In 1862 James Gillespie, the son of Mary Ann and John Gillespie of Horse Park, purchased land in Ginninderra after Robertson's land reforms, where he later built a weatherboard cottage. The property became known as ‘Elm Grove’.
James married Isabella Hay Jones in 1882 and they had four children. Like his father, James was very active in the district as secretary of a number of sporting organisations and a member of political associations. He was also well known as being a regular writer of the ‘Ginninderra Notes’ for the Goulburn Evening Penny Post as ‘The Wizard’.
There were two fires at the ‘Elm Grove’ property. One in 1892 caused by a young William Gillespie playing with matches and a more serious one in 1911 where, apart from the building, a number of heirlooms and gifts were lost. James and Isabella stayed on at ‘Elm Grove’ as leaseholders after the property was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth.
James and Isabella’s only home was Elm Grove and they both lived there until their deaths, respectively, in 1926 and 1938. Their fourth child, Harold Gillespie, took it over.
Click on the caption (⧉) to view photo details and attribution.
- Barrow, G., Canberra’s Historic Houses: Dwellings and Ruins of the 19th Century, Hackett, 1998
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Gillespie, N. J., A History of a Pioneer Family of the Limestone Plains: the Gillespie Family, Canberra, 2005
- Shumack, S. An Autobiography, or, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers (ed. J. E. and S. Shumack), Canberra, 1967
- Smith, L. R., Memories of Hall, Canberra, 1975
- ACT Heritage Council. Elm Grove Homestead precinct. Entry to the Heritage Register, June 2008.
- Various editions of the Queanbeyan Age and the Goulburn Evening Penny Post
Further information about Elm Grove can be found at Canberra Tracks