Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anzac Day, the RSL and Governors-General

On 13 July 1957 Governor-General Sir William Slim G.C.M.G., G.C.D., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. opened the Returned Sailors' Soldiers' and Airmens Imperial League of Australia club in Foxlow Street. (It was not until 1965 that the League's name was changed to Returned Services League of Australia and in 1990 it became the Returned & Services League of Australia.)
The three photos below are in the Captains Flat Community Photo Archive and were donated by Bob Smith.  The first one is servicemen greeting the Governor-General at the opening; including Scotty Dewar, Wally Lampe, Ernie Pritchard, Bob Moore, Kelly Bowman & Bob Gavin.

This photo shows Emma Moore and Sylvia Hatley at the servery of the RSL Club.

The Club premises closed and the RSL moved to the Citizens Bowling club in 1986. The club was renamed the Captains Flat RSL & Citizens Bowling Club.

It was not until 22 August1969 the next visit to Captains Flat was made by a Governor-General. Sir Paul and Lady Hasluck attended the Ned Kelly Gymkhana and Sports Day.

Anzac Day showing the cenotaph with the Lest we forget plaque. The Cenotaph does not have any named individuals.
The Anzac Day service that remembered animals in war. The photinias planted by Eric Bradley had grown to large trees almost blocking the view of the Cenotaph.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The main location of plaques is St Thomas's Church Carwoola, memorials are both inside the church and in the graveyard.

In 1837 William Rutledge bought two blocks of 640 acres on the Molonglo River. After establishing himself he brought out two sisters and four of his five brothers: Thomas, who remained at Carwoola, Richard and Lloyd who later went to Port Fairy, Victoria, and John who moved to California. His sister Martha married Sir Edward Knox. St Thomas the Apostle was designed by Canon Alberto D. Soares and built between 1872 and 1874 on land given by Thomas Rutledge. The east window was donated by Sir Edward Knox and his wife. The stained glass windows are in memory of George, Sophie and Darcy Osborne of Foxlow and the organ is in memory of James Maslin, who was killed in World War I. James Maslin’s father, J.F. Maslin, purchased Carwoola from the Rutledge family in 1907.

Albert Strudwicke is buried in St Thomas's as is his wife Ellen and Darcy Ernest Strudwicke. However the Strudwicke family also had a strong association with St Luke's in Captains Flat. Other members of the family were trustees of the Captains Flat Cemetery in the 1950s. They were George T. Strudwicke from 1952-1954. Darcy Ernest followed him in 1954 and Edward Wynne Strudwicke was a trustee in 1959.

The credence table in memory Albert John Strudwicke who died in 1954 and after her death in 1956, his wife Margaret Jane was included in the memoriam is in St Luke's.
A discreet memorial plaque to Donna Maree Norris who was killed in a car accident at the site, is in the copse of poplars by the Foxlow Shearing Shed gate opposite the gate to Captains Flat Road rural no. 2751. 
There is another plaque on a window sill of the Captains Flat Police Station by the Donna Darlin’ rose bush planted at the Police Station in her memory. The Donna Darlin’ is a red hybrid tea introduced by Winchel in 1993.
The plaque at the Police Station has the following wording:
This rose bush named Donna was planted 6/3/97 by Cameron and friends in memoryof Donna Maree NorrisDonated by Queanbeyan Police & friends.

In Wilkins Memorial Park is a wooden seat by the Cenotaph where the cricket can be viewed.
Mac the Knife was a knife-making business in Captains Flat in the late 1990s.

In Wilkins Memorial Park is a Eucalyptus planted in the picnic area that is a memorial to Alan Vasco Walker, who died on 8 October 2000. To protect it and the two memorial plaques, the tree has a fence.
Also in Wilkins Memorial Park is the Miner's Memorial.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Free feral fruit

There is a wealth of free feral fruit growing on the hedgerows and roadside verges available for the picking.

Hawthorn is the commonest and least used. The haws can be used for jam, sauce and jelly.

Briar roses produce another red berry used in food and cosmetics. Briars-Sharrow Road, also known as the Eleven Mile Turnoff is named after two properties on the road. The Briars was a grant to William Balcombe (1779-1829) in 1824. He had settled at St Helena in 1804 as a merchant and superintendent of public sales for the East India Co.  In March 1818 Balcombe was dismissed from the island on suspicion of being too friendly to Napoleon who lived on Balcombe's property, The Briars. Balcombe was sent back to England where he remained until 1823 until he was appointed colonial treasurer of New South Wales. On 5th August 1824, Governor Brisbane offered Balcombe a grant of 2,000 acres at Menanglo [sic] or Marley Plains about eighteen miles south of Lake George. William Balcombe also called this property The Briars. It is believed that William was responsible for introducing two plants to Australia, the Sweet Briar and the Weeping Willow. The willow (Salix Babylonica) grew nearby Napoleon’s grave on St Helena and Balcombe is reported to have taken cuttings from these trees.

In 1927 Yarrowlumla Shire Council was distributing noxious weed orders to destroy briar roses, but in 1939 the Council removed briars from the noxious weeds list.

 Apples also abound.

Blackberries were declared noxious weeds and efforts are still undertaken to eradicate them.

Ken Brandon Flat Chat wrote to the Queanbeyan Age in March 1984, stating "Sir - here is a news item, The recently named Kerr Creek (formerly Brandon Creek) is to be cleared of its jungle life growth". Two items of note in that letter, one, it was not until 2006 that Kerrs Creek was officially deemed a name by the Geographic Names Board. Secondly, the photo below was taken in 2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Besides the mail, other communications were available. In 1887 the telegraph office opened in Captains Flat, in 1911 there was a public telephone and although agitation began for a rail link in 1897, the line commenced service in 1939 and for general traffic in 1940.

Controversy surrounded the Telstra tower at Widgiewa.

From the road you can see glistening two white disks on the top of Mount Cronin from the telecommunications tower, there is also a fire tower and a Palerang Local Government Area repeater.

Out of sight further south is the Captains Flat Weather Radar. The radar dome is situated on a 22.35m cylindrical tower atop Mt Cowangerong, at a height of 1,381.6 metres above sea level.
The spectacular communications device visible from the road is MOST - the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope operated by the School of Physics, University of Sydney. The original One-Mile Mills Cross Telescope was constructed in 1960 by Emeritus Professor Bernard Y. Mills for radio astronomy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


William Westwood was an assigned convict on Gidleigh, an 1800 hectare property belonging to Captain Phillip Parker King, abutting the south-east corner of Captain Richard Brooks' Bungadow. In September 1840 Westwood absconded to the scrubland around Captains Flat, where he was captured. He was returned to Gidleigh from whence he escaped to the Captains Flat area and re-captured. On his return to Gidleigh he resumed forays at night in order to cache supplies and money for a final escape. He left Gidleigh on 14 December 1840 and by then was known as Jack Jackey (aka Jackey Jackey). Westwood made his way to the Briars and then to Primrose Valley where he met Paddy Curran and commenced his bushranging career the next day by bailing up a man. A few days before Christmas Westwood and Curran held up Gidleigh then moved on to Woden. Because of Curran's behaviour Westwood abandoned the partnership. Westwood was hung in 1846.

For more information about him see the booklet Jacky Jacky, a bushranger's autobiography : interleaved with a brief history of his life &​ death ​ compiled by Stephan Williams  and published at Woden, A.C.T.  byPopinjay Publications, 1990; The bushranger of Bungendore byGeorge Dick published by the Bungendore and District Historical Society in 1983 and the excerpt in the  Australian Dictionary of Biography online at

Henry Colden Antill Jnr, fourth child and second son of Captain Henry Colden Antill was an associate of the Jingera Mob.  In 1833 Captain Antill bought at auction 640 acres in Primrose Valley (Woolcara Lane follows the Primrose Valley Creek)   With Andrew Hartigan Tyrie and Jonathon Bowman, Henry Colden Antill Jnr was charged with horse stealing in December 1862. In 1863 Antill jnr and William Beaumont were charged with stealing three mares, the property of William Bowen, a neighbour along the Captains Flat Road. In a trial a month later Antill jnr and James Brown received sentences of 15 years hard labour on the roads. While in Darlinghurst Gaol, Antill wrote to the Governor telling of the habits, friends, camps etc of the Clark brothers in the Jingera. On 27 April 1867 the Clark brothers were captured according to this information. Subsequently Antill jnr was exiled on petition.

John Henry King was charged at the Goulburn Citcuit Court with having "held up," on 9 August 1898, the Captains Flat to Bungendore mail coach. As the mail coach carried cheques from the mining town to the banks in Bungendore there was usuall a goodly sum on board. The amount in the stolen mailbags was estimated at about £1500. One storekeeper had sent upwards of £550 alone. No passengers were molested. King was sentenced to twelve years. In 1887 he had been sentenced to ten years for robbery under arms and in 1910 he was sentenced to three years on four charges of stealing horses.

There had been a post office at Foxlow in 1875 and the one at Captains Flat was established in 1883. To celebrate the centenary of the post office in 1983 a re-enactment of bailing up the coach took place on Wilkins Memorial Park. The following photos are in the Captains Flat Community Photograph Archive and were taken by Yvonne Wallace and Shane Radburn.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


The Golden Age in its issue of  Thursday, 4 June 1863 proudly announced that a Handsome and well-constructed wooden bridge across the Molonglo River at Captain’s Flat opened to public traffic.  Ninety-nine years later the Whiskers Creek Bridge was built during the major reconstruction that bitumenised the road. In between those years other road  and railway bridges were built.

The following photograph was donated to the Captains Flat Community Photograph Archive by Yvonne Wallace. It is of a later timber bridge accross the Molonglo near Copper Creek taken in the 1980s showing much of the baren post-mining landscape.

The following photograph was taken in February 2010 showing that rehabilitation is a slow process. It has concrete piers with wooden railing and superstructure.

Another timber bridge, not as grand, is the now named Wombat Bridge near Silver Hills. It has wooden superstructue on a stone and concrete foundation.
The most striking bridge viewed from the Captains Flat Road is the Foxlow Bridge over the Molonglo River. It is an Allan Truss Bridge constructed in 1896.

The mine used rail to cart the ore and built a major bridge.
The photo on the right was taken in 1938 and is donated to the Captains Flat Community Photograph Archive by Douglas Mitchell.

A much earlier photo showing the bridge in use.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cars of Captains Flat

Even today some people are wary of driving along the Captains Flat Road. The road was bitumenised in 1962 (and some say that original macadam surface is still there). However, a selection of photos  donated to the Captains Flat Community Photograph Archive by Bob Smith and Carl Thompson show that cars were in Captains Flat in the 1920s.

The vehicle is a 1928 Buick. Possibly in Willow Road.
The owner of this Chevrolet is Bill Thompson who bought it new in 1929. The photograph was taken in 1932 with him on the left and his brother Henry on the right, holding the gun. The Thompsons owned the sawmill at Parkers Gap, off the Braidwood Road and this vehicle travelled well into the forests.

This vehicle is a 1946 Morris Utility. It is at the corner of Beazley and Spring Streets.

A 1950 Morris Minor outside 8 Wattle Avenue, Captains Flat. Carl & Mona Thompson with two of their children.