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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Leon Russell Smith

Born: 1891; Died: 1974; Married: Nora Southwell

Leon Russell Smith was born on 25th January 1891 at Woodgrove, Wallaroo, the son of Ellis Smith and Jane Southwell. He was one of eight children - Rebeca Jane (Mrs Horace Southwell), Lavinia Mary (Mrs F Newberry), Ernest Clement, Beatrice Louisa, Leslie Edward, Elvira Clare (Mrs D J Russel), Leon Russell, and Eunice Alma Victoria (Mrs A C Kilby).

As he grew up Leon attended the Brooklands School at Wallaroo. His parents boarded the teacher. Almost the whole of his life was spent within a few miles of his birthplace, but during the First World War he worked for a short period on the railway at Harden.

Leon acquired the property of Woodland while living and working at Woodgrove, which he worked in conjunction with Woodgrove. On 10th March 1926 he married Nora Southwell, daughter of John Southwell of Carrington, Hall. Both his parents died in 1928, and in 1929 he purchased the Woodgrove property. This year marked the beginning of the Depression, and he faced difficult times.

Leon and Nora has three children - Keith Ellis, Moya Elizabeth Jane and Roger John. To further his children's education he sold both Woodgrove and Woodland and, after a year at Melrose, Weetangera, purchased a property known as Callum Brae adjoining Jerrabomberra Avenue. After living in Kingston for a period, in 1941, the Smiths made their final move to 11 Beltana Road, Pialligo, which bears the name 'Woodgrove'. Leon also acquired a suitable leasehold property nearby and, in about 1972, handed it over to his son Roger, and retired.

Leon was keenly interested in the early history of the district, and of the people living in it and the events that took place during his lifetime, being a ready reporter of local event to the papers in Canberra and Queanbeyan, especially the Queanbeyan Age, writing in his well-known flourishing copy book style. Leon Smith died 21th June 1974 in Canberra. He was the author of Memories of Hall which was published in 1975.

Related Photos


Smith, L. R, Memories of Hall, Roebuck, Canberra, 1975

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