Murray Family Pioneers of Yarralumla

27 June 1958 The Canberra Times

The part played by the Murray family in the early history of the district was outlined in an address to the Canberra and District Historical Society last night by Mrs. J. Q. Ewens.

The central figure of her address was Sir Terence Aubrey Murray, who played a distinguished part in grazing pursuits and the early political life of the colony of N.S.W.

She said that Terence Murray was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1810.

His father, Captain Murray, fought with the Coldstream Guards under Wellington, and later served with the Army in Australia and India, retiring with the rank of colonel.

When he returned home, he decided to bring his family to settle in Australia, which he considered held great opportunities.

The family -two sons, Terence and his brother James and a sister - were granted land near Collector and eventually established Winderradeen and Taradale stations, where the family fortunes prospered for many years.

Terence Murray and a man named Walker, from Sydney, were granted 2,500 acres on land now known as Yarralumla for a total of 625.

By 1938 there were 25,000 sheep and 40 employees, mostly convicts.

During the next few years, Murray became emerged in building him-self a fine property and he also took a keen interest in problems of land and colonial matters.

When a severe drought was experienced in the 1830's, Murray searched throughout the unexplored mountains for fresh pastures for his starving stock.

He was the first white man to cross from Yarralumla to Tumut.

Mrs. Ewens said that in 1843 Murray was elected unopposed to the first Leg-islative Council in N.S.W., which he served for about 30 years.

He became president of the council and many of his suggestions were of great advantage to the young colony.

He considered that free land should be made avail-able to new settlers from England.

He was appointed chair-man of a select committee to prepare a report on the Masters' and Servants Act.

He considered that it was desirable, to establish a court where disputes between masters and servants could be settled.

At Goulburn during a public meeting on transport problems, he advocated a railway system.

He particularly sought that there should be a rail link between Sydney and Goulburn, because at that time the road linking the two points was the worst in the State.

Mrs. Ewens said he also gave deep thought to science during his later years in Parliament and urged that an observatory be established in Sydney at Bradley's Head.

Terence Murray married a Miss Gibbs, daughter of Colonel Gibbs, of Potts Point Sydney, who shared his life and success at Yarralumla until 1852 when she died.

He then moved to Sydney where he continued his work in public life.

Yarralumla was taken over by the Gibbs family.

In 1858, he married a Miss Edwards, who was associated with the partner-ship of the Gilbert and Sullivan Company.

Mrs. Ewens said Murray later became bankrupt, but within a short period his friends had paid his debts amounting to 25,000.

Terence Murray was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1869 and died in 1873.

The Gibbs family continued operating Yarralumla for many years.

When Colonel and Mrs. Gibbs died they were buried in the graveyard at St. John's Church, Canberra, where Murray at one time worshipped.

The two sons of Murray's second marriage, Sir Hubert Murray, who did much to pioneer Papua, and Professor Murray, who spent much of his time in Eng-land and was closely associated with the work of the League of Nations, also gave great service, to Australia and the British Empire.

The chairman of the meeting was Professor C. M. H. Clark, A vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. L. F. Fitzhardinge.