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Rediscovering Ginninderra:

The Parkwood Home of Thomas and Mary Southwell

Southwell Family Society

In 1863 at the age of 50 Thomas decided , with the help of his family, to build a brick house. The bricks he made and burnt on the property, and the timber was pit sawn on Mr Phillip's property Sherwood across the Murrumbidgee river, near Uriarra, where the stringy bark trees were very suitable. The sawn timber had to be brought across the river at Cusack's Crossing. The brick house was built of English design with two attics. The rooms consisted of a parlour, dining room, the parson's room, and their own bedroom. Upstairs was the schoolroom and the larger room was the girls bedroom. The ceilings were rather low in the attics - so low that the growing girls were not able to stand erect when combing their long tresses.

The roof of the house was shingles. The walls were a fine plaster, and the ceilings lathe and plaster. The doors, window frames, skirting boards and architraves were of red cedar, and the floors well-sawn stringy bark. The floor was nailed with nails made by the resident blacksmith, with square heads. The stairs were a steep flight of thirteen steps. This home was built a few yards in front of the existing kitchen, boys, room and store rooms. Apparently the young daughters were always timid and imagined all sorts of things as they scurried across this space to their bedroom at night.

Extract from 'Parkwood' brought amenities to historic home (Joan Pilgrim)

........ though the original pise homestead built of clay bricks burnt on the place still stands and is the very comfortable home of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Kilby, two other homes have been added to the property, both in much the same pioneering spirit as when the first was built,
Back in 1939, when Mrs. Bruce Kilby gave up a flourishing real estate business in Sydney to marry young Bruce Kilby, she declared that she was not going to be without any of fine amenities of city life through going to live In the country. And she isn't—but she didn't get them overnight. There have been "pioneering years" behind the present development of her lovely home.
In the first place, they didn't have a home. They couldn't buy timber for the framework, they couldn't get bricks, and it was already becoming difficult to get labour on the job, though they had the builder teed up. Then the pioneering spirit of the late James and Beatrice asserted itself in their son Bruce. Part of "Parkwood" is on the Ginninderra Creek which runs into the Murrumbidgee. At one section, its steep banks, known as the Gorge, and a favourite' picnicking spot, are lined with native pines. Mr. Bruce Kilby took his axe and cut down 150 of the best and straightest he could select, hitched them onto chains and a team of horses, and dragged them out of the Gorge.
The timbers were cut and dressed on the property, and they form the framework and all the flooring, overmantels and doors, of their charming bungalow home, for which Mrs. Kilby drew the plan.
Since building it, front porch and side sunroom, enclosed against the cold westerlies, have been added with concrete bricks made on the property by the brothers, who recently turned out 12,000 bricks, the makings of the third homestead on 'Parkwood', for which they also put in the concrete foundations. This six-roomed home has only recently been completed.

[The Land, Friday 20 July 1951, page 23-24]

Related Photos


The Parkwood Home. Home of Thomas and Mary Southwell, Southwell Family Society, information sheet.

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