skip to content

Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William Ginn

Born: 1821; Died: 1904; Married: Mary [Wade]

William Ginn arrived in Australia from England on the 'Alfred' on 23 July 1857, with his wife Mary (nee Wade) and children Walter Ginn (3 years old) and Henry ('Harry') Thomas Ginn (1). William was born at Great Hormead, in Hertforshire, while Mary (1824-1917)was born in Quebec, Canada. Her father was in the British Army and was stationed for a while in 'Upper Canada'. William and Mary were recruited by George Campbell of Duntroon, where William worked as a ploughman.

Samuel Shumack recounts that 'the harvest of 1857 - 58 was a splendid one and during Christmas some Mr Campbell's guests were in the harvest field and expressed admiration of the crop, one saying it was the best he had seen that year. 'Well,' Mr Campbell said, 'I have the best farm hand now I ever Had - William Ginn'. [Shumack p.11]

In around 1860 Campbell built the cottage now known as 'Blundell's Cottage' for the Ginn family, the Blundells being the second tenant. At the same time Campbell supplied Ginn with 90 acres of land for an annual rent of ₤1 an acre. Two more children, Agnes and Gertrude, were born while William was employed at Duntroon, Gertrude having the distinction of being the first to be born at Blundells Cottage, as it now popularly known. It was home for the Ginn family for around fourteen years. Only two of the four children were to marry - Henry Thomas and Agnes.

Later William selected two lots of 40 acres in the Parish of Goorooyarroo and built a home there to which they moved in 1874, and which they called 'Canberra Park'. This predated the official naming of the capital by forty years. It is possible that Ginn named his property 'Canberra', an Aboriginal word meaning 'meeting place', due to his well-known friendly relations with Aboriginal people, including his employment of them. The original portion was added to in 1876 (section 21, 60 acres) and again in 1879 (section 22, 40 acres). The Canberra Park site is on the western side of the Federal Highway, almost opposite a quarry on the other side. The highway passes through a saddle nearby, known as 'Ginn's Gap'.

In 1899, William's two sons, Walter and Henry (Harry), built a new homestead at 'Canberra Park'. In that same year Henry married Elizabeth Winter, daughter of John and Jemima Winter who were prominent early settlers in the district who are associated with nearby Gungaderra Station, formerly known as Red Hill Station. Together Henry and Elizabeth settled at the new 'Canberra Park' homestead, where Henry engaged in farming and agricultural pursuits. They had four children Ethel Alice, Elizabeth Lillian, James Henry and William John. William Ginn died at his"Canberra Park' home in 1904.

Pioneers' Reunion At 'Canberra Park' (Canberra Times)

Pioneering days in the Canberra district were pleasantly recalled when a large gathering of relatives and friends assembled at 'Canberra Park,' Federal Highway, to honour Mrs. Elizabeth Ginn on the occasion of her 70th birthday.  The home in which the celebration was held, now occupied by Mrs. Ginn's elder son, James, is that to which she was brought as a bride by her husband, the late Mr. Henry Thomas Ginn, more than 40 years ago.

Their marriage at St. John's Church, Canberra, at the dawn of this century, united two well known pioneering families of the district. Mr. Henry Ginn's father, Mr.William Ginn, was among the first settlers to come into this part, and he established himself at Canberra Lodge, just past whereCanberra Park now stands. Mrs. Ginn was Miss Elizabeth Winter, daughter of Mr. John Winter, who, after first working for Mr. George Campbell at Duntroon, later established himself on the property known as Red Hill.

Mrs. Ginn's two sons and two daughters and eight grand-children were among the 40 persons who joined in the birthday feast, and in toasting her future health and happiness. The sons are Mr. James H. Ginn, Canberra Park, and Mr. William J.Ginn, of Braddon. The daughters are Mrs. A. Trounson, North Ainslie, and Mrs. A. C. Appleby, Federal Highway.
Also present at the party were two sisters of the late Mr Ginn—Mrs. Agnes Lawson, aged 87, and Miss Gertrude Ginn, 81, both of whom reside at Westridge. Messages were received from Mrs. Ginn's brothers and sisters, Mr. David Winter of Yass, and Mr. William Winter of Parramatta, Mrs. I. Shumack of Kenilworth, Yass, and Mrs. S. Shumack of Peakhurst

Related Photos


< Rediscovering Ginninderra