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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William Ryan

Married: Elizabeth (maiden name unknown)

Unrelated to the Ryan of Mulligans Flat, William (Horse Park) Ryan from Michelago purchased Gillespie's 'Horse Park' property following the deaths of John Gillespie (1889) and his wife Mary Ann (1895). Ryan lived at 'Horse Park' with his wife Elizabeth and family from 1896 until 1916, when he moved to Gunning as a result of his land being acquired by the Commonwealth government.

Ryan's reputation preceded him, 'The Wizard' describing him in his Ginninderra Notes (March 1896) as a "good neighbour and excellent citizen". By way of confirmation, at a meeting held in October 1896 at John Butler's 'Malton' he was elected foundation president of the new Mulligans Flat cricket club.

Disaster struck in 1899 when a substantial part of their home was lost to fire -

a large wooden building which served the purposes of kitchen, laundry and store room with attached bedroom and nearly all of its contents the property of Mr W Ryan of Horse Park was reduced to ashes' was only by the most heroic efforts on the part of the household that the dwelling house, a large stone building with galvanised iron roof, which the burned building adjoined, was saved from destruction besides a splendid lot of cooking utensils, a large pine dresser, dining table and every requirement to be found in a well appointed kitchen. The remaining parts of the building were fairly packed with household requirements, including a considerable amount of wearing apparel all of which were either consumed or destroyed by the devouring flames. Mr Ryan estimates his loss at fully £50...

Although this must have been a set back for them, William added to their land holdings in 1902, taking up a portion of the Nanima Estate, and in 1905 when he purchased George Armstrong's Spring Range land. Yemens 1900 Directory of Lanholders records William being involved in growing wheat and oats, and grazing. In 1904 he unsuccessfully bid for the Cricketers Arms; although his bid of ₤302 was the highest, it was not high enough.

In the spirit of the times he joined with his neighbours in a wide range of activities. In 1901 he and Edmund Rolfe of 'Gold Creek' together organised a rabbit and hare drive. In 1906, we learn, he took out the 'Old Buffers' race at the Ginninderra Sports, with Tom Gribble coming in second and Edmund Rolfe third. In June 1914 Mr and Mrs W Ryan entertained a 'large gathering of neighbours and friends at a most enjoyable social on Friday night'. The following year William was one of the many local notables to speak at the farewell ceremony for the popular Mulligan's Flat teacher, 'Harry' Landon.

A clearing sale to be conducted at 'Horse Park' by Mr Thos E Woodger was held on 5th August 1916, bringing to an end William and Elizabeth Ryan's twenty years as residents of Ginninderra.


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