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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William Moore (Senior)

Born: 1840; Died: 1913; Married: Catherine [McKenzie]

William Moore (Senior) was the son of Richard Moore (1814-1883) and Margaret Courtney (1808-1892), who were the 'progenitors of the numerous family of the Moores of Queanbeyan and district'. Richard and Margaret Moore were born in County Cavan, Ireland and had arrived in the Canberra/Queanbeyan district in 1841 [see their death certificates below].

The Moore family first took up land in the Canberra area in 1851 when Richard Moore and Margaret (Courtney) Moore purchased an eight acre block on the Garryowen estate which is now part of present day Queanbeyan. At the time Richard was working as a shoemaker. He later went into the carrying trade and sons William (15 yrs.) and Richard (12) assisted with the wagons, carrying wool between Queanbeyan and Sydney.

With the passing of the Robertson Government Free Selection Act in 1861, the family of Richard Moore decided to purchase land in the Burra Valley area. Richard purchase 40 acres at Warm Corner, Burra, at 34/3d per acre. The land is now known as Portion 15 Parish of Burra. The original block was added to over the years, finally totalling a area of fourteen hundred acres.

William Moore was working with his father on 'Warm Corner' and with the family's bullock teams at the time of his marriage to Catherine McKenzie. Catherine was the daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth McKenzie who were married at Lanyon on 22.4.1842. Alexander was from Dundee, Scotland, arriving in Australia in 1835 and Elizabeth Louisa Bass was from Dublin, Ireland, arriving in Australia in 1840. Alexander and Elizabeth spent their married life in the district and retired to a three room slab cottage on 'Fairvale', Bulgar Creek, the property of their daughter, Catherine (Moore), and her family. Here they were close to both of their daughters and their many grandchildren. Alexander died at 'Fairvale' in 1898. Elizabeth McKenzie continued to live in their little cabin at 'Fairvale' until her death in1908, at 88 years of age.

William and Catherine lived at 'Warm Corner' until 1874 when William and his brother Richard both selected land at Bulga Creek. William Moore's selection was situated near the junction of Bulga Creek and the Murrumbidgee (Yarrolumla Parish). He built a slab house on his land and named his property 'Fairvale'. 'Fairvale' was eventually increased in size to 867 acres. William was assisted in the farming of his land by his sons. William also owned some 400 acre in the Queanbeyan area as did his sons: Richard owned 'Sunnybrae'; James Courtney Moore took up the area known as 'The Bend' (686 acres) and Harry Moore owned 'Calabash' (1850 acres). As teenagers, James C. and Harry also summered stock in the high country pastures of the Snowy Mountains. At this time the family of William Moore owned about 5000 acres in the Canberra/Queanbeyan area.

Numerous relatives lived in the immediate area of Bulgar Creek. Across the Murrumbidgee, at Condor Creek lived Catherine Moore's sister, Sarah, who was married to John Blundell. 'John and Sarah were married at St. John's Church, 23.10.1862 when they were both only 19 years of age. They raised a family of ten children on their isolated land at the foot of the mountains'. ("Cotter Country" by B. Moore). On the nearby property of 'Greenhills', lived William Moore's brother Richard, his wife Agnes and his family of eleven children. Cousins were in ready supply close by and many more were scattered throughout the Canberra/Queanbeyan district.

The Bulgar Creek Provisional School was opened in 1878. All local children attended. James McGee and John Clough were the teachers. The school was closed in 1906. (B. Moore, Warm Corner)

As was typical of the times, the children soon learned to be useful workers as all members of the family were involved in the workings of the family farm. During James's childhood, his father had land at Bulgar Creek and at 'Warm Corner', the Burra, an area south of Queanbeyan. William and his sons worked both properties, often travelling between the two locations. As teenagers, James and Harry also took stock to the high country for summer pasture. Shearing was another source of funds for the young men. Both James and Harry spent several months of each year shearing in the district and as far away as the Riverina region. Both were expected home in time for the shearing of the families' flocks of sheep and harvesting of crops.

Life at 'Fairvale' was not without its lighter side. 'The Fairvale home of William Moore was the centre of social evenings, especially after additions were built to cope with the growing family. The long verandah extending the full length of the building proved to be an ideal location for dances. Music was supplied by Frank McGee and Ernie Moore on violin and Vern Buckmaster on accordion'. (B. Moore, Warm Corner). Cricket was very much a part of any recreational activity which occurred during summertime in the district and Bulgar Creek fielded its own cricket team at district matches.

When William Moore died in 1913, sons James C. and 'Harry' [Henry] were leasing the 'Fairvale' property from their father. James C. was also leasing 400 acres at 'Sunnybrae' on the Queanbeyan River and held the property 'Nanima', which lies north of 'Gledeswood'.

Children of William and Catherine Moore were:

Elizabeth Louisa, 17.8.1864 (Mrs.William Hardy);
Richard, 1.1.1867 (Helen Hadden);
Sarah Jane, 21.1.1869 (Mrs.Edward Oldfield);
Margaret Courtney, 21.8.1871 (Mrs.George Gribble);
William, 19.10.1874 (Annie McInnes), all born at "Warm Corner", Burra;

Alexander, 22.5.1879 (Caroline Luscombe);
James Courtney, 29.12.1881 (Minnie Murty);
Henry McKenzie, 20.2.1885 (bachelor);
Catherine Bass, 17.7.1888 (died as a baby);
Emily Ruth, 25.6.1890 (spinster), all born at "Fairvale", Bulgar Creek.

Obituary : William Moore (snr)

The grim reaper has been somewhat busy during the past few days, especially with those of our fellow citizens who had come to ripened years, and in one case had far exceeded the allotted span of three score years and ten. The record includes –

This gentleman, who comes of one of the pioneer families of the district, was one of the most prominent of the community. He was born at Tuggeranong – the first white child born in that locality – on the 16th December, 1840, being over 72 years of age at the time of his decease. He was the oldest of several sons and daughters born to Richard and Margaret Moore, who are to be classed as the progenitors of the numerous family, in all its branches, of the Moores of Queanbeyan and district.

The deceased gentleman resided in the district of his birth, all the days of his long life, with the exception of a short time spent in successful mining at Kiandra in the palmy days of that goldfield. He was also very successful in grazing and farming pursuits. In 1874 he, as did also his brother Richard, took up a large area of land on the Yarralumla holding at Bulga Creek. Prior to this, in 1863, he married Catherine, daughter of the late Alexander McKenzie, who bore him five sons and four daughters, all of whom survived him. The sons are – Richard, William, Alexander, James and Henry Moore; the daughters Mrs. William Hardy, Mrs. George Gribble, Mrs. William Oldfield, and Miss Emily Moore. [Ed. - James settled after marriage in the Ginninderra district].

Until the sickness which terminated fatally assailed him, the deceased gentleman was of robust health; and although he did not take any prominent part in political or other public matters, he was highly esteemed for his neighbourly and other social qualities. His long life in the district eminently qualified him to pose as an authority in matters of its early history, as a raconteur of which he was most interesting and instructive to listen to. As a matter of history, it is interesting to know that, together with his brother, Mr. Richard Moore (one of Queanbeyan's ex-mayors) and the late Mr. W Simms, he assisted to cut the piles of the first bridge which spanned the river at Queanbeyan. The timber of the district at that time was of superior quality; but with the growth and expansion of settlement it soon disappeared, leaving only the inferior timber procurable to-day.

Physically, the late Mr. William Moore was of fine build, athletic and strong. Amongst his other physical attainments, he was notably a good swimmer and some of his feats in the water are reported to have been marvels of endurance and skill. Besides his property at Bulga Creek, conjointly with his brother Richard, he owned a fine grazing and farming property at the Burra. Though, as already said, the deceased was a man of robust health, for some time prior to his decease symptoms of ailing manifested themselves. For the last ten weeks, for the purpose of readier access to his medical adviser, he came into town to reside in a property he had previously built in Queanbeyan. For the entire period named he was too ill to leave his bed, and at noon on Tuesday last quietly breathed his last.

A905328 Death Certificate : Margaret Moore (1810-1892)

Margaret Moore – born in County Cavan, Ireland, 2.7.1810
Father: James Courtney, farmer
Mother: Mary Magill
Arrived in Australia 1841.
Married Richard Moore in Ireland at 26 years of age. Resided in Australia 51 years.
Living issue: William, Eliza, Richard, James, Margaret; deceased females 4 ( Sarah)
Died aged 81 years on 5.1.1892 at Queanbeyan.
Buried Church of England, Queanbeyan 6.1.1892

A904965 Death Certificate : Richard Moore (1814-1883)

Richard Moore – born in County Cavan, Ireland, 16.5.1814
Father: Jason Moore, farmer
Mother: Esther Meredith
Married, in Ireland, at the age of 22 years, to Margaret Courtney. Resided in Australia, for 42 years.
Richard was a grazier. Died at the age of 69 years, at the Burra, his residence.
Buried at the Church of England, Queanbeyan, 5.5.1883

[From family records compiled by Kay Jones (nee Moore)]

Related Photos


Moore, Bruce (1981). The warm corner : a history of the Moore family and their relatives, early pioneers of the Queanbeyan-Canberra district. B. Moore, Pearce, A.C.T

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