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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Robert Robin Maloney

Born: 1814; Died: 1889; Married: Mary Walsh

Robert (aka 'Robin') Maloney was born around 1814, in Ballincarroona, Parish of Kilfrush, District Knocklong, County Limerick, to Richard (1779-1854) and Bridget (nee Walsh) Moloney, who married in 1803 in Ballinvreena, Limerick, Ireland.

Robert arrived on 8 October 1851 on the ship 'Kate' as an assisted immigrant. His immigration record listed him as "aged 37, bachelor, farm labourer, good health, no complaints re voyage, paid ₤3, answered 'Yes' to Read/Write?, and both parents deceased".

Robert came to Canberra and is thought to have followed his sister (or cousin), Bridget Neylon (aka Nealon), who had emigrated earlier that year, with her daughter Bridget, to be with her husband James Neylon. James had been transported in 1838 on 'Clyde 2' for fraud, but was later pardoned, and resided at 'Stone Hut', which is close to where the Weetangera Road met Yass Road and is probably the location of the later Stone Hut School.

According to Samuel Shumack: "The first tenant of the Stone Hut farm on Weetangera Road was James Neylon. Neylon received a pardon and his wife and daughter arrived a year later". (p. 99)

Robin Maloney acquired his first 100 acres around 1856, being Portion 35, Parish of Canberra on Yass Road, Ainslie, 'near the Stone Hut', under clause 22 of the Crown Lands Alienation Act.

Peter Shumack and Joseph Shumack acquired the two adjacent blocks and Joseph built the Old Canberra Inn on his portion, which straddled the Queanbeyan - Yass road.

Samuel Shumack records: "In 1857 some land at Canberra was surveyed into 100-acre blocks, and Robert Maloney, Peter Shumack and his nephew Joseph, and Joseph's mother secured blocks." [Shumack p.15].
John Gale summarised the main land holdings as at 1855 as : "Northwards were the farmsteads of the Shumacks, Maloneys and one or two else."

"About 1859 when blocks of land were surveyed and sold at Canberra, Robin Maloney secured two blocks of 100 acres each and I often saw him at work improving this land when I was shepherding. I saw him building a house it was rumoured from Queanbeyan to Ginninderra that old Robin Maloney was going to marry Miss O'Keefe. The house under construction was the same type as those constructed locally, but was superior in that it had a double chimney and a verandah".[Shumack, p.98].

The family referred to this as 'Stone Hut farm' and it was located just north of the old Canberra Inn, now Yowani golf course and North Lyneham

However, the night before the wedding the bride to be ran off leaving a note - "I was never consulted on the matter and I believe I have done the right thing. When I marry, I will make my own choice and I will never become any man's slave". She later became Edmund Rolfe's second wife at Gold Creek.
The jilted lover did not die broken-hearted – Mrs McNamara had sent home for her sister Mary. 'The local priest took the matter up, and Mary and Robin married within a month of her arrival'. Robert married Mary Walsh/Welsh in December 1859 in John McNamara's house at 'Woden'.

Shumack recounted – "I must say it was a happy union. I found Mary Maloney a good friend during her long residence at Canberra, and she and her husband were ever ready to respond to a sick call. On one occasion when my uncle Peter was taken seriously ill and there was no other person in the vicinity to act as messenger, Maloney got out of his sick bed and did a journey of twenty-four miles to obtain medical assistance". [op cit p.98]

Mary and Robert had thirteen children:

Other glimpses of the Maloneys can be found in Shumack:

"the first bushfire I saw was in the autumn of 1858 and quick action saved the homes and crops of the Maloneys ...." [p.8]

"In 1871 the possums caused great destruction to wheat crops, and Robert Maloney and John Coppin had their crops totally destroyed. Maloney estimated his loss at 350 bushels"[p.152].

Robert and later son Richard acquired and farmed additional land, which became known as 'Hillside', Yass Road, Ainslie.

In 1885 he was recorded as being the occupant of 510 acres at Canberra with 6 horses, 20 cattle and 2 pigs in the NSW Legislative Assembly Votes and proceedings Vol3.

Robert died in Canberra on 7 October 1889, aged 75, and Mary on 18 June 1909, aged 68.

Richard and Maggie, and then their son Lyle, continued to farm 'Hillside' until it was resumed by the ACT.

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