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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Beatrice Kilby

Born: 1868; Died: 1947; Married: James Kinloch

Beatrice Southwell was the youngest daughter of Thomas Southwell and his second wife Mary, and was born at Parkwood on August 26 1868. She and her younger brother Benjamin were the last of Thomas's eighteen children, the eldest by that time being thirty-three. Thomas himself was fifty-five.

Providing schooling had always been a bit of a challenge in the wilds of 'Parkwood', and in earlier years Thomas had employed a tutor. A school opened at St Paul's, The Glebe, in 1862, but this was a four or five mile walk. The following year Thomas rebuilt his home and the new structure included a schoolroom. In May 1871 a government school operating part-time with St Pauls opened at Parkwood, and operated for just over three years. Francis McPhail was the teacher. Beatrice may well have had her first taste of schooling there.

She and Benjamin finished their schooling at Queanbeyan, where they boarded, and where Beatrice also learned music. After their mother's death in 1885, when Beatrice was seventeen, the two of them made their homes with their brothers, James and Richard of Wallaroo. Beatrice was a very capable musician and taught a number of her nieces and nephews to play the organ, while she herself became the first organist at Wattle Park methodist church when it opened in 1882. Becoming one of the first music teachers in the district she went on the teach many of the succeeding organists.

On 31 March 1897 she married James Kinloch Kilby at the Parkwood Chapel, thereby linking the Southwells with another of the great pioneering families of the district. James had purchased land adjacent to 'Parkwood' which was to become 'The Falls'. This was to be Beatrice's family home for the next eight years, and the birthplace of the first five or their eight children: Keith Kinloch, Athol Carlyle, Clyde Redvers, Selby William, and Beryl Beatrice Mary. In 1905 after a severe bushfire jumped the Murrumbidgee, burned through The Falls and right up to Ginninderra village, they moved to a block of 81 acres on the edge of Hall village which they had bought in 1903. Three more children - Bruce Beltran, Grace Allison Jane, and Cleon Kenison Robert ('Bob') - were born there, and this was to be their second, and final home.

Beatrice and James celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 31 March 1947. Beatrice died six months later on 30 September. As well as her husband and eight children, she left nineteen grandchildren.

Obituary - Beatrice Kilby:

The passing of Mrs Beatrice Kilby of Hall ACT came peacefully after a long illness which she endured with great patience and fine Christian grace. The youngest daughter of the late Thomas and Mary Southwell she was born at Parkwood on 26 August 1868. She married James Kinloch Kilby in the Parkwood Methodist Church in 1897. Their first home was one on a neighbouring selection, 'The Falls', and ever since lived in the district. The greatly loved and highly respected couple celebrated their golden wedding earlier this year.

The late Mrs Kilby was converted during the ministry of the late Rev.T R McMichael and to the end of her earthly life she maintained a deep joyous and steadfast experience of Christ's redeeming and keeping power and grace. Until health failed she was a prominent worker in all church activities.

She was the first appointed organist in the Wattle Park Methodist Church and being one of the first music teachers in the district taught many of the succeeding organists. She was a perfect listener and thus dew in rich spiritual food from the scripture readings, anthems and sermons which she listed at many church services. She was an adjudicator in the Band of Hope for nearly thirty years.

Being a good reader and lover of good books of which she had a library of several hundreds she was well versed in fine literature. The Bible was her daily guide book and the messages which she received from it helped her at all times and she would repeat many passages inaudibly with the minister while he read the scriptures in the church services. Throughout her life time she completed five readings of the sacred book.

Because of her kindly understanding and the fact that she always looked for the best in people she worked harmoniously and effectively in home, church and community. She lived beside the Yass-Canberra Road for forty-two years and during that time never refused help or food to travellers. It is estimated that she fed many hundreds of men tramping the roads. Even in the hours of pain and distress she was thinking of others.

She was a great lover of her home – a devoted wife and loving mother – and her husband and eight children – Keith, Athol, Clyde, Selby, Beryl (Mrs C R E Southwell), Bruce, Grace (Mrs R H Brown) and Cleon – were her constant joy and 'the children rise up and call her blessed.'

Hung on the wall near her bedside was a quotation from one of the works of Francis Sidney Horergal – 'Resting on His Promise, What do we have to Fear?' These words were a constant comfort and they were the last words she was heard to utter before she passed into unconsciousness which preceded her entry into the Great Beyond where she is safe in her Saviour's Keeping. [GAK. Queanbeyan Age, 21.10.1947]

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