Rediscovering Ginninderra: A database:
Born: 1854; Died: 1925; Married: Jessie Mary Flora McDonald
Henry Siggs was born in Warbleton, East Sussex, England, the son of Richard Siggs and Hannah Hood in 1854. After emigrating to Australia, in 1890 he married Jessie Mary Flora McDonald of Round Hill, the daughter of Donald McDonald and Christina Finlayson. Jessie was born in 1867.
Henry was destined for a life on the land. After living for a time in the area of Charnwood he became estate manager for Everard Crace, owner of the Ginninderra estate, a position which he appears to have held until the estate was resumed by the federal government.
Henry and Jessie had five children - Ella Florence (born 1891), Ada Catherine (1894), Leslie George (1896), Ethel Olive (1901) and Hannah Christina (1906). At least the first three of the children, Ella, Ada and Leslie, were pupils at Ginninderra school. All five children were born in the period 1891 to 1906 at the Ginninderra estate.
On 24 July 1909 Leslie provided evidence at a Coronial Inquest into the death of Gungahleen station hand Henry Harman. In the reported evidence Leslie appears to have been the last person to see Henry Harman alive. From the evidence provided by witnesses the Coroner found a verdict ‘to the effect that death resulted from a rifle-shot to the head’. Constable Albert Thornton from Ginninderra Police Station investigated the matter.
Ada began her education at Ginninderra Public School in about 1902. Her eldest sister Ella and later on brother Leslie George were also pupils. In 1899 Ada studied music and achieved an award with Trinity College of Music, London. With other children of the Ginninderra district Ada took part in school picnics and socials. She won a prize in the Girls Division for Thread the Needle race. She joined the Ginninderra Branch of the Red Cross during the First World War working with other members providing support to the soldiers of the Australian Infantry Forces, their families and displaced persons in Belgium and France.
Henry owned several racehorses, and was a regular entrant in the One Tree Hill Picnic races and other local events. In 1907 the Gungahlin Race Club held a meeting at the ‘Dry Plains’ course, where his horses were successful. He was also a regular and successful sheep dog triallist. In 1903 he won an event at the Cooma P. and A. Sheep Dog Trials with his dog ‘Midget', and in 1906 was the All Comers champion at the Queanbeyan P & A Association trials. It appears that in 1913 Henry had a small land-holding in his own name where he held six horses, and ran 230 sheep.
In March 1916 with the impending resumption of land by the new Federal Capital Territory there was a massive clearance sale at Ginninderra estate. After this, Henry and his family relocated to ‘Botfield Station’ Trundle, New South Wales where Henry was employed as manager.
Whilst at Trundle the family experienced a tragedy. Leslie and his friend Elmo West were swimming in a dam near the family home when he got into difficulties and drowned on Saturday 30 December 1922, aged twenty-six. Leslie George Siggs is buried in Trundle Cemetery. His grave is marked by a headstone inscribed ‘In Loving Memory of our darling son and brother; erected by his sorrowing parents and sisters’.
Henry died at Granville on November 12th 1925.
- Gillespie, L.L., Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra, Canberra, 1992.