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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William ('Will') Hatch (junior)

Born: 1879; Died: 1952; Married: Elizabeth Mary Bard

William ('Will') Hatch Junior was the twelfth and youngest child of William and Margaret Hatch. He was born on 23 May 1879 at his parents' home, Rosewood at Ginninderra. He went to Ginninderra Public School school, now part of the Federation Square complex. In his youth, Will was a jockey, despite the fact that he was over six feet tall. He retained an active interest in horses all his life. Will was also keen on other sporting activities, as evidenced by the notes from the Queanbeyan Age, one dated 14 August 1900 stating that Will was present at a hare drive organised by Mr E.G.Crace at Rosehill and Gungahlin. Another, dated 28 August 1901, recorded that Will was an entrant in the events at the pigeon shooting at the Cricketers Arms Hotel, run by his sister Margaret ('Doll') and brother-in-law, Morris ('Mon') Lazarus.

In 1905, he was a member of the Committee of the Ginninderra Farmers and Settlers' Ball which was held in Mr Crace's new woolshed. In a report from the Queanbeyan Age dated 12 October 1915, William Hatch Junior was mentioned as being a member of the Committee of the Ginninderra Farmers' Union 7th Annual Show. He was also a shearer of stud sheep and in that capacity travelled extensively, meeting his future wife on one such trip to Illabo. The notebooks in which he recorded some activities of his later years at Rosewood document shearing done for G. Shumack - November 1912, 314 sheep; for G. Harcourt, October 11-31st, 740 sheep; for Shumack again in 1913 October 13-November 18, 1029 sheep. His own shearing in October 1912 was 299 sheep, and in 1913 - done at Lindsay Southwell's - 268 sheep.

He also recorded in some detail the area under cultivation in 1913:

This was roughly 20% of the holding, but it is worth noting that all the cropping was done in small parcels of land; the oats were grown in eight different areas!

!46 bags of chaff were cut that year. Elsewhere he records cutting straw chaff in partnership with Aubrey McClung ('280 bags averaging 70 lbs per bag').

He married Elizabeth Mary Bard in Junee on Wednesday 17 February 1909. Will took his wife back to Rosewood where their first two children, Lillian May born in Queanbeyan (1912-2005) and Alice Gertrude born at Rosewood (1913 – 2000).

Lyall Gillespie, in his book Ginninderra Forerunner to Canberra, describes an organisation which was formed by the Ginninderra settlers known as the Federal Territory Vigilance Committee. This committee, to which William Hatch Junior was elected in February 1913, was formed in response to the threatened acquisition of freehold land to form the new Federal Capital Territory. Will and his wife lived at Rosewood until 1915 when they and many other long time residents opted to leave rather than become tenants of the government. In preparation for their move, Will made a detailed record of every tree, animal and crop on the property as well as a detailed description of all the outbuildings and fencing. Maybe it was with their forthcoming move in mind that he attended Mrs Harcourt's sale on 26 April 1913 and purchased the following goods:

1 cask - 9/-
2 dishes - 3/6
2 baskets - 4/0
1 tub - 3/3
1 churn - 3/6
2 sieves - 5/6
carpet - 9/0
steam cooker - 8/6

He travelled to many places in New South Wales searching for a suitable property on which to continue the mixed farming he undertook at Rosewood. Will and Elizabeth eventually purchased a property at Appin near Campbelltown where their third child, a son, Dudley William (1917–1989) was born. Will's sister Doll and brother-in-law Morris Lazarus, former owners of the Cricketers Arms Hotel, had already moved to Appin with their family. When the girls were ready for school, Will and Elizabeth then moved to Merrylands in 1919, quite close to where Elizabeth's parents were living. They purchased three blocks of land, two with houses, in Merrylands Road just near the railway station.

During the Depression, Will was forced to sell the other house and vacant block and to return to his former occupation as a shearer, necessitating long periods away from home. Elizabeth died of a stroke in 1944 and Will continued living with his daughters Lillian and Alice and son-in-law Ernest Warman. On 26 April 1952 Will travelled by train to Canberra to visit his last surviving sibling, his sister, Tess, who was in Canberra Hospital. Will had a fatal heart attack in the taxi which picked him up at the station. His sister died two days later. He buried with Elizabeth in Rookwood Cemetery.

Related Photos


Warman, M. 1981. The Hatch Family in Australia: a Record of the Descendants of Robert and Mary Hatch, Who Came from Ireland and Settled in Southern NSW - 1828 to the Present Day. Privately published: Canberra

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