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Rediscovering Ginninderra:

Robert (aka Robin) Maloney emigrated in 1851 and although he had relatives in other parts of Australia, he came to this district and settled near the Yass Road in Ainslie.

It is thought that that he followed his sister (or cousin) Bridget Nealon/Neylon and her daughter, also Bridget, who emigrated in 1851 to join her husband James at Stone Hut farm, near the area where the old Weetangera Road met Yass Road.

Roberts farm was originally known as 'Stone Hut farm' and later his son Richard acquired adjacent land he called 'Hillside'. After Robert's death the farms were merged and known as 'Hillside', until resumed by the ACT government for Yowani and North Lyneham.

Around 1856 Robin Maloney had acquired his first 100 acres on Yass Road, Ainslie, "near the Stone Hut", under clause 22 of the Crown Lands Alienation Act. Peter and Joseph Shumack acquired the adjacent two blocks and Joseph built the Old Canberra Inn on his portion.

John Gale summarised the main land holdings as at 1855 as :
"Northwards were the farmsteads of the Schumacks, Maloneys and one or two else."

Schumack Page 98 : "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, ......... 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".

Robert married Mary Walsh/Welsh in 1859 and gradually expanded the farm, then known as 'Stone Hut farm', on which they had thirteen children, including Richard, Ellen and Robert jnr.

Robert acquired in 1856 portion 22 (35) of 100 acres, in 1861 portion 3 of 51 acres, 1 of 100 acres, and by 1879 portion 131 of 40 acres, 143 of 40 acres, totalling 331 acres.

Richard had acquired by 1879 portions 76 of 60 acres, 84 of 60 acres and 130 of 50 acres, totalling 170 acres.

Richard acquired additional acreage, on which he built his house and established a farm he called 'Hillside'.

A small block adjacent to their land was resumed for the Stone Hut school around 1885.

Robert Maloney died in 1889 and his sons Richard and Robert Jnr continued farming the properties.

Richard married Maggie Read in 1892 and they had nine children at 'Hillside'.

Richard's sister, Ellen Maloney, married his brother-in-law, John Reid, and they purchased the old Canberra Inn from Joseph Schumack and used it as their home – 'The Pines'. Block 15 Gunghalin - 404 acres 30 perches. The lease was re-newed in 1933 to Ellen, Thomas and Cecil Read.

In the 1904 electoral roll, Richard and his brother Robert, were listed as farmers.

However, everything changed when this land was resumed by the new Federal government and Richard continued to farm on short term leases. Robert Jnr moved to Sydney around 1930

Land acquired from R Maloney on 18/03/1915 included 581 ½ acres for £3,123 15 8.

R Maloney of Yass Road, Ainslie was listed as the rate-payer for Ainslie blocks 46 and 46A of 1,371 acres for 1927 to 1929, and also blocks 47 of 580 acres and 49 of 49 acres in 1927.

By 1928 Richard had lost blocks 47 and 49, presumably as they were resumed for the Belconnen Naval radio station to be built.

"In 1925, Canberra was recommended as the new centre for long-distance naval wireless communication. By the late 1930s, construction was well under way on a receiving and transmitting station. The transmitting station was located in the vicinity of Ginninderra Creek, in what is now the suburb of Lawson. The transmitting station was more commonly known as Bells. Together with the receiving station, HMAS Harman, Bells formed the most powerful naval wireless base in the British empire and the largest naval or commercial station in the southern hemisphere.
Bells made its first operational transmission on 22 December 1939, and for the duration of the war communicated with merchant and fleet shipping around the world".

Family stories have it that when told that the navy was to take land in their area, Richard exclaimed "but there are no bl**dy ships in Canberra".

In the 1928 Electoral Roll, Richard and Margaret were named as graziers of Yass road, Ainslie and their son Edward was also residing on the farm.

Edward married and Annie May Cavanagh of 'Strayleaf', Mulligans Flat in 1928 and they leased the old Ginninderra Police Station and 46 acres.

The lease was renewed to Richard in 1933 for 25 years, but 57 acres were resumed for variations to the stock route between 1936 and 1940 and a block was sub-leased for a Radio Transmitter and cottage for radio station 2CA.

Richard died in 1946 and his son Lyle Maloney took over the lease of 'Hillside' from 1947.

The properties included part of the Yowani golf-course and extended towards Kaleen. The last farmhouse was demolished when North Lyneham was built.

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