William 'Bill' Carney
Born: 1890; Died: 1970; Married: Vera Curran
William Carney (known as ‘Bill’) was born near Tarago, the sixth and youngest child of Timothy Carney and Ann (nee Keeffe). Carney lost his mother in 1895 when he was five years old. His Aunt Maggie helped his father to raise him. When his father died in 1907, Bill followed his older brother Patrick John (known as Jack) to work as a farm hand on the Crace’s property ‘Gungahleen’ (later known as Gungahlin homestead). It was here that he met his future wife, Vera Curran.
After war was declared, Bill enlisted in the AIF on the first day of recruitment. His unit was in the second wave ashore at Gallipoli. He contracted rheumatic fever and along with many others was evacuated on 30 April. He was admitted to hospital in Cairo and on arrival back in Australia he was discharged in November 1915. That could have been the end of his war service and he could have returned safely to Ginninderra to lead a peaceful life; however, in April 1916, having regained his health, he re-enlisted. In May 1917 during the Second Battle of Bullecourt, Bill received a severe gunshot wound to the arm. After recovering, he rejoined his unit in Belgium and was appointed Sergeant.
On his return to Australia, he was employed at the Gladesville Mental Hospital in Sydney. Bill married Vera in 1920 at St Gregory’s in Queanbeyan. They set up home in Gladesville and had three children (Mauva, William, and Kathleen) in Sydney. Sadly, baby William died shortly after his birth. The family returned to Ginninderra in 1927 to take up a soldier-settler property at Charnwood. Here, another daughter, Estelle, was born.
Bill Carney was a stalwart of the Hall community and noted for his friendly nature. Sadly, in 1938, Vera contracted pneumonia and died at the age of 45, leaving Bill to raise their three daughters. After some years, to increase his income, he took up employment in the Federal Public Service in nearby Canberra.
In about 1955, Bill sold his Charnwood block and moved to Forster to run a general store. He also invested in a company manufacturing fibreglass caravans. In 1965, he suffered a stroke and was admitted to the Concord Hospital in Sydney. His daughters arranged for him to be relocated to Canberra Hospital, where he eventually died in 1970.
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Maher, B., In Praise of Pioneers: an Account of the Keeffe and Curran Families - Queanbeyan District, Canberra, 1981
- Information from Merran Martin (granddaughter)