Rediscovering Ginninderra: A database:
William Davis (senior)
Born: c. 1784; Died: 1876; Married: Jane Elizabeth Weston
It is the son and namesake of William Davis (senior) who is the best-known Ginninderran in the Davis family, but William (senior) also resided at the Palmerville estate for a short while.
Davis was born in Milcombe, Oxfordshire in c. 1784. His parents were John Davis and Mary (nee Elliott). Aged 31 years, he married Elizabeth Jane Weston in 1816. Remarkably, Mary bore 13 children in the 19 years between 1817 and 1836.
In the 1830s, a number of their older children travelled to Australia and were first associated with the wealthy Broughtons of the Goulburn district. His eldest daughter, Mary, married James Wright and they settled at Lanyon.
In 1842, 58-year-old William, along with Jane and a number of their other children arrived in the colony on the Palestine. They first stayed with their daughter at Lanyon and then settled at Booroomba (at Paddy’s River), where Wright had built them a home and where they established a cattle-and-sheep run of about 4,500 acres. They also ran a small herd of brumbies.
In the 1840s the Davises struggled to make ends meet at isolated Booroomba and even diversified their operation to include a boiling down works for tallow production. William and his family remained at Booroomba until 1859 when they sold out to Charles McKeahnie of Gudgenby.
After this, Davis lived with his son at one of the two Ginninderra cottages on the Palmerville estate. When his son sold Palmerville and Gungahlin to Edward Crace, he relocated to Auburn Street, Goulburn
Davis died in 1876. Jane survived him until 1888.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne, 1967; and Supplementary Volume, Canberra, 2005
- Corp, T., ‘Gudgenby: the Last 150 Years’, CHJ, 24 (1989), pp. 21-30
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Meyers D. (ed. K. Frawley), Lairds, Lags and Larrikins: an Early History of the Limestone Plains, Pearce, 2010
- Moore, B., Cotter Country, Canberra, 1999
- Shumack, S. An Autobiography, or, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers (ed. J. E. and S. Shumack), Canberra, 1967