The Canberra Times has an article that touches lightly on the life of Bede Tongs.
The OEPA, on behalf of the residents of Oaks Estate, would like to recognise Bede for his significant contribution and support given to Oaks Estate.
Bede is a committed long time resident of the Oaks Estate community, returning in the immediate post war period where he lives today. A key ‘gift’ to the Oaks Estate village, that illustrates this commitment, was the gifting of land to the Oaks Estate Community in the early 1950’s for the erection of a much needed childrens playground and community hall. The hall, was relocated (1953) to Oaks Estate and rebuilt by money gifted by the community. Again Bede Tongs was central to this work.
The hall itself is of significant Heritage interest, as it is thought to be the only known example of the old Eastlake Hostel, which was formally located where today is the Kingston Railway Station. Given the forthcoming Centenary Celebration, there is much to be learnt about early Canberra and celebrate as much of it remains today and intact in Oaks Estate – the earliest of this been the 1837 homestead, the ‘Oaks’, built alongside the Molonglo River by the Campbell family.
The community of Oaks Estate, its formation and continued history is characterised by many strong personalities and great stories – Bede Tongs and the gifiting of land to the community is one such. Thinking of Bede, I recall a wry comment made by Bede in 2005…”I stood here in Gillepsie Park in 1950, at a public meeting to talk about getting a community hall…more than 50 years later, because of some fuss about insurance…I’m here again in the park talking about how come we can’t get access to the hall”…