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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
James Kinloch Kilby

Born: 1870; Died: 1950; Married: Beatrice Southwell

James was one of the four children born (1870) to Robert Kilby and Jane Kilby (nee Webster) of 'Lands End', and thus one of the third generation of Kilbys in the district. [Jane had one child before she married James]. When he was twenty one he became an apprentice carpenter to Fred Young, well known Queanbeyan builder and architect. James worked on the Yarralumla Homestead under Young's supervision. Two of his siblings were to become more closely associated with 'Yarralumla' later on.
In 1895 James applied for conditional purchase of 222 acres on the Murrumbidgee River, which included the Ginninderra Falls (Portion 7, Parish of Weetangera). There he began building a weatherboard house with yards, sheds and an orchard - and called his property 'The Falls'. Two adjacent Portions amounting to 625 acres were added later on.

Conditions of purchase had been completed by the time James married one of his next door neighbour's daughters in 1897. Beatrice was a daughter of Thomas and Mary Southwell of 'Parkwood'. James and Beatrice were to have eight children, five of whom were born at 'The Falls' - Keith Kinloch (1898), Athol Carlyle (18990), Clyde Redvers (1901), Selby William (1903) and Beryl Beatrix Mary(1904). Following a disastrous bushfire in 1905 that came across the river and burnt right up to the Yass-Queanbeyan road, they moved to a property of 81 acres on the edge of Hall called Eneagh Hill, which had been purchased from Patrick McGivern in 1903. Three more children were born there - Bruce Beltran (1907), Grace Allison Jan (1909) and Cleon ('Bob') Kenison Robert (1912). Additions were made to the house in 1909.

Just before the move to Hall was made there had been a school at Bedellick, and another at Ginninderra. Hall was about half way between the two, and although it had a population at that stage of around 100, there was no school. However the Bedellick school was totally destroyed by fire on 30th November 1903, creating a problem for those families on the Murrumbateman side of Hall. The Kilby children became pupils at Ginninderra, but James set about leading the call for a school in Hall. His was a signatory to the first letter requesting a school for Hall in December 1903 and remained a determined advocate for six years, when the cause was won. Not only the youngest of his own children, but three further generations of his direct descendants attended Hall Public School.

When they left 'The Falls' they did not sell the property, but continued farming activity there. In 1907 however, James established a new business at Eneagh Hill as a butcher, and built up a very successful enterprise delivering meat to residents of Hall and Ginninderra twice a week until 1917. In 1910 he purchased the 'Parkwood' property, and had the old homestead renovated in 1926 for his son Clyde. Clyde and his two brothers Bruce and Cleon formed 'Kilby Bros.' and farmed the Parkwood and 'The Falls' properties until 1970.

James Kilby was an impressive 'active citizen' throughout his life, a role which was evidently informed by his faith. He was a committed member of the Wattle Park Methodist Church, where he served as secretary and treasurer of the Trust for fifty years. (This post was filled by a Kilby for ninety nine years in all, as son Keith, then grandson Wes were to follow him). He was also a Sunday School teacher, a local preacher, and sang in the church choir.

James Kilby lived a long and productive life and was well respected in the community. He died on 21 July 1950, three years after his wife Beatrice. They are both buried in the Hall cemetery.

Related Photos


Eric Martin & Associates, West Belconnen European Cultural Heritage Report, Final Draft, 17 Feb 2013 (sighted 12 Jan 1917)

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