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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Henry Hall

Born: 1803; Died: 1880; Married: Mary Fisher

Henry Hall was born in Loughborough, England, in 1803, to John Hall of Loughborough and Mary (nee Middleton). He arrived in Port Jackson, NSW, from England, in 1823 aboard the brig 'Francis', stopping in Hobart Town in August of that year (Sydney Gazette 4/9/1823). He carried with him a letter of introduction from British Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel.

Soon after, Henry accepted the position as overseer of 'St Heliers', a 1000 acre property at Lake Bathurst, south of Goulburn, granted to his cousin, Edward Smith Hall, by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1821. Edward Smith was well known at the time for founding The Monitor (later the Sydney Monitor) newspaper in 1826, published in a lane off George St., Sydney. Edward's editorials caused controversy in a number of ways including critisising the government. He was jailed at one stage, and while there continued to write his editorials, earning himself more jail time! The paper closed in 1842. Edward Smith was also the first Secretary of the Bank of New South Wales.

From 1830-1835 Henry was employed by the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) as Superintendent of cattle, stud and agriculture. Following him in these positions in 1841 was Philip Gidley King. The AACo is still operating.

After a complex dispute with his cousin involving land at 'St Heliers', Henry was granted 3472 acres of land in compensation (authorised by Sir Richard Bourke), in the Parish of Ginninderra, County of Murray. He named it 'Charnwood' after the forest of Charnwood in Leicestershire, England, location of the Hall family residence. To imagine the property today it ranged from two kilometres north of Wallaroo road, south to almost Kippax, west to the Hall's Creek/Gooromon Pond junction, and east to Mt Rogers.

Henry was married to Mary Fisher in St Philip's church, York Street, Sydney, by Chaplain William Cowper on 22 March 1837. Mary, born in London in 1816, was the daughter of Lieutenant C W Fisher, employee of the East India Company and later HM Customs Service.

Henry and wife Mary spent 40 years successfully running their property 'Charnwood'. They also leased 'The Mullion', a sheep station across the Murrumbidgee River, to the north-west, and a station at Yaouk, where he ran cattle. Yaouk was a long way south - around 75k south as the crow flies from 'Charnwood', just outside today's Namadgi National Park, adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River.

The couple had eleven children (four daughters and seven sons), the first born in 1838. The children were:

Mary Elizabeth born January 1838, married Rev Thomas Cole at St Michael's Church Surrey Hills in January 1861, date of death unknown. A descendent mentioned that Thomas and Mary Cole returned to Melbourne where Thomas became the first Anglican minister at Collingwood. The couple had ten children. Thomas ended his life in 1879 and Mary died in 1894.

Henry Fisher born October 1839, married Eliza Jessie Jenkins at Cobar in June 1880, died September 1910

Charles Middleton born January 1842, married Caroline Kate Hall, daughter of Charles and Hannah (nee Titcume) Hall at Yass in 1881; date of death unknown.

Edward Wingate (twin brother of Charles) born January 1842, married Jane Hall (daughter of Charles and Hannah (nee Titcume) Hall at Yass 1881, date of death unknown.

Lucy born October 1843, married William Fisher Webb at St John's Church Canberra in October 1866, date of death unknown.

Anne Jane born June 1845, married John McBean at Charnwood in June 1871, died June 1875.

John Francis born April 1847, married Sarah E Cooke, died May 1902.

Thomas Turner born April 1848, date of death unknown.

William Sydney born December 1850, married Edith

Robert Leicester born August 1852, married Maria Elizabeth Grovenor at St Clement's Church of England, Yass in October 1876, date of death unknown.

Eleanor born July 1860, date of death unknown.

[From: Electoral Roll 1928. Outside Canberra City]

All, except possibly the first, were born at Charnwood and were baptised in Queanbeyan then later at St John's the Baptist Anglican church, Canberry (now Reid, Canberra).

Henry and his family were well involved in the community. They held one of the first pews at St John the Baptist Anglican church in 1845, the year the building was consecrated, along with Charles Campbell, George T. Palmer and others, and was no doubt involved in some way with it's establishment. Henry was one of the first church Wardens, from 1854-55 and in 1857-61. It was noted only last year that, most, if not all, early Wardens are remembered with a plaque on the wall inside the church - but as far as we can see, not Henry. Henry was involved with opening and running of new schools in the district, such as Ginninderra, and was on the board of Glebe school (St Paul's) in 1869.

The Hall's became well known for their hospitality with Mary described as a gentle, refined and gracious lady and Henry a good, all-round, rough and ready farmer. Henry may have had repairs done at the blacksmiths shop (est. 1860), still standing on the southern carriageway of the Barton highway near Gold Creek, or enjoyed a beer at the Cricketers Arms Hotel (also known as One Tree Hotel), licensed in 1864. We know he was a regular guest at George Palmer Snr's 'Palmerville' attending the numerous functions held there such as fundraising balls, dances and sporting events. He is thought to have played cricket with Ginninderra Cricket Club along with George Harcourt and others.

Henry was also known to be a hard master. There are a number of descriptions of his assigned convicts appearing before the police magistrate in Queanbeyan on, what would seem today, trivial infractions. These included poor Robert Wright who received 50 lashes for refusing an order and 25 lashes for mis-placing or not producing his boots. The census of 1841 lists about 32 persons residing at 'Charnwood', including assigned convicts.

Cataract operation

We have much pleasure in hearing that one of the oldest and much respected inhabitants in this district, Henry Hall, Esq., J.P., of Charnwood, who for some time past has been blind from cataract of the right eye, the left having been lost from a previous unsuccessful operation performed a year ago in Sydney by another surgeon, was operated on, for extraction of the cataract by Dr Berncastle, of Sydney, on Tuesday, 28th June, at his own residence, Charnwood, in presence of Dr Hayley, J.P.; and five days after the operation the dressings were removed for the first time when perfect sight was obtained; the successful issue of the case being proved by his having no pain during the operation and week following, and his being able when the eye was opened on the fifth day to distinguish immediately minute objects shown to him.
[Queanbeyan Age, 7 Jul 1864]

Obituary. Death of Mr Henry Hall, J.P.

On last Tuesday morning at the ripe age of seventy eight, Mr. Henry Hall J.P. died at his residence, Devonia Villa, Church-hill, Yass. For the past month or two the deceased had been in failing health, the result of old age, and had not been able to leave his dwelling. Mr. Hall was a very old colonist, having nearly fifty years ago arrived in the colony in the employ of the Australian Agricultural Company. This company, which was originated in 1824-5 with a capital of one million pounds sterling, was founded in London for the purpose of developing the agri- cultural, mineral, and pastoral wealth of Australia, and introduced to the colony in its employ many who subsequently became wealthy and well-known residents of New South Wales. The company, which was a very influential one, secured a grant of one million acres of land, principally situate in the northern portion of the colony, and on part of this extensive property the early years of Mr. Hall's colonial life were actively spent.

Some thirty years ago the deceased took up the Charnwood station, in the Queanbeyan district, and resided thereon and personally superintended his station affairs. He was perhaps one of the oldest justices of the peace in the colony, and during his long residence at Charnwood he was a regular attendant on the bench at Queanbeyan, and was always ready to discharge any duty devolving upon him as a magistrate of the territory.

About eight years ago he disposed of the Charnwood property, and took up his residence in Yass, where he continued to reside up to the period of his death. During these latter years, and up to the time of his last illness, no magistrate of the district was more punctual in his attendance at the court-house than Mr. Hall, and at whatever time his services were required he was always ready and willing to attend at the request of the police or of a brother magistrate. The deceased leaves a family, nearly all of whom may be said to be settled in life, and numerous grandchildren. Last Tuesday morning the police court was adjourned for a short time out of respect to the memory of the deceased.

[Goulburn Herald and Chronicle Mon 11 Oct 1880 p. 4]

Related Photos


1. 'Why Hall?
2. More on Henry Hall of Charnwood'

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