Newsletter – February 2024

NEWSLETTER – February 2024

Formed 14 August 1944 Association Number AO 1247 ISSN 1030-0651

AGM – Wednesday 27 March 2024 – 6 pm

Please join us at our AGM at the Mercure Hotel. The meeting begins at 6 pm and we promise you won’t be press-ganged onto the Committee; however, if you would like to join us you will find a nomination form on our website. Our speaker this year is Duncan Marshall, Chair of the Interim Heritage Council. His topic will be ‘Heritage Council update – looking back/looking forward’. Many of us stay for an informal meal afterwards. It’s a good way to catch up with those you know and to meet new residents. We hope to see you there.

Reid Park Sports Ground Survey

This survey is part of the stakeholder consultation program that will inform the development of the Reid Park Sports Ground Conservation Management Plan. Philip Leeson Architects are managing the project which has been funded by the ACT Government. The survey will cover what people like about the Park, how they use it, and what they think could be improved. It would be appreciated if our readers could take a moment to respond to the survey and encourage others to do likewise. The survey can be found by using the QR code printed here and on signs at the Park. Just point the camera on your phone at the QR code, tap the banner that appears on your device, and follow the instructions. It closes on 20 March.

In addition, we are looking for stories and photographs that illustrate the various activities that have taken place on the grounds through the decades e.g. sporting competitions, community kick-abouts, dog-walking or picnicking. We know from the RRA minutes of 4 December 1945 that the President ‘described plans made by the Committee for a Christmas treat for Reid children to be held on Saturday, December 15th from 3 to 5 pm at Reid Park. He appealed for donations towards this event, particularly for cakes, sugar etc.’ Perhaps some of you attended that party!

Finally, we are hoping that someone will recall when the change-rooms were built. They aren’t heritage listed (there is no intention to do this) and they don’t appear on a 1958 aerial photo so must have been built sometime after that.

Please dig through your archives and your memories and contact us at We would love to hear from you. It would be great to add some colour to the consultant’s report – it always makes for better reading.

ACT Heritage Festival – 13 to 28 April

On Friday 26 April the RRA will be hosting an event for the ACT Heritage Festival. It will be a walk in Reid, sharing the beauty and history of our suburb while adding a little spice. This year’s heritage festival theme is Connections and our walk is called: Conspiracies, continuity and connections.

Inspired by Professor Maley’s talk last year at the Reid Reminiscences afternoon tea, we have poked through the archives and found some more stories about former residents and their links to the dark side of politics. Here’s a sample of what we have found although, as Mark Twain said, ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’.

Dr John Burton lived in Reid from mid-1943 until the end of 1946. He attended the first meeting of the then Reid Progress Association but, probably more importantly, he later acted as the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs and Trade) from 1947 to 1950 under External Affairs Minister H.V. ‘Doc’ Evatt. In doing so, he became the youngest person ever to head a Commonwealth Department. He was 32 years old. It was rumoured that, during this period, he was close to Ian Milner, a diplomat who later defected to the Eastern Bloc. This was at a time when Walter Seddon Clayton, a key organiser of the Communist Party of Australia and suspected of being the Australian-based Soviet spymaster code-named ‘KLOD’, coordinated a network of spies in Canberra during the 1940s and early 1950s.

This may sound a little like KAOS, the international organisation of evil and enemy of secret agent Maxwell Smart, or a James Bond film but it is very much the product of the Cold War.

Fast forward the defection of Vladimir Petrov, an MVD officer in the Soviet Embassy, shortly before the 1954 federal election. Russian couriers sought to remove Evdokia, his wife, who didn’t know her husband was defecting. The photos of Evdokia being rough-handled by MVD agents at Sydney airport become iconic Australian images of the 1950s.

When the aircraft stopped for refuelling at Darwin Airport, Evdokia was seized by ASIO officials on the command of Robert Menzies, who later called for a Royal Commission on Espionage. Evatt accused Menzies of having arranged the defections to coincide with the election, for the benefit of the incumbent Liberal Party. Evatt’s appearance before the Royal Commission and subsequent actions upset the right wing of his own party, leading to a split in 1955.

In the end, no charges of spying were laid and the Labor Party didn’t win office again until 1972. So, no winners! Just an interesting tale involving a Reid resident.

To finish, we quote Phillip Adams: ‘John Burton was probably the most controversial and visionary public servant of the 20th Century. Branded a pink eminence of the Labor Party by conservative critics, he was clearly one of the most important intellectuals and policy-makers associated with the Curtin Labor Government of the 1940s…he did more to shape Australian foreign policy towards Asia and the Pacific than any other person before or since’.

So, here is a tale of conspiracy and connection to Reid. If you know of more, light or serious, that you think would interest others, please share them with us. It’s what brings life to walks like these.

ACT Heritage Jurisdictional Review

The ACT Government has released its response to the findings of the ACT Heritage Jurisdictional Review Consultation Report. The introduction states that the ‘Government sees benefit in using the Inquiry’s report to inform the government’s ongoing heritage reform program. As such the government will consider the Inquiry’s report during the development of future ACT Heritage Business Plans. These Business Plans will focus on implementing the key recommendations from both the Inquiry and the ACT Heritage Jurisdictional Review. As this work is still in progress, many recommendations made by the Inquiry have been noted in the Government response.’ Links to information about the Review and to the ACT Government response are included in Minister Vassarotti’s press release of 21 February which can be found at:

Bulky Waste Collections – Wednesday 10 April and Monday 8 July

The ACT Government offers a bulky waste collection to residents of the ACT. City Services will collect up to two cubic metres at each property once each financial year. It appears from the city services website, that Reid is allocated a collection date each quarter. The next two scheduled dates are Wednesday 10 April and Monday 8 July. This is a booked service so you must fill out a form on the ACT Government website, describe the materials you want collected, and select which of the available dates you would like the collection. While it is a good to have such a service, you will need to think up ahead if you want to get rid of bulky waste. Details are at:

Your Say Conversations

The ACT Government is seeking your ideas on the future of City Hill Park. The survey is open until 25 March with a physical exhibition from 9–25 March at Civic Library. They are also seeking ideas to help shape Canberra’s civic and cultural district. The concept documents and a short survey are also on the Your Say website:

The foundations of Reid

Several residents have contacted us following an article in our last newsletter. As a result, we are putting an information kit together with the assistance of a resident who is going through the process now. We hope to have this ready for the next edition.


November 2023 December 2023 January 2024
Ainslie Ave Assault other x 2 Other property damage Other theft
Ainslie Ave Other property damage x 5
Allambee St Assault other x 2 Assault other Assault causing ABH
Allambee St Other theft Number plate theft Burglary dwellings x 2
Allambee St Other property damage Other property damage Other property damage
Boolee St Other property damage Other theft
Boroondara St Other theft
Constitution Ave Other property damage
Cooyong St Motor vehicle theft Other property damage
Cooyong St Other theft x 2
Cooyong St Other property damage
Coranderrk St Other theft Other property damage
Dirrawan Gdns Number plate theft
Elimatta St Assault other Other theft Burglary dwellings x 2
Elimatta St Other theft
Geerilong Gdns Burglary dwellings
Gooreen St Assault causing ABH
Kogarah Lane Other property damage Burglary dwellings

Victim of Burglary Households

If you have been a victim of burglary since 1 January 2022, you may be eligible for the Target Hardening Support Offer of up to $550 (inc. GST) to help with the purchase costs and/or installation of target hardening measures for your home, such as locks, security screens, sensor lights security cameras, and more.

The objective of target Hardening for residential homes is to deter, delay or minimise the impact of an attack or burglary by strengthening overall security and reducing vulnerabilities. By assessing potential risks, identifying weak points and implementing security measures, you can safeguard your home and loved ones. To apply for the $550 Target Hardening Support Offer, complete the application form at Applications close 29 February 2024.

Reid Personalities

It’s a treat to have space in our newsletter to write about something other than government plans that might pose a threat to our community.

We thought we would use this opportunity to profile one of our residents – Ian – who has had the most interesting life. A young man in Queensland, his love of horses led him to leave home at 15 years of age and become a jackaroo on a remote station. He did this for about 5 years until he decided to study for his matriculation through correspondence. Each week he would receive a bundle of papers and he would diligently work through them and send them back. On one windswept station, he fashioned a 44 gallon drum into his study world: opening one end so that he could climb into his swag and wriggle into the drum. Headed into the wind, with a carbide light to read by, it was a cosy world.

Ian did so well that he was offered a place at university studying veterinary science. Tentative at first, he topped his first year and each year after to take out the University Medal. From there it was off to the University of London to do a Phd and a DSc. An Emeritus Professor and medical researcher at the ANU, Ian is still publishing in his 80s, running each day to keep fit (you might see him circling Reid Park) and travelling regularly to talk science and enjoy the natural world. There are many residents in Reid who have lived extraordinary lives. Ian is one and you might meet him, and others like him, at one of our functions.


1930 or 1944 – what difference does a few years make?

Well, quite a lot really. Trove, that wonderful National Library resource has thrown up a conundrum. Was the RRA formed on Monday 16 May 1930 or Monday 14 August 1944? Is the RRA about to turn 80 or have we missed a birthday or two?

The Canberra Times of 21 May 1930 reports that ‘The residents of Reid are showing a commendable spirit of civic enterprise and a desire to improve the conditions of their district. With this object they have formed the Reid Progress Association’. The Chairman of the Provisional Committee, Mr JL Mulrooney (after whom Canberra’s equivalent of the AFL Brownlow Medal is named) presided over a large attendance and membership was open to any resident of Reid or to any person whose place of business was in Reid upon payment of a subscription of 2/-.

We don’t know what happened to this Reid Progress Association but, in 1944, residents of Reid formed another Progress Association to provide ‘an opportunity of participating in the work being carried out by the ACT Council of Progress and Welfare Associations’. This time Mr L Fitzhardinge (who later authored Billy Hughes’ biography) was elected chairman although Mr Mulrooney had plenty to say. He ‘contended that the needs of Reid were greater than residents imagined. The streets needed paving. The people were leg-roped and handcuffed by bureaucrats…The people were subject to the world’s worst landlord who made the domestic life of residents difficult. People paid taxes but had no representation. They paid rates but had no say in their own affairs.’ And we thought we got a bit fired-up at times! In any case, if you know more, please contact us. We would love to know when our birthday really is.

Community news

St John’s Anglican Church, 45 Constitution Avenue


Coming up is a performance of Lamentatione on 27 March by the I Progetti Chamber Choir and the return of a music-based playgroup for pre-schoolers on Wednesday mornings. On Anzac Day, St John’s will be hosting a Gunfire Breakfast immediately following the Dawn Service (6.30 am). You are welcome for a BBQ breakfast and cup of coffee (complete with a nip of rum), in the churchyard that contains the graves of many WW1 veterans, including Canberra’s first Anzac.

Canberra Korean Uniting Church, 56 Coranderrk Street


St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Boolee Street


Reid Tennis Club est. 1928, 17A Dirrawan Gardens


RRA Committee 2023–24 Contact via:

President: Marianne Albury-Colless Secretary: Robyn Bergin Treasurer & Public Officer: Roy Jordan Committee: Anne Buttsworth, Sue Byrne, John Henderson, Molly Henman and Amanda Reynolds