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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
William Hatch (senior)

Born: 1828; Died: 1907; Married: Margaret Nugent Ryan

William was the eldest son of Robert and Mary Hatch (nee Thompson), born to them at Newry, County Down, Ireland, on 28 March 1828. A sister, Sophia, was also born in Ireland (1830) not long before the Hatch family sailed for Australia on the 'Sarah', arriving at Tasmania on 14 October 1832. They first settled in Hobart, where Robert was a baker for around four years, and two more daughters were born. On 30 July 1836 the family of six arrived in Sydney from Hobart on the barque 'Strathilsa'. Robert and Mary had another five children, and lived in a number of different places - Goulburn, Tarago, and Queanbeyan before settling on a farm at Mullengandra (Albury) - where they each passed away.

Meanwhile William, their eldest son, married Margaret Nugent Ryan at St Gregory's Catholic Church Queanbeyan on 18 April 1854. Margaret evidently took her middle name from the fact that she was born on board the 'Lady Nugent' while it was anchored in the Thames before setting sail for the colonies in December 1834. William and Margaret lived in Queanbeyan for a number of years after their marriage before moving in the early 1860's to the Ginninderra area where they were to establish a fine home and property, and a large family, at 'Rosewood'.

While according to Samuel Shumack, William was farming in the Ginninderra district from 1862, he did not start purchasing land of his own until 1872 - with Conditional Purchase of Portions 23, 73 and 76, Parish of Ginninderra - followed in 1873 by Additional Condition Purchase of the adjacent Portions 74, 82, 84 and 87. This land was not far out of the village of Hall, along the south side of Halls Creek, where the closest neighbours were Edmund Ward and Patrick Grace. From the ACT Feature Map it appears that the 'Rosewood' homestead was built at the north end of Portion 74, accessed by a track leading from 'Five Ways'.

'Rosewood' was to be their family home for nearly half a century. William and Margaret had a family of twelve children, at least six of them born at 'Rosewood', and they became integral members of the Ginninderra community. William became a respected farmer and grazier. Shumack records that his first wheat crop yielded 56 bushels 'despite hard ground and very little rain'. In 1890 he sold 52 aged wethers at 4/6 each at a stock sale conducted at the Cricketer's Arms. In Yemen's Directory of 1900 he was recorded as growing wheat and oats, and dairy farming. As part of the farming fraternity he participated in the breeding and racing of horses, and the cooperative hare and wallaby drives that were a prominent feature of the 1890's.

Of Margaret meanwhile - in the nature of the times - it is reported that she was a stalwart of the 'ladies auxiliary' that furnished the refreshments - for example, at the Ginninderra Bachelors Ball (1881 - at 'Rosewood'); a ball and supper at James McCarthy's woolshed at 'Glenwood' in aid of Catholic church funds; and in 1895 a 'sumptuous lunch' at the official opening of the Hall creamery. The Hatch family would no doubt have been supporters of the building of St Francis catholic church at Ginninderra in 1872, and it seems likely that some of their children attended the school which operated there for the next decade or so.

At the turn of the century the family moved for a while to the nearby property 'Rose Hill' while renovations were undertaken at 'Rosewood'. Rose Hill was bought by William and Margaret's son, George, around that time and later sold (April 1909) to Edwin Davis. Margaret and William were both to pass away at 'Rosewood' - Margaret (aged 69) on 20 November 1904, and William (aged 79) three years later on 21 July 1907. 'Rosewood' stayed in the family as the home of William Hatch Junior until the property was resumed by the Commonwealth in 1915. William's passing was recorded in the following terms:

"...he, like his good wife, did a full share of the pioneering work in the early days. The deceased successfully followed farming and grazing pursuits and had the comfort of a good compact and comfortable home, acquired by downright honesty and perseverance....The large attendance at the funeral on Tuesday bore testimony to the high esteem in which the deceased was held". "He reared a numerous family who are all prosperous, and like the father who reared them, worthily respected".

Related Photos


Warman, M. 1981. The Hatch Family in Australia: a Record of the Descendants of Robert and Mary Hatch, Who Came from Ireland and Settled in Southern NSW - 1828 to the Present Day. Privately published: Canberra

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