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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Samuel 'Allan' Stewart

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of my maternal grandfather, the late Samuel ‘Allan’ Stewart. To commemorate the occasion a picnic lunch was held on Saturday at Boggy Plain, in the district of Countegany (pronounced Count-a-guinea), on the grounds of the old ‘Stewart Homestead’, where Allan was born.
The homestead is positioned on the side of a hillock and overlooks a flat plain that stretches out to the Badja River and to one of numerous water holes along the river, known as Sally Pool. The opposite bank is surrounded by shrubs and trees that ascend upwards along Manony’s Mountain. The old road from Cooma to Braidwood used to run behind the hillock, but now a bridge sits prominently over the far end of Sally Pool and the road is visible from the old homestead. The house is of white-washed pise, long and low, and once had a veranda running the full length of the front in true colonial style.
Growing up along the Badja, Allan was taught how to fish by his father, Stan Stewart, which became a lifelong passion. He attended the local Countegany School and won a scholarship to Canterbury Boy’s High in Sydney.
During WWII, Allan served in Palestine, before returning home to train as a paratrooper: jumping behind enemy lines in New Guinea. Later he became a member of the 2nd/2nd commandos, serving in Timor and in early 1945 was recruited to “Z” special forces.
Allan married Nanna, Monica O’Hare, in 1949 and had seven children. They lived in Melbourne, where Allan studied part time to gain his accountancy degree, until 1959. When he gained work for the Department of Treasury and moved to Canberra. Bringing him back to the Monaro region, where he was able to indulge in his love of fishing, often taking the family for holidays to Countegany.
Allan passed away on 26th April 1978 and today is survived by his seven children, seventeen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Although I never met Allan, I have a great fondness for the many stories shared about his life and of Boggy Plain.