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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Lucy Gasson

Born: 1824; Died: 1900; Married: John Southwell

Lucy's father was a baker when she married John (b.1818) Southwell in 1842 at St Mary the Virgin Church at Salehurst, Susssex. They had six children in Sussex but a daughter died in infancy.

Lucy and John emigrated to Australia in 1858 and settled at 'Parkwood' with John's brother Thomas Southwell and his large family. Here two more daughters were born.
Lucy, John and his family selected land and settled in the Sutton district in 1873 where they erected a home, 'Rosedale'. John was a successful farmer, especially in the production of hops.

Their children were:

The eldest child Harriet and her second husband, William Dunn, settled in the Collector area. Their first child, Walter, was born in 1870 but Harriet died when he was only six weeks old. She had sent for her sister Mary, before she died and Mary, having no other form of transport, rode on horseback from Sutton to Collector and carried the child back to her father's home. Mary would have only been 16 or 17 years old so this was an incredible accomplishment. After Mary married William Mitchell, she continued to care for Walter at 'Homebush' until he reached adulthood.

In her later years, Lucy lived with her daughter, Mary Mitchell, at "Homebush", Hall and attended the Wattle Park Methodist Church regularly. She died suddenly on 28 March 1900, aged 75. The Goulburn Evening Penny Post of Tuesday 3 April 1900 (page 4) said "John and his wife were very old and worthy residents of the district". Like her husband, Lucy was buried in the old Weetangera Cemetery.

Lucy Southwell - obituary

The second case was that of Lucy, relict of the late Mr. John Southwell. He and his wife were very old and worthy residents of the district, and left a numerous progeny behind them, the eldest son being Mr. Samuel (better known as 'Captain Sam') Southwell of Charnwood. The deceased lady, who was 75 years old, resided with her daughter Mrs. Mitchell, a short distance beyond Hall. She attended church at Wattle Park last Sunday, and was then, and up to the moment of her death in robust health, considering her advanced age. On Wednesday night she was putting the children to bed, and whilst so engaged, Mrs. Mitchell heard a peculiar noise in the children's bedroom, and on entering found the old lady at the point of death. She expired in a few minutes—it is supposed from an attack of apoplexy. The coroner was informed in each case, but in neither deemed an inquest necessary.
[Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Tuesday 3 April 1900, page 4]


• Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Canberra 1992
• Gillespie, L. L., The Southwell family – Pioneers of the Canberra District, Canberra 1988
• Smith, L. R., Memories of Hall, Canberra 1975
• Southwell Family Society, Stories from Parkwood and Beyond, Canberra 2013

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