Born: 1809; Died: 1889; Married: Mary Ann Hutchinson
John Gillespie was born at Killylea in Ireland in 1809, the son of George Gillespie and Jane (nee Gordon). He married Mary Ann Hutchinson around 1832.
The Gillespies arrived in Sydney on assisted passage in 1841 on the Lascar with his wife and children, Elizabeth and George. This ship also carried other Ginninderra settler families: the Shumacks and Currans.
John was soon employed by William Klensendorlffe of Canberra and lived at their farmhouse. It was also here that in 1844 the Gillespies’ second son, James, was born.
John and Mary Ann chose a site at Dead Horse Gully near ‘Giningininderry’. They had two more sons (William and Robert) and a daughter (Euphemia). The family then settled on land at the headwaters of Ginninderra Creek. In 1852 he purchased the land and built a stone cottage and other structures.
John continued to purchase additional blocks of land. In later years his sons also added to the land holdings. The property was later named ‘Horse Park’. John died there in 1889. Mary Ann lived on there with her son, William, until her death in 1895.
- Barrow, G., Canberra’s Historic Houses: Dwellings and Ruins of the 19th Century, Hackett, 1998
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Gillespie, N. J., A History of a Pioneer Family of the Limestone Plains: the Gillespie Family, Canberra, 2005
- Maher, B., Planting the Celtic Cross: Foundation of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Canberra, 1997
- Shumack, S. An Autobiography, or, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers (ed. J. E. and S. Shumack), Canberra, 1967
- Smith, L. R., Memories of Hall, Canberra, 1975