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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Mrs Agnes Rule

Born: 1853; Died: 1943; Married: David Rule

Agnes Rule (nee Munday) was born in 1853. She was possibly born at Duntroon but the birth registered in Queanbeyan.

She was the first of nine children born to James Munday and Ann (nee Trow) Munday, who had married in England before immigrating to Australia on the ship 'Irene' in 1852. They were both twenty-one and James was a groom and gardener.

The family was living on a farm in the Ginninderra district when Agnes married David Rule in 1871. She was eighteen when they married at the Parkwood Wesleyan chapel.

David Rule had been born in England in 1846 and was bought to Australia on the ship 'Herald' when he was nine years old. At the age of fifteen he came to work for Edward Smith at Hall, driving horse and bullock teams between Sydney and the Lambing Flat gold diggings (later named Young).

Shortly after Agnes and David were married there was a fire at Munday's farm and David lost a valuable threshing machine worth £100. Mr. George Harcourt collected about £30 to help with repairs (Qbyan Age 22/08/1872 p2).

Agnes and David lived in the ACT before moving to 'Allwood' in the Hall district. They had nine children:

• William 1875
• An unnamed baby in 1877 who died an hour after birth and was buried in the Munday family plot at St. John's church, Reid.
• Alfred 1879
• Millicent 1881
• Harold 1883
• Eliza 1885
• Mabel 1886
• Edward Arthur 1888
• Isabella 1893

'Allwood' was a farm of 800 acres. They grew wheat and wool and kept cows and pigs. There were fruit trees and vegetable gardens.

The house was built of timber slabs with fabric or newspaper between the slabs and lining the walls. There was some wallpaper and a hessian ceiling. The floor was timber slabs. The living room had an open fire and another fireplace in the kitchen was used for cooking. Over time extra rooms were added. There was a bedroom for the parents and one for the boys and another for the girls.

Water was drawn from a well and washing was done in a tub with a washboard. It would have been very hot in summer. In winter, wind and sleet would blow across the property from the Brindabella Mountains.

In 1883 Glenwood public school was built near 'Allwood' and William attended as a student. The younger children may have gone there or to Brooklands school on the adjoining property. Neighbours helped each other. In 1896 David Rule participated in a hare drive on James McCarthy's 'Glenwood' property and in 1889 he was present at a wallaby drive at John Southwell's estate, where he shot four wallabies.

Once a week David would walk a mile to a neighbour's place to hear a tale read by John and Samuel Shumack. The women would be sewing and the men would entertain each other, playing cards and telling ghost stories. David would tell a few blood curdling yarns [ Smith: 1975]

It seems Agnes was married to a man with a sense of humour. One evening Joseph Blewitt declared that he didn't believe in ghosts. David said he was retiring to bed, but sneaked out behind a log fence that Joseph would have to cross on his way home. As Joseph had his foot on top of the fence David leapt up and shone a lantern in his face. Joseph yelled and took off thinking he'd met a ghost and had to be escorted home.

David played cricket for the Hall team and attended meetings of the Free Selectors Association held at the Cricketers Arms in Hall.

Agnes would have been occupied at home with her large family. In 1887 (when Mabel was a baby, Eliza 2, Millicent 6, Alfred 8 and William 12) four-year-old Harold went missing. The men searched with lanterns all night until they found tracks leading across two creeks. The little boy was eventually found on the sand at the edge of the Murrumbidgee River.

In 1901 Agnes's mother died, and her father in 1913. He was described as a 'sterling character esteemed by all' ( Goulburn Evening Penny Post 2 Aug 1913, p2)

In 1903 Eliza married A.C. Boyd of Yass and in 1916 Arthur married Catherine Rochford. In 1920, in a quiet ceremony at Queanbeyan, Alfred married Elsie Brown. The breakfast was held at Agnes and David's 'Allwood'property. The bride's brother, Morley Thomas (1892-1918), had been killed in France in 1918 during WW1.

David Rule died in 1932. He had enjoyed good health until a few years before his death. He had been living with his son Arthur on the Temora Road, Young, when he was taken to Young District Hospital where he died of heart failure. His remains were bought to Canberra for a funeral and burial at St. Johns Church, Reid.

Agnes and David had been married for sixty-one years. Agnes came to live with her daughter Eliza Boyd on the Burrowa Road, Young. She was a keen gardener and needlewoman and was active until a few months before her death. She died in 1943 at the age of ninety and is buried in the Young cemetery.

Four sons and two daughters survived her – William at 'Allwood', Alfred in Wagga, Harold in Sydney, Edward in Young, Eliza Boyd in Young and Isabella Goslett in Hall. Mabel had died in 1919 aged thirty-two and Millicent Sophia in 1938 aged fifty six. Agnes left twenty-two grandchildren and twenty-eight great grandchildren.

Her grandson Greg Rule, who was a resident of Hall until he passed away in 2014, said that she loved flowers and vegetables and had 'beautiful hair to touch'.

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