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Moore, Bruce Richard (1913–1985)

by Jill Waterhouse

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Bruce Richard Moore (1913–1985), local historian, was born on 26 July 1913 at Cotter Junction, near the newly established federal capital, Canberra, younger son of New South Wales-born parents Arthur James Moore, grazier, and his wife Dinah Harriet, née Gifford. His birthplace, Green Hills, was the home of his paternal grandparents. Educated at Queanbeyan Intermediate High School, Bruce led an eager group of boys selling newspapers at the opening of Parliament House in 1927. In 1931-33 he played rugby league football with the Queanbeyan Blues and, in 1934, with the St George club, Sydney; he was captain-coach of Quirindi (1935) and Holbrook (1936) clubs. A founder in 1937 of Eastern Suburbs (‘Easts’) Rugby Union Club in Canberra, he was often captain of the team. He was a good tackler and a strong defender; in 1938 the Federal Capital Territory Rugby Union presented him with an honour badge. An active administrator and publicist, he was vice-president (1941-42) of Australian Capital Territory Rugby Union.

On 4 June 1938 at St John the Baptist Church of England, Reid, Moore married Doreen Emily Rowley, a clerk. In 1945-46 he was honorary secretary–treasurer of the Twilight Cottage Homes committee; the president praised him for his ‘unremitting work’ and ‘unabated enthusiasm’. A house-painter at the time of his marriage, he later worked for Canberra Electricity Supply, Department of the Interior. He was first a linesman and, after qualifying at night school, a draughtsman, which was a reserved occupation during World War II. An excellent bushman and horseman, he helped survey the route through the Brindabella mountains for high-tension electrical lines to Canberra, and he assisted in connecting electricity to rural properties. He retired in 1963.

In 1958 Moore had moved to the Williamsdale property, Burraburroo, inherited from his father. There he formed B. R. Moore & Sons, a rural contracting and share-farming business; he also established a service station, and was captain of the Williamsdale volunteer fire brigade. Returning to Canberra in 1973, he became a councillor that year of the Canberra & District Historical Society, vice-president (1983-84) and an honorary life member (1984). In the 1970s he represented the society on the ACT historic sites and buildings committee. He was the first chairman (1979) of the ACT Heritage Committee.

Quietly confident and persistent, Moore was one of a close group of local historians, including Errol Lea-Scarlett, Bert Sheedy and Lyall Gillespie. In 1969 and 1981, before interest in local family history became widespread, he organised large Moore family reunions. He published Burra: County of Murray and The Warm Corner (the name of his bounty immigrant great-grandparents’ property). Lanyon Saga followed in 1982 and The Moore Estate in 1984. Cotter Country, completed by his son, was published in 1999. The Commonwealth government’s resumption of Moore land for the federal capital was an important theme in these works. Survived by his wife and their three sons and two daughters, he died on 16 July 1985 in Canberra and was buried in the Tharwa Road lawn cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • Canberra Times, 10 Nov 1973, p 1, 27 Jul 1985, p 35
  • Twilight Cottage Homes Committee, Annual Report, 1946
  • family information.

Citation details

Jill Waterhouse, 'Moore, Bruce Richard (1913–1985)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/moore-bruce-richard-15001/text26190, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 23 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

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