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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William Kilby

Born: 1812; Died: 1903; Married: Mary Smith

John Kilby and his wife Jane (nee Shelton), of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, England, married in 1809 and had two children. William, the elder, was born in 1811, and his sister Mary in 1818. Both were to spend most of their lives in the young colony of Australia, though they journeyed there in quite different circumstances.

Mary married Edward Smith in 1840. In 1852 with their three surviving children (one died in childhood) they sailed for Australia as assisted migrants on the Irene. Edward found employment firstly at Duntroon, and later at the Ginninderra estate. Meanwhile William had also married. He and his wife Sarah had two children - a daughter [name not known] and a son Robert, born in 1840. Tragically both Sarah and their daughter died from tuberculosis. William decided that in these sad circumstances, he and Robert would follow his sister to Australia. They sailed in 1856 on the Lloyds, arriving in Sydney on 4th September 1856. William and Robert are described in the ship's records as follows:

"William Kilby, 45, farm labourer, Ramsay, Huntingdonshire; mother still alive, can't read or write; sister Mary Smith, living in Queanbeyan NSW, no complaints; state of bodily health good; probable usefulness good; paid ₤15 for passage. Son Robert Kilby, can read and write; good reports; paid ₤10 for passage".

After trying his luck on the Kiandra goldfields, Robert decided on a farming life and acquired Portion 73 of 40 acres, Parish of Weetangera. William - who became known to all as 'Bill' - selected three 40 acre blocks (Portions 52, 53 and 54), adjoining Robert's. Together they built themselves a slab dwelling which was to become the Kilby family homestead 'Lands End'. Other land in the immediate vicinity was taken up at around the same time by the Smiths, Shumacks, Blundells, Plummers, Camerons and Williams.

Forty-five when he arrived in Sydney, William remained a widower, but as he approached sixty he was a convert of Reverend Charles Jones to the Methodist religion. Thereafter he became a dedicated lifelong worshipper at the Weetangera Methodist church, and is buried in the cemetery there, with his sister Mary and her husband Edward Smith. William died in 1903 at the fine old age of ninety one.

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