skip to content

< Early Canberra Government Schools

Parkwood [1871 - 1874]

"Over the years 1855 to 1861 Thomas and (his second wife) Mary had four more children"..... "The need for a bigger and better house began to be felt now that 15 children had to be accommodated so in 1863 Thomas Southwell decided to build a brick house with the help of his family".... "The house contained six rooms ---- a parlour, dining room, main bedroom, parson's room with a school room and a large bedroom for the girls upstairs.

Schooling for the children had always been a problem and Thomas had found it necessary to employ tutors. One of those he employed was a man who went under the name George Ferrers Townsend, who after he fraudulently cashed two cheques at a bank in Queanbeyan purporting to be drawn in his favour by Thomas Southwell, was found to be the Marquis of Townsend. He had been missing from England having slipped out of the country after wounding a member of the royal family in a duel."

A school commenced to operate at St Paul's Church, The Glebe, Ginninderra in 1862, but this was some four or five miles from Parkwood. It appears that some of the Southwell children may have attended the school at St Paul's church as a story passed down in that family indicates that the trees were marked to guide the children to and from a school located a considerable distance from their home.

A half-time school finally opened at Parkwood in 1871 in the building hitherto used as a Sunday School, and operated for nearly two years in conjunction with the Ginninderra (St Pauls) School. It operated for a further 18 months as a Provisional School before being closed down in July 1874.

Extract from Lyall Gillespie 'The Southwell Family' [Southwell Reunion Committee, 1988. p. 14]

"No teacher has yet been appointed to the Ginninderra and Parkwood part-time schools, although the Council of Education have promised to send the first available teacher. At Parkwood the building hitherto used as a Sunday school has been excellently fitted up and adapted for the purpose of regular teaching"

[Queanbeyan Age 2nd March 1871]

Reference: 'The Southwell Family. Pioneers of the Canberra District, 1838 - 1988'

Location Map

Related Photos



NSW Government schools from 1848

< Early Canberra Government Schools

If you are able to assist our work of identifying, documenting, and celebrating the early bush schools of the Canberra region, please contact us or .