Roy Hetherington

Richard Roy Hetherington

Blocks 9A & 12A Woden District - Property Name: 'Bonshaw'

Richard ‘Roy’ Hetherington was born in 1891 at Kangaroo Valley, NSW. On the outbreak of World War 1, Hetherington was living in Queanbeyan with his parents, Richard Robert and Jane Hetherington, and younger sister Verlie Adair.

Hetherington enlisted in Sydney on the 1st September 1914. The following month, he embarked for Egypt on the HMAT Star of Victoria A16 as part of the First Light Horse Regiment. His service record shows that he was admitted to the Field Hospital at Lemnos suffering diarrhoea on the 19th July 1915. Later that month, he was transferred to Heliopolis and ultimately “Discharged to Australia” on the 16th September 1915 suffering from “debility”. Hetherington spent the remainder of the war recuperating from his illness and working for the Queanbeyan Recruitment Office.

In 1920, Hetherington successfully applied for the lease on two Soldier Settlement blocks, Woden Block 9A (338 acres – 137 hectares) and Woden Block 12A (587 acres – 238 hectares). Hetherington named his property ‘Bonshaw’.

Plan of Woden Blocks 9A and 12A

Plan of Woden Blocks 9A & 12A. Note that a section of each block is part of Canberra Central District in this 1929 plan.

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In 1921, Bonshaw became a makeshift airfield. On the 31st January 1921, two weeks after completing the first flight over Mount Kosciusko, Lieutenant Harper landed his Avro aeroplane on Woden Block 9A. The Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer reported:

“Lieut. Harper arrived in his famous Avro Aeroplane shortly after five o'clock yesterday afternoon. This morning passenger flights were taken from Mr. Roy Hetherington's paddocks on the Uriarra Road, about a dozen people taking the opportunity of viewing Queanbeyan from above, while a goodly number have booked seats for this afternoon and tomorrow.”

Google Maps image of area c2014 with Woden Blocks 9A and 12A boundary in red

Google Maps image of area c2014 with Woden Blocks 9A and 12A boundaries in red.

In 1924, Hetherington’s father retired after 27 years as Manager of the Queanbeyan Commercial Banking Company of Sydney and joined his son on Bonshaw. Hetherington appears to have transferred his leases to his father soon after. In 1929, the Federal Capital Commission (FCC) extended the Canberra City District boundaries. This effectively divided both blocks with half of Woden 9A becoming Canberra City Block 97 and a section of Woden Block 12A becoming Canberra City Block 98. 

Hetherington Snr continued to run Bonshaw until the 1st August 1929, when he transferred the lease along with 1,100 sheep to John Cheyne Garran. In 1939, the Commonwealth resumed the north east corner of Woden Block 9A establishing the naval radio communications base HMAS Harman.

Richard Roy Hetherington died in Queensland on the 14th January 1956.


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