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Ginninderra is the name of the former agricultural lands surrendered for development of Canberra beginning in the mid 1960s. The name referred originally to the Ginninderra Plains which corresponds with the Ginninderra Catchmentmarker, and is now occupied by the Canberra districts of Belconnen and Gungahlin.

The word 'Ginninderra' is one of several - Molonglo, Gold Creek and Monaro are others - that hold longstanding connections to Canberra's local history. Today many Canberra organistions draw on an association with this name. The Ginninderra Cricket Club, Ginninderra District High School and Ginninderra Labor Club are examples. One of the local ACT electorates is also called Ginninderra. The name is celebrated through the place name Ginninderra Drive, an arterial road that traverses Belconnen.

Ginninderra Plain

Ginninderra plain
The Ginninderra Plain is bound by the Spring Range and the NSW-ACT border to the north, by Black Mountain and the O'Connor Ridge to the east, by a line of hills leading west from Mt Payntor towards the Murrumbldgee River to the south and by the hills at Brookland (in NSW) and the Brindabella Ranges to the west. The urban environs of the city of Canberramarker straddle the Ginninderra Plain, Molonglo Plains, the Limestone Plain, and the Tuggeranong Plainmarker (Isabella's Plain). The plain contains the entire water catchment area of Ginninderra Creekmarker, which empties into the Murrumbidgee Rivermarker and forms part of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Ginninderra's wild beauty was first captured by the early colonial artist Robert Hoddle in watercolour and ink. Between the years 1830 and 1836, Hoddle made several visits to the district, to survey property boundaries.

History

There is evidence that the Ngunnawal people the Indigenous Australians inhabited the regions bounded by the presentday towns of Queanbeyan, Tumut, Boorowa and Goulburn for at least the past 20,000 years. Earliest written reference to the area use the spelling 'Ginninginderry' though by mid 19th century the 'Ginninderra' variation was in general use. The word is Aboriginal for 'throwing out little rays of light'.

George Palmers established his Palmerville Estate in 1826. Convicts worked principally as shepherds under the system of assignment supervised by overseers to tend sheep runs. The countryside was dotted with shepherds’ huts across large tracts unfenced land called runs and convicts were left to tend their flocks for weeks at a time. The combined properties of Ginninderra and Charnwood Estates was nearly 20,150 acres (8155 ha). The area was part of the Ginninderra Parishmarker within the Murray County, one of the 54 parishes within the Murray County, of the colony of New South Wales.

The second wave of settlement began in the early 1850s led by free settlers such as the Rolfe, Shumack, Gillespie and Gribble families. These settlers established wheat and sheep properties such as 'Weetangara', 'Gold Creek'marker,'The Valley' and 'Tea Gardens' and grew local produce, much of which supplied the large workforce at the region's goldfields located at Braidwood and Major's Creek.

During the first half of the twentieth century Ginninderra developed a reputation for high quality merino wool. When Australian troops were deployed to the Korean war in 1950, the army bought up the nation’s entire wool clip, sending domestic wool prices soaring. Wool prices doubled those of the previous year, and at the high-water mark nudged £1 per pound of wool. Henry ‘Babe’ Curran of Deasland near Ginninderra Village achieved a world record price at auction. That year’s record auction prices helped perpetuate the myth that the country’s woolgrowers were all millionaires. The centre of the local wool industry was the Ginninderra Woolshed, the district’s largest, (the site of which was located close to the presentday intersection of William Slim Drive and Baldwin Drive in Giralang). The structure was demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the urban development of Belconnen.

Key events in Gininnderra:

Year Event
1859 Ginninderra Post Office opens
1869 Telegraph service commences
1872 St Francis Church opens
1905 Bushfire destroys Ginninderra General Store
1914 Crickets Arms Hotel destroyed by fire
1950 Ginniderra residents connected to the electricity supply
1962 Ginninderra Post Office and Ginninderra Schoolhouse close
1967 Foundation stone laid for establishment of Belconnen district
1990 Ginninderra Village renamed Gold Creek Village
1992 Palmerston, first suburb in Gungahlin district established


Ginninderra Village

Ginninderra Store 1890s


This collection of buildings became known as Ginninderra Village.

  • The General Store which survived until 1905 when it was destroyed by a bushfire.
  • Ginninderra Blacksmith. Today this wood and corrugated iron structure represents one of the best-preserved examples of its type in Australia.
  • Farmers' Union. This building was transported to the Hall Showground where it now serves as a sports pavilion
  • Ginninderra Schoolhouse
  • Police Station
  • Ginnninderra Post Office. With the closure of the Ginninderra Post Office in the 1962, local commerce within Ginninderra shifted completely to the village of Hallmarker.


Former St Francis Church of Ginninderra c.2004


  • St Francis of Ginninderra Church. In 1872, the doors of St Francis of Ginninderra, a Roman Catholic Church opened to Sunday worship. This very modest bluestone building was located near the Ginninderra post office. St Francis also served for a time as a public school. The church closed when its congregation moved to St Francis Xavier Church located in Hall after it opened in April 1910.
  • Old Tree Hill Sports Ground
  • Cricketers Arm Hotel


Decline

In 1962, with the retirement of local schoolteacher and postmaster, Richard O’Sullivan, the Ginninderra post office finally closed. . The few remaining buildings in the former village are a timber hall (the former St Francis Church) and the Ginninderra Schoolhouse which are both located today within the tourist precinct of the Gold Creek Village in the suburb of Nichollsmarker.

Further reading

  • McDonald, J. Kay (1985) Exploring the ACT and Southeast New South Wales, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, ISBN 0-86417-049-1
Gillespie L, (1992), Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra: a history of the Ginninderra district, ACT Heritage Unit, ISBN 0959025510

References

  1. Gillespie L, Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra: a history of the Ginninderra district, ACT Heritage Unit, 1992
  2. Shumack S (1977),Tales and legends of Canberra pioneers, Australian National University
  3. ewman Chris (2004), Gold Creek, Reflections of Canberra's Rural Heritage, Gold Creek Homestead Working Group.
  4. Hitches B (1988), Wool in Australia 1788-1988, Australian Wool Corporation,
  5. Newman Chris (2004), Gold Creek, Reflections of Canberra's Rural Heritage, Gold Creek Homestead Working Group.
  6. Parsons J (1976) The Episcopal Governance of William Lanigan at Goulburn 1867-1900, Australian National University
  7. Gillespie L (1992), Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, ACT Heritage Unit



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