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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Wattle Park homestead

Wattle Park homestead was occupied by three generations of the Southwell family from1874 till 1996. The home was built by Samson Southwell, son of Thomas and Eliza who had purchased land in the district in 1854 and set up home at Parkwood.

Samson selected land near Bedulluck on Spring Range Road, in close proximity to his younger brother, Samuel. In the early days of settlement being close to family was a priority. The house was built of pisé, with timber floors and ceilings and a corrugated iron roof. The name Wattle Park is said to have come from the many wattles on the property and Park is a reference to his birthplace – Parkwood. Samson married Elizabeth Veness in 1862 and together they had twelve children. Regular Methodist services were held in the home until the Wattle Park Church was built in 1882 at its present site on the Barton Highway.

When Samson died in 1914, one of his sons, Samson James, became the owner. Samson James had married Mary Ann Hazell in 1904 and they had six children, all born at home. In the early 1900s, the house was almost lost to fire when the family was at church. Fortunately, a relative riding on horseback noticed smoke coming from the home. Unable to fight the fire on his own, he rode to the church and the family and congregation returned to put the fire out using buckets of water. The house was saved.

Following the death of Samson James in 1955, his only son, Allen James, ran the property with his sister Thelma Maria. As neither married, the property was sold in 1996. The original house no longer stands.

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