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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Mary Ann Bolton

Born: c. 1845; Died: 1923; Married: Joseph Bolton

Mary Ann Griffiths was born (c. 1845) at Ulverstone, Cumberland, England. She was the second child and older daughter of William Griffith(s) and Mary Ann (nee Stewart) of Tilston, Cheshire. The family of four migrated to Australia in 1848, sailing from Liverpool on 3 August 1848 aboard the 'Emperor', arriving in Sydney on 4 November 1848 - a three month journey. They settled at first in the Gundaroo district, but by the early 1860s moved to Carwoola in the Molonglo valley. Bailliere's Post Office Directory of 1867 noted that William at that time was a shepherd, and his son Thomas a farm labourer. By that time Mary Ann had met and married Joseph Bolton, in 1865.

They were to have thirteen children together. The first was born in 1864, seven months before their wedding. The infant Charles died before his second birthday. Another three children - Henry, Sarah-Jane and Anne Maria - were born while they were living at Carwoola, and their baptisms are registered at Christ Church, Queanbeyan.

The Boltons purchased land and moved to Ginninderra around 1872 and began farming at their property 'Rockwood'. Their fourth child, Amelia Alma, was born on 13 May 1873 and she and all succeeding children were baptised at St Johns, Canberra. In 1879 they took over the licence of the Cricketers' Arms Hotel, running it for eleven years until 1890. During their tenure as the local publicans, they put a new building on the hotel site to provide extra accommodation and to act as a sample room for commercial travellers. Mary Ann catered for the balls held at the hotel and many other social functions.

In 1890 they retired to their nearby selection,'Rockwood', but retained their interest and involvement in local sporting, civic, and social activities.

Mary Ann died in 1923 and is buried in St Johns, Canberra, beside Joseph.


The death of Mrs. J. Bolton on Friday morning last, removes from our midst one of the early pioneers of the district and one of the most highly respected residents, at the ripe age of 79, the cause of death being senile decay.

The late Mrs. Bolton was a native of England, coming to Australia when quite young, and residing at Carwoola until her marriage, and for a short while afterwards, then removing to the One Tree Hill Hotel at Hall. As landlady of this old-time well known establishment for a number of years, she was well and favourably known by the travelling public, in the days of old, for generous kindness.

Her husband, on relinquishing the hotel business, took up farming and grazing pursuits on their present holding, where the late Mrs. Bolton resided for over 30 years. She was of a bright, cheerful, kindly disposition, and possessed of great energy, ever ready to assist her neighbours in trouble, and there is scarcely a home in the district but remembers with gratitude the kindly ministering hands of help, and the cheerful, comforting words of hope and sympathy administered and spoken by her during her long years of residence in the district. She bore with Christian fortitude her illness of several months, being patient and cheerful to the last. She was under the skilled care of Dr. Blackall, who did everything possible to alleviate her sufferings, and she was assiduously and gently nursed by her two daughters, Mesdames Cockburn and Mayo.

The greatest sympathy is extended to the family in their sad bereavement. The remains were laid to rest in the cemetery at Canberra beside her late husband, the funeral being followed by a large number of sorrowing friends from all parts of the district. The Rev. F. G. Ward conducted the burial services. The following members of her family are left to mourn their loss :-Mesdames Mayo (Majura), O'Neill (Kempsey), W. Jones (North Sydney), M. Cockburn (Waratah), V. Gruber (Tallagandra), Inspector H. Bolton (Police Department, Sydney) W. Bolton (Wagga), Sergeant J. Bolton (Police Department, Tenterfield), Joe Bolton (Boree Creek), Edward, Arthur and Eric Bolton (Hall). Wreaths were received from the Police Club, Sydney, Mr. and Mrs. C. Cavanagh, Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Thompson, and family, Mrs. W. Moore, Matty and Edna Cockburn, and Jack Mayo. O'Rourke Bros. were the undertakers.

[Queanbeyan Age, Tuesday 6 February 1923, page 2]

Note : This entry does not yet take into account the publication by Joanna Davis (see reference below)


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