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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Alfred Mayo

Born: 1820; Died: 1897; Married: Mary Ann [Smith]

Alfred Mayo was born at Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1820. At the age of nineteen, a labourer, he was convicted of burglary at the Buckingham Quarter Sessions (1 January 1839) and was sentenced to fifteen years transportation. He was convicted of stealing clothes from his uncle. He was one of 240 convicts transported on the ‘Parkfield’, landing in Australia on 1 September 1839. He was described at that time as five feet eight and a half inches tall, of ruddy complexion, light brown hair and hazel eyes, with numerous moles and scars. He was unable to read or write. On arrival he was assigned to the Ginninderra estate of George Thomas Palmer, where he then worked for a number of years. While there, it is reported that he killed a fourteen foot long ‘diamond’ snake at Round Hill, Weetangera – thought then to be more venomous than the death adder

On leaving Ginninderra he moved to the Campbell’s Duntroon, eventually establishing a household of his own at Majura, where he died in July 1897 and was buried at St John’s church, Reid. Working for Charles Campbell he had a number of occupations – labourer, overseer, timber splitter, and shepherd – and worked on the construction of St John’s church. He evidently returned to Ginninderra from time to time in the sixties as a member of the Duntroon cricket team.

He married Mary Ann Smith in February 1846 not long after receiving his ticket of leave (14 October 1845) and official permission to marry (1846). According to Shumack theirs was the first marriage to take place at St John’s church (Shumack p.21). He was twenty-seven, and she twenty-one. Mary had arrived in Sydney on the 'Arkwright' as a bounty migrant with her grandfather's family on 8 Feb 1840.

Alfred and Mary Ann had eight children, the first of whom, Elizabeth was born at Ginninderra (29 January 1847). The later children were all born at Duntroon, except Frederick – Joseph (1848), Alfred (1850), John (1852), William (1855), Thomas (1858), Frederick Reuben (1861) and Charles (1864). Mary died just a few months after her husband in November 1897.

References

• Shumack, S. (ed. J. E. and S. Shumack). 1967. An Autobiography, or, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers. Canberra

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