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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
John (Snr) Shumack

Born: c. 1812; Died: 1849; Married: Margaret Toole

John was one of seven sons born to Peter and Eliza Shoemaker of Kilfinane, County Limerick, all of whom emigrated to Australia. Brothers George, Samuel and William (with his wife and two children) arrived on the 'Resource' in 1840. John (with his wife and two children) arrived in Sydney on the 'Lascar' in October 1841 with brothers Joseph and Peter. Brother Richard was the last to arrive on 31 August 1856 on the 'Bermondsey' with his wife Anne (Shoemaker) and their four children. According to Samuel Shumack, Richard and Anne had stayed in Ireland to care for their aged parents. Four brothers settled in the Bathurst area; Peter, John and Richard settled in Canberra.

John was born in Ireland to Peter and Eliza Shoemaker around 1812. He married Margaret O'Toole on 14 December 1835. On the immigration list John is identified as a ploughman and his wife a domestic servant. They sailed with their first two children, Joseph (4) and Elizabeth (1).

John first employer was William Klensendorlffe who had a farm close to the Molonglo river on the Limestone Plains. He was paid ₤20 a year, plus rations. At the 1841 census there were fourteen people living at 'Elizabeth Farm' - eleven males and three females. It must have been shortly after that that John's family of four (and the Gillespies family of four off the same ship) arrived to swell the numbers. Although John's nephew Samuel never met Klensendorlffe, he wrote in his memoirs that the man was a disgrace to humanity and his cruelty to his assigned servants was never forgotten.

Fortunately John was not long in his service, as in 1842 he became the first tenant of the Glebe land on the other side of the river Molonglo - 100 acres sold to the church by Robert Campbell as a living for the rector of St John's Anglican church. The land bordered the western boundary of Duntroon and had frontage to the river. John built a three roomed slab house, took an active part in church affairs, and helped cart the stone used in the building of the church.

John was only thirty-seven when he died in 1849. Margaret and the four children were able to stay on at the Glebe until 1857, and so were still there when Richard and his family arrived in 1856, and able to offer them a temporary home while they got settled in.


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