharged "Medically unfit for active service" on the 25th March 1919.

After the war, Fergusson was living at Dora Creek on the NSW Central Coast where he held a one third interest in an orchard. In November 1920, he was allocated Belconnen Block 52B under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. This block was the second choice listed on his application. His five year lease on the 682 acres (276 hectares) commenced on the 10th November 1920 but Fergusson claimed that he could not occupy the block immediately as he had just bought into the orchard at Dora Creek. He arranged to sub-let the block but did so without approval from the Commonwealth which was a breach of the lease agreement.

Plan of Belconnen Block 52B

Plan of Belconnen Block 52B.

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In September 1921 Assistant Lands Inspector, Fred Cox, reported that Fergusson had held the lease for about one year but was not in occupation, although Fred Hyles from Bungendore, NSW was agisting stock on it. Cox thought that Soldier Settlers should occupy at least part of the block and if they were not in a position to do so after six months then, in his opinion, they did not seem to be a desirable tenant.

A year later the District Surveyor, Percy Sheaffe, reported that:

"it is known that certain returned soldier lessees share the view that so long as they make what they are pleased to term an agreement for agistment, the provision against sub-leasing without permission is defeated; however when they are asked to give particulars of agistment terms such information is not forthcoming."

Sheaffe recommended that the lease be determined and it was cancelled, effective from the 9th November 1922. Fergusson's neighbour, David Tully was offered the lease which he accepted.

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 52B boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2013 with Belconnen Block 52B boundary in red.

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Fergusson left the Canberra region and purchased a dairy farm at Whittlesea near Melbourne in 1927. He served during World War 2 in Libya and commanded the 6th Cavalry Division. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and awarded the D.S.O. for his service. Maurice Fergusson died on the 27th May 1975 in Dunedoo, NSW.


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