Ray McClymont

Raymond Grieg McClymont

Block 23 Stromlo District - Property Name: 'Kambah'

Raymond 'Ray' McClymont, one of ten siblings, was born on the 9th December 1899 at Orange, NSW to James and Annie McClymont. He was a travelling sales rep for the agricultural firm Goldsbrough, Mort & Co. when he enlisted on the 17th October 1914.

McClymont embarked from Melbourne on the 'SS Ceramic' on the 22nd December 1914. He was a Driver with 301 Mechanical Transport Australian Service Corps Divisional Ammunition . On his arrival in England, McClymont traveled to Tarbolton in Scotland, the town from which his father had emigrated from over 60 years earlier. The Leader newspaper in Orange published the following account of his visit:

"The colonial soldier, full of the tales and yearnings of his father to once again visit his native place took the opportunity war provided in bringing him to this country and made the journey from London to Ayrshire on Saturday to locate his relatives and the scene so oft spoken about by his father, whom, it was learned, had died only 8 months ago."

After arriving in France in July 1915, McClymont's service record shows his war service to be relatively uneventful. On the 9th April 1917, the military charged him with neglecting to obey standing orders issued the previous day by "not having a lamp in position on Lorry 11734".  His punishment was the forfeiture of six days pay.

McClymont embarked for Australia on the 12th October 1918 disembarking in Melbourne the following December. He was discharged in Sydney on the 25th February 1919 at the rank of Lance Corporal and his medical reports that he had no hospital admissions and no disabilities. After the war, McClymont returned to his job with Goldsbrough, Mort & Co.

McClymont was living in Sydney with his wife, Hilda and five-year-old son when he applied for a Soldier Settlement block in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He listed the 1596 acre (646 hectare) Block 23 Stromlo as his first choice. His application was successful with the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) notifying him in December 1925. Under the Soldier Settlement Scheme, he applied for an advance of £625 using his house and 520 two-year-old lambs as security. McClymont called his property 'Kambah' after the name of the local subdivision.

Plan of Stromlo Block 23

Plan of Stromlo Block 23.

In 1924, the FCC had completed a valuation survey of the block the previous August assessing the block's value as £300 describing its assets as follows:

"There is an old slab house of 3 rooms with kitchen of 2 rooms and good brick oven, also woolshed 5 stands set of old yards and a sheep dip on this block. The external boundaries are fenced with the exception of the road on the western and southern boundary."

The FCC charged McClymont for the £31/4 cost of this survey on top of his annual rental of £458/17/6.

Google Maps image of area c2015 with Stromlo Block 23 boundary in red.

Google Maps image of area c2015 with Stromlo Block 23 boundary in red.

In January 1926, McClymont wrote to the FCC requesting permission to construct a new cottage alongside the existing slab cottage. The FCC found this satisfactory and also permitted McClymont to repay the survey fee in eight quarterly instalments. On receipt of his first "debit note" for the survey fees, McClymont wrote to the FCC, "I do not think the charge is quite legitimate, considered firstly as a matter of business principle." He pointed out that when the leases were offered, "all other liabilities & improvement conditions were stated" but "no reference was made to payment of survey fee by the successful applicant." McClymont concluded that while he was prepared to pay the survey fee, he requested the FCC "consider my complaint not so much in the light of the amount involved as to the method of the imposition of the fee."

The FCC Commissioner for Lands believed "Intimation was made to each of the applicants when blocks were allotted, and the survey fee noted in the advice." He continued, "Apparently it has taken Mr McClymont four months to realise his view if the charge not being legitimate. It is not only legitimate but usual in such circumstances."

Inspectors reported during his tenure that McClymont was maintaining his block to a satisfactory standard. By October 1926, he was living in a newly constructed weatherboard cottage; he had completed the remaining fencing and destruction of all suckers, seedlings, rabbit harbours and ringbarking.

In February 1928, McClymont applied to transfer his lease of Stromlo Block 23 to Alexander Scobell Lessey. At the time, he owed the FCC £671/19/2, much of which was the remainder of his original Soldier Settlement building advance. The FCC consented to the transfer on the proviso that Lessey pay off McClymont's debts.

In April 1928, Lessey's father, B.S. Lessey, wrote to the FCC requesting the extension of the period of his son's new lease from 10 to 25 years. His reason was the desire to construct "an up-to-date residence, which alone is estimated by the Architect to cost in the vicinity of £4000." He believed that the shortness of the present leases provided no encouragement for lessees to improve their holdings or erect suitable homes. He added, "I would remind the Commission of the old saying "Give a man leasehold and he will turn an Eden into a desert, but give him freehold and he will turn a desert into an Eden."

Following the transfer of Stromlo Block 23 to Lessey in May 1928, Raymond McClymont moved to Warialda, NSW and by 1949 was living in Queensland.


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