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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Samuel Southwell

Born: 1843; Died: 1928; Married: 1. Harriet Bembrick; 2. Eliza Stear

Samuel Southwell (1843 – 1928)

The Wattle Park Methodist Church was crowded on Sunday morning last when Rev Ellis Thomas conducted a memorial service in connection with the late Samuel Southwell.

In his opening remarks the preacher gave a short resumé of Mr Southwell's life, as follows:

Samuel Southwell was born at Parkwood near Hall on 24th June 1843. He was one of a large family who owed mush to their parents. Mr and Mrs Thomas Southwell, hardy and saintly pioneers who lived in what is now the Federal Capital Territory. Samuel Southwell grew to manhood under influences that made for a strong and saintly character. He early became inured to hardness. His father made frequent trips to Sydney with the bullock team, and his first trip with his father was made when he was only nine years of age and he was placed in charge of a horse and cart loaded for the Sydney market. Later on he drove his own team to Sydney until Goulburn became the terminus of the railway line. With his brother he was amongst the first teamsters to take provisions into Kiandra when the rush set in to the gold diggings.

His training and varied experience prepared his for his part as a pioneer. In 1863 he married [Harriet Bembrick] and settled at Belconnon [sic]. He and his bride were the happy recipients of a large family Bible and hymn book to celebrate the fact that they were the first couple to be married at the Parkwood Church. His wife was the means of his conversion but was early called to her reward.

He decided to move and selected "Fairview" with his brother Samson as neighbour at Wattle Park. On 15th October 1874 he brought his young family to "Fairview". He worked hard toiling far into the might clearing the patch which he would plough the following day. Gradually things began to take shape until in 1878 he married again [Eliza Stear] and was spared to celebrate the golden wedding last year.

In the great [Methodist] revival at Weetangera in 1875 he received a great uplift which left its mark upon the remainder of his life. After settling at "Fairview" he drove regularly to the services at Parkwood, with his family, in a one horse dray, having to start at 8 am to be in time for the service. Later on services were held in Wattle Park house, leading to the erection of the present church about 48 years ago. Mr Southwell was one of the original trustee sand took a keen interest in the affairs of the Trust right to the end of his life. He was a leader of the Class which met after Sunday and he revelled in the cottage prayer meetings which were held in various homes.

He ever regarded a remarkable dream which he had as a definite call to continue in Sunday School work and was appointed the first superintendent, a position he held to the time of his death, a period of 46 years, being beloved by all associated with the Sunday School, which is one of the most unique in the State.

It had been Mr Southwell's ambition for many years to have a School Hall erected and it was one of the great moments of his life when he was privileged to lay the foundation stone on 13th June 1928, and great was his rejoicing when the Hall was officially opened on 18th August.

One of his most cherished possessions was an illuminated address presented to him on his 80th birthday in commemoration of over 40 years superintendency of the Sunday School. He was a foundation member of the Band of Hope which has regularly met for over forty years. Possess of a fine voice he used his talent for many years as a member of the choir. His life has been a constant witness for Christ. In uprightness, honour, integrity, generosity, but above all piety he ever manifested Whose he was and Whom he served, and was highly respected by all classes in the community......

He will ever be held in affectionate remembrance by all who were privileged to know him and labour with him in the Master's vineyard. Above all his widow and family of three sons and six daughters, together with two stepsons, mourn the loss of a faithful and loving husband and father – one whose life and character will ever be an incentive to follow in his steps, as he was a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus.

His funeral was one of the most largely attended ever seen in the district, and as his body was borne to its last resting place the scholars of the Sunday School marched in front and then formed a guard through which the encoffined remains were carried to the grave.

[newspaper cutting, unsourced]

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