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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Michael Murty

Born: c. 1817; Died: 1871; Married: Margaret [Cameron]

Michael Murty (c 1817-1871)

Archival records show that Michael Murty arrived in 1.9.1839 on the 'Parkfield', 496 tons, Master J.T. Whiteside, sailing from Sheerness, England on 15.5.1839 (109 days) bringing 240 male convicts. The report from the Sick Book of the 'Parkfield' by Surgeon General, Alexander Neill, R.N. states 150 prisoners embarked at Sheerness and from the 'Fortitude' at Chatham. Captain Rice, Ensign Kelly, 29 rank and file, 6 women, 5 children, of the 57th Regiment embarked Deptford. Ship dropped down to Woolwich and 50 prisoners were embarked from the 'Justitia' and 50 from the 'Ganymede'. Most in good health but 10 rejected. No deaths on the voyage. Michael did not report to Sick Bay.

Michael stood trial at Surrey Quarter Sessions, England on 4 February 1839 for highway robbery. He received a sentence of 15 years and was confined to Newington Gaol, Surrey, prior to his transportation. He was described as 22, single, Catholic, unable to write or read; occupation glass blower; native place, London. He was 5'7 1/2", fair, ruddy and freckled, brown hair and hazel eyes. He had a scar under his left eyebrow, another on the centre of forehead, diagonal scar on left cheek near nose, two small moles inside lower left arm, scar on back of left thumb, tattoo two small bottles, glass, rose, thistle, shamrock and anchor inside lower left arm, scar below inner part of right knee another on left shin.

He was assigned to Mr. Daffarn, as a labourer at Ginninderra and Duntroon and later employed by Mr. Gibbes at Yarralumla, as a shepherd and then groom. He was granted a Ticket of Leave on 14 October 1845 (Prisoner No. 39/971), and allowed to remain in Queanbeyan on recommendation of the Bench. Conditional Pardon was granted in April 1849.

Permission to marry Margaret Cameron was granted on 22 June 1846, Michael's age shown as 29. Margaret's who had arrived on the 'Boyne' was a Free Immigrant aged 21. They were married at Scots Church, Sydney on 23 June 1846 by the Rev. Dunmore Lang.

Margaret Cameron was the twin sister of John Cameron (1824-1860), one of the two eldest children of Donald Cameron and his wife Ann Cameron (nee McPhee). The twins were born in Argylshire, Scotland, on 6 may 1824 and arrived in Sydney with their parents, four brothers and two sisters, on the ship 'Boyne' on 2 January 1839. For some years the family lived in Sydney, where Margaret was married on 23 June 1846. Their first child, Thomas, was born in 1847, and when their second child, Ann, was baptised in 1849 by the Rev. E. Smith in the Parish of Queanbeyan, they were living at Ginninderra, N.S.W. By 1851 they had moved to 'Duntroon', and their subsequent children, three boys and two girls, were baptised at St. John's or at Christ Church, Queanbeyan. Michael and Margaret had seven children – Thomas (1848-1933), Ann (1849- ), James (1851-1940), Donald (1853-1927), Agnes ( ), William G (1857-1878) and Christina (1860-1878).

Michael Murty was a shepherd and was employed at 'Yarrowlumla', Canberra, when Margaret Murty died on 12 January 1861 aged 36 years. The Rev. P.G. Smith, officiating minister of St. John's conducted her funeral service, and her grave is unmarked. She was buried next to her father and brother, Donald and John Cameron.

Donald Murty, the fourth child, was only seven years of age, when his mother died. He and three younger children - Agnes, William and Christina were brought up by their Grandmother Ann Cameron at the Glebe farm Ginninderra – the Glebe Cameron stronghold. In 1871 when he was only eighteen, Donald Murty selected land and began developing the farming property he called 'Gledeswood'.

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