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Rediscovering Ginninderra: A database:
Edmund Rolfe

Born: 1841; Died: 1918; Married: 1. Margaret Logue 2. Margaret Keefe

Edmund was the son of Anthony and Catherine Rolfe, who, together with their five children emigrated to Australia in 1849. Edmund had been born in 1840 at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk. In Australia Anthony joined his older brother, William, as a tenant farmer at Joseph Kaye's 'Springbank' (Acton). In 1861 Anthony had saved enough to purchase 60 acres at Ginninderra, which was to become the start of 'Gold Creek' station. Further purchases followed, and the Rolfes established their home at 'Tea Gardens'.

According to Newman, the Rolfes were part of an influx of catholic families that settled in the Ginninderra dsitrict'. Amongst others were the Hibbersons, Blewitts, Cavanaghs, Ryans, McCarthys, McAuliffes and Butlers. Edmund and his family were part of this catholic community, and the Rolfes at various times hosted services, held fund-raising events, and helped establish St Francis chuch at Ginninderra (1872) and its replacement St Francis Xavier at Hall (1910). Daughter Alice joined the Sisters of the Order of the Good Samaritan in Queanbeyan..

In the 1870's some of the land passed from Anthony to his son Edmund, who was eventually to build up a large and very successful farming and grazing enterprise, after early years driving a bullock cart.

Edmund married twice - to Margaret Logue (1861) then Margaret Keefe (1867). Margaret was the daughter of Bryan and Margaret Logue, he being manager of the Duntroon dairy. Sadly, Margaret died after childbirth in 1867, leaving Edmund with four young children. However, he married again within three months - to Margaret O'Keefe of Queanbeyan, with whom he was to have another ten children. Seven sons proved a great assett to a pioneering farmer!

On their earliest holdings the Rolfes grew wheat, barley, hay and lucerne - crops for both taking to market and for feeding stock. Later they diversified into sheep and wool production and built their own woolshed. As well as wool-growing Edmund kept racehorses and once ventured into gold mining with Thomas Gribble Jnr. Edmund was also active in local politics and community affairs, serving as Treasurer and later Vice Presidnet of the Ginninderra Protection Union, and on the committee of the Ginninderra Farmers Union, which conducted the Ginninderra Show.

The fine stone 'Gold Creek' homestead, much altered but still standing, was built in 1883.

The 3,940 acre 'Gold Creek' estate, accumulated and improved over some forty years by the Rolfes, was resumed by the government in 1915 for £13,500. The former Rolfe land west of Halls Creek was subsequently leased to Arthur Bolton, and this land has subsequently been owned and then leased by members of the Bolton family. Edmund and Magaret moved to a new home, Sherwood Grange, at Merrylands near Sydney, but were not long there before first Margaret (July 1918) and then Edmund (October 1918) pased away.

Children of Edmund Rolfe:

to Margaret (Logue)

Bryan 1862
Maria 1864
Mary 1865
Catherine 1867

to Margaret (Keefe)

Anthony 1868
William 1869
Alice 1871
Bridget 1873
Margaret 1874
James 1876
Patrick 1878
Gertrude 1880
John 1882
Edward 1884

Related Photos


Chris Newman, Gold Creek. Reflections of Canberra's Rural Heritage. Author Published 2004

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