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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Everard Gregory Crace

Born: 1874; Died: 1928; Married: Helen Blanche Lingen

Everard Gregory Crace

Grazier, Everard Gregory Crace was born into the wealthy home of Edward Kendall Crace and Kate Marion Crace. He was born at his mother's family's property in Queensland in 1874. She was from the Mort family, who were prosperous wool brokers and pastoralists.

Young Crace was a much more popular figure than his litigious father who had drowned under tragic circumstances with his groom in Ginninderra Creek in 1892. When his father died, Everard was commencing work with a wool-broker in England. He returned to assist his mother.

Everard Crace married Helen Blanche Lingen in 1903 at Darling Point in Sydney. They had five children together.

It seems that Everard lived at one of the old cottages at Palmerville estate, while his mother occupied Gungahleen (later known as Gungahlin homestead).

Crace was a sports lover and patron of local groups. He was elected president of the Ginninderra Cricket Club (1894), Ginninderra Football Club (1896), School Board (1908) and vice-president of the One Tree Hill Race Club and School of Arts (both in 1901). He served as an alderman on Yarrowlumla Shire Council and helped found the Ginninderra Farmers Union in 1905, serving as its inaugural president.

In July 1902, he was one of the police party involved in the tragic accidental shooting death of Joseph Heaps.

By all accounts, Crace was a good grazier and managed to keep his mother's properties profitable, despite the heavy debt encumbering the estate and the economic downturn of the early 1890s. In the 1900s he was running a flock of about 6,000 merinos.

In 1911, with the announcement of Canberra as the site of the new Federal Capital Territory, Crace, along with two other men from Ginninderra, joined the Vigilance Committee to represent the interests of affected landowners. Like many other Ginninderrans, he was to become a tenant on his own land.

At the outbreak of the Great War he organised patriotic sports carnivals and was president of the Federal Capital Referendum Committee in support of conscription in 1916. The following year, even though he was in his forties, Crace enlisted himself. Due to his age, he served as a battalion cook until the end of the war. Upon his return, Crace became the inaugural president of the Canberra Empire Service League and in 1919 chaired a meeting to form the local branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia. He was among the ex-servicemen who successfully applied for blocks in the first soldier settlement subdivision at Ainslie-Majura in 1919, even though he continued to own the lease of his family's extensive properties at Gungahlin and Ginninderra.

Everard Crace died in 1928 at Gungahlin. Helen had predeceased him by two years. They are buried at St Johns, Reid.

Obituary : Mr Everard Gregory Crace. Canberra. January 30.

The death occurred on Sunday night at his residence. Gungahleen, Federal Capital Territory, of Mr. Everard Gregory Crace. Popularly known as "The Squire of Gungahleen," Mr. Crace belonged to a family whose associations with the Gin-inderra district dated back to 1877, when his father, Mr. Edward Kendall Crace, purchased the Gungahleen Estate, com-prising originally an area of about 30,000 acres. Mr. Everard Crace was born 52 years ago in Queensland, and was educated in England. About 17 years ago ho took over the management of Gungahleen. When the estate, which is just within the borders of the Federal Territory, was acquired by the Commonwealth in 1915, and sub-divided, he took a lease of the old homestead, one of the oldest in the territory, in order that tile family association with the estate should not be broken, and he has continued to live there ever since.

For many years Mr. Crace associated himself with every local movement for the advancement of the district. Although a married man with a young family he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces for active service. Join-ing the ranks he left Australia in July, 1917, with the Sportsmen's Unit, organ-ised by "Snowy" Baker for reinforce-ments, and was later drafted into the 40th Battalion. His Identity in Austra-lia was known, and as he had been declared medically unfit for active ser-vice, he was about to be sent to the base for return to Australia, but pleaded that if he was too old to be allowed to fight, he should be allowed to cook for the men who did the fighting, and so for the last year of the war (1918) he acted as a battalion cook, always hard worked, and often under fire.

His wife died in September, 1926. There are two daughters and two sons. One of Mr. Crace's brothers is a commander in the British Navy.

[Mercury, Tuesday 31 January 1928, p. 6]

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