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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Hawthorn Cottage

Peter Shumack selected Portion 34 of 100 acres on Yass Road around 1856 and established his farm, which became known as 'Hawthorn Cottage'.

His nephew, Joseph Shumack, acquired the adjoining Portion 33 and built the Canberra Inn, which was later sold to John Read and re-named as 'the Pines'.

Peter married Mary Mathieson in 1862, sister of William Mathieson, and worked the farm until his death in 1883.

Mary then continued to work the farm as a dairy and in 1886 re-married to Findlay McDonald. On some maps the cottage was shown as Mrs McDonald's House.

Yemen's Directory of Landholders of NSW 1900 – "F McDonald, Hawthorn Cottage shown as growing wheat and oats and dairy farming".

Mary had no children of her own, but fostered and adopted several children, including Fred, George and Mima Potter.

Findlay died in 1906 and the farm of 100 acres was acquired from Mary by the FCT in March 1915 for £823-18-0. Mary died later that year.

George Potter settled her estate and then enlisted in the AIF and was sent to France, where he was killed in 1918. A memorial to him stands in St Ninian's Church.

Queanbeyan Observer 3.1.1913 – "On Thursday evening 26th December a social was held at Hawthorne Cottage the residence of Mrs F McDonald to celebrate the coming of age of Mr George Potter. About twenty couples attended. Excellent music was provided by Miss Southwell and Messrs John and Frederick Southwell. Mr Thomas Sharpe was MC. Mr John Southwell wished Mr Potter many Happy Returns and asked Mr Edward Shumack to make the presentation".

Queanbeyan Age 8.10.1918 – "Last Sunday afternoon the Presbyterian Church Upper Canberra was crowded to excess at the service held in memory of the late Sgt George Potter Killed in Action on 1 September somewhere in France. Rev D Finlayson conducted the service".

Henry Edward Gozzard jnr then took over the lease to Hawthorn Cottage which he continued to run as a dairy until he eventually moved to Forbes, NSW.

Nothing remains of Hawthorn Cottage, which was on the east side of Yass Road just behind the now Lyneham Tennis Centre and adjoining Yowani Golf Course, and the site in 2021 is a fenced off rubbish area awaiting redevelopment.

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