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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Rose Hill

Rose Hill was established by John Southwell, who acquired Portions 68 and 69, Parish of Ginninderra in April 1872, and lived there with his wife Louisa. The land appears to have been immediately adjacent the Hatch family's Rosewood, and these similar names have lead to a lot of confusion over the years.

John Southwell became very active in Hall village and affairs of the Ginninderra district in the eighties and nineties, being at one stage proprietor of the Hall store, and postmaster. He was also one of the first purchasers at auction of village blocks, and a one stage had very substantial land holdings both in, and immediately surrounding the village.

It has been difficult to establish exactly when he and Louisa were living at Rose Hill, but there is good evidence that they were there until around 1894, when they moved into Hall. It is reported that William and Margaret Hatch lived for a short time at Rose Hill while their own close by home was being renovated, and one of their sons, George Patrick Hatch moved into Rosehill in 1901 after his marriage to Anne Goodwin, second daughter of Mr and Mrs James Goodwin of Williamsdale. George and Anne lived there until 1909 when they left the district for Condobolin - an occasion marked by a community farewell gathering at Kinlyside Hall.

Evidently the Hatches acquired the property at some stage, because it is reported that Rose Hill - a property at that time of 1056.5 areas - was sold by 'the Hatch brothers' to Edwin Davis (April 1909), then sold again not long after to Joshua Charles Armstrong, who had married Ethel Southwell. While Armstrong was the owner, it appears that the homestead was occupied by Andrew McDonald and his wife Theresa (nee Hatch) from around 1910 to 1915 - at which time Rose Hill was resumed by the Federal government, and converted to a Rural Lease.

In 1923, restructured as Block 26 Belconnen, of 538 acres, 'Rosehill' became a Soldier Settler block, being offered initially to Eric Bondfield. Bondfield quickly assessed that the block would not be big enough for him, and it was then leased to William George Lee and his wife Ethel. The homestead was renovated by the Federal Capital Commission in 1925. Lee added the adjacent Block 24 (153 acres), both leases renewed up to 1948. George passed away in 1940, and Ethel continue as the lessee, residing at 'Rosehill'. In 1958 the 'Rosehill' block was resumed in readiness for the development of Belconnen, while block 24 (earlier the site of the Palmerville estate) was taken over by the CSIRO. The site of the Rosehill homestead can today be found at the top end of Thornton Place, Spence, close to the old district landmark 'Fiveways'. Significantly, 'Rose Hill' and 'Rosewood' were only just over a mile apart making it easy to keep in touch when Hatch family members were occupying both places.

Details of the twentieth century property history, and the life of William Lee, can be found at his entry in the excellent Archives ACT Soldier Settlers database.

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