Linda and Roger's Bunhybee Grasslands

History of the Property

This is a page within Roger and Linda's Bunhybee Grasslands Web-Site.
Bunhybee Grasslands is a 49ha/120-acre conservation property 35km south of Braidwood, in sthn N.S.W.
You can follow through the internal links, or you may find it easier to use the Site-Map.

This page provides what we've managed to interpolate of the history of the property and its immediate surrounds. The information was accumulated from 2008 through to April 2012.

The general information on this page remains current. However, Trish Downes has subsequently given us access to much more precise information about the history of the three Lots that make up Bunhybee Grasslands. Where surmise on this page is in conflict with the specific details in the new page of October 2012 on the Land's History, the new page prevails.

Context is provided by the companion pages on:

Here are Palerang Council's:

The relevant contour maps are:

  • 1:100,000 Araluen
  • 1:25,000 Kain

Click on the map for a larger version:

Bunhybee comprises Lots 7, 165 and 164 within DP 754890, within what was once of the Parish of Ballalaba, but latterly of the Parish of Krawarree, County of Murray. The relevant segment of the 1958 version of the County map is here.

Constructing a history of the property presents a great many challenges. (Torrens Title is administratively very sensible; but Old System Title, carrying with it, as it did, the succession of documents that evidenced the trail of ownership, would have been a great boon to the historian).

What follows is an amateur attempt at building the story. It is based almost entirely on secondary sources, done at the desk and on the Internet, without recourse to original materials. It includes a moderate amount of reasonably reliable information combined with a great deal of surmise.

The primary purposes are:

However, various trails have been followed, which are of historical or cultural interest.

The sections of this page are:

Stop Press: New Information That Needs to be Reflected Here

History researcher Trish Downes contacted us in late March, met with us on Friday 30 March 2012 at Braidwood and then Bunhybee, and provided some important information.

A copy of the relevant part of Robert Dixon's 1837 map of NSW shows that the only grants or purchases in Jerrabat(t)gulla known to him then were :

Grants were made after Kearns, Marsh and Packer reached the Braidwood district in 1822, up to the mid-1830s. After that, sales and leases resulted in much of the western side of the Jerrabattgulla being occupied during the 1840s, and much of the eastern side in the upper valley 3-10km south of Bunhybee. Even the property 400m south of Bunhybee, across Hart's Road, appears to have been sold to Thomas Philip Hart in 1840. However, no evidence has been found of sales or leases along the eastern side of the lower Jerrabattgulla, let alone higher up the slopes where Bunhybee lies.

In relation to the interpretation of County Maps:

In relation to the three Lots that make up Bunhybee, the 1883 County Map shows that:

And the 1903 County Map shows that:

Between 1883 and 1903, Monaghan extended his 840 acres by a further 610 acres. These comprised 5 Lots to the East of the road (from J(ames?) Kin(g)sley, 2 from Michael Hart and 2 from Bank of NSW), and 9 Lots West of the road and to the East of the Jerrabattgulla Creek (1 from Henry Warren, where the Warragandra homestead is, 1 from George Warren, 3 from William Lynford, 3 from William Kin(g)sley and 1 from William Griffin). In all, Monaghan appears on the 1903 County Map as the owner of an extended rectangle 2 miles east-west and 1 mile north-south, from the Jerrabattgulla to the Shoalhaven. This included what became the Warragandra homestead (in the extreme SW) and the whole of what became the Parlour Paddock and contained what is now Bunhybee. The only contemporary evidence of a dwelling anywhere in that area appears to be Warragandra homestead.

There were at least two James Monaghans, JM1 (?1820-1887), and JM2 (?1845-1919) – plus sundry Monahans, including a James (1858-1946). In the early 1880s, JM1 would have been in his early 60s. It would seem likely that the dynamic purchasing of these Lots would have been the work of JM2, who was in his late 30s at the time.

Jack Quilty is thought to have owned the consolidated Warragandra property from at least 1930 until 1950, after which it was split among nephews, and has been progressively broken up. So Monaghan himself presumably passed on his property/ies in 1919, perhaps directly to Quilty, and no later than about 1930.

The 1958 Parish map shows that the 600 acres on the east of the ridge down to the Shoalhaven was in the hands of T.V.Dove & Others (who is thought to have inherited it from Mick Quilty c. 1950), but the rest were still in the name of James Monaghan. Only Lot 7 remained an ACP, and all the others appear as though they were freehold. The properties to the north-east are in the names variously of John, JH and James Monahan, who is/are thought to be of a separate family.

The most important information that we could possibly gain from the history of property is the nature of the vegetation at the time white man intervened, and the date, motivation and nature of the interventions.

Tentative conclusions from the above information are that:

Other Possible Sources of Information

There is a complete absence of old tree-stumps across the property. There are three possibilities:

Is it possible to establish how long it takes for tree-stumps of the relevant species to completely disappear by natural means? The relevant species are all Eucalyptus:

Can soil analysis distinguish between grass and tree origins of the compost / humus? Is the relevant term 'parent materials'?


We don't know the facts. At present, our working hypotheses are as follows:

[We hope that local historians can throw further light on the matter. And we intend to extract whatever we can from the Land Titles Office / LPI / whatever it might be called at any given time. – DONE BY TRISH DOWNES IN MID-2012]


Presumably for centuries, the uphill slopes in the NE of the block were at the transition-point between:

We're not aware of any evidence of aboriginal occupation or activities being found on or near the property.


We've yet to establish when the block was first assigned to Europeans. It cannot have been before the Braidwood area was first visited in 1822. However, the district was clearly regarded as offering high-quality land, and was settled very quickly, including the upper Shoalhaven and Jerrabattgulla valleys.

What is now Bunhybee is in a Cadastral Parish that was unnamed in the 1820s, became Ballalaba, but was later called Krawarree. This section identifies, in chronological order, the blocks that were granted, leased or purchased between 1829 and 1943, within a few miles in each direction of Bunhybee.

Click on the map opposite for the relevant section of the 1958 edition of the official cadastral map:

We've yet to find evidence of the initial grant, lease or purchase of the three Lots that make up Bunhybee. This section instead presents, in chronological order, what we've established about the initial grants, leases and purchases of land close by.

"[I]n 1829, after forming a station at ‘Oronmeir’, near Braidwood, WD Tarlin[g]ton made his way along the southern tablelands, finally discovering a route from Braidwood to Cobargo" (CSIRO Land and Water, Technical Report 54/99, 1999). William Dug[g]an Tarlin[g]ton (1806-1893) is well-documented, e.g. in the history of Cobargo (which is 100km south, between the escarpment and the coast). Another source suggests that Tarlington was at Oronmeir 1827-32. 'Oronmeir', in that context, appears to have referred to the 200-acre block at the confluence of the then Oroonmeir Creek and the Shoalhaven River. Tarlington beat a path towards the coast because he had too many cattle for the property he was on (and/or he lacked the resources to clear it and get access to enough pasture). By 1832, he had blazed a trail south and was settling Cobargo.

Initially, many grants of land were made, but they were progressively reduced from about 1831, after which a price per acre was imposed. There were sales at Gundillion (8km south of Bunhybee, in the Shoalhaven valley), noted in the NSW Government Gazette of 29 June 1836, p.8.

Also in the NSW Government Gazette of 29 June 1836, on p.17, yearly leases of land were noted comprising 6 lots, of 1180, 1040, 800, 1000, 1040 and 1060 acres (9 sq. miles!), the northernmost "bounded on the north by J. Brown's 91 acres", in all cases "parish unnamed, at Oroonmeir Creek [the original name of Jerrabattgulla Creek]; bounded on the east by Oroonmeir Creek; on the south and west by section lines. Applied for by James Brown". According to The Sydney Monitor of 26 October 1836, all 6 were duly let to James Brown. Combining an Ollalulla Parish Map segment with this readily available cadastral map, it appears likely that the southernmost block was the one now called Gilston, but then called Wandragandria, on the western side of the Creek and immediately south of where the Warragandra homestead was later built above the eastern bank. One possibility is that the 6120 acres / 2400ha ran northwards from Wandragandria up to the western side of the confluence of the Creek with the Shoalhaven.

In the NSW Government Gazette of 18 October 1837, p.3, yearly leases of land were put up for auction on the eastern side of the Oroonmeir Creek. They comprises 5 lots of 800, 700, 640, 640, and 640 acres (over 5 sq. miles), each "parish unnamed, at Oroonmeir Creek; bounded on the west by Oroonmeir Creek; on the south and east by section lines". Somewhat turtuously, the northernmost was defined to be "bounded on the south by the section line three miles north of J. Burke's 2560 acres". That places the combined 3420 acres / 1360ha a couple of miles south of Wandragandria, but on the eastern side of the Creek, i.e. the opposite side to the land leased the previous year. The 1958 map suggests that the area must have been subsequently sold in many, much smaller blocks.

In 1838, W.D.Tarlin[g]ton (by then mainly operating down at Cobargo) purchased an 870-acre property. On the 1958 Parish map, that appears to be the land just north of J. Burke's 2560 acres, but in the Shoalhaven valley, with Kain's Road on its northern boundary.

In the Sydney Morning Herald of 15 October 1842, a Government announcement appeared, mirrored here, selling 'occupation licenses' for the calendar year 1843 of the following Lots:

22 - Murray, six hundred and forty 640 acres, parish unnamed, near Wandragandria; boun-
ded on the south by part of Burke's 2560 acres grant. Upset price £5 per section.

23 - Murray, eight hundred and fifty 850 acres, parish unnamed, near Wandragandria; boun-
ded on the south by lot 22. Upset price £5 per section.

24 - Murray, nine hundred 900 acres, parish unnamed, near Wandragandria; bounded on the south by lot 23; on the west by Oronmeir Creek Upset price £5 per section.

A further and similar announcement appeared on 7 November 1842, mirrored here. These were on the eastern slopes of the Oroonmeir valley, in the space between the Burke property, in the south, and the blocks put up for lease in 1837, in the north.

A year later, in the Sydney Morning Herald of 20 October 1843, a further announcement appeared, mirrored here, offering, for one year, from the 1st day of January, 1844, at "the upset price [of] £5 per section of 640 acres, 640 acres, near Wandragandria, half a mile from the confluence of Oronmeir Creek with the Shoalhaven River". The 'Wandragandria' marking on the 1958 map is 3-1/2 miles from the confluence, so "near" seems to have meant 3 miles away. On the other hand, no block is apparent on the map that looks like "640 acres ... half a mile from the confluence ...".

It appears that leases of large blocks may not have proven successful, because the emphasis switched to sales rather than leases, and the cadastral map shows none of these large blocks, but many smaller ones.

In the NSW Government Gazette of 15 August 1843, p.1, land was offered for sale at public auction on 13 September 1843, comprising 3 lots of 280, 230 and 410 acres "parish unnamed, near Krawaree". The northern block was defined as:

"280 acres, commencing at Oroonmeir Creek, at the north-west corner of John Burke's 2560 acres P.G.; and bounded on the south by part of that farm, being a line bearing east 34 chains [675m]; on the east by a line bearing north 80 chains [1 mile, 1600m] to the south-east corner of a measured portion of 230 acres; on the north by that land, being a line bearing west 35 chains [700m] to Oroonmeir Creek; and on the west by that Creek to the north-west corner of John Burke's 2560 acres as aforesaid [i.e. 1600m x 700m]. Upset price £1 per acre", i.e. in the south-eastern segment of the Jerrabattgulla valley. The 230-acre block was immediately south of that, and the 410-acre block south again.

In the Sydney Morning Herald of 10 February 1866, the following advertisements by real estate agents Richardson & Wrench appeared, mirrored here. (The firm was formed in 1858, and still exists):

BRAIDWOOD. 400 acres Land, in the COUNTY OF MURRAY, near WANDRAGANDRIA, fronting OROONMEIR CREEK, and adjoining JAMES UNDERWOOD'S GRANT of 100 acres, and F. WALLACE'S 1220 acres.
BRAIDWOOD. Farm of 400 ACRES of capital land on Oroonmeir Creek, adjoining Wallace's grant, and close to the celebrated Mount Elrington Estate, about 12 miles from Braidwood.
[The Elrington name turns up all over the district, including "12 miles from Braidwood". But Wandragandria and Oroonmeir are 22 miles from Braidwood, and I've seen no other references to the Elrington name in this vicinity; so Richardson & Wrench may have got some part of that quite wrong.]

The Wallace and Underwood names appear on the the Ollalulla Parish Map segment immediately north of James Brown's 1837 Warragandria purchase. They are directly across the Jerrabattgulla valley from Bunhybee. So there's a strong chance that these blocks had been first sold some time before 1866, e.g. as surmised above, in 1836.

The documents identified above show that a number of blocks around what is now Bunhybee were granted, or offered for lease or purchase, between 1828 and 1843. The adjacent image (click to enlarge) shows them superimposed over the 1958 Parish Map.

Some were in the Shoalhaven valley, and some were in the Jerrabattgulla valley; and one block ran all the way across the saddle from one to the other.

So, despite the absence of any specific evidence, there seems to be a reasonably good chance that the Bunhybee blocks were also granted, leased or purchased by 1843.

However, there is some contrary evidence, which is examined in the following section.


A correspondent, Randall Kingsley, informed me in September 2011 that "those 'originally' taking up the lots [which are now Bunhybee were] Lot 7 - James Monaghan, Lot 165 - James Monaghan and Lot 164 - Michael Hart and then James Monaghan. My ancestor William Kin(g)sley had lots 20, 88 and 89 [down beside the Creek] before these too passed on to James Monaghan. William was born in 1845 and was still on electoral rolls in Braidwood area in 1877 - he left forever before 1880. So my current GUESS is that the land was opened up for white settlement around 1870+ or -?-probably before".

The 1958 Parish map does indeed have "James Monaghan" and "J. Monaghan" on a total of 18 blocks along the Jerrabattgulla and to the east of it. But we don't know when he acquired them.

Nor do we know when the 7 blocks to the NE of those blocks were acquired by variously "John Monahan" (c.1834-1909)", "James Monahan" (1858-1946) – who appears to have lived in Braidwood, but whose 8th child was b. at Oranmeir in 1902, and "J.H. Monahan" / "John Monahan Jr" (1860-1918).

This raises a series of questions.

1. What do the names on the blocks mean?

The easy assumption would be that the names on the blocks in the 1958 (5th edition) of the map are the names of the first grantees or purchasers. Some certainly are (the Tarlingtons and John Burke, for example) and they were all long-dead by 1958.

If that were correct, then either the Kingsley family history is wrong, or perhaps William Kin(g)sley leased the block, and Monaghan was the first purchaser?

2. Were the Monaghans and the Monahans the same family?

One possibility is that the 25 properties were owned by various members of the same family, but the spelling was either flexible, or changed over the relevant time-period.

Alternatively, there may have been two different families in the area across the relevant period. There were many people of Irish descent in the valley, so the existence of two families with similar names would not be surprising.

To add to the confusion, a Patrick Monaghan (1859-1891) was also in the district around this time, and appears not to have been directly related to the others. A Patrick Monahan and P. Monahan (i.e. no 'g') is recorded on the 1958 map on Lots just south of the O'Connell property at Stoney Creek.

For various reasons, my leanings are towards the 'two (or more) separate families' option.

3. Which James Mona(g)han was the relevant one?

Leaving aside the question of whether there were two families or one, there were at least three James Mona(g)hans in the area around that time – Monaghan 1 (?1820-1887), Monaghan 2 (?1845-1919), and Monahan (1858-1946). The underlined dates show those for which documentary evidence exists.

Confusingly, however, no James Mona(g)han appears in the Grevilles 1872 Post Office Directory – and the older two should have been visible. John Monahan (presumably James' Monahan's father) does – at "Ornmeir". That name could mean prettymuch anywhere in the vicinity, but it probably was not what is now the house named Oranmeir, at Ston[e]y Creek (which has always belonged to the O'Connells') and probably was along the north-eastern section, towards Togganoggera. Here is the list of names that the Directory showed in the immediate vicinity:
Edwin BATE, farmer, Jerebatgully
John BRADLEY, farmer, Jerebatgully
Michael GRIFFIN, farmer, Aranmeir
Patrick GRIFFIN, farmer, Aranmeir
Joseph HARTE, farmer, Gilstone
Thomas HARTE, farmer, Gilstone
John HURLY, labourer, Ornmeir
Michael KANE, farmer, Jerebatgully
Patrick KANE, farmer, Jerebatgully
Thomas KELLY, labourer, Jerebatgully
William KINGSLEY, farmer, Ornmeir
John KINGSLEY, labourer, Jerebatgully
George LACEY, teacher, Ornmeir
John LANG, labourer, Jerebatgully
John LENEHAN, constable
William LINFORD, farmer, Jerebatgully
John MONAHAN, farmer, Ornmeir
James O'CONNELL, labourer, Stoney Ck.
Michael O'CONNELL, farmer, Stoney Ck.
John RODGERS, labourer, Stoney Ck.
John SEELEY, farmer, Jerebatgully
Benjamin SPOONER, farmer, Jerebatgully
Henry WARREN, shepherd, Ornmeir

This posting relates to the James Monahan (1858-1946) – and closely related to the [O']Connells and Clarkes, who were in the immediate vicinity of Bunhybee. But that James would have been too young to hold property in his own name until 1879. The posting also says that that James' parents were John Monahan (c.1834-1909) and Catherine Connell/Kain (1829->1871). In the Shoalhaven Show of 20 Feb 1883, a James Monaghan was reported as winning the prize for best Durham Bull, and there are several later hits showing that a James was commercially active for many years, e.g. in local mining ventures.

The same report of 20 Feb 1883 mentions a John Monaghan JP being re-elected as an alderman for the central Shoalhaven and mayor of what appears to have been the whole Shoalhaven valley down to and including Nowra. The very north-eastern block, with Shoalhaven frontage, is in the name "James Monahan". On the one hand, 1879 would appear to be far too late for river-frontage 400m west of the first grant in the area to have become property. On the other hand, the annotation says "312 ac. ex. rds.", which could imply that the road already crossed the block when it was sold. That road presumably emerged along the trail blazed by Tarlington in 1832.

A James Monaghan is mentioned in newspapers on Committees in the 1870s – which is too early to have been the same person as James Monahan b. 1858. There are death entries for two James Monaghans in Braidwood, in 1887 and 1919. The only birth entry at Braidwood to a James as father is in 1888. There are other, less likely entries under Monahan.

So I'm inclined to postulate that there was a James Monaghan (c.1820s-1887), who was the first owner of the blocks above the Jerrabattgulla, some of which became Bunhybee.

Randall also said that "Michael Hart [the original owner of one-third of Bunhybee] was an ex-convict from 'Countess of Harcourt' - 1827 - 14 years, who married Mary Irwin (nee Wilson), an ex-convict from the 'Buffalo' - 1833 - 14 years). They married in Liverpool (NSW) on 26 January 1835. They had five children - one must have died very young or baby - 4 surviving were" [some data added]:

  1. Joseph Hart b. 1837, d. 12 May 1910 aged 76?, buried at Gundillion cemetery
    1. Michael (Joseph) Hart (1859-1908)
      b. 1859 at Gilston (the property immediately SW of Warragandra), Ballalaba
      m. Elizabeth Agnes Grant (1858-1919), of Araluen
  2. Mary Hart b. 1839
  3. Thomas Hart b. 1842, d. 1895, aged 52/53
  4. Charlotte Hart b. 1845, d. 1912, aged 66/67
    m. 1863 to Thomas Clarke, hanged as a bushranger in 1867

"The Hart families had quite a few lots at some time in that area". Indeed, the names "Joseph Hart", "Thomas Hart", "Thomas Philip Hart" and "Joseph Hart Jr." appear on 14 blocks totalling 1584 acres immediately south of the old mail road / Harts Rd, from Jerrabattgulla Creek up and over the crest of the ridge to the east. Joseph lived at Gilston, and the Gilston homestead is west of the Jerrabattgulla, so the family presumably at least leased land additonal to the 14 blocks on the eastern side of the Creek. If these are the relevant Joseph and Thomas Hart, they could not have become land-owners before 1858 and 1863 respectively.


We've yet to establish in whose hands the property was between the 1890s and 1930, nor to what extent the holdings had been consolidated into one family.


From some time c. 1930 to c. 1948, what is now Bunhybee Grasslands was part of 'Warragandra'. At that time, Warragandra was a large [2000-acre? 6000-acre?] property that extended from west of Jerrabatgulla Ck to at least the Krawaree/Cooma/Snowball Rd, was centred on what is still the Warragandra homestead (1km SW of the Bunhybee gate), running some distance north, and at least a couple of lots southwards as well.

Mick Quilty (1863/64?-1947?) owned the whole of 'Warragandra' during that time. As is apparent from the preceding section, we've yet to discover how come he owned so much land.

Quilty is another Irish name, which, along with Keelty and Kielty, derives from Caoilte / Caolte / Cuallta. Both Jim and David O'Connell remember him from their early years, because he was a character, with bushy white beard, apparently no wife or family, and chook on the table.

There are mentions of a Patrick Quilty of Braidwood in newspaper reports in the 1870s, and both he and a William J. Quilty acquired land in the Parish of Wog Wog, north of Braidwood in the Mongarlowe area, in the mid-1880s, near Jerricknorra Creek. There are two birth entries for Michael Quiltys in Braidwood, in 1863 and 1864, mothers Norah and Margaret respectively. There are mentions in The Queanbeyan Age from 1926 until as late as 15 May 1947 (mainly wool reports) of a Michael Joseph Quilty, of Braidwood, and of Oranmeir rather than Warragandra, e.g. in relation to the Pastures Protection Board, on which he served during at least 1925-27.

There's a reference in The Canberra Times of 4 May 1948 to the estate of the late M.J. Quilty of Braidwood, suggesting he passed away between May 1947 and May 1948. So the estate would have been settled by about 1950.


[The sections from 1950 onwards draw heavily on local knowledge, particularly the three longstanding neighbours Di Izzard, and Jim and David O'Connell, and John Bradbury. Many of the details were captured following the 100th anniversary celebrations of Gundillion Hall on 11 December 2011.]

When Mick Quilty died, theWarragandra property was divided at least three ways and perhaps more.

1. Quilty left Glenview (the property south of Gilstone, on the western side of Jerra Creek) to Bede Hart. It's unclear why, although earlier Harts had owned properties all around that area, so the aged bachelor may have felt it best to put it back into the same clan – or keep it in the same clan, because it seems likely that Bede and other Harts were Quilty's nephews. We're not sure of the sequence after that, but in the early 2000s, Glenview is owned by Brian Roberts.

2. The Warragandra homestead and adjacent lots went to (Bede's brother?) Bill Hart. Perhaps as early as 1955, Bill sold it to Noel Mackey (Mackie?). Linda has met Noel's daughter Annie, now Hough, who lives in Canberra. Perhaps about 1965, Noel sold to Guy Baring (of the UK banking family). The sole mention of Warragandra in the National Library's digitised collection of newspapers and magazines (incl. The Queanbeyan Age) comes in 1967, after the 1950s subdivision that excised what is now Bunhybee Grasslands from the property. In the Women's Weekly of 5 July 1967, on p. 11, this clipping, is found. The text reads:

AT RIGHT: Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Guy Baring outside All Saints' Church, Woollahra, after their marriage, with attendants Miss Anne Gordon (left), Mrs. Robert Broadbent, and the bride's brother, pageboy Andrew Campbell. The bride was Miss Raina Campbell, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Campbell, of "Palerang," Bungendore. The bride-groom is the second son of Mrs. Andrew Scott, of "Farmington," Sussex, England, and of the late Mr. Esmond Baring, formerly of Hampshire, England. They will make their home on the bride-groom's property, "Warragandra", at Braidwood.

The property may have changed hands several times between 1970 and 2004, ending up with Mrs Read. In c. 2004, Harry and Kitty Tischler bought the 'Warragandra' homestead and the adjacent 200 acres, to the west of Bunhybee Grasslands' southern neighbour Parlour Grasslands, across Jerrabattgulla Road.

3. After c. 1950, Bunhybee was part of 'The Parlour Paddock', which extended from Jerrabattgulla Rd to the Cooma Rd.

It was 1,049 acres / 424ha and was managed as two large grazing paddocks, 161 ha and 242 ha in size (David O'Connell [of Gilston], Dec 2007, p. 5 of the Bunhybee Plan of Management. The source of the discrepancy of 21ha is unclear).

There has never been a homestead on Parlour. There was no building at all until the shearing shed up near the ridge, built c. 1985.

Here are a cadastral view, and a satellite image, both showing contemporary Bunhybee and Parlour Grasslands in the upper-centre-left, the ridge to their east, and the slope down to the Cooma Rd (aka Krawaree Rd and Snowball Rd).

Quilty left Parlour to Vince Dove, who lived in Goulburn. We're not clear what the connection was. Dove owned it 1950-60.

Dove sold it to Tom and Jack Steward (sons of Henry) and Frank Larkin. All three were locals, but Jack moved to Bungendore and later to Canberra. [Ray Backhouse, at Brookland, further south along Jerra Road, is a nephew of Tom's.] They worked the property 1960-2004.

The old mail road, marked on maps these days as Harts Road, is open on the western side of the saddle, but closed at the top. The eastern side was also open, until c. 1995. It crosses Jim O'Connell 's property, and he closed it when it appeared that Fernleigh property (near Krawaree trig, south of the road) was going to be sub-divided – which would have generated a lot more traffic. (There is a designated road, but the part that runs across Jim's property isn't on that alignment and hence is a private road).

The Parlour Paddock was put up for auction in 2003. It was sold (at a price somewhat above David O'Connell's offer) on 8 Mar 2004, to Peter Graham, a Beecroft-based surveyor and developer.


Graham subdivided the property. On the western side at least, it was done along the lines of existing Lots. The resulting properties were:

The 63ha property above Bunhybee to the east and the properties on the eastern side of the saddle may in 2011 still all be in Graham's hands. The 63ha property has once had some calves on it, but otherwise they appear not to be being worked.


Probably early in the 3rd quarter of 2007, Greg Baines of the NSW Dept of Environment in Queanbeyan drove past the subdivided properties for sale on Jerrabattgulla Road, recognised the conservation qualities of at least the two lower properties, and mentioned them to his colleague Rainer Rehwinkel.

Rainer visited Bunhybee Grasslands on 10 Sep 2007, and the Parlour Grasslands property on 30 Oct 2007. He visited Parlour again on 14 Dec 2007. He prepared Species Lists for each of those visits.

During the 3rd quarter of 2007, Rainer alerted the Nature Conservation Trust (NCT). NCT is a statutory company of the NSW government, whose purpose is to acquire properties with high conservation value, and prepare them for re-sale with conservation agreements in place. A conservation agreement (or see this brochure) is a means of inscribing onto the property title appropriate restrictions on usage plus commitments to care that must be respected by not only the current owner, and not only the next buyer (which is as far as a normal covenant would reach), but by all subsequent buyers as well.

NCT purchased the two properties adjacent to Jerrabatgulla Rd [DATE? Early 2008?], in order to enable assessment, protection under Conservation Agreements, and re-sale. NCT gave the two properties their current names.

NCT advertised the properties for sale, and promoted them at a K2C event at Ingelara in April 2008. We nibbled at the bait, and visited the property several times. We agreed to buy Bunhybee in about June 2008. The sale was completed at the end of November 2008.


We've managed 'Bunhybee Grasslands' since December 2008. Of primary significance are the Plan of Management, the weed control plan, and the weed control implementation.

In early 2010, NCT sold 'Parlour Grasslands' to Canberra Airport. The airport sits on similar grassland, and each expansion of the airport eliminates some more of it. The company therefore has offset obligations. The relevant executive assured us at the time that the property will be maintained, not just because of the obligation under the Plan of Management, but also because their intention is to harvest seed from it.

The Land Clearance

We have strong working assumptions that:

The evidence comprises:

The best grazing land is the better-watered lower parts of the slope down towards Jerrabattgulla Creek; so it's a reasonable assumption that these were cleared first. Hence Bunhybee, on the upper parts of the slope to the east of the Creek, roughly halfway between the Oranmeir and Warrangandra homesteads, may have been cleared somewhat later – although whether it was 1 year or 20 years later is open to speculation.

The early dates for clearance would be c. 1840, under the onslaught of the early pioneers' energy.

Clearance would appear unlikely to have been during the 'Federation Drought'. The nearest available rainfall data is for Braidwood, and that commences only in 1887. The years 1888-89, 1895 and then 1901-10 were severe, with only 75% of average annual rainfall, and no year in that decade reaching the long-term mean. That's somewhat worse than the drought of 2001-09, for which the comparable figure was 79%.

Hence we have a working hypothesis that the block was cleared at some stage during the period 1840-1900, with greatest likelihood in the late 1870s through to the late 1890s – SINCE CLARIFIED AS 1884-1893.

On that basis, the majority of what is now Bunhybee has been open grassland for well over a century. The soil-quality appears to vary but to be mostly not high. The water supply across the property is insufficient to support large mobs or herds on a continuing basis. So we interpolate that, from the grazier's perspective, the land was good enough to be grazed, but not good enough to be worth improving. Apart from fencing, there is one moderately-sized dam and one small dam, and no other evidence of improvements.

Bunhybee appears never to have been improved with either fertiliser or introduced grass-seed – David O'Connell (of Gilston) said to NCT in December 2007 that "there was no history of cultivation and fertilizer was only applied once" (Plan of Management, p.5). The vegetation is very strongly native, it is very rich in terms of both grass species and forbs (c. 50 and 120 native species respectively), and it appears to have developed itself into a very good, and all-too-rare, example of natural temperate grassland of the Southern Tablelands.

Other Adjacent Properties

The sections above include information on the nearby properties that have been at some stage part of the large Warragandra of the period 1930-50, including Glenview, the Parlour Paddock (now much-subdivided) and the remnant Warragandra. This section provides an outline of each of the other nearby properties.

It appears that Gilstone (the property south of Warragandra, on the western side of Jerra Creek) was never part of Warragandra, but had remained in the hands of a Hart. It was purchased by XXXX O'Connell (Jim and David's father) c. 1945. XXXX and David bought the paddock on the other side of the Creek (i.e. immediately south of Warragandra) c. 1955. (David also agists on the remaining 200 acres of Warragandra).

The Stony Creek property lies on the eastern side of the saddle, immediately south of the Parlour Paddock. It has been through four generations of the O'Connell family since 1839, and is currently owned by Jim O'Connell. It comprises 2,000 acres, in an L-shape, to the south and then south and south-west. It is mostly cleared, with some grazing into the trees on the upper slopes.

The Fernleigh property lies to the south of the old mail road / Harts Road, around the Krawaree trig. It was in the Hart family for many years, but is now owned by Bryce McMurtrie. A 100-acre block has been carved off on the western edge, high above the Jerra Creek, and is owned by Vaughan Cupit.

The property north-west of Warragandra was once called Waimarie and was owned by G. Downes. It has been called Trinco for some years, and has been in the hands of Ernie Wright. But the property name has recently been changed.

Much of the land below Bunhybee down to the Creek (including the small incursion into the Bunhybee block east of the road), and north to the confluence with the Shoalhaven, is owned by Di Izzard. Her house at Togganoggera, on Round Mountain, is the original Tarlington grant of 1827.

On the road to Braidwood, just north of the confluence of Jerra Creek with the Shoalhaven, is a series of properties owned by members of the Laurie family, giving rise to the (informal) place-name Laurieville.

The Bradley family has owned the large block south of Gundillion Hall since 1839. John Bradley, resident in Braidwood, also works a block in the Jerrabattgulla valley, south of Fernleigh.

This is a page within the Bunhybee Grasslands Web-Site, home-page here, and site-map here

Contact: Linda or Roger

Created: 7 October 2008; Last Amended: 1 April 2012, small adjustments 14 October 2012