skip to content

Rediscovering Ginninderra:
George Southwell

Born: 1877; Died: 1942; Married: Ethel Moon

In the 1880s Government surveyors began identifying larger blocks of land surrounding the village of Hall for commercial options and market gardens. David Rule, an early pioneer, purchased a block of land in 1886 on the margins of Hall village which had access to the water of Halls Creek and rich, alluvial soil. He paid £17 for 3 acres, 2 roods and 28 perches (approximately 3½ acres).

In 1904 the land was sold to George Southwell, a labourer of Hall. George married Ethel Moon in 1913 and they set up their home in the small pisé cottage, built c.1906 with the help of the Hatch brothers, Edmund and George, which they called Sunnyside, just a few metres from the creek. Ethel was a school teacher and taught at Brooklands School from 1903 –1906 and both Ethel and George were members of the Wallaroo Tennis Club which is perhaps where they met.

George developed the land, establishing himself as a poultry farmer, bee keeper (selling his honey by the tin) and an orchardist, specialising in prunus plums, peaches and apples such as five crowns and rome-beauties which he sold by the case from the farm and through his delivery service to the newly established Canberra suburbs. Like many families they were largely self-sufficient with a milking cow, pigs and a large vegetable garden. Ethel was recognised as a good cook, specialising in jams and preserves, for which she won many prizes in district shows. They had no children but cared for Tom Moon, Ethel's nephew, whose mother, Caroline Moon (nee Ewin) had died. His father was Ethel's brother Leslie Moon.

They were prominent in local sporting and other community activities. the . George Southwell played in the Hall team for the Hall Cricket Club for many years, acting as vice-captain, and in the 1920s he became President of the club. He chaired a meeting in 1904 at which the Wallaroo Tennis Club was formed, becoming Vice-President of the club. Ethel Moon (later to marry George) was elected Treasurer.

In 1925 George was a committee member of the Federal Capital Territory Pastoral and Agricultural Society. In 1938, when MP Lyons opened the show, he mentioned 100 years of settlement by the Southwell family. George continued to serve as a committee member until ill-health curbed his participation.

Ethel's interests outside the home were the local Red Cross and the Wattle Park Church, where she sang in the choir and was a soloist. She was also active in the Ladies Church Aid of which she was Secretary on more than one occasion, and a tireless worker for the Band of Hope. She was also Secretary of the local branch of the Red Cross during or just after World War l.

Wattle Park Church memorial (extracts from Winch: 1982)

"There are, then, many memorials at Wattle Park, but it wasn't until the church was more than fifty years old that they began to appear as memorial windows. The families of many who have passed on have chosen to remember their forebears in the Wattle Park windows. As they sit in the same 'family' pew Sunday by Sunday beneath the memorial.....they can feel the warmth of the touch of someone whose memory is clear." (p. 178)

The first window on the left as you enter the nave of the church is a window dedicated to George and Ethel Maude Southwell (nee Moon) of 'Sunnyside'.

"George as a leader and Local Preacher served the Church for more than fifty years, and for many of those years as Class Leader and Sabbath School teacher. A son of Captain Sam [Southwell] and Ann, he spent all his life within the district. Ethel was a loyal choir member and soloist, A Bible Class leader, and a tireless worker for the Band of Hope and Ladies Church Aid.

The motif is the Open Book and the Sword, with the words, 'The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God'. (Ephesians 6:17).

A nephew, Thomas Allen MOON, had the window placed, and unveiled it on Sunday 5th November 1948." (p. 184)

George died at Sunnyside in 1942 and Ethel in Sydney in 1944.

Related Photos


< Rediscovering Ginninderra