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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Patrick Grace

Born: 1814; Died: 1897; Married: Mary Wright

Patrick Grace was born about 1814 at Lusk, County Dublin, Ireland. He was the son of James and Mary (nee Dunn) Grace. In April 1841 Patrick married Mary Wright at Lusk. Mary Wright was the daughter of William and Catherine (nee Russell) Wright and was also born at Lusk. Patrick was a farm labourer in Ireland.

On 25 May 1841 Patrick and Mary Grace left Liverpool, England on the United Kingdom and arrived in Port Jackson on 7 September 1841 after 105 days at sea. They were Bounty immigrants (assisted) and were sponsored by A B Smith & Co. Patrick and Mary travelled up the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range to Cooyal (near Mudgee) where their first child James was born on 9 August 1842. Patrick must have spent a little time in the Mudgee area as James was baptised on 5 March 1843 in the Mudgee Church of England as there was no Catholic priest available at that time.

From Mudgee, it is believed, the family travelled down the western side of the Great Dividing Range before settling in the Murrumbidgee area west of Yass, NSW (now known as Cavan). Their second child Catherine was born here in December 1844. The following children were registered to Patrick and Mary at Yass: John 22 April 1846; William 12 May 1848; Patrick 3 May 1850; Mary 4 July 1852 (believed deceased before 1856); Mary Ann 24 September 1854; Thomas 8 November 1856; and Matthew 15 July 1858.

Patrick was a successful farmer in the Taemas area on the Murrumbidgee River where he owned land for quite a number of years. His sons, John, Thomas, Patrick and Matthew followed their father's lead and were also landholders in the Cavan (Murrumbidgee) district. Many of Patrick and Mary's descendants followed them and either worked on the land or were farmers and graziers.

In the early 1860's Patrick Grace purchased Lots 21 and 14 (a total of 81 acres) near Halls Creek on the Yass-Queanbeyan Road near the present day village of Hall. On Lot 21 he built and opened the One Tree Hill Hotel and was granted the hotel's first license on 8 March 1864. A pine tree which was at the Canberra end of the hotel still stands there today, near a gateway at the side of the road. The hotel was known in later years as the Cricketers Arms Hotel. Patrick held the license of the One Tree Hill Hotel until March 1871 when he transferred it to his son, James Grace.

At the time, the One Tree Hill Hotel was the only hotel between Yass and Queanbeyan, so we can imagine Patrick's premises being well patronised. Local teamster Thomas Southwell and his sons of Ginninderra transported hotel supplies by bullock dray to the One Tree Hotel for Patrick as the Southwells were teetotallers. Lot 14 opposite the One Tree Hotel (Cricketers Arms) was also owned by Patrick and used as a sports ground. Ploughing matches and race meetings were conducted there and apparently were a very popular form of entertainment. The first race meeting was held at the ground on 16 March 1866.

Patrick and Mary Grace later moved to Sydney where his occupation was listed as a dairyman at Station Street, Newtown. It appears when Patrick lived in Sydney he was still involved in the agricultural industry. About 1895 Patrick and Mary returned to Yass due to Patrick's failing health as he wanted to be amongst his family and friends during his last days. Patrick died at his home in Dutton Street, Yass on 9 April 1897. He is buried in the Catholic section of the Yass Cemetery. Mary died on 20 October 1902 in North Yass and is buried beside her husband.

[edited extract from 'Graces of Murrumbidgee' with grateful acknowledgement]

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