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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
James Munday

Born: 1830; Died: 1913; Married: Ann Trow

James Munday and his wife Anne were assisted migrants, arriving in NSW on the ship 'Irene' on 16th October 1852. James was twenty two (b. 1830 at Bath) and Anne twenty (b. 1832 at Stroud). On the Shipping List of Assisted Migrants James' occupation is given as groom and gardener, and he is shown as being from Bath in Somerset, UK. Anne, his wife, is shown as being from Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.

James' parents are listed as 'Not known, both dead', and Anne's as James and Elizabeth Trowe, of Stroud. Both James' and Anne's religion is listed as being Church of England. Both are listed as being able to read and write. Neither had any relatives in the colony. James paid £2 towards the fare for himself and his wife.

It seems that James first worked on the Campbell estate 'Duntroon'. Their first daughter Agnes was born there in 1853 and second child Henry in 1855 - not long after their arrival in Australia. (Agnes later was to marry David Rule of 'Alllwood'). The birthplace of later children is recorded as 'Canberra'. Subsequently James worked for several years as head gardener on the Ginninderra Estate.

After George Thomas Palmer, owner of the Estate, died in Bath, England, in 1854, his son-in-law William Davis, who had been managing the Estate, took full control. Under Davis's guidance, the Estate became a show-piece. Beside the agricultural crops successfully grown, an excellent orchard and garden were established. Here James was the head gardener, a position later occupied by Edmund Ward. (It is an interesting coincidence that Munday and George Palmer both hailed from Bath).

Davis encouraged his employees and assisted them to acquire their own land. Munday rented land from Davis near Gungahleen homestead, and was successful enough that he was later able to purchase land at Bedellick ('near Jeir Station'), where he and his family lived for many years. In 1872 their home was seriously threatened by fire:

Report of a fire which occurred at Munday's farm in Ginninderra neighbourhood on Thursday last: A little girl of Mrs Munday's first saw the flames about 12 o'clock. It apparently broke out in loose straw lying close to the shed. There were no men about and the whole of the shed was destroyed in a few minutes. A neighbor, Mrs Tinham, rendered valuable assistance by keeping the flames from a stack of wheat. The greatest sufferer is Munday's son-in-law (David Rule) who has lost a valuable threshing machine as well as harness etc. Mr G Harcourt has opened a subscription list and has collected about 30 pounds. [Queanbeyan Age 22.8.1872]

Errol Lea-Scarlett reports that 'before 1867' a 'James Munday' selected land at 'the Doughboy' area near Gundaroo, ("poor man's country indeed, a place of hardship and suffering....") but had to relinquish it because of debts owed to Queanbeyan merchants. [Lea-Scarlett p.46]

Leon Smith lists James and Anne Munday amongst thirty-one 'pioneer settlers of the Hall district'. He observes that "By and large a harmony, friendliness and co-operation existed among them and they were prepared to gain from the knowledge, experience and advice of one another." [Smith p.90]

James and Ann Munday had nine children, five sons and four daughters. Daughter Lucy died in infancy.

Agnes 1853 –1943 (Mrs David Rule)
Henry Little 1855 – 1897
James 1857 – 1923 (m. Sarah Jane Pearce)
Emily 1859 - ?
Lucy 1861-1863
Elizabeth 1864 - ? (Mrs W. Johns)
William 1868 – 1957 (m. Charlotte Southwell. Lived at 'Ah Chow')
Frederick 1870 - 1952 (m. Rebecca McKay. Lived at 'Evadell'
Walter David 1873 – 1944 (m. Lucy Jane Southwell)

Ann died aged sixty-nine in 1901. James lived on until 1913 when he was buried at St Johns alongside his wife.

James Munday – Obituary

News has just reached me of the death at Jeir on Sunday last at the advanced age of 86 years of Mr. James Munday, an old and esteemed resident of Gininderra. Between 50 and 60 years ago the late Mr. Munday came to Ginninderra, and entered the services of the late Mr. William Davis as head gardener. A few years later he rented a farm from Mr. Davis near the now Gungahleen homestead. This he worked for several years with such success as to enable him to purchase a fairly large holding of his own near Jeir station, and on this he remained till his death. The deceased, who was a man of sterling character and esteemed by all who knew him, leaves a large grown up family of sons and daughters, most of whom are natives of Gininderra. His wife predeceased him by several years. [Queanbeyan Age 12 August 1913, page 2]

Two of James and Anne's sons, Frederick Munday and Walter David Munday, continued living in Ginninderra as farmers and grazers.

Related Photos


• Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Canberra 1992
• Smith, L., Memories of Hall, Canberra 1975

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