Discussions in Dublin Help Secure National Book Launch for Gunning

Tense negotiations underway in Dublin between Irish author Margaret Smith and GDHS’s then secretary, Rosemary Spiller, about arrangements for launching her book in Australia. 


Gunning and District Historical Society is delighted to assist Anchor Books to launch a new book which sheds light on a little known aspect of Australian and local Gunning history. 

Samuel Clayton – Forger, Freemason, Freeman by Irish author Margaret Smith tells the story of an Irish engraver, transported for forgery, and his son Dr Benjamin Clayton.  Both prospered in Australia and played prominent roles in early colonial life.  Their stories deserve to be known.

The Claytons, father and son, were successful graziers in the Gunning and Tumut districts.  More than that, their property Baltinglass very near to Gunning village, on the junction of Meadow Creek and the Lachlan River, was the very first successful major wine producer in what is now the Canberra District Wine region   Dr Ben was a much loved doctor in our district as well as being a magistrate and Australia’s first “man midwife”. Samuel, despite his dodgy past as an engraver was engaged by the government to produce Australia’s first banknotes.  He died at Baltinglass.

The Clayton story has lots of interest and local connections.  You are warmly invited to hear more about these at the national launch of this new book.  Dr Perry McIntyre, historian and publisher, will speak and her colleague and historian, Liz Rushen, will be present.  Of course, the Clayton book will be available for purchase.

Join us at the Court House, Gunning on Saturday, 2 September at 2.00 pm.  Following the launch and afternoon tea, weather permitting, the current owners of the property have generously agreed to escort us (4WD car pooled) as close to the site as possible.