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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Ellis Smith

Born: 1856; Died: 1928; Married: Jane Southwell

Ellis Smith was born at Ginninderra, the third son of Edward and Mary Smith (nee Kilby) in 1856. At age twenty two he married Jane - one of the daughters of Thomas and Mary Southwell of Parkwood - and they settled at Ellis' property 'Woodgrove', Wallaroo, retaining the property until the end of his days. They had a serious set-back in 1881 after only three years of marriage when their home and all its contents were destroyed by fire. This was not their last loss to fire, as in 1898 fire broke out in the stack yard - large stacks, stables, sheds, machinery, and harnesses were all destroyed.

Following in his father's footsteps, Ellis became well known as a breeder of fine Clydesdale horses, winning many prizes at ploughing matches, and at pastoral and agricultural shows. With his father he made regular trips to Sydney to take horses to market. At the turn of the century Ellis was growing wheat, maize,oats and others crops, as well as breeding draught horses. When the Ginninderra Farmer's Union established annual shows at Ginninderra, Ellis became a committee member on the Union.

He was a convert to Methodism as a young man:

During the great revival in the old Weetangerra Church, conducted 54 years ago [1874?] by the late Rev. Charles Jones, he was converted, and rejoiced in the saving Grace of God through all the years that followed. He laid his talents upon the Altar for the Master 's use, and rendered splendid service for his Lord as Sunday School Teacher, Choir member and Church Trustee, and in all witnessed faithfully for Christ. He loved the House of the Lord, which next to his home, had chief place in his thought and affection. As a citizen he did all in his power for the advancement of the district. [Methodist, 1 Dec 1928].

The numerous advertisements that appeared in the local press for his horse breeding business carefully advise that no business would be conducted on Sundays.

In his later years they retired to the village of Hall, where they lived at 'Glenona', Gladstone Street. Ellis and Jane both died in 1928. His body was laid to rest in the Weetangerra cemetery on 4th November 'in the presence of a large concourse of relatives and friends of all denominations, there to remain until 'The trumpet shall sound'. The Wattle Park Church was crowded on the occasion of the Memorial Service.

They had a family of eight - Rebecca Jane (Mrs Horace Southwell) 1879, Lavinia Mary (Mrs F Newsberry) 1881, Ernest Clement 1883, Beatrice Louisa 1885, Leslie Edward 1887, Elvena Clare (Mrs D J Russel) 1888, Leon Russell 1891, and Eunice Alma Victoria (Mrs A C Kilby) 1897. All except Beatrice married. Leon, who lived for many years at 'Woodgrove', the family property, became a reporter and a historian, authoring the well-known 'Memories of Hall'.

Ellis Smith - Advertisement for breeding services

TO STAND THIS SEASON, At Woodgrove, Wallaroo, And Travel through Canberra, Majura, Sutton and Tallagandra, The Active Clydesdale Stallion BONNIE TOM.

BONNIE TOM is a dapple brown, showing splendid quality and action, 16.5 hands high, on short legs, and has a life certificate........Bonnie Tom is broken to all kinds of harness and is is good staunch worker. He travelled the Kiama district for three seasons, and was considered one of the best horses that was ever in that district, and proved himself a great success as a stud horse; also his young stock brought some very high prices. Bonnie Tom will be under my own personal care, and all mares will be attended to by myself. Terms: Single mares, paddocked £2-10-0; led or travelled to, £2/5/0. Reduction for two or more. Good paddocks provided, every care and attention given, but no responsibility incurred. Mares met any reasonable distance, and returned in like manner. All mares to be removed and paid for by 1st January, 1913. No business done on Sundays. Bonnie Tom will be on view at the Queanbeyan Parade.
ELLIS SMITH - Woodgrove, Hall.

[Queanbeyan Age, 16 August 1912, p. 3]

Related Photos


Eyeington, P. 1990. Edward and Mary Smith 1852 - 1990. Lismore, NSW. (p.125)
Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra. Canberra 1992
Smith, L., Memories of Hall. Roebuck, Canberra, 1975
Gillespie, L. L., The Southwell Family, Southwell Reunion Committee, 1988

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