George was born on January 11 1869 in Old Machar Aberdeen, the only son of George Kemp (1844- 1916), a butter domestic servant and Helen Bruce (1842- 1872). He had three sisters, Christian Walker Kemp (1865-1940), Agnes Marshall Kemp (1867-1946) and Helen Bruce Kemp (1870- 1955).
After his mother died in 1872, his father remarried to Mary Milne, George and his younger sister Helen went to live with their grandparents, George Kemp and Agnes Marshall at Belhelvie, Aberdeen where George Kemp senior was a farmer of 20 acres.
1890 finds him working as a groom for the 'Squire of Ginninderra', Edward Kendall Crace who was a controversial figure in the district. On 20th September 1892, a wild wet day with Ginninderra Creek in flood and against the advice of the locals, Crace insisted that they ford the creek and go home, sadly both George and Edward Crace drowned.
Although the accounts of the deaths vary in the detail it would seem that Crace had urged his coachman to try an unsafe crossing, as he was impatient to return home and even took the reins from the coachman himself. When the coach became trapped in the creek, Kemp swam out to calm the horse but was injured and went under the rising waters and was trapped in roots where he drowned. Crace remained in his seat, but it was not long before the coach was also swept away and before help could arrive and he too drowned. Today there is a memorial to George Kemp in the new Canberra suburb of Crace.
The Drowning of George Kemp by Schumack
Funeral Report Goulburn Saturday Evening post
Geroge Kemp d 1892 by Mary Wensing
The Sad Story by Marie Wensing
Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers by Samuel Shumack: AA7/17/04
Ginninderra, Forerunner to Canberra, Lyall L Gillespie, 1992
An autobiography or Tales and legends of Canberra pioneers, Samuel Shumack, 1967
St John’s Churchyard, Canberra 1844-1998, Jean Salisbury OAM
Trove Newspaper accounts –
The Goulburn Herald http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103155104
The Daily Telegraph, Sydney http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article235973275
Flooded Ginninderra Creek 2021
Ginninderra Post & Telegraph Office 1888
Ginninderra Store Post Office and cottage
Ginninderra Store and Post Office
Lilian Amy Alfred Thomas and Margaret Reid
Ginninderra Store with Dray