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Rediscovering Ginninderra:

'Rosewood' - home of the Hatch family of Ginninderra.

Robert and Mary Hatch, who arrived in Sydney in 1836 with the first four of their nine children, lived for around ten years at Queanbeyan before moving to Albury in 1854. William, their eldest child, married Margaret Nugent Ryan at St Gregory's Catholic Church Queanbeyan on 18 April 1854, and the newly married couple opted to stay in the Queanbeyan district. Mary and William were both Irish born, and at the time of their marriage, which was to endure for fifty years, she was twenty, and he twenty-six.

Mary and William moved to the Ginninderra district 'in the early sixties', and evidently William began farming. It is not clear from the records where he made his start as a farmer and grazier, but in 1872 he began accumulating the land that was to become the Hatch family home and farm - 'Rosewood' - for the next forty-five years. By 1873 conditional purchases were made of six portions, a total of some 272 acres. The holding was between Halls Creek and the Yass-Queanbeyan road, the northern end being just outside the village of Hall. 'The property was bounded by the J Southwell estate, 'Nine Elms' (Edmund and Margaret Ward), Morris Lazarus at the Cricketer's Arms, and G Southwell'.

The Rosewood homestead was built at the northern end of Portion 74, where a cluster of buildings, 'sheds' and 'sliprails' and the name 'W Hatch' can be seen on the ACT Feature Map. Rosewood was eventually absorbed into the CSIRO Ginninderra Experimental Farm. In 1881 'the Wizard' recorded that William Hatch made a large room in his house available for the Ginninderra Bachelors' Ball, which was reported to be a great success. Mrs Hatch provided supper. Evidently this was quite a substantial building. It is described in 1915 as having three large rooms, walls part brick and part lath and plaster over slab; shingle roof with two brick chimneys; kitchen and pantry attached, 10 x 8 feet each; plus other outhouses.

William Hatch Junior compiled a full inventory of the property at the time of his leaving in 1915. The homestead buildings are described and valued as follows:

House 3 rooms 40 x 12
Walls part brick & part lathe and plaster over slab.
Shingle roof (two brick chimneys)
3 skillion rooms attached to same 12 x 8 each. Part brick walls part slab Iron roof
Value $50

Dining room, slab walls
Iron roof 14 x 12
Kitchen and pantry attached to same 10 x 8 each
2 chimneys and brick oven attached
Value ₤20

Wash house chimney attached
Slab wall brick floor tin roof 10 x 8
Value ₤5

Total ₤75

Other structures associated with various farming activities were valued at a total of ₤65 - a granary (mouse proof), a large shed with slab walls and shingle roof, skillions attached, a stable with feed room and harness room, a stable and cart shed (slab walls straw covered), a chaff shed, and a machinery shed erected in 1914.

There were 30 fruit trees, 6 gooseberry vines and 2 grape vines, as well as 27 ornamental trees comprising pines, pepper, willow, poplar, elms, English oak, hawthorn, elderberry and a 'breakwind' comprised of quince trees. (Warman, 8)

Prior to the proclamation of the new Federal Capital Territory in 1908, residents of the Ginninderra/Hall region held their land under freehold title and were represented in State Parliament as part of the Queanbeyan district. The new Commonwealth parliament overturned this, declaring that all Capital Territory land would be leasehold, to prevent private owners profiting by the development of the land. This meant that the land owners, some of whom had been there from the 1860s, would have to lease back their own property from the federal government. Another burden placed on the residents was the valuation of their land which was based on how much it was worth in 1908. In addition, the residents lost their representation in the NSW Parliament and were denied a representative in the Commonwealth Parliament until 1948.

The Rosewood property, which William Hatch Snr had been adding to since the early 1870s, fell just inside the new Federal border. In January 1908 his son Will Hatch Jnr had only just managed to free it from debt by selling all the household furniture, farm equipment and livestock, following his father's death in 1907.

Will joined the Federal Territory Vigilance Association, formed in 1911, which was the only platform the residents of the affected area had to represent their concerns regarding compulsory acquisition of their property. Apart from a few minor concessions, their concerns went unheeded and Will was one of the local landholders who regretfully decided it would be better to sell up and move rather than having to lease their own land back from the Commonwealth. Rosewood was resumed in February 1916 at the October 1908 valuation and with no compensation for any improvements done to the land. The Rosewood land of just under 350 acres, with improvements, was valued at around ₤2,000. It was then rented to successive lease holders until its acquisition by the CSIRO.

Will moved his young family to a property he bought at Appin and then in 1919, settled in Merrylands, at that time an outer Sydney suburb.

Related Photos


Warman, M. 1981. The Hatch Family in Australia: a Record of the Descendants of Robert and Mary Hatch, Who Came from Ireland and Settled in Southern NSW - 1828 to the Present Day. Privately published: Canberra

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