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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
David Winter

Born: 1881; Died: 1957; Married: Ethel (Leary)

David Winter, son of John Winter and Jemima Winter (McPherson), was born in 1881 at 'Red Hill' (Gungaderra) Homestead. David was the youngest of nine children.

David and his brothers played their part as engineers, first with a portable steam engine drawn by bullocks and a huge threshing machine called a 'drum'. The Winter brothers travelled from farm to farm to do the threshing and chaff-cutting. They worked in the Canberra-Queanbeyan area, but also worked in the Yass-Gunning district, and travelled as far south as Holbrook, Henty, and Culcairn. The brothers and their machinery were a familiar sight until the late 1930's.

David married Ethel Leary in Queanbeyan on the 10th December 1913 and together they had 11 children: Sylvia Grace, David Edward, Hazel Jean, Stanley Charles, Delma Veronica, Una Isabel, Arthur William, Barbara Ethel, Robert, Albert (who died early-childhood), and Heather Rachel. Their youngest child, Heather, was born when David was well into his 50s. Ethel first started off working as a housemaid for John Southwell and his family at 'Rose Hill'.

David was described as a person who thoroughly understood his work: 'The machines at Cuppacumbalong were driven by a 13-horse power traction engine under the control of Mr. David Winter, of Red Hill, Canberra. There was scarcely any delay on account of the engine or machinery going wrong, which shows that the driver understood his work thoroughly'. [Queanbeyan Age. Tharwa correspondent. 1908]

Around the mid-1910s, David and his family moved to Koorowatha, then proceeded to move around from town to town (Koorawatha to Junee, Illabo and then to Yass) because of the chaff-cutting business he was in.

He owned a threshing machine and worked with his brothers John and William around the Canberra-Gunning district. Later in life David made gramophone machines. One of his daughters, Una, use to sleep walk and one night stuffed a pillow into one of the gramophone's speakers.

His youngest daughter, Heather, recalls him owning a sulky and a horse for the time that she knew him. She also remembers him taking on a few gardening jobs for the locals. Her mother Ethel had heart complications and eventually Heather was required to finish school at a young age to care for her.

Here is a story relating to his sulky:

Mr. Dave Winter, 58, labourer, residing off Cooma Street, was collecting stones for a garden in a sulky on the Hume Highway near Braeside, about 1.30 yesterday afternoon, when the horse bolted. Mr. Winter had collected a number of stones and was putting more stones into the sulky when the horse took fright. The wheel of the sulky struck him and he was knocked down. He sustained a punctured wound over the right eye, extensive bruises to the hands and an injury to his ribs. He was treated by the ambulance and taken to the District Hospital, where he was admitted. The bolting horse continued down the highway into the town. When it passed the petrol service station at the junction of the Hume Highway and Good Hope Road it slipped on the bitumen and fell. The horse skinned its shoulders and was unable to rise until it was released from the sulky, which was not damaged. [Yass Tribune-Courier, Horse Bolted Drive Knocked Down, 1939.

They were quite poor in life and eventually ended up renting at the Federal Flats in Yass (site located where the Thunderbird Motel now stands). They had no power and used kerosene lamps and wood-fire.

David passed away on Christmas Day in Yass Hospital, NSW in 1957. He is buried at Yass General Cemetery in the Presbyterian section.

Obituary. Mr David Winter

A well-known and popular personality of Yass and district and member of one of the pioneer families of Canberra, Mr David Winter died in Yass Hospital on Christmas Day. He was 76. Mr Winter who spent the last few years doing various gardening jobs in the town worked until the day he collapsed about eight weeks ago. In his earlier days he owned a chaff-cutting plant and later became a shearing expert.

His sister, Mrs Harry Ginn, Canberra, who is 82, was presented to Queen Elizabeth when she visited Canberra. Mr Winter is survived by his wife, formerly Miss Ethel Leary, Tasmania. They were married at Queanbeyan about 45 years ago. He is also survived by three sons and six daughters. They are Stan (Yass), Arthur (Narrangullen), Robert (Yass), Sylvia (Mrs Ted Gruber, Murrumbateman), Jean (Mrs Harry Barrows, Breadalbane), Delma (Mrs W Scott, Yass), Una (Mrs Doug Rattenbury, Hall), Barbara (Mrs Alan Davies, Newtown) and Heather (Yass).
[ Goulburn Evening Post, 1 January 1958]

[contributed by Dylan Rattenbury]

Related Photos


Fitzgerald A.J, 1977Historic Canberra 1825-1945, Australian Government Pub.

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