Rediscovering Ginninderra: A database:
JP James McCarthy (junior)
Born: 1840; Died: 1911; Married: Did not marry
While it is James McCarthy (Jnr) JP (1840-1911) who achieved fame (and fortune) in the Hall / Ginninderra district as the master of the impressive Glenwood estate, he was of the third generation of the McCarthy family. His father, also James (1802-1869), is commonly referred to as James McCarthy 'Senior'. Historians are further burdened by the fact that the first McCarthy to settle in Australia, and family patriarch, was also named James (1772-1851)! As there was yet another James, in the fourth generation, they are occasionally enumerated from James (1st) to James (4th).
James McCarthy (1st) from Antrim, Ireland, was transported to the colony for seven years for harbouring Irish priests, arriving on the 'Boddingtons' in 1793. He married Mary Rigney (1770-1821), who also arrived in the colony as a convict, aboard the 'Ann' in 1801. James and Mary had four children – James (1802), twins Owen and Elizabeth (1803), and Elizabeth (1806). The younger Elizabeth died in 1806 and Owen in 1816. James McCarthy excelled as a farmer and in 1804 received a 30-acre grant, and then a further 100-acre grant on the banks of the Nepean River, from Governor King. They built a house on the property (which they called Crane Brook farm) in the early 1800s and according to the muster of 1805–1806, the McCarthys had planted two acres of wheat, three acres of maize and had three acres lying fallow. Ninety-two acres of his grant were listed for pasture but they were likely uncleared. They were also keeping three oxen, 10 goats, three hogs and a horse. The McCarthys had extended their properties, farming two separate grants of 200 acres in total by the 1822 muster. James McCarthy was contracted to supply meat to the government and the McCarthys held continuous slaughtering licenses between 1838 and 1843.
James and wife Mary were devout Catholics. In the early 1800’s he donated an acre of his land as a cemetery (not exclusively Catholic) for the Castlereagh community which was dedicated as a Catholic cemetery in 1834 by Archbishop John Bede Polding - making it the first Catholic cemetery in NSW. The cemetery is the resting place of their daughter Elizabeth, and many other McCarthy family members, including Mary, who died in 1821.
One tradition says that Governor King allowed Father Dixon to live 'on parole' with the McCarthy’s from 1800-1803, where he could celebrate mass on a restricted basis. After the Castle Hill (Irish) Rebellion in 1804 the Governor withdrew this privilege. Father Dixon is said to have remained with the McCarthy family, administering the faith in secret. The McCarthy homestead was the centre of priestly contact in an oppressive English and Protestant era. As lay Catholics the McCarthys played a significant role when the Catholic population of Sydney had no priest. The faith was kept alive by people such as the McCarthys. They were people of deep faith, believed in hard work, and showed courage and shared what they owned. This commitment to the catholic faith remained prominent in their grandsons at Glenwood.
From around 1835 the McCarthys acquired a significant spread of rental land in the Gooroomon Ponds district of the Parish of Wallaroo, which was to form the basis of the family's prized 'Glenwood' station. Gillespie records that four parcels totalling 3,470 acres were progressively purchased between 1835 and 1842. Other sources report that Duncan Robertson, who arrive in the colony from Scotland in about 1835 'became the superintendent on the McCarthy’s Glenwood property at Ginninderra'.
James A McCarthy (Snr; 2nd), son of the patriarch, who was born in 1802 - would by this time have been farming with his father. In the severe drought of the late 1830's and early 1840's Mr Henry O'Brien of Douro, near Yass, struck the idea of boiling down perishing stock for tallow for which a ready sale was found in Europe. McCarthy (1st) was one of the first to start boiling down works on the O'Brien system, assisted by his son, and 'made a lot of money out of the business, so that when normal seasons again came around he was able to go ahead on a fair wind, and with good financial backing'. (Nepean Times, 24.10.1914, p 4). This success no doubt helped to fund the purchase and development of 'Glenwood', which did not however become a McCarthy family residence until the third generation moved to Ginninderra.
James A McCarthy (Snr) married Phyliss Mary Hush in 1830 at St Marys. They had four sons and four daughters, all born at Penrith - Mary Ann (1831-1903), Margaret (1833- ), Elizabeth (1834- ) James Vincent (1836-1839), William Ralph (1836-1914), James (3rd) (1840-1911), Joseph (18431-1850) and Sarah Jane (1845- ). First James (3rd) and later William, who had been for a time assisting in the boiling down operations, eventually settled on the Glenwood estate, assuming control of it when their father died in 1869.
James (3rd) never married. A niece, Mary Josephine Hibberson (1856-1940), was his house-keeper for many years and outlived him. A nephew, James Vincent Hibberson (1865-1932), became the Glenwood station manager, a position he occupied for at least 30 years from the time of his marriage to Bridget Rolfe in 1903. Mary and James were both children of McCarthy's sister Mary Ann, who married Joseph Hibberson. Jame's brother William married Catherine Galvin, and they had six children - James (4th), William, Joseph, Catherine, Ann and Mary. Sadly Catherine, wife and mother, died in 1882 at the age of thirty-five. This prompted William to sell up and return to Penrith with the six children, the district he had departed from some twenty years previously. Both brothers James and William were appointed JP's.
While the McCarthys are reportedly acquiring land in the Wallaroo / Gooroomon Ponds district in the 1830's and 1840's, there is little information about them or 'Glenwood' until the 1870's. According to Gillespie, at the first census in the colony in 1841 there were only three people at 'Glenwood'. James was on the list of electors for Murray County in 1855, while a slaughtering licence was granted to William in 1867.
There is plenty of evidence however that during the eighties and nineties James McCarthy (Jnr) JP became both a very successful farmer and grazier, and a highly respected leading citizen of the Yass - Queanbeyan District. At various times he served the Yass, Ginninderra and Queanbeyan Pastoralists and Agriculturalists Associations, the Queanbeyan Hospital committee, and was a member of the original Yarralumla Shire Council (1907). Among a string of others positions he was at various times Vice President of the Ginninderra football club, member of the Queanbeyan Pasture Protection Board, President of the Ginninderra School of Arts, President of the Ginninderra Race Club, and member of the Yass District Rabbit Board.
He was a very staunch supporter of the catholic church, continuing a family commitment that his grandfather brought with him from Ireland and acted on with such conviction at Cranebrook. James chaired the committee that raised the funds to build St Francis Xavier church in Hall, which was dedicated in 1910. Its distinctive dark blue granite stone was quarried on the Glenwood estate. Long before that Glenwood was used periodically as a mass station for the neighbourhood. The Glenwood woolshed was a frequent venue for fund-raising gatherings; a ball and supper was 'the event of the season' in 1894. It was not only the church that benefitted from his generosity. He "was warmhearted and generous and no appeal for assistance in any charitable or public cause was ever made to him in vain" [Goulburn Evening Post, 31.10.11]. When George Shumack and his family lost their home in Hall to a fire in 1908, McCarthy gave them a place to live in at Glenwood. The Post also observed of him that "as an employer of labour he was a popular and considerate master as may be judged from the fact that most of his station men have been in his employ for many years past"[2.11.1911].
As proprietor of a large and successful property he sustained a lively interest in improving his operations. It was reported in 1903 that he had paid 170 guineas for a Tasmanian stud ram, while he commissioned a modern new woolshed in 1904 with 'an up to date oil engine' for mechanised shearing. Smith tells us that "some fine horses were bred on the station, sired by his coaching stallion, 'Brown Shales'. Albert Lowther and Bob Henessy were engaged as horsebreakers......The later Mr Archie Mitchell (whose father, William Mitchell, was also employed on the station for many years) was chief groom and driver in the show ring. One show team consisted of three lovely bay mares named Julie, Julian and Juliette, who were quite successful prize winners...." [L Smith, p. 18]
He was at the Ginninderra Farmers' Union in 1905 when Mr WS Campbell, the Director of Agriculture in NSW visited to talk to members and to tour some local properties. In 1909 McCarthy 'harvested about 40 tons of apples from his orchard of about four acres, sending some to Sydney and selling the rest locally' [Gillespie, 1992. p 146]. A grand new brick home was completed in 1901.
We can assume therefore that Glenwood was a thriving concern when James passed away a few years later, in November 1911. He had travelled overseas to England in 1909, and on return never regained his normal vigour. There was genuine and widespread sorrow at his passing. Charles Thompson, the newly appointed Hall school teacher and a friend in many good causes, wrote in the Queanbeyan Age:
A great chief has been taken from our midst and we regret! We regret!
Quite a gloom spread over the whole district when it was known that Mr Jas McCarthy of Glenwood had breathed his last on Wednesday evening. His health had been indifferent since his return from Europe but under the skill of Dr Blackall and the care of his devoted niece (Mrs Hibberson) he always appeared to recover from the various attacks of illness… Children marched at the head of the hearse through the village of Hall. As a resident of the district in his younger days he was a true sport – a keen shot, a lover of all manly games and was deeply interested in military matters which meant the defence of his dearly loved native land – referred to as 'the great white chief’ and nature’s gentleman. He was a great supporter of the RC Church – the handsome church at Hall stands almost solely as a monument to his untiring energy and generosity. [31.10.1911]
The Goulburn Evening Post observed that:
By the death of the late Mr James McCarthy the esteemed squire of Glenwood our district has suffered an almost irreparable loss. Previous to his trip to England some two and a half years ago the late Mr McCarthy took a keen interest in all matters pertaining to the best interests of this and adjoining districts. Since his return however his health has been of such an unreliable nature as to keep him much confined to his home............The large cortege of all creeds and classes that followed his remains towards the Queanbeyan Railway Station on Wednesday afternoon last was striking proof of the high esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held. [2.11.1911].
Queanbeyan Railway Station was the point of departure for James McCarthy's journey back to Cranebrook, the place of his birth and early years. He was buried in the family portion of the RC burial ground at Cranebrook, where he now shares a tombstone with his sister Mary Ann who survived him by two years, as did his brother William.
McCarthy having no heirs, the estate was put up for auction as ordained his Will, and was duly offered 'as a going concern' on 25th April 1912, being described as 'one of the best wool growing and grazing properties in the Southern Districts.........with about 11,000 well bred sheep':
The property is situated between Queanbeyan and Yass, adjoining the Federal Capital site, and the railway is surveyed through it. It consists of high-class fattening and wool growing country; and, in view of its splendid situation, is ideally suited for subdivision into small areas, from which aspect alone it should appeal to speculators. 'Glenwood' is very highly improved, having a nice brick homestead, good wool shed, and numerous other buildings and yards; while it is also netted and well subdivided, The water supply is abundant and permanent. With the property are given in about 11,000 high-class Merino and crossbred sheep, 40 horses, and 80 cattle, besides plant and furniture. ......Intending buyers will be driven out from Queanbeyan to inspect. [The Monaro Mercury, 22 April 1912 p. 3]
On April 26th the Queanbeyan Age reported that '[at] the auction of Glenwood Estate at the Royal Hotel yesterday. Mr Hibberson opened the bidding at £25,000 but it was noticeable that other buyers were not too keen. It was knocked down to the Hibberson family at £30,000'. [Queanbeyan Age 26.4.1912]. The first bid may well have been from James Vincent Hibberson, the Glenwood estate manager, who continued in that role.
Seven years later, a portion (6,952 acres) of the estate was again offered for sale. The eight blocks sold averaged £4/16/11 per acre, the total result of the sale was £33,743, being a long way over the valuation. The purchasers and prices paid were as follows:
Lot 2, 690 acres. Purchaser Mr. E. Rolfe at £2/11/01- per acre.
Lot 3, 750 acres, Mr. Fred Campbell, £2/15/1- per acre.
Lot 4, 1,200 acres, same purchaser, £2/12/6 per acre.
Lot 5, 670 acres, Mr. J. V. Hibberson at £6/11/01 per acre.
Lot 6, 1220 acres, Mr. J. V. Hibberson at £4/15/- per acre.
Lot 7, 512 acres, Mr. Jas. Rolfe (Bedullick) at £5 per acre.
Lot 8, 940 acres, Mr. J. McAuliffe at £6/12/6 per acre.
Lot 34, 970 acres, Mr. Ed. Rolfe at £8 per acre.
[Queanbeyan Age, 21.10.1919, p. 2]
Thus, its creators gone, the McCarthy estate was dismembered, although James Hibberson still owned and managed nearly 2,000 acres until he passed away in 1932. Later on this residual holding was also subdivided and sold, Mr Selwyn Cameron purchasing the homestead portions of the property which he re-named 'Glengalla'. No part of the estate now bears the name 'Glenwood'.
- Gillespie, L. L., 1992.Ginninderra. Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell,
- Smith, L. R. 1975. Memories of Hall. Roebuck: Canberra