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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Eric Charles Bondfield

Born: 1894; Died: 1964; Married: Edith Wright

Eric Charles Bondfield

Eric Bondfield only lived in Ginninderra briefly (1922-1930), but he forged strong relationships with the Ginninderrans and maintained his connection with the district for many years afterwards. His name lives on in Bondfield Street, Gungahlin.

Eric was born in Sydney in 1894, the son of Charles Bondfield and Hilda (nee Lojdstrom). He spent his first years in Ryde, but the family seems to have moved to the north coast of NSW. He had a troubled start to life and was estranged from his parents at about 16 years of age. His father lodged a missing person's report for him in 1912 at Casino, when Eric was 18, but his family did not hear anything from him for many years. When Eric ran away from home he had travelled north to Queensland and picked up work as a roo shooter and carpenter.

Bondfield enlisted early in the Light Horse in the Great War, serving in Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine. His mother suspected that he would do so and managed to re-establish contact with her son through the military authorities. He was wounded three times during the war.

Upon his return to Australia, he married Edith Wright in Bombala in 1922. He had met her through her brother, Theo, in the army. Their grandfather, James Wright, had established Lanyon station and homestead in the 1830s.

1922 was also the year that Bondfield became a 'soldier settler' at Charnwood, where he built a house. He was active in the Weetangerra Branch of the Farmers and Settlers' Association.

He was a talented sportsperson, excelling at gymnastics and swimming. In the army he was the featherweight and lightweight champion of the 6th and 7th divisions. At Ginninderra he was the captain of the Hall Rugby League team (premiers in 1927).

When the Great Depression hit, it became too difficult for the Bondfields to continue at Charnwood and they sold up to the Gellibrands in 1930 and moved to Queanbeyan.

Eric Bondfield is credited with building the Deasland woolshed for Henry 'Babe' Curran in the 1930s.

He and Edith both died in 1964.

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