Springvale was the Shumack family's homestead in the old Weetangerra Parish.
In 1865 Richard and Ann Shumack were among the first free selectors of the area, selecting Portion 14, a block of 100 acres upon which they built their family home, Springvale.
Its most famous resident was Samuel Shumack, Canberra's first chronicler, whose memoir is a rich resource for the history of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1915, with the resumption of his land for the formation of the new Federal Capital Territory, Shumack left the district and moved to Ravensworth near Singleton.
Along with all the other farms in the Belconnen district, the Springvale holding was then restructured into new rural leases. In 1917 the 'new' Springvale - now 548 acres - was leased by Samuel's second cousin Alexander and his wife Amy [Smith] for the next forty years.
The first land acquired by Richard Shumack and his sons Samuel, John and George in 1865 was the first selection in the district under the Robertson Land Act – Portion 14 of 100 acres. 'Springvale', the family homestead, was built on this portion. The Shumacks, like the Camerons, Gribbles, Hatches, Kilbys and Southwells, exemplify the major advancements that could be achieved by Free Selectors within a couple of generations. Big families were of great benefit! By 1876 (ie within ten years) the Shumacks held 850 acres; by 1915 it was over 2,000.
P14 1865 Richard 100 acres
P17 1869 John 50
P18 1869 John 50
P29 1869 George 40
P32 1870 John 40
P38 1870 Samuel 50
P57 1871 George 40
P59 1871 Samuel 40
P65 1872? George 66
P66 1872 John 50
P75 1875 Samuel 80
P76 1875 Samuel 80
P78 1876 Richard 40
P79 1876 Richard 73
P81 1876 George 47 and 3 rood
P87 1875 John 50
P88 1876 John 60
Further acquisitions followed, including lands to the west along Weetangera Road which were initially held by Mark and Samuel Southwell (263 acres) and Phillip Williams (320 acres). Mark Southwell's slab cottage was subsequently removed to Round Hill (Mt Painter) just south of Springvale, and in 1880 became home (later known as 'Rosebud Apiary') for father Richard, son George and daughter Emily.
Click on the caption (⧉) to view photo details and attribution.
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Shumack, S. An Autobiography, or, Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers (ed. J. E. and S. Shumack), Canberra, 1967
Further information about the Springvale Homestead site can be found at Canberra Tracks