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Simpsons Hill – History

Eight boys from the local school served in WW1.  One didn’t come back.

Walk route south west from Schoolhouse towards flagpole.

  • The hill was undoubtedly important to the local indigenous people. It may have been a source of Kurrajong seeds which they ground into a nutritious flour.  The hill probably also had a role for fire spotting, especially at Bogong harvesting time in the Brindabellas.
  • 1835 The name of the hill has its history in a spelling mistake. The first lease for the hill in the 1835 was in the name of Macquoid (the then Sherriff of the Supreme Court of NSW) and the grazier Donald Campbell Simson.  Somehow the current spelling crept onto maps in the 20th
  • 1878 There was a slab schoolhouse in 1878 and then the current schoolhouse was built in 1880, opened in May.
  • Late 1890s Schoolmaster McGee complained that James Cunningham of Tuggeranong Homestead was grazing sheep on some of the original 40 acres of land given for the Tuggeranong Schoolhouse and had challenged him for collecting firewood with a horse and slide.
  • 1901 McGee was interviewed by the Queanbeyan Age about the farm aspects of the Tuggeranong Schoolhouse which were rather modest, mainly a few red cattle, turkeys, poultry and 50 hives of bees. The McGee children spent many years trapping rabbits on the hill.
  • Early 1900s Professor James McGee, born in 1903, grew up in the Schoolhouse (his father was the schoolmaster). He became internationally renowned for his research in nuclear physics and as a pioneer of television.  Note the aerial on the schoolhouse made out of two bicycle wheels.
  • 1910s Nature walks on the Hill were part of the school curriculum and the students went in for bird watching. Many of them belonged to the Gould League of Bird Lovers.
  • 1911 The Federal Capital Territory was ceded from NSW in 1911 and Canberra founded in 1913
    • 1914-1918 ANZAC connection: Six boys from the Tuggeranong school served in Australian Imperial Forces in the First World War.  Three of them were the Maxwells brothers of Queanbeyan who all served as troopers.   Thomas Joseph Maxwell was injured at Gallipoli and killed in action at Jericho in 1918.
  • 1940 The School closed at the beginning of 1940
  • 1949-1977 Les Morton lived there from 1949 until 1977 and ran sheep, using the shed for shearing.
  • 1985 The suburb of Chisholm was gazetted on 5 August 1985.
  • 1988 The plaque and flagpole were placed on the hill in 1988 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings and to serve as a gathering point for ANZAC ceremonies for Chisholm and Gilmore Schools.
  • 2014 ANZAC Centenary funding and RSL connection. In 2013, with the support of Gai Brodtmann MP, the Parkcare group was granted $5,500 as part of the Federal Government’s program to commemorate the ANZAC centenary.  Paving laid around the existing plaque was donated by local resident Martin Boyd – recycled from University of Canberra courtyards then being refurbished.
    • Planting around flagpole –
      • Garden beds were planted to an ANZAC theme with rosemary, Gallipoli rose and Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea.

Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea primarily selected by the WA botanic garden for its lush red flowers, its trans-Australian heritage and the tough geographical conditions in which it grows and thrives.

 

Gallipoli Rose (Cistus Salvifolius) – not a rose, not a native, but found at Gallipoli and seeds brought home by Australian soldiers

 

Rosemary for remembrance – from rosemary brought back from Gallipoli

  • The information panels were developed using designs by students at Gilmore and Caroline Chisholm Primary Schools. The theme is Military Medicine.