Charles Alfred Lee (1842-1926)
Lee was Minister for Public Works in the NSW government from 1904-1910. Lee was also Chairman of the Water Conservation & Irrigation Conference which instigated the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme, involving the construction of Burrinjuck Dam and the creation of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
Sir Samuel McCaughey (1835-1919)
McCaughey was a pioneer in demonstrating the viability of irrigation in the region that became the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. In 1899 he built the McCaughey mansion on his North Yanko property which is now part of the Yanco Agricultural High School. For his significant contributions to NSW he was knighted in 1905.
Leslie Augustus Burton Wade (1864-1915)
Wade was Commissioner for Water Conservation & Irrigation. Wade had been a civil engineer with the Department of Works and was a key figure in the building of Burrinjuck Dam. Wade was a key figure in the creation of Leeton and Griffith and commissioned Walter Griffin for the town architecture.
Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937)
After winning an International Design competition for Canberra, Griffin was appointed Federal Capital Director of Design & Construction and arrived in Sydney in 1914. After resigning his post in 1920 Griffin established offices in Melbourne and had significant input into the designs for Leeton and Griffith.
Henry Lawson (1867-1922)
Poet and writer Henry Lawson lived in Leeton from January 1916 to August 1917. Lawson was employed to write positive articles regarding the MIA to help recruit families for relocation. Lawson struck up a friendship with J W Gordon AKA- Jim Graeme, whom many people believe was his inspiration for Jack Mitchell, one of Lawson’s most important fictional characters.
Alfred Ernest Bowmaker (1895-1968)
In 1921 Bowmaker took up a block near Leeton under the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act 1916. Initially too small to be viable, farm sizes increased in the 1920’s and Bowmaker joined with others in successful experiments with rice farming. A founder in 1930 of the Ricegrowers Association of Australia and President in 1931 and again in 1952-64, he was also a member from 1931-1943 of the Rice Marketing Board. As the rice industry rapidly expanded in the 1940’s, Bowlamkers involvement increased. With the assistance of others he established the Rice growers Co-operative mills in Leeton in 1950. Despite opposition in Sydney to “hill billy farmers tampering in high finance” the mill prospered from the outset’ marketing the product as Sun White rice. Bowmaker remained a prominent figure and served on several Government committees involved in the industry. In 1965 he was awared an MBE for his distinguished contribution to the industry.
Built in 1914 by the NSW Government as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation program, it was initially managed by the Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission. In the 1930’s the management came under heavy scrutiny by the growers. The WC&IC indicated in 1934 that due to poor results the cannery would be sold by 1937. George Enticknap, Chairman of the Australian Canning Fruitgrowers Association, worked with other growers to secure control of the cannery prior to the proposed date. The sale was swift and in April 1935 the sale was complete and an agreement was signed netween Leeton, Griffith and Yenda Fruitgrowers Associations. Jack Brady, who was already Manager at the Leeton State Cannery was appointed the first Manager of Letona to ensure a smooth transition.