The "Delaneys Corner" book
The book Delaney's Corner: The Story of John and Bridget Delaney and family from New Hill, Tipperary and Nirranda, Victoria, 2004 is now online, or it can still be ordered here.
Here's the National Library of Australia Catalog entries for each:
This book is the third publication about the Delaney family from New Hill, Parish of Twomileborris, Tipperary, who migrated to Australia in 1855 and settled at Delaney's Corner, Nirranda, Victoria. The first publication was a booklet prepared for the first Delaney-Dunne Reunion on 31 December 1978.1 The second was a book published by Mary O'Callaghan for the 1983 Family Reunion, based on extensive research and updating of the family tree.2
This current book builds on Mary's work in an attempt to throw further light on questions such as: Who were the Irish? What is the meaning and origin of the name Delaney? What did our Delaneys do for a living? How did they experience the repressive English laws? How did the Famine affect Tipperary? Why did the Delaneys come to Australia? What did the migrants find in colonial Victoria? How did the Delaneys respond to the tough conditions they found here? What happened to them and to their descendants?
We have no family letters or personal papers to draw on. The pioneer Delaneys talked little about their life in Ireland or about their early days in Victoria. But they did leave a strong sense that England, in spite of its re1entless persecutions over centuries, would never break the Irish.3 I have tried to be true to that sense in my interpretation of the Delaneys in Ireland and in early colonial Victoria.
The writing of this family history has been a team effort. Five years ago, Libby Tobin (nee Timms), a passionate researcher and genealogist, expert in building computer-based family trees, encouraged me to update the Delaney tree and to write a fresh record of the clan. At all stages of the project, Libby has advised, assisted and researched the preparation of this book.
Since then dozens of relations have responded to the task, providing family stories and photos as well as information for Libby to computerise, amend and extend the family tree. Maurice Delaney established a website called Delaney's Corner and designed the early drafts of this book. Les O'Callaghan has continued to send me cuttings from Warrnambool newspapers of the 19th century - extracts that have opened new avenues for research. I have searched official records of the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin and Thurles, Tipperary, the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Latrobe Library in Melbourne, the Public Archives of Victoria and other sources. The Delaney Reunion Committee 2005 and many others have been strong supporters of the project.
The following descendants provided stories and/or photographs, which I have drawn on for the book: John and Elaine Beasley, Marlene Beck, Bernard Dowling, Julie Burns, Maureen Bushell, Bill Cannon, Mary Cannon, John Caulfield, Ann Crooks, Geraldine Davison, Helen Delaney, Jennifer Delaney, Laurie Delaney, Peter Delaney, Ted Delaney, Tom Delaney, Tom and Margery Delaney, Vern Delaney, Pat Dobson, Des Farrell, Mandy Farrell, Roger Farrell, Beth and Bart Favaloro, Loretta Finck, Anne Frueh, Molly Galley, Cathy Grant, Agnes Harney, Kathleen Hudson, Carmel Hurley, Beth Ives, Marie Johnston, Pat Lee, Mary Lineen, Olive McKenzie, Carol Miller, Maureen Mirrabella, Barry Morgan, Peter Murphy, Alex Nehill, Pat O'Brien, Les O'Caliaghan, Jack Phillips, Marlene Richings, Pat Roache, Makian Robertson, Gael Rowell, Keiran Scott, Valerie Scott, Mike Shannon, Irene Shorten, Belinda Skinner, Des Slattery, Marie Slattery, Pat Surkitt, Kevin Timms, Libby Tobin, Jenny Toleman, Nita Toleman, Ron Toleman and Jenny Whyatt. Many more provided Family Tree information, which Libby Tobin computerised. Their cooperation is especially recognised, with my apologies to those I have missed.
The Land and Information Group of VicRoads supplied digital images of western Victorian topography; these images have been used as background for the maps of farm locations in Appendix D. Special thanks to Tanya Samoylov of VicRoads for her assistance.
The strip map on the front cover is from the Herald Road Guide, 1934.
The Delaney Family Tree is contained in a companion volume by that name, co-authored by Joe Delaney and Libby Tobin.
This is a story of the family-many others will be told, especially at the reunion to be held at Brucknell Scout Camp on January 15-162005 to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of John and Bridget and their family in the Colony of Victoria.
Part One: Ireland - What The Migrants Left
Human occupation of Ireland spans nearly 10,000 years. Surrounded by sea, the land and its peoples have been protected from casual invasions. They have been sufficiently isolated to allow the development of a unique culture and spirituality strong enough to be sustained in the face of the invaders when they did come. This set of circumstances has created the story of Ireland and its indomitable people.
The Story Of Ireland4
The earliest settlers in Ireland were hunters, arriving in Co Antrim about 7000bc. By 3000bc tribes from the Mediterranean were building megalithic tombs all over Ireland, which reveal a high degree of civilisation even at that early stage. The passage grave at Newgrange (see photo) is probably the most spectacular.
The Celts arrived about 300bc, bringing their distinctive culture, laws, customs and language, from which today's Irish language is derived. In the 5th century, St Patrick brought Christianity from Britain, establishing churches and monasteries, which became centres of learning and community. The monks copied all the western literature they could lay their hands on, the best examples of which are the illuminated manuscripts of the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow. When the Vandals and Goths destroyed the Roman Empire, European civilisation could well have disappeared, except for the mission of the Irish monks, who single-handedly re-founded European culture in the 7th and 8th centuries-and Ireland became acknowledged as the cradle of Western Civilisation.5
The Vikings came next to Ireland, looting and burning, but also establishing the first towns in Ireland-Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick-before being defeated at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
(It was about this time that the Delaney name was first recorded as O'Dubhslaine, a high chief of a sept* in the parish of Offerlane in County Laois. Also a Bishop Felix O'Dulany occupied the Bishopric of Ossory, and founded the cathedral of Kilkenny. He died in 1202.)
The Normans from England were the next invaders, bringing order and prosperity to what had become inter-kingdom chaos. The Normans became so well assimilated into Irish society that the English Crown decided a reconquest was needed, provoking fierce resistance from Ulster. O'Neill and O'Donnell were finally defeated at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Native Irish were dispossessed of their lands and migrants from England and Scotland were settled.
Destruction by Cromwell of Irish monasteries, churches, abbeys, towns and the people followed in the 17th century. The "Curse of Cromwell" lives on today in folk memory. His approach was drastic: the remaining lands were taken from their Irish owners; those who were loyal were exiled to Connacht, while the rest were put to death. "To hell or Connacht!" was the cry.
James II, a Catholic, came to the throne in England and tried to impose Catholicism on Protestant England. He was not successful and William of Orange deposed him in 1688. He fled to France and then to Ireland, where he called together a Parliament in Dublin, pledging to return land to the Catholics. But the Protestants gave their allegiance to William of Orange. James was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, on July 12 1690, now commemorated as Orangeman's Day. The New Ascendancy of Protestants finally held complete control.
The English were incensed at the Catholic support for James. They set out to crush the Irish. Penal Laws were passed to keep the Irish poor, powerless and uneducated, and unable to teach and practice their religion without penalty. Under these laws, which were to last for well over a century, Catholics were barred from the army and navy, law, commerce and every civil activity. They could not vote, hold any Crown office or purchase land. Catholic estates could only be passed to the eldest son if that son agreed to become a Protestant. Otherwise, the estate had to be divided among all the sons (thereby ensuring farm sizes were too small to be viable). Catholics could not attend schools or keep schools or send their sons abroad to be educated. Practise of Catholic faith was banned and priest hunting became a sport. Informing was encouraged. In reaction, the Catholic Irish dealt violently with known informers. Catholics set up secret societies in an attempt to maintain their Irish identity, and increased guerilla-type activity against their oppressors.
The Irish tenants-the former native owners-largely remained as tenants of the New Ascendancy; others moved to marginal uplands and reclaimed bog lands areas, where the thriving potato became the staple diet.
(John Delaney and Catherine Flynn, parents of John Delaney, my immigrant great-grandfather, were born about this time.)
By 1761, landlords started to enclose commonage wasteland in breach of its traditional role as a perquisite of the tenants, who were already subjected to high rents. In Tipperary, the Whiteboy movement commenced, as tenant farmers wearing white shirts leveled the fences erected by the landlords. The Whiteboy movement spread, bringing harsh and repressive countermeasures under the Whiteboy Act.
The ill-fated United Irishmen's uprising of 1798 followed. In the 1820s and 1830s, tithes were imposed on the (mainly Catholic) tenants to support clergymen of the Established Church, the Church of Ireland. Terrorist action against imposition of tithes erupted. Faction fighting was also born in Tipperary at this time-battles occurred between family and parish groups on market days-between those who favoured a physical response to the injustices and those who sought peaceful means of solution to these problems. The county was christened "Turbulent Tipperary".
This was the unsettled environment in which John Delaney and Bridget Dunne were growing up. The Penal Laws were finally abolished under the Emancipation Act in 1828. The English had failed to achieve their primary objective to subjugate the Irish. But they had reduced them to dire poverty. It has been said that living conditions in Ireland were worse than those of the black American slaves. At the 1841 Census, the year before John and Bridget were married, nearly half of the rural population lived in windowless mud cabins of a single room.
The celebrated Charles Gavan Duffy wrote in the 1840s:
The whole population was dependent on agriculture. The great landlords totalled two or three hundred. The mass of the country was owned by a couple of thousand others, who lived in splendour. The peasants, almost all Catholic, did the work, and reaped a harvest in which they never shared. Rent in Ireland meant the whole produce of the soil, except a potato pit. The food of the peasants was potatoes with a little milk or salt. One half of them lived in mud cabins of one room with no windows. The island was the most ignorant and impoverished of all the Christian nations on earth.
The Potato Famine6
The potato was the main food of the rural Irish. Potato crops failed in successive years from 1845 to 1849 resulting in the disastrous Great Famine. The English government responded feebly to the crisis. Starvation and famine fever spread through the land; its greatest impact was in those communities on marginal lands. Grain continued to be exported from Ireland to the markets of England, and Indian corn was prohibited by tariffs from entering Ireland (or England).
Government policies were criminally slow to react to the disaster. Workhouses, established under the Poor Law Act of 1838 for the relief of the destitute poor, were overwhelmed. At the height of the famine, 3,000 per week were dying in the workhouses of Ireland. Tenants were evicted for failing to pay rent. Their houses were "tumbled" and so they did not even have the shelter of their windowless cabins.
One million people perished due to the famine and within a decade or two, a further two million emigrated from Ireland.
Tipperary was relatively badly affected by the famine. Almost 70,000 people died in the county between 1845 and 1850 particularly in the years 1849 and 1850. County population fell from 435,000 in 1841, to 331,000 in 1851 and to 249,000 in 1861. The rural population declined by two thirds in that period and the town population by nearly one half.
The failure of the potato crops was a natural catastrophe but the response by the English authorities was inexcusable. In the words of John Mitchell: "The Almighty indeed sent the potato blight but the English gave us the Famine". The economic and political systems were designed to keep the Irish down, and were incapable of any adequate response. But the attitudes of the English towards the Irish were also a contributing factor as the famine continued year after year. For example the London Times editorialised against relief to the Irish. Why should the taxes of the English tradesmen be used to help the indolent Irish? The London Economist railed against any intervention-market forces must prevail. There was ample food in Ireland-grain and meat-to offset the lack of potatoes but these were money crops for exports, not food for the starving.
The noted English historian and Christian Socialist pastor, Charles Kingsley, wrote of his experience in Ireland:7
I am daunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that 100 miles of horrible country. I don't believe they are our fault. I believe that there are not only many more of them than of old, but that they are happier, better and more comfortably fed and lodged under our rule than they ever were. But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it as much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours.
Behind it all there lay a belief that the Irish were an inferior race. As Thomas Cahill writes:8
To an educated Englishman of the (19th) century the Irish were by their very nature incapable of civilisation. 'The Irish,' proclaimed Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria's beloved Prime Minister, 'hate our order, our civilisation, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their idea of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history descibes an unbroken history of bigotry(!) and blood.' The venomous racism and knuckle-headed prejudice of this characterisation may be evident to us but in the days of Disraeli … it simply passed for the undisputable truth.
This was the environment in Tipperary when John Delaney and Bridget Dunne married and started a family. They had seven children in the 10 years spanning the Great Famine.
Our Delaneys and Dunnes came from Tipperary, one of the land-locked counties on the cenral plateau of Ireland.
The name Tipperary was originally Tiobraid Arann, Irish for the Well of Ara, located on the River Ara, which passes through Tipperary Town.
There is evidence in the County of all eras of Ireland's history. For example:
As we have seen, the decade before the Delaneys emigrated was a time of great upheaval and change in Ireland. The British Government was still intent on keeping the Irish poor, powerless, landless and excluded from education.
Daniel O'Connell, known as the Great Liberator, is credited as Father of the Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s. By the 1840s, O'Connell was campaigning to repeal the Union between England and Ireland, in a non-violent way. But the free and happy spirit of the Celtic Irish was becoming more and more rebellious and angry under continued oppression.
The Young Irelanders organisation, preferring a physical force response, was established. The idea of a Confederation of Ireland was conceived. Tipperary was the best organised, of all the counties. Clubs of the new proposal were formed. Leaders toured to promote the cause and large crowds assembled, ready to do battle. But no sooner did they succeed in doing so than the clergy would use their influence to disperse the gathered force. One can imagine the arguments in the Delaney households, for and against a physical force approach, and the tension between the religious and the political supporters.
It was in Thurles, barely five miles from Two Mile Borris and the Townland of New Hill, that the Young Irelander leader William Smith O'Brien was arrested, and subsequently sentenced to death, eventually to be transported to Port Arthur, Van Dieman's Land. Thurles was a significant centre in Ireland, the seat of the Diocese of Cashed and Emly and the location in 1850 of the first Synod of Irish Bishops since the 12th century.
Patrick Delaney, our ancestor, the eldest child of John and Bridget, often spoke to his children in Australia of the market days in Thurles, and heated political discussions. It was during this time that his parents finally decided to join the throng of emigrants from Ireland.
Charles Gavan Duffy wrote mournfully of the demise of the Young Ireland Movement:
Young Ireland was routed and scattered almost to a last man. They bore away with them from Ireland the stigma of a lost cause, and the reproach of an ignominIous failure. To scornful enemies they were pipers of sonnets and pouters of orations, who had mistaken themselves for men of action.
Duffy, himself an Irish Member of the House of Commons, was arrested on many occasions, and eventually he came freely to Australia in 1855, the same year as the Delaneys. Within a year, he was elected to the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament, representing Villiers and Heytesbury in Southwest Victoria, where the Delaneys settled.
During the election campaign Duffy led reform in Victoria in many ways, and six years after his election introduced the Duffy Land Act of 1862. Under this and subsequent Acts, crown lands were thrown open to selection, enabling the Delaneys to take up land at Nirranda. It is poignant to realise that the Delaney dream of owning land, denied in Ireland, came to fruition in Australia because of the Young Irelander freedom fighter's efforts as a Minister of the Crown in the Victorian Parliament. Later Duffy became Premier of the State and received a knighthood from Queen Victoria.
What The Delaneys Left In Ireland
Origin And Spread Of The Clan
The original habitat of the Delaneys was Coilluachtarach (literally'upper woods'), now Upperwoods, at the foot of Slieve Bloom near the source of the rivers Nore and Barrow in County Laois, in particular the parish of Offerlane.
The name is said to be derived in part from the River Slaney. In its original Irish form it is Ó Dubhshlaine. The component words mean black and Slaney. An early poem (14th century) refers to the Delaneys:
The high chief of the fruitful cantred*
Of the delightful Coill Uachtarach
Is O'Dubhshlaine, hospitable the man,
From the mountains of the most beauteous rivers9
In the period 1849-1851, the Griffiths Valuation Survey was undertaken in Tipperary and neighbouring counties. The number of tenants in these counties with the name Delaney or Delany were:
626 in Co. Laois
103 in Co. Offaly
201 in Co. Tipperary
261 in Co. Kilkenny
77 in Co. Wexford
75 in Co. Cork
The counties of Laois, Offaly, Tipperary and Kilkenny still contain the greatest concentration of Delaneys.
'Our' Delaneys came from Tipperary, North Riding, in the Barony of Eliogarty, in the Civil Parish of Two Mile Borris, in the Townland of Borris (but using the "local" address of New Hill), and in the Catholic Parish of Moycarkey/Borris.10
The Delaneys were farmers, paying rent as tenants to the landlord, firstly to Sir John Nugent and later to John Thomas Going Jr, who owned land in both the Townland of Borris and in adjacent New Hill. In 1833, John Delaney is recorded in the Tithes Applotment Book (held in the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin) as occupying 9 acres, 3 roods, 13 perches in 1833. The farm had an annual value per acre of 1 pound, 12 shillings and 6 pence, and an annual tithe of 1 pound, 12 shillings and 11 pence, payable to the clergyman of the Established Church of Ireland. In nearby Townlands of Coolcroo and Monaraheen, James and Edward Delaney rented 42 acres between them.
Tenants, in addition to paying tithes to the Protestant Clergymen, also paid rent to the landlords, and rates to the Board of Guardians, who were responsible for Workhouses established for the poor under British legislation, the Poor Law Acts.
In 1842, the Board of Guardians recorded that John Delaney's holding in Borris was 11 acres and the Net Annual Value was 10 pounds and 10 shillings. The rate was 5d. in the pound.
Rates and other dues payable were:
Net Annual Value 10-10-0
Landlord's rates 4-4½
Tenant's rates 4-4½
Tenant's taxes 1-0-0
Landlord's repairs and insurance Nil
Tenant's repairs and insurance 1-10-0
Landlord's other expenses Nil
Tenant's other expenses 1-0-0
Gross Annual Value 14-0-9
All tenants faced these rates, taxes and levies on any repairs or improvements they had made, in addition to the basic tithes and rent. The system was designed to keep the tenants poor and to discourage them from improving their houses as improvements were taxed.
By 1844, John Delaney's holding had been increased to 16 acres, and the rate was reduced to 2½d. in the pound, perhaps indicating that the demand for workhouses had reduced. However, in 1847, the rate was increased nearly fifteenfold to 36d. in the pound, as a consequence of the increased demand placed on workhouses because of the Great Famine. (During the height of the famine, 3,000 children a week were dying in workhouses.)
In 1851 to 1853, James Delaney (John's brother) appears in the rate books, occupying a house in Borris. By then, John Delaney's land had increased to 50 acres, probably as a consequence of a neighbour's emigration.
Following John's emigration to Australia in 1854, Lands records11 show the occupancy of the land as follows:
1856 James Delaney 52 acres
1861 James Delaney 31 acres
1877 John Dwyer [probably a brother-in-law or son-in-law of James, who died in 1877] 31 acres
1899 John Dwyer [now described as owner]
1920 Lizzie Dwyer
1950 Michael Healy
1998 The land is still owned by the Healys
The Delaney (now Healy) land is on the main Dublin to Cork road a few kilometres beyond the turnoff to Two Mile Borris and Thurles. Healys' grand new house can be seen on the right hand side of the road with a winding tree-lined driveway from the road. Ned Gair, a local auctioneer and valuer, told me in 1988 that the roads and ditches in the area had been straightened. The farms are now bigger and laid out differently.
Mr Gair can recall that a bend in the road where the Delaneys lived was known as "Delaney's Corner".
John And Bridget Marry
Parish baptism and marriage records were researched at the Moycarkey Presbytery in the Catholic Parish of Moycarkey/Borris and in the Moyne Presbytery of the Catholic Parish of Templetuohy/Moyne. They date mainly from the early 1830s, with a few entries back to 1796. The death certificates of John and Bridget Delaney contain further information, thereby allowing a family tree of our Irish forebears to be developed.
John Delaney's parents were John Delaney and Catherine Mary Flynn, born in the second half of the 1750s. John Delaney came from a family of at least eight children. They lived in New Hill (the Townland of Borris). It seems that the Delaneys of nearby Coolcroo and Ballybeg were closely connected. They married into families by the name of Flynn, Maher, Dunne, Brennan, Hickey and Murphy. (see Appendix C: Marriages and Baptisms of Moycarkey/Two Mile Borris.)
John Delaney married Bridget Dunne on February 22 1842 at St Mary's Church, Moyne, County Tipperary. Bridget was the sixth child in a family of eleven. Her parents, Martin Dunne and Margaret Maher, lived in the Townland of Kilmakill, Parish of Moyne, a short distance from Two Mile Borris. Bridget's sisters married Cormick, Maher and Stapleton. From all this we can conclude that John and Bridget and their six children had a large number of relations, some of whom stayed and others emigrated. We have no information about the fate of the Delaneys other than John and his brother Thomas. One of Bridget's brothers, Edmund, and his wife Mary Russell also emigrated, first to Nirranda and then to Killarney. The O'Brien line continues that family.
John and Bridget had seven children in Ireland: Patrick, Catherine, Margaret, twins Judi (died in infancy) and Mary, Ellen and John.
The decision to emigrate and leave the land where their ancestors were born and died was heart wrenching, as it was for the other two million or so Irish emigrants of that period. Thomas had already gone to Australia and fed back glowing reports of life there. So the Delaneys and their six children said farewell to their native Tipperary and travelled to London to embark on the brig Cyprus on the four month journey to Australia. The Cyprus, a two masted square-rigged ship of 258 tons, had been built six years before in Sunderland, and was owned by J. Blake and Company, with Captain Chas Bartley as Master. The Cyprus departed London on September 6 1854, arriving at Port Fairy in the Colony of Victoria on Saturday January 15 1855, one month after the Eureka Rebellion.12
The Delaneys were the only passengers on the barque, except for one other, Edward Jarrett.
Part Two: The Colony Of Victoria - What The Migrants Found
The Delaneys arrived in Victoria barely 20 years after white settlement, four years after the finding of gold and one month after the Eureka Rebellion. Little did they know the challenges that lay ahead.
In retrospect, we can see how a number of developments unfolding in the new colony were to have a major influence on the Delaneys' lives over the next 40 years, in particular:
These events are summarised here in an attempt to appreciate the frustrations faced by the immigrants and to understand why John and Bridget's sons took to making whiskey in considerable quantities against the laws of the colony.
The Great Land Grab13
Human occupation of Victoria started 30,000 or more years ago with the arrival of the Aborigines. This extraordinary culture, with its own language and customs and its special relationship with the land, was to be all but destroyed in a few decades after the arrival of the first permanent white settlers in 1834-35, at Portland and then Melbourne. They came from Tasmania initially with their flocks of sheep and occupied large tracts of land. Word about the fertility of the land (which had been called Australia Felix by the explorer Major Mitchell) soon spread and flocks of sheep poured from the north across the River Murray.
The new arrivals chose for themselves tracts of land, called "pastoral runs" or "stations", and commenced grazing. They had no legal rights to do so. The NSW Colonial Government eventually moved to require squatters to seek licences to use their illegally chosen runs. By the 1850s, there were 1,200 different runs in Victoria, grazing 6.6 million sheep, and perhaps half these runs were held by Scots.
Port Phillip District was separated from the Colony of New South Wales in 1851 and named Victoria after the Queen of England. A Legislative Council was appointed to administer the new colony and to prepare a constitution including the form of a permanent parliament.
Irish immigration to Australia accelerated after the Irish famine of 1845-48, especially after the finding of gold in 1851-270,000 gold-seekers flooded into Victoria in three years to 1854. Squatters lost their sheep herders to the goldfields, but this initial setback to their profits was soon forgotten as they built fences to contain the sheep (thereby cutting costs by dispensing with the need for shepherds). Local and overseas demand for meat, wool and hides skyrocketed, along with profits to the squatters and the middlemen involved.
The Gold Rush14
The Delaneys arrived in January 1855 at the peak of the gold rush.
The goldfields had been in an uproar for years because of expensive licences the diggers were required to purchase and carry at all times. The licensing system was ruthlessly policed. Diggers rebelled on the Ballarat goldfields against this draconian administration. The Ballarat Reform Group was formed with close to a thousand diggers joining, half of them Irish. They burned their licences, raised a republican flag, the Southern Cross, on a tall flagpole, and built a stockade at Eureka to protect themselves from the police and troops of the non-democratic colony.
Their leader was Peter Lalor, a young Irish engineering graduate of Trinity College Dublin, but 'tough Tipperary lads' were the vanguard of the protest. The rebellion was ruthlessly crushed on December 3 1854. Five soldiers died and over 30 miners were killed, some of them after the stockade was taken. Public opinion was with the miners, and the jury found the 13 miners charged with treason not guilty.
The predominance of the Irish in this and other early Australian revolts led to a perception back in Ireland that Irish Catholics were a very powerful minority in Australia. This was not so, but the belief became common that Australia was a superior destination for emigration over the USA and Canada.
The Delaneys arrived in the month after the Eureka Stockade and all these events must have been the talk of the town. The newly arrived immigrants from "Turbulent Tipperary" would have been trying to work out the different circumstances they would be facing in their new country. Back home, Lalor and his mates would have been dispatched summarily for rebelling against the government. Here, they were freed and further, one of them, Lalor, was shortly to be elected to parliament.
A Constitution For The Colony Of Victoria
The Ballarat Reform Group was concerned not only with bad administration on the goldfields but also with the difficulty of getting land for farming after the first flush of 'digging up gold' had passed. The diggers' grievances thus extended beyond goldfield matters to include proposals for the new Constitution-full and fair representation, manhood suffrage, no property qualifications required to stand for the Legislative Council, payment of members of parliament and limited terms of parliament.
In the event, a democratically elected legislative assembly was established in Victoria, with secret ballot introduced for the first time in the world. But democracy did not extend to the upper house, the Legislative Council. There, electors and voters were required to have property qualifications. This provision ensured that the squatters had the numbers in that House. Legislation passed in the Lower House, the Legislative Assembly, had to be endorsed by the Upper House before it became law. Consequently any proposal contrary to the interests of the squatters had little chance of success. In addition, parliamentarians were not paid, so potential members needed to have private means of livelihood.
Opposition to the squatters' monopoly over most of the rural land in Victoria increased with the flood of immigrants to the Colony. The Argus led a campaign to "Unlock the Lands" as early as 1853. The squatters fought back claiming that their licences, although annual, implied a guarantee of long term occupation with a pre-emptive right of purchase. Proposals to dismantle their privileged arrangements were seen as a threat not only to their interests but also to the interests of the Colony. Democracy (the squatters called it 'mobocracy') was not to be won easily. Land reform was bitterly fought.
Charles Gavan Duffy (see Turbulent Tipperary page 9) arrived in 1856 and set about seeking election to the Legislative Assembly as a member for Villiers and Heytesbury, which included the part of western Victoria where the Delaneys lived. Tom Delaney, John's brother, collected subscriptions for the Duffy Qualification Fund. Duffy's election and subsequent appointment as Minister for Lands and Works would have been acclaimed by the Delaneys and all seeking to farm their own land.
The cry to "Unlock The Lands"15 intensified as the gold rush subsided and immigrants sought alternative means of livelihood. The squatters were in a powerful position.
By 1861, a little over 1,000 squatters controlled under licence 1,800 stations totalling 35 to 40 million acres (see table).
The Government responded to the public call for reform when Charles Gavan Duffy introduced the Land Bill in 1862. Ten million of the acres licensed to the squatters were to be made available for selection as agricultural blocks of 40 to 640 acres at one pound per acre. The squatters saw that the Bill was seriously flawed and allowed the legislation to be passed by the Legislative Council. Duffy decided to open four million acres for selection as a first stage of his land reform proposal. The squatters sabotaged this policy by arranging dummies to apply for blocks, and to transfer them back to the squatters. By 1864, two thirds of all land sold was bought by about 100 squatters-they had been spectacularly successful in corrupting the intentions of the Act.
In the Western District the success of the squatters in holding and extending their properties was almost complete. Wealthy squatters built huge mansions on their runs, which were now secure in ownership. They held positions on the boards of the banks they had helped to establish, and had ready access to loans at low interest because of their privileged position and the security provided by their huge holdings.
As the Age thundered,16 the objective of the Land Acts of the 1860s (to open up the squatters' lands to selection by a large number of land-hungry immigrants who would form a strong diverse basis for a democracy) had failed.* For example, in the five counties within 100 miles north and east of Nirranda, 3.3 million acres were selected. Of these, 2.4 million acres were controlled by large proprietors-120 of whom owned properties which averaged 20,000 acres each, and 48 owned properties averaging 30,000 acres each. Such land had passed out of the hands of the State to a few powerful squatters who became the landed gentry. The resulting outcome, according to the Age, was little different to the "plight of the land-ridden population of England and Ireland"-and it all happened in a decade or so. The squatters were able to become legal owners of vast estates through the systematic corruption of the land reform process legislated by government.
The Age continued: "what aggravates the evil, moreover, is the fact that these enormous properties contribute literally nothing to the support of the burdens of the State. On the contrary, these owners received benefits of protection to their property secured by the machinery of government at huge expense, to a far greater extent than other sections of the community."
Subsequent Land Acts, though, did provide some opportunities for many small farmers. Duffy considered the area around Nirranda as of inferior quality and not suitable for even pastoral purposes, let alone for agricultural purposes, being classified as "dense scrubland".* Nevertheless the land was subdivided and as we shall see in the next chapter the Delaneys were able to select land there.
Such inferior land was of no interest to the squatters and the story of these small selectors was generally one of hardship and frequent failure. Lack of finance (not enough security for the banks) or heavy borrowings (high interest loans because of low levels of security), bad seasons, distant markets (mostly England with prices set to favour England), pests and stock disease made the lot of even the most careful and industrious a burdensome one.
Many of the Irish were not worried about a move towards conformity and anglicisation in their new land. They wanted to be free of the troubles of the old country. Others were perhaps looking forward to developing a New Ireland in their new land, free of English oppression. But the hope that Australia would be a substitute home was not realised. The differences were too great.17
In the 1860s, the situation in Ireland was changing. The Fenian movement of Irish extremists had emerged challenging British rule in Ireland, importing arms into Ireland to enable physical force to be brought to bear against their English oppressors. This potential threat caused panic in Australia. Melbourne went on to virtual military alert in March 1867. All Irish came to be feared as Fenians, and there was strong and growing opposition to Irish Catholics in the community at large as Irish migration threatened to outstrip English migration.
In March 1868, there was an attempted assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh in Sydney by a demented Irishman, Captain Henry O'Farrell, who claimed, wrongly, to be a Fenian. This attempt sparked a strong backlash against Irish Catholics (the Duke's bodyguard on his visit the following year incidentally was Detective John Christie, who two decades later would set about trying to catch the Delaneys in their whiskey making exploits). The subsequent anti-Irish hatred was led by the Colonial Secretary of NSW, Henry Parkes (later to be Premier) amid claims of a plot by the Fenians to overthrow authority. Senior police wanted to blow up Irish houses and to boil down priests. The fear of the Fenians was refuelled when Fenian prisoners were sent from Ireland to Western Australia and released progressively over the next 10 years. Membership of Orange Lodges increased tenfold over this period, thereby changing the character of the Lodge from Ulster Irish to anti-Catholic.18 (All this was happening about the time the Delaneys were selecting and taking up land in Nirranda.)
Parkes pursued this situation for his own political ends and linked it to the controversial issue of teaching religion in Catholic schools. Consequently, in 1872, the Victorian Government withdrew state aid to denominational schools, whilst fully funding state schools for 'free compulsory and secular' education with religious teaching excluded. The impact was to wipe out practically all of the denominational schools except Catholic schools, and others supported mainly by the wealthy squatters and city merchants. The Catholics were still mainly Irish and were the poorest group in society but they strongly supported the decision of the Catholic Bishops to maintain the Catholic school system. (For the next 90 years not a penny of government funds would be spent on the education of children in Catholic schools.) A powerful perception developed that the Australian Irish were a victim people, persecuted souls and heroes whose socio-economic subjection was due to old wrongs, and whose suspicions about their hostile environment were amply justified.
There was no Catholic school in Nirranda and the Delaneys went to the local state school. There were many Orangemen in the district also and one can imagine a growing tension in this environment especially as the size of Catholic families grew at double the rate of the rest.
The Kelly Gang19
The rise and fall of Ned Kelly the bushranger and his gang aroused unprecedented interest and intensity in the 1870s, especially among Irish Catholics. Ned was the son of a Tipperary man who had been transported to Van Dieman's Land. Ned grew up in the heart of a low-key land war, fought out between squatters (sheep and cattle barons) and selectors (small farmers that the colony's government was trying to settle on squatters' holdings). In this conflict, police were supposedly playing the role of peacekeepers, but inevitably favoured the men with financial and political muscle-the squatters.
Many Irish farmers, remembering home, thought they could make a living on 100 acres of land. But so often the selection, including that of the Kellys, was too small and the soil too poor. Remember that the squatters had left only marginal lands for these selectors. The squatters despised these settlers as poor farmers, destined to failure because they were not industrious. As the family of a convict, long since dead, the police hounded the Kellys at every complaint laid against them by the squatters. Like other small selectors, Ned took to cattle and horse-stealing to survive. This activity was not simple criminality, but was also seen as a protest by the landless and the unsuccessful against the large squatters. Ned also became involved in the occasional brawl as he defended his family's honour. The Kellys were becoming a nuisance in the district. But the Kelly saga may have passed into history as a series of local incidents if the Legislative Council had not withheld supply from the government in 1878.
The Council was said to be the most powerful upper house in the world. The democratically elected members of the lower house claimed further that Government was run from, or frustrated by, the Melbourne Club where squatters and city merchants belonged. The Council refused to endorse legislation providing for the payment of parliamentarians. Such a law would have allowed many people without independent means to stand for election against the property owners. The Council refused supply to the Government and in the ensuing constitutional crisis the government sacked 300 judges, police magistrates, coroners and others. The Police Commissioner, "Captain Standish, who incompetently ran the police force from the comfort of the Melbourne Club", had been under pressure by the squatters to finish the Kelly Gang. What better way to prove his value to society than by "picking off the Kellys".20
Bad police work eventuated, which escalated the conflict. The arrest of Ned's mother with a three-day-old baby and her subsequent gaoling for three years was followed by police pursuit of Ned. Three policemen-all Irishmen-were killed (in self defence said Ned; cold-blooded murder claimed the police). The Kellys were outlawed, but they outwitted the police for nearly two years, robbing banks with consummate ease and gaining sympathy from their victims through their courtesy and charm. Finally they were surrounded at the Glenrowan Hotel, which the police burned to the ground, but not before Ned had emerged clad in a huge suit of armour which he had made from ploughshares, scaring hell out of the police. He was captured, summarily tried and hanged at Melbourne Gaol on November 11 1881.
The Kelly saga caught the imagination of the public-the contest, the drama was fascinating even to those who despised their ruthlessness. But coming as it did at the time of the constitutional crisis, which emphasised the control of the squatters and their banks, many landholders in the north east willingly supported the Kellys, withholding help from the police. Their own experiences made them hostile to the banks and "they possibly cheered, beneath their breath, the daring robberies of rural banks by farm boys who, but for the grace of God, could have been their own boys".21 A petition of 32,000 signatures though, was insufficient to bring about a stay of execution of Ned's hanging. (The governor of Melbourne Gaol who supervised the hanging of Ned was John Buckley Castieau. Castieau's son of the same name was to edit and publish, in 1913, The Reminiscences of Detective Inspector Christie which describes the exploits of Christie in pursuing the Delaneys in their whiskey making ventures.)
In the eyes of the many, no less the Delaneys of Nirranda, Ned Kelly was a courageous hero. The saying 'as game as Ned Kelly' entered the idiom. Songs were written and Ned became a legend. The farmers of Nirranda on their small marginal properties were struggling. By the 1880s, John and Bridget Delaney had 48 grandchildren under 21 years of age. Prospects of getting further land remained slim. The exploits of the Kellys encouraged some of the embattled Delaneys and others to increase their efforts in whiskey making, an activity that continued for the best part of two decades. Sure, it was against customs law, but there was no shame in breaking an English colonial law, especially one designed to protect the whiskey empires run by the City of London and their agents in Melbourne.
Part Three: Nirranda - The Whiskey Years
Three days after arriving in Port Fairy, on January 15 1855, the Delaneys were on the move again, hitching a ride on the Geelong-bound wool schooner, Elizabeth, as far as Warrnambool. They met up with John's brother Thomas and joined him at his home in nearby Dennington.
As reported by Mary O'Callaghan,22 Thomas had arrived in Melbourne on board the Himalaya in September 1840. His wife Ann, née Flinn, followed on the Diamond in November 1840. Eventually they moved to Dennington and no doubt their account of life in the new land had encouraged John and Bridget to migrate to the district.
Thomas and John soon took an interest in the governance of the new colony. They enrolled for the first elections to be held in Victoria. The list of 1856 electors classifies each of them as farmers and as leaseholders and their name was spelt Delany. In 1857, Thomas bought a block of land in Lindsay Street, Dennington. The electoral roll was altered showing Thomas as a freeholder and the spelling of his name was changed to Delaney.
Thomas's wife, Ann, was in indifferent health and died in January 1857, and became the first of the family to be buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery (in Grave 16, Row 25). On September 9 1857, widower Tom married again, to Mary Wilson, and they had a daughter, Catherine, in 1858. (No trace of Catherine after her birth can be found). Thomas himself died on May 21 1860, leaving his wife, Mary, with child. Mary gave birth to a son in January 1861 and he was named John Thomas. Sadly the baby died in infancy. Mary remarried on February 5 1861 to John Carmody and they had seven children. Mary died in Warrnambool in 1917.23
John and Bridget had the last of their children, Thomas, on 10 July 1856, eighteen months after arriving in the new colony. They were probably at Dennington at that stage.
The Delaneys and Dunnes came not to look for gold but to seek land to farm, as they had done in the fertile Golden Vale of Tipperary. They left a crowded Ireland containing six million people. Here in Victoria, they found barely a quarter of a million people occupying a land area three times greater than the whole of Ireland. They expected to be able to select land readily. But they found that the squatters had grabbed all available land-there was little left for the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants.
The choices available to John and Bridget, with their family of seven, were limited. They could lease land for farming from the squatters, work on their stations as labourers or work in the towns. There were few opportunities in the 1850s for immigrants to select or purchase their own land.
After the death of Thomas, it seems that the family moved further north along the Merri River to the "Rosehill" estate of Gilbert Nicol in the Parish of Purnim, either as tenant farmers or labourers. (In an advertisement in the Warrambool Examiner, April 1869, a John Delaney of Eagle Tavern Farm on the Purnim road was nominated to receive tenders for the lease of Eagle Tavern, a 12-room stone house and outhouses. We do not know whether this man was "our" John. The exact location of the Tavern is not known.)
The Delaney children would have attended a nearby school, possibly Woodford School, which had opened in July 1856. The first of the children to be married was Catherine, in November 1864, to James Farrell. Patrick was next married, to Ellen Kilmartin, in February 1867. Patrick's residence was given on the marriage certificate as Purnim and their first child was born at Woodford in November 1867.
In 1847, a Duncan Hoyle applied for a licence to commence a pastoral run, to be known as Buckley's Creek. The run comprised 70,000 acres stretching from Allan's Run at Allansford-the boundary of which appeared to be Buckley's Creek, near Buckley's Road-to beyond Peterborough as can be seen on the squatting map of Victoria (page 27). By 1857, the then owners, Stanhope and Craig, were complaining that owing to the dense scrub and swamps they were able to feed barely 2,400 sheep on their run … see sketch of their run divided into sections.
In 1862, the Board of Land and Works classified the district as "land of inferior quality not used for pastoral purposes". Accordingly, Buckley's Creek Run was not included in the 10 million acres that had been thrown open for selection under the Land Act of 1864. But a few years later, against the principles laid down by Duffy, a portion of the Run, west of the Curdie's River in the Parishes of Mepunga, Nullawarre and Nirranda, was subdivided and opened for selection in 1866.*
Selection And Settlement
The family was successful in gaining three allotments in the Parish of Nirranda-76A, 76B and 76C-taken out in the names of Patrick Delaney the eldest, Margaret Delaney the second eldest and James Farrell, husband of the third eldest Catherine Delaney. Each allotment was about 106 acres. This inferior quality bush and scrubland was vastly different from the 55 acres of fertile land John and Bridget had rented in the Golden Vale of Tipperary. But it was theirs-the selectors received full title to the three blocks on January 31 1871. They were the first selectors to own land in Nirranda. The location became known as Delaney's Corner and can be found today on what is known as the Great Ocean Road.
This chapter concentrates on the struggle of the fast-growing Delaney family to survive in the virgin Nirranda bush, and the part that illicit whiskey distilling played in its life. It draws on the reminiscences of Detective John Christie; John Lahey's book on Christie; Mary O'Callaghan's work; various histories of Victoria and the Western District; land, school and court records; newspaper reports and stories and the oral history of the family.
The move from Purnim/Grassmere to Nirranda was probably complete by 1868 and the family set about the building of dwellings and sheds and fencing and clearing the land.
Margaret Delaney was the selector of Allotment 76B, but it seems that her father John was in fact the owner. (He is the first owner/ratepayer of that block recorded in the Warrnambool Rate Books.)24 Margaret married widower, Joseph Toleman of Garvoc, on January 19 1873 and all twelve Toleman children were born in Garvoc. On the other hand, the Farrells remained at Delaney's Corner during the 1870s.
On arriving in Nirranda, Pat soon became active in the community. He purchased two acres from the Government-part of Allotment 39, two miles west of Delaney's Corner-as a site for a Catholic Church. On March 26 1872, the Governor-in-Council appointed Bishop J.A. Goold, Bishop of Melbourne, Very Reverend Thomas Slattery, Parish Priest of Warrnambool, Patrick Delaney, John Lee, (schoolmaster) and John Heyden as Trustees of the land.25 A church, named St John's, was erected soon afterwards.
(The founding of this Catholic Church so soon after the first settlers selected land is surprising. The proportion of Catholics in the area was small, perhaps 25%, and they were poor. The strong anti-Irish Catholic backlash, with the rise of the Orange Lodge and the withdrawal of state aid to denominational schools occurred at this time-as reported in Part Two (pp29-30). Perhaps the founding was a response by the Nirranda Catholics to this perceived victimisation of the Irish.)
A Local Land War26
Pat soon realised that his selection at Delaneys Corner was insufficient to provide for the growing family. So at 7.15am on July 9 1872, he pegged Allotments 38 and 39 (excluding the church property) comprising 204 acres on each side of what is now known as Blake's Road. He applied for and was granted the necessary licence.
By January 1874, Pat had found it difficult to develop the two farms, and applied for his land, held under licence, to be sold by public auction. Pat would be reimbursed the cost of improvements he had made, namely fencing (log and chock and log) and a timber hut with a shingle roof. (Incidentally the Land Bailiff, Constable James Drought, who reported on the application, was involved as a constable in the attempted capture of Thomas Delaney 20 years later.) This application was viewed favourably by the Land Court but "to spite Delaney", as John Lee claimed, four neighbouring farmers put forward an alternative proposal.
Pat did not take this proposal lying down. The Irish had been denied their land rights at home for generations. And so he set about defending his rights in this new land. The subsequent Government file on Pat's land comprises 120 pages. It reveals much about the problems faced by the small selectors and, in particular, about the tenacious way Pat pursued his attempts to provide for his family against incredible obstacles. I will try to condense the files into a narrative of this miniature "Land War".
On April 10 1874, Messrs Allwood, Arnel, Bradley and Russell objected in writing to Pat's proposal to auction the land. They claimed that Pat had made no improvements on the land except for a hut (and therefore was not eligible to receive any compensation for improvements). They proposed that the land be cut up into quarter or half acre blocks to form a centre for a town. They pointed out that a RC Church, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith's shop and a store already existed as the core of a new town. They made the extraordinary claim that Nirranda Town would eventually become bigger than Koroit, the soil being superior.
Pat would lose the value of his improvements were the township subdivision approved. On May 12 he wrote to the Lands Office emphasing that he was deeply in want of the money spent on the improvements which "would help me materially in working the balance of my 320 acres which I retain" (at Delaney's Corner). But the Land Board had to take the town subdivision proposal seriously and called for further reports.
John Lee, the Nirranda school teacher, supported Pat and organised a petition, dated May 28 1874, with 33 signatories against the proposal for subdivision. The petition claimed, among other things, that these allotments were a series of rises overlooking swamps-a much better site for a township being located four miles east on the Curdies River. Patrick followed up with a letter to the Minister for Lands on May 29 1874. Pat claimed that Russell:
… had pegged my selection, and when he found that he could not get it in that way, he and Allwood who is a bitter enemy of mine concocted the plan for a township. Neither Allwood, Russell, Arnell nor Bradley has his land fenced and of course if these 214 acres of mine were reserved for a township it would be a run for their cattle, which are always roaming about, as their projected township would never be inhabited.
Pat argued that a township at Curdies River would be more central as "when the river is bridged the country will be open to the river Gellibrand". (In April, Pat Delaney and Lee with 60 others had already written to Warrnambool Shire Council asking the Council to take steps for the erection of a bridge across Curdies River at Boggy Creek. The Council agreed that a bridge be built there at a cost of 1,200 pounds. This decision strengthened the case for any township to be located at Boggy Creek).
Delaney's opponent, Allwood, was not yet done. He organised a counter-petition of 34 people-"all ratepayers and free selectors of Nirranda". They asked that the signatories of the Lee/Delaney petition be checked to see whether all were ratepayers or residents. The fight was on in earnest. A hearing by the Land Board was scheduled.
Proposed Subdivision of Delaney's Land Into ¼ Acre Blocks
Petitioners In Favour Petitioners Against
Richard Allwood John Lee
Thomas Frazer William Jesse Pike
George Tickner George F. Flood
Patrick Browne Cornelius Hickey
Richard Summers Patrick Hickey
James Burris Patrick Hayden
Michael Bradley James Burleigh
James Allwood Joseph Phelp
John Morgan William T. Matthews
Edmund Lord P. Mathieson
Thomas Lord John J. Burris
Robert Young Geo Henry
John McDowal James Morgan
John Brumby William Hassett
Rodreck Carmedy John Thomson
E.A. Nayler A. McClure
William Nayler Charles Brewer
James Francis John Wilton
W.M. Francis George Le Couteur
Charles Brookes George Le Couteur Jnr
John McGuinness William Le Couteur
John Yule James Burris
Charles Trew Thomas Benson
William Hammerton John Delaney Jnr
Thomas Carty John Delany
George Phillips Thomas Delaney
John Berrigan James Farrell
Dennis Dinan Michael Brown
Patrick Gooning Simon Mcmahon
Anthony Dwyer George Slous
James Morgan J.L. Glassford
I. Goldstraw A. Williams
Samuel Steel A.B. Paterson
Pat continued to defend his position. He wrote again to the Minister for Lands on June 3 emphasising the availability of unimproved land at the "Curdie". Then on June 9 Pat played his trump card. He wrote to the Minister for Lands requesting that his land be withdrawn from sale and that he be allowed to resume paying rent for the 214 acres. If approved it would put an end to the Nirranda Township proposal.
But the hearing had to go on. John Lee, who had organized the petition, wrote independently to the District Surveyor on June 9 expressing his disdain for the Allwood proposal:
On consulting a plan of Nirranda you will remark two water courses laid down-these supplemented by a drain two miles long, six feet wide and two and a half feet deep emptying itself into the proposed site will give the people of Nirranda town opportunities of becoming expert gondoliers.
As the originators of the scheme were "Messrs. Allwood pere et fils" Lee suggested two names for the new town-"Allwood or All Water Town-heaven knows it is densely wooded and copiously watered".
The District Surveyor reported strongly against the proposal to cut up Delaney's land for a township, and the Board accepted the recommendation on August 5. But Allwood, Frazer and Russell came back with another proposal. They proposed that the land be subdivided into 10-acre farms-claiming among other things that members of several denominations could then select land for church purposes as was their birthright. (The introduction of the denominational issue is interesting, coming at a time when sectarianism was on the rise. Perhaps they were sore that Pat had succeeded in establishing a Catholic Church as the only church in the district.) They claimed further that Delaney had breached the terms of his licence by not residing on the land and accused him of playing games against the Publick (sic) and the Government. Antagonism against Pat Delaney was unabating.
John Lee wrote to Mr O'Grady MP saying that Allwood and Frazer were acting out of pure spite and malice towards Delaney. Their latest proposal was dismissed, but Pat's request to resume paying rent was still not dealt with. In some desperation (it seems) a senior official noted on the file: "What shall we inform Delaney?"
Pat maintained pressure on the Department, forwarding a copy of his June letter to the Minister and again requesting that his licence be resumed. Finally, on September 19, the Minister of Lands and Agriculture approved the recommendation of the Land Bailiff, Constable James Drought, that the land not be subdivided and that Pat Delaney's occupation not be interfered with.
On October 3, Pat again asked in writing that he be given the clearance to resume the improvements on the land and asking for permission to resume paying rents. John Lee forwarded a long supportive letter saying among other things "the poor fellow should have the chance to benefit from the work he has already done".
There was one last shot in the locker of the opposition. Thomas Frazer wrote a lengthy letter to Mr Casey (chairman of the Board of Land and Works) repeating the case for subdivision, this time into 20-acre blocks. Frazer complained: "… to our surprise Delaney opposes us and I may say it was not honourable of him … Delaney boasts of his influence with some of the government officials and that nothing would deprive him of getting the land in question". How right he was.
Imagine Pat's surprise when the Board of Land and Works informed him, on December 29 1874, that the Board intended to declare his licences (for 204 acres and an adjoining 10 acres) forfeited and giving him a fortnight to submit a detailed appeal. Pat responded on January 11 1875 (with the required sworn statements) that he had paid his rents for three years and that he was presently engaged in completing the improvements. The Board dropped its threat against Pat.
At last it seemed the land war was finished. The Department did reserve land for a township, but on the eastern bank of Curdies River, not at Nirranda. The preferred name of Boggy Creek had already been taken elsewhere in the State, and so it was called Nirranda Township.
Pat continued to improve his freehold land at Delaney's Corner and his licensed land at Nirranda. On October 18 1875 he applied for a lease of his Nirranda selection. The paperwork associated with the application describes the extent of work undertaken during Pat's first seven years in the district.
On the freehold "home" allotment 76A at Delaney's Corner (the area given by Pat as 160 acres must have included half of allotment 76B), a residence, and 44 acres cultivated. On allotments 38 and 39, three miles of chock and log fencing, half a mile of drain, 204 acres rung and 50 acres scrub and saplings cut down and sown with rye grass to a total value of 204 pounds. The Lands Bailiff agreed that the land was not fit for cultivation. Pat claimed "what portion was fit (for cultivation) the Shire Council flooded with water by draining on to me and about which we are now disputing".
John Delaney, the father of the clan and wife of Bridget, died on May 22 1876 at the great age of 82 years. He had been born in the 18th century in New Hill Tipperary and died 20,000 kilometres away in Nirranda Victoria. His time in the new land had been hard, and with his death, Pat became the head of the clan. (see also The Death of Bridget Delaney.)
Financing the improvements to the farms at Delaney's Corner must have strained Pat's resources as on September 21 1876 he applied to transfer his lease on Allotments 38 and 39 to R.B. Patterson "to give collateral security for advances-leasehold to be held on declaration of trust".
Six weeks later Patterson applied to transfer the land to the original owner (Delaney) for him to mortgage the same. This proposal fell through.27
Survival Against The Odds
The next year, on June 4 1877, Pat wrote to the Minister for assistance in getting more leases granted or a Crown grant "… as I have a large and helpless family. Hon Sir as I have heard of your goodness in such cases I know you will do your best for me". At the time of writing of that letter, Pat and Ellen were expecting their ninth child, the oldest was nine, and three weeks previously their eighth child had died at the age of seven months. This could explain the emotional nature of Pat's letter. The Minister may have helped others in similar circumstances but Pat's plea fell on deaf ears. Little wonder that the prospect of making whiskey for sale became attractive.
As we have already seen in Part Two, the system under which the early selectors struggled had been described by the Age as evil. At Nirranda not only was the land of inferior quality (as classified by the Lands Board) and unfit for cultivation (according to the local Lands officer) but also the allotments were far too small. As a result, small selector was pitted against small in a struggle for survival. In the meantime in squatting circles, there was much discussion about the minimum size of a financially viable block-was it 10,000 acres or 20,000 acres?
A Nirranda Ball
Life in the bush was harsh and difficult most of the time. But social, sporting and cultural activities developed along with the growth of the Nirranda community, as can be gleaned from the pages of the Warrnambool newspapers.
One of these occasions (which turned out to be not so social) was a ball held on April 18 1878, at the store of Elizabeth Trew at Nirranda. (Her husband Charles, a blacksmith, was a signatory to the petition four years earlier in favour of cutting up Pat Delaney's land into quarter acre blocks.) It seems that things got a bit out of hand and a haystack was burnt down. Mrs Trew charged John Delaney (son of John and Bridget) and Denis Dinan with arson. They were put on trial before Judge Stawell at the Belfast Assize Court on October 9 1878.
On April 26 1878, shortly after the Ball was held, a letter appeared in the Warrnambool Guardian signed "Timboon" of Mepunga.28 The writer said he was travelling along the road at night and saw men fighting in the road outside a house. He hid in the bush and watched. There was music coming from the house and the sound of stomping feet-people were dancing. He felt that the police should be present to stop such wild behaviour.
Two weeks later, a letter from Charles Trew appeared in the Guardian under the heading "THE NIRRANDA SHANTY".29 Trew rebutted "Timboon's" charges, which were:
… evidently pointed at me in very strong language, coupled with infamous lies … if 'Timboon' cannot write correspondence tinged with at least one particle of truth, let him cease from scandalizing his neighbour with the bitter gall of unprovoked spite … He should remember the great mandate of his religion: Do unto all men as you would they should do unto you.
Clearly the happenings on the night of the Ball were providing a sensation in the district, and a long string of witnesses were produced on either side at the Belfast trial of Dinan and Delaney in October.30
Mrs Trew gave evidence that the charge for admission was 3s 6d. Dinan and Delaney had sought admittance by payment of a copper* but were refused. They were afterwards let in and were very quarrelsome. Dinan went outside, stripped to the waist and wanted to fight. He said he was a good fighting man and could do 36 rounds without taking a drink of anything. He cried out: "There's bound to be a murder tonight and I might as well start now".
At about 10 o'clock a fire broke out in a haystack. The Trews claimed Dinan and Delaney started it. They denied any involvement and other witnesses agreed with them. The charges were not found proven. Charles Trew's replies to questions during the case (as summarised in the Guardian) provide interesting insights about nightlife at Nirranda at that time. Trew claimed that his wife kept a store:
… but it is not a shanty. We have certainly sold some drink there. Sometimes we have cordials or a drop of spirits. I have only sold these during the last few months. That particular night I gave away drinks. Mrs. Trew charged 3s 6d for the supper and the drinks were given in. McDowall supplied the music, playing the concertina and the dancing was held in my wife's bedroom. I never struck Delaney, but I wish I did. He was too strong for me. The ball was kept up to daylight.
In view of happenings some three years later, one wonders whether Dinan and Delaney had manufactured some of the "refreshments" and they could not see why they should be asked to pay for grog that they had made. The fact that the fire was at 10.00pm and the ball went all night suggests that the incident was quickly over and did not put a stop to the enjoyment.
A Whiskey Industry Begins
The reference by Trew in his evidence to the sale of spirits "only in the last few months" suggests that whiskey distillation for sale may have started about this time-i.e. 1878.
One can imagine the anxieties, frustrations and passions building up in these harsh circumstances, which in many respects were not much changed from their native Tipperary. A demand developed throughout the district for cheaper, good quality whiskey-duty on imported whiskey was 15/- per gallon. Grain was grown locally and pure water and firewood were available in large quantities. Distilling knowledge would have been carried with the immigrants from Ireland. In addition the Delaneys gained access to expert knowledge on whiskey distillation from an unexpected source.
At the 1978 Delaney Family Reunion, a (damaged) copy of a book called The Complete Practical Distiller31 was returned to Delaney family custody. It was said that the Delaneys had used it in their whiskey years-the thumb-marked pages are evidence of frequent use. The book gives details on how to make whiskey and every other conceivable spirit. The cover and the first 12 pages were missing, and so the names of the author and publisher and its year of publication remained unknown for some time. Recent research has shown that the author was Dr Marcus La Fayette Byrn and that this 8th edition was published in Philadelphia in 1875. Therefore, it could have come into Delaney hands as early as 1877-78. (It is a puzzle how a copy got from Philadelphia to Nirranda. Fortuitously, this edition was republished in 2002 in the USA and Delaney descendants in Australia have obtained copies.)
The stage was set to produce good quality whiskey. But there was still the matter of the law. About this time Ned Kelly and his gang were in full flight, and their sensational exploits may have removed any lingering reluctance of the Delaneys to defy English Colonial law.
And so it came to pass that the production of whiskey at Nirranda got underway and the legend of the Whiskey Delaneys unfolded over the next decade or two. Not surprisingly, the potential loss of revenue to Treasury from these illicit activities soon came to the attention of police and customs.
First Still Is Seized
In March 1881, Warrnambool police received information that there was a "Whiskey mill" at work somewhere in the Nirranda wilds. They arrived at Delaney's Corner on Monday March 7 1881. They arrested John Delaney and Denis Dinan (each of whom had been involved in the dispute at the Nirranda Ball three years previously) and charged them with being on premises where illicit distillation was going on. John was a 27 year old bachelor at the time-the second youngest child of John and Bridget Delaney.
The police gave evidence in the Warrnambool Court that they went towards a four-roomed hut in Farrell's paddock (allotment 76C in the original selection). They apprehended Pat Delaney (John's brother) who was running to warn the defendants. The police saw John Delaney and Denis Dinan leaving the hut. Inside they found a still full of water with a large fire under it. There were four casks of fermenting mash, bags containing malt and oats, a cask with fourteen gallons of whiskey and a demijohn* of low wines. In one of the rooms was a well, filled with water.
In court John Delaney claimed that he had just called in to the hut for a morning nip of whiskey, as was the custom in Ireland. The Bench ignored this claim.**
The whiskey was taken back to Warrnambool. Delaney and Dinan were fined £50 each, in default three months. They were given until 3 o'clock to pay, were unable to do so, and were sentenced to three months imprisonment in Portland gaol.
When arrested, John Delaney and Dinan wanted to know who the informer was. Again, in court they asked the Bench would the informer be named if the fines were paid. They were told that the informer would be protected. Patrick Goonan then asked the Bench to declare whether or not he was the informer in this case. The Magistrate confirmed that Goonan was not the informer, and was not in any way connected to the case.
The spirits and appurtenances seized at Nirranda were sold by Customs. Five weeks later, on April 23 1881, Job Wines of Woodford, near Warrnambool, advertised that he had purchased the "Celebrated Nirranda Whisky, lately confiscated by the Customs authorities", and that the whiskey could be sampled at his hotel. From the police evidence and Wines' advertisement, it is clear that Delaney's whiskey was famous and sought after, worthy of sale by Customs and worthy of sampling. The Delaney objective of meeting a demand for a quality whiskey had been achieved-pity about the legality of its distillation.
The imprisonment of John Delaney had a mixed impact on the wider family. For some, there was no shame about the breaking of an English Colonial law, especially for such a noble cause. But others were devastated at the outcome. In general, most of the family was tribally loyal, and they also drew some sympathy from the wider local community.
This story of the still seizure was based on reports in the Warrnambool Standard. Some further idea of the local repercussions has been obtained recently from an unlikely source-the Education Department's file on Nirranda School No 1130.32
Nirranda School Mystery
A paragraph in the Warrnambool Standard in May 1881 announced an inquiry by the Department into the standard of education at Nirranda School and calling for interested parents to attend a private meeting, which was to be held at Port Campbell. Then on May 26 1881, under a nom-de-plume, John Lee the teacher (who had been a close colleague of Pat Delaney in the Nirranda Land War) wrote to the Warrnambool Standard attacking John Duffy, Robert Young and Pat Delaney (see Appendix A). It is an extraordinary letter containing insults under the guise of Latin and other literary quotations. He inferred that each of them was an "Arcadian"-a simple country bumpkin or fool. He claimed that Pat was the last person to be laying charges, and that he was the Horatius of Nirranda-he would defend Boggy Creek Bridge even though deserted by everybody else, in the same way that Horatius had defended the bridge over the River Tiber. He finished with a snide reference that Pat Delaney was encouraged by "a dhrop of local manufacture".
Pat replied to Lee's "nonsenical" letter with a restrained and eloquent letter on May 28 1881. He defended his right to show a keen parental interest in the education of his children and claimed that Lee was simply not competent to teach children beyond a certain age. Emma Young, Robert's wife, wrote a letter on the same day with similar intent.
This flurry of letters was all that appeared in the press. But recent examination of the Education Department files on the Nirranda school unveils another intense dispute involving Pat. There seems little doubt that Lee was under attack for poor results and mismanagement at the school. For example, many parents had removed their children from the school; hours were erratic; school attendances averaged 40 per cent; and Lee's 2½ year old child (there were five other children of his in the school and his wife was employed as the Work Mistress) was allowed to play in the classroom and make a mess. (Lee admitted the latter to be the case: "sometimes the child responded to the call of nature and made a mess, but I cleaned it up".)
The file chronicles a bitter battle between Lee and the School Inspector, following the latter's adverse report on Lee. In an eight page defence on July 31 1882 Lee gave an explanation for student absences:
Has the potato-digging nothing to do with it? Is this irregularity of attendance in no wise attributable to the hard struggle for existence of a population settled in a heavily timbered forest, necessitating all the help that every member of the family is capable of affording?'
Lee, later on in his letter, referred to the public meeting in May the previous year and objected to the Inspector's comment in his report, that he had called him (Mr Lee) to order for an expression he used to Mrs Young. Lee protested:
The Inspector very sharply called me to order for merely saying to Mrs Young 'Oh! Hold your tongue!' but I called on him in vain for protection against the foul abuse of Patrick Delaney who called me 'a damned informer', and said he blamed me for his brother being in Portland jail where he was serving his sentence for illicit distillation. It is not true as the inspector states that I indulged in 'irritating' remarks to Patrick Delaney.
Lee went on to claim that the Inspector had concern for the "fine feelings of Mr Delaney … I think that Delaney's animosity to me furnishes the key to (the inspector's) tenderness for his feelings".
In the last paragraph of his long letter Lee became more spiteful:
Mrs Young, who was convicted of sly grog selling, and Mr Delaney, whose brother was convicted of illicitly making grog on the farm, part of which is occupied by Mr Patrick (Delaney), were my very respectful accusers and their trumped up charges backed by the School Inspector's adverse reports very nearly succeeded …
The connection between the arrest of Delaney and Dinan and the Nirranda School investigation can be unravelled to some extent. The police had received information about the illicit distillation at Delaneys, leading to the arrest of Delaney and Dinan on March 7 1881. Five days later Pat Delaney wrote to the Minister for Education asking for the removal of John Lee, the headmaster from the school. The Delaneys obviously felt John Lee was the informer. If he was, questions arise as to whether he informed as a payback for Pat Delaney's prior efforts to remove him from the school or whether Pat asked for his removal in revenge for Lee's perceived betrayal.
In the event, the whole district was in uproar. Twenty-one parents who had not removed their children from the school lodged a petition dated May 21 1881 in support of Lee. The petition contained a cross section of people from the district-Catholics and non-Catholics, Irish and non-Irish-and included Cornelius and Patrick Hickey. They stated: "We have no wish to impute motives to these men (Delaney, Duffy and Young) but the cause of their hostility to the teacher is well known to be founded on circumstances altogether unconnected with his discharge of his school duties".
The Delaneys may seem to have been isolated at this stage. Sadly the support which Lee had given Pat Delaney in getting the Catholic Church established and in defending Pat's land claims (the Land Wars) was in the past. In the event, John Lee went on sick leave and then left the Department. But he continued as Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the district.
In 1881, the (Delaney) Farrells moved to Garvoc where the (Delaney) Tolemans were situated-it was "Farrell's paddock" where the captured still was located. And so in the early 1880s, Pat and Ellen Delaney and their large family (soon to be 12, with the oldest 15 years of age), were left at Delaneys Corner with Widow Bridget (the old man John had died in 1878) and her unmarried children: Ellen, John and Tom. The task of raising their families in the remote Nirranda District of Western Victoria was not getting easier.
A Diversion - Ploughing Match At Tom Delaney's
The Warrnambool Independent in September 1883 reported on a Nirranda Ploughing Match held at Thomas Delaney's farm, Nirranda. The condition of the road to Nirranda came in for attack:
The [Nirranda Main] road may be said to be as crooked as a dog's hind leg, turnings and curves being the order of the day, while the state of disrepair is sad indeed. In places large trunks of trees lie across the track, sloughs of water some hundreds of feet in extent, and the wayfarer has to urge his cattle through what may be called a sea of mud. It is surprising, taking into consideration the time the land hereabouts has been occupied, some 20 years, that such a state of things exist, and it would be advantageous to Warrnambool and district if a well-formed road were laid down without delay. This country too is called "rabbit country" …
(In the event, it would be another 30 years before the road was improved to reasonable standards. According to the Education Department, the new road reduced travel times to Warrnambool from one day to a few hours.)
The reporter continued:
… storm clouds hung overhead, and at intervals dropped down their damping contents. However, this did not prevent a good muster at the scene, some 300 being in attendance to witness the day's proceedings. While there were such a number of the fair sex present, which speaks well for the interest taken in local affairs, still there was a slight lack of decorum on the part of some of the stronger sex which they should try to rectify if they wish their fair friends to attend these outdoor sports. We refer to the fact of strong language being used. Dancing on the green was indulged in by a number of those present, to while away the time, and seemed to be immensely enjoyed. Coming to the real work of the day we should say that that a better piece of land could hardly be found for such a purpose than that on which the contest took place, consisting of rich black soil, and as level as a bowling green …
This interlude would have been a welcome break for the Delaneys and their neighbours in the unrelenting struggle for survival.
The Death Of Bridget Delaney
Bridget, the family matriarch, died on October 10 1884. The Warrnambool Independent carried a report on her funeral:
A very old and respected resident of Warrnambool and district, Mrs Delaney of Nirranda, was buried in the Warrnambool cemetery on Sunday afternoon. The funeral, which was a very large one, started from Nirranda at an early hour on Sunday morning, reaching the cemetery about 4 o'clock, where a large crowd had assembled to pay their last token of respect to the departed. Mrs Delaney was 74 years of age, and leaves a large family.
One can imagine those few days. Bridget died on a Friday and there would have been a wake as neighbours gathered to pay their respects. Given the condition of the road, the funeral procession must have left Nirranda shortly after midnight. Following the hearse (or wagon), some would have come in buggies, the less well off in drays, others on horseback and some probably walked. The Farrells and Tolemans came from Garvoc, the Dunnes from Killarney and the Murphys from Penshurst to join the Delaneys and other Nirranda people. Wending their way along the crooked road, removing fallen branches, digging vehicles out of the mud, the procession must have been exhausted by the time they reached the cemetery.
Bridget was buried alongside her husband, John, in grave 42-25. In the first decade of their marriage, during which Bridget had borne seven children, they had experienced the ravages of the Irish famine (over 1 million of the Irish starving to death) and its aftermath. Leaving their native and fertile land, they faced the difficulties of the small selector of inferior quality land. The Irish Troubles had been left behind, but new troubles with English authority had arisen in their new land. The cause of husband John's death at the age of 82 years was listed on the death certificate as "cancer of the ear and exhaustion". No doubt Bridget was also exhausted at the end of her life. The inscription on John's tombstone, which she had had erected in the Warrnambool Cemetery, shows Bridget's determination that future generations would know exactly which Townland and County in Ireland her husband had come from (a matter of great help to their genealogists).
In the year after Bridget's death, Robert and Mary (Delaney) Murphy and their children moved from Penshurst to a 99 acre block on the north western corner of Delaney's Corner and in the following year their seventh child, Ellen, was born at Nirranda.
The Descendants Of John Delaney And Bridget Dunne
1 John Delaney b: 1794 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 21 May 1876 in Nirranda, Victoria
+ Bridget Dunne b: December 1813 in Kilmakil, Parish of Moyne, Co. Tipperary, Ireland m: 22 February 1841 in St Mary's Church, Parish Moyne, Ireland d: 10 October 1884 in Nirranda, Victoria
2 Patrick Delaney aka: Pat b: 16 March 1842 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 13 August 1908 in Nirranda, Victoria
+ Ellen Kilmartin b: 1842 in Tipperary, Ireland m: 14 February 1868 in Catholic Church, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia d: 10 July 1919 in Warrnambool, Victoria
2 Catherine Delaney b: 14 November 1844 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 16 January 1925 in Dennington, Victoria
+ James Farrell b: August 1831 in Ballinvalley, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland m: 3 November 1864 in Warrnambool, Victoria d: 23 March 1915 in Terang, Victoria
2 Margaret Delaney b: 9 November 1845 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 8 May 1932 in Camperdown, Victoria
+ Joseph Toleman b: 21 June 1843 in Port Phillip, Victoria m: 19 January 1873 in Terang, Victoria d: 27 March 1897 in Garvoc, Victoria
2 Judi Delaney b: 22 September 1847 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 22 September 1847 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
2 Mary Delaney b: 22 September 1847 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 22 November 1892 in Nirranda, Victoria
+ Robert Murphy b: 1841 in Limerick, Ireland m: 1873 in Warrnambool, Victoria d: 1917 in Allansford, Victoria
2 Ellen Delaney b: 10 March 1851 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 26 March 1906 in Camperdown, Victoria
2 John Delaney b: 7 May 1853 in New Hill, Two Mile Borris, Co. Tipperary, Ireland d: 1934 in Murchison, Western Australia
+ Harriet Eliza Crewes b: 22 May 1866 in Ballarat, Victoria m: 2 January 1887 in Ballarat, Victoria d: 28 August 1946 in Fitzroy, Victoria
2 Thomas Delaney aka: Whisky Tom b: 10 July 1856 in Dennington, Victoria d: 1 December 1912 in Warrnambool, Victoria
+ Maria Brumby b: 1869 in Allansford, Victoria m: 3 March 1887 in Nirranda, Victoria d: February 1948 in Warrnambool, Victoria
The Bachelor Sons Marry
One of the worries of Bridget before she died was the bachelor status of her two youngest sons, John and Thomas. As young men without marriage commitments they were inclined to be less conforming and more willing to take risks to overcome the financial plight that the Delaneys found themselves in. It must have been a great joy to the clan when Tom took up with the girl Hickey.
The Hickeys had a larger selection not far away and the courtship appeared to be just the answer to Tom's wilder traits. But to the surprise of many the Hickey girl jilted Tom.
Over a century later, this drama is still alive in the received history of the Delaneys. It is said that the Hickeys felt that a Delaney was just not good enough for one of their daughters-possibly because of the clan's involvement in illicit distillation of the "dhrop of local manufacture". Delaney women were to claim that if Tom had married the Hickey girl, he would have become a law-abiding farmer and the colorful dramas of the late 80s and 90s would not have happened.
On the rebound from the jilting, Tom took up with 17-year-old Maria Brumby. Maria lost her mother when she was seven, and as the fifth child in a family of seven she had a hard life. Another factor for the Irish Delaneys was that the Brumbys were English and were not Catholic.
Tom was not going to be deterred by family disapproval and he and Maria eloped. They were married on March 3 1887 in a private house with a Minister in accordance with the rites of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Maria's age on the marriage certificate is recorded as 21 years old, thus avoiding the need for parental permission.
In the meantime, Brother John had met a 20-year-old girl from Ballarat-Harriet Eliza Crewes. Her father was born in Cornwall and her mother (née McCarthy) in Wales. Although not Irish, they were of Celtic origin and were Catholic. Accordingly, their marriage on January 2 1887 would have been well received by the family.
In the event, John and Harriet had their first child, named John on December 23 1887, but the baby lived for one day only. Tom and Maria had their first child three weeks later, on January 13 1888, and they named him John.
The plight of the Delaney small selectors did not improve. These first generation Australian parents simply were unable to provide for their ever-increasing families and many bills were not paid on time. The freehold land had to be mortgaged often to buy cattle and grain and potato seed. The court records show that Tom Delaney had been brought to court over a matter of promissory notes issued in favour of William Bloomfield, an auctioneer. Also Dawkins & Sons (timber and hardware merchants) claimed £20 from Tom for goods provided and William Murnane sued Tom for damages (£5). Three months after his marriage, his sister Ellen Delaney took Tom to court to recover £3 she had lent to him. Ellen's action seems extreme and one wonders if she was angry at Tom's precipitate marriage. The block that Tom and John shared (105 acres) was divided between the two of them, probably a further indication of dissension in the family.
The Shire also sued Pat Delaney for rates unpaid-Tom was not the only one in financial difficulty.
Return To Whiskey Making
This disastrous financial situation led to an increase in whiskey distillation. My father Patrick, son of Pat Delaney, took some small part in the distribution side of the business, delivering demijohns to outlets in Warrnambool. He said that the whiskey was "as smooth as new milk". The police were especially cared for-their ration was put through the still twice-presumably to give the police a stronger drink.
The stories surrounding Delaney Whiskey are legend and have been recorded in one or other documents. Customs claimed that at their peak the Delaneys were producing 100 gallons a week. Legend has it that the whiskey was labeled "Mountain Dew" and was branded with the official government stamp. It was a common drink at local weddings and one day at the Koroit races it was the only drink on sale. After the second race the crowd was said to be in a fighting mood.
On another occasion Tom was delivering a load of whiskey into Warrnambool. The police bailed him up at Allansford bridge. Foolishly they dismounted, one to grab the horse and the other to climb up at the back of the cart. Tom gave the horse a cut of the whip and the police fell to the ground. Tom, the horse and cart took off. A shot was fired but hit the steel stay at the back of Tom's seat. He wheeled the horse down a sidetrack and escaped-the police horses had also taken off without their riders. Tom dumped the whiskey in a quarry at Lee's in Wangoom, loaded the cart with cheeses and drove to the Warrnambool police station where he lodged a complaint that he had been held up by armed men at Allansford!
This story was passed down the family over generations and is corroborated in part from other sources.
Fiddler McKenzie, who lived at Bushfield near Wangoom, often recounted his experience of arriving at work on the Monday morning. He and his fellow quarry workers found the demijohns of whiskey and proceeded to sample them. That week was a write-off for them as they worked their way through the demijohns.
Damages Claimed Against Police
The story about Tom's complaint to the Warrnambool police appears to have had a sequel.
On February 19, 1890, the Warrnambool Court heard charges brought by Thomas Delaney, Nirranda, against John Gibson, PC, Panmure; Arthur Niblett, PC, Allansford; and John Webb, PC, Warrnambool, for assault committed by these defendants against Tom (claiming £150) and for damages to plaintiff's buggy and harness (£5). The court found for the defendant and awarded costs of £17/19/9 against Tom. Whether this incident was the same as the Allansford "hold up" is not known, but clearly the feud between Tom and the police was escalating.
Later that year, John and Harriet (Crewes) Delaney had their third child. Tom and Maria had no further children at that stage and they lost their only child, John, at the age of 3½ years on June 30 1891.
Detective John Mitchell Christie
As much of the written story of subsequent events is drawn from the reminiscences of Detective John Mitchell Christie, let us now look at Christie's background. Although a romancer and careless with the truth (e.g. his version of the Fiji affair) and determined to present himself as an invincible, heroic policeman and investigative detective (John Lahey refers to his Reminiscences33 as "Boys' Own Annual" style), most of the incidents that he reports at least did happen.
Born in Scotland, he came to work on his uncle's farm in Gippsland. This plan was aborted when his uncle suddenly died. Well connected (his brother was to become a Captain in the Black Watch) he joined the Victoria Police and became champion sculler of Victoria and heavyweight boxing champion. He was, at the request of the Duke himself, bodyguard during the tour of HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in Melbourne and Auckland in 1869. (During a visit the previous year, the Duke had been shot and wounded by a fanatic, Captain Henry O'Farrell, sparking off a fierce backlash against Catholic Irish and a revival of the Orange Lodge.) The Duke's visit was a private one and so he stayed at the Melbourne Club, not Government House. "His promiscuity was no mean secret," says John Lahey in his book Damn You, John Christie! John Norton, eccentric owner of Truth, described him as "one of the most prurient-minded, lecherous-living, brothel-bilking, tradesmen-tucking, rascals that ever ran amok''.
Christie seemed to get along well with the Duke. But Norton's description of the Duke, and Christie's connivance in his debauches, rests uneasily with Christie's own portrayal of himself as the Righteous Pursuer of Law and Order, especially against the "desperate Delaneys". The Delaneys, and other small selectors were simply trying to survive and raise families on land left over after the squatters-many of whom were friends of Christie-had manipulated the flawed Land Reform attempt and taken millions of acres of public land for their own benefit.
(So well did Christie do the job for the Duke in 1869 that in April 1901, the Governor General directed him to personally attend on the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall-later King George V and Queen Mary-throughout their Australasian tour, including the opening of Federal Parliament in May 1901.)
In 1913, the complete reminiscences of Detective Christie were published, narrated by J.B. Castieau, the son of J.B. Castieau, Governor of Melbourne Gaol, who authorised, and was present at, the hanging of Ned Kelly on November 11 1881.34 The younger Castieau, having met Ned in jail, was also fascinated by the Kelly myth, acting the part of Ned Kelly in films into his 50s. This may explain in part his tendency towards fanciful descriptions in his book.
The Wreck Of The Fiji
The coastline from Cape Otway, west past Port Campbell, Peterborough, near Nirranda, and Warrnambool is spectacular-thunderous seas, limestone cliffs, and offshore rock formations-including the world-famous Twelve Apostles. Over 30 ships were wrecked on this treacherous "Shipwreck Coast". One of these was the American barque, Fiji.
On September 8 1891, word came to the Warrnambool Police that the Fiji had gone aground at Moonlight Head, 30 miles west of Cape Otway. Customs Detective John Christie (by now with Customs and Excise) takes up the story in his hand-written reminiscences about 20 years later:
Capture of the Celebrated Nirranda Still
A desperate gang of smugglers known as the Kelly Gang lived at Nirranda near Warrnambool (their only occupation was lawlessness). In the year 1891, I was dispatched to the scene of the wreck of the American Barque Fiji the remains of which were laying on the rocks at Moonlight Head close to where the Ship Loch Ard was wrecked and the shore strewed with a large assortiment of dutiable goods. I was not long at the scene when I found the "Kellys" were much in evidence, as they were boldly stealing the goods and on one occasion, when the customs officer in charge, Mr Johnston, interfered they assaulted him and he nearly lost his life through falling down the cliffs which were about 400 feet high: he saved himself by catching a bush but not till he had fallen or rolled 50 feet.* I took action and brought the offender to justice with the result that the gang were convicted at the Camperdown Police Court on the 28/10/91.
On that occasion the leader of the gang was a celebrated man named Thomas Delaney better known as Tom Delaney, a thick set man of great muscular power.35
J.B. Castieau's version of the Moonlight Head incident makes the case against the Delaneys blacker. He says they were "nominally settlers or small 'cockatoo' farmers, yet practised every kind of lawlessness, and were a terror to their more respectable neighbours". Then he claims the Customs officer was thrown over a cliff-not just "falling down" as in Christie's version. The publishers and authors must have known these comments were lies, because Castieau states the leader of the gang was Denis O'Brien not Tom Delaney. (They were probably well aware of the defamatory nature of these claims and feared the willingness of the Delaneys to sue them accordingly.)
The evidence produced against the Delaneys in the Camperdown Court on October 26 1891 tells yet a different story. Detective Christie prosecuted the case but there is no mention in the Court records, or in the Terang Express report of the case, that Christie was present at the site of the wreck. PC Michael Quin and Customs Officer Johnstone were there and gave evidence.
Eight men were charged with evading duty. The case against Tom Delaney, presumably treated as the leader, was taken first and he pleaded guilty. Customs Officer Johnstone said that on September 11 1891 Delaney and another man had climbed the cliff near "Devil's Kitchen" pulling a schnapps box with a rope tied around it. At the top of the cliff they met the other men, one of whom had a packhorse with boxes on it. Tom's box contained a bag of balls, six bottles of schnapps; one dozen bottles of paregoric acid* and some brushes. The pack on the horse contained a box of schnapps, six bottles of schnapps and some candles. Asked where they got it, George Couch said a customs officer on the beach told him it was salvage and therefore could be taken away.
The policeman said he needed the packhorse to cart the captured goods back to the camp. George Couch objected that the horse belonged to him. When Johnstone took the horse, Couch "struck me on the cheek, across the neck of the horse. John and Tom Delaney stepped in as peacemakers". John Delaney "offered to assist in taking the goods back to the camp and his help was accepted".
What a contrast to the Christie-Castieau story about the desperate gang of smugglers who threw the customs officer over the cliff. Of course one version was in court, under oath, some weeks after the event, the other written two decades later with an eye on spicing up a book for sale.
In the event, the first charge against Tom Delaney was dismissed on the grounds that he was only holding a rope-the fact that the other end of the rope was around dutiable goods was not deemed sufficient to sustain the charge.
A second charge against Tom Delaney was successful however. The officers gave evidence that on September 13 (two days after the initial arrests) Tom was walking from the wreck towards Evans' house at Rivernook. Constable Jones of Port Campbell said Delaney had two packs on the saddle in front of him, one containing chaff and the bottom one bottles of schnapps.
Tom was fined £25, John Delaney £25 (despite PC Quin's evidence that John had taken no goods whatever and had assisted in taking the goods back to the camp), R. Anderson £25, J.P. Carroll £25, Thos Parkinson £25 and George Couch £25 and £10 for assault. The cases against J. Couch and R. Cauley were withdrawn. The Delaneys paid their fines on the same day.
The court evidence reported in the local newspapers gives a strong impression that neither the policeman nor the customs officer was antagonistic to the Delaneys and their colleagues. Perhaps they had all sampled the schnapps and had fond memories of the incident! At one stage "the Magistrate ordered the policeman to lock up Thomas Delaney for misbehaviour in court. Tom had been laughing and talking in a perfectly unconcerned manner, and the magistrate said it was turning the court into a perfect farce". This incident fits with later authors' descriptions of Tom as a good-natured jovial Irishman, and is at odds again with Christie-Castieau claims that they were a desperate gang and a terror to their neighbours.
Christie recounts a story after the court case, which indicates that he did not consider Tom Delaney to be a desperate man:
... after he (Delaney) was convicted, he was removed to the Police Watch House (presumably to await payment of his fine), where as I was passing later in the day, he hailed me through the little square hole in the door and said: look here, Christie, I got that bit of breakfast you sent me in this morning, and I am thankful as I was jolly hungry. I replied … that's all right Tom. He then said I will send up a nice keg of poteen as a Christmas gift that will make your hair curl. I replied: thanks and mind you do as I never forget a man who breaks a promise.
The 1890s Depression
After the Fiji incident, Tom returned to Nirranda, but financial circumstances were deteriorating.
The bursting of the 1880s land boom saw many banks and financial institutions fail. The Depression sent many investors, speculators, developers and squatters broke. Consequently, prices for primary produce plunged and with them, the incomes of the "cockies", or small farmers, like the Delaneys.
In September 1891, the Shire was at Tom again for rates unpaid, and in January 1892 Court records list a case against Tom for not complying with a court order of 1888 to pay £9/3/0 to a complainant.
John and Harriet Delaney had their fourth child, Stella, on December 18 1891. There was more good news on April 22 1892 when Maria and Tom had their second child, ten months after the tragic loss of John, their first. Then followed the devastating death of Mary (Delaney) Murphy while giving birth to her tenth child, Michael. Life was tough for all. Mary's sister, Ellen, took over the management of the Murphy household and all those young children including the baby. In the following year, Tom and Maria had their third, Ann Florence.
The financial pressure on the whole clan was unrelenting. Given the low prices for dairy produce and agricultural products, recourse to whiskey distillation seemed to be the only way out.
The Spring And Summer Of 1893-94
Christie claims that a little while after the 1891 Fiji incident, Mr Wollaston, Secretary of Customs, directed him "to capture those smugglers who are making 'illicit spirits' at or near Nirranda and break up the gang. And you can have as many men as you like to aid you".
By 1893, Christie's pursuit of Tom Delaney had become an obsession. The Australian Dictionary of Bibliography records that the Inspector was described as a well groomed, refined-looking, walking embodiment of good taste. Why was this high level inspector spending months spying and snooping throughout the rugged Nirranda district? The answer may lie in the ADB's further comment that he was also seen in a less favourable light, as one who grew rich on his share of fines. Was Christie promised a large reward if he captured the Delaneys?
While whiskey distilling did resume, the Delaneys and Murphys continued the hard pioneering work of clearing the land and sowing crops of potatoes and oats. By Christmas time according to the Warrnambool Standard of January 25 1894 the crops were "looking splendid". The oats crop was:
... a good height, thick, regular and appears on top as flat as a table. The potato crops are looking well. Nirranda growers deserve success. I have watched from the first what a great amount of labour is bestowed on the cultivation of potatoes. ... It is hard to tell which is the best kept and cultivated farm along the Nirranda Road. Mr Pat Delaney, Mr [Robert] Murphy [widower, and Pat's brother-in-law] and Mr Steele have each a paddock of potatoes, and there isn't one weed to be seen in either of the crops. It is a great pity that, after all this labour bestowed, prices as a rule should not compensate them for their trouble.
This report corroborates oral history that the Delaneys were good farmers and entrepreneurial, as shown by their whiskey-making enterprises.
The Last Months Of Whiskey Distillation
Christie's plan was to undertake a spy mission in the Nirranda district. He learned the use of tinkering tools over a six week period from a friend-Bryant, of Lanyon and Bryant, tinsmiths, Little Collins Street Melbourne. He made up a box, containing a basket, tinkering tools and an old suit, which a friend took to his place near Warrnambool, about 20 miles from Nirranda.
Christie arrived a few days later. The friend warned him to be careful, that they would "settle him quick", as they frequently said-if any detectives were caught near their "Drum" they would make poteen of him the same as was done to Fitzpatrick in Ireland! (The name of this friend remains a mystery. Was he a politician, or a squatter with links to Christie through Melbourne social connections? He appeared to know a lot about the Delaneys' activities and to be a most valuable source of information against them.) And so Christie the tinker set out for Delaney's Corner, Nirranda, with a revolver hidden in his shirt. He called at Dooleys and other settlers' places on the way. My mother Margaret (Ryan) Delaney, who was 12 years old at the time, used to tell us of Christie's visit to the Ryans, asking questions as he was fixing the pots and pans. Christie mentions tinkering at Maloneys, close to the "smugglers' retreat", and then calling at Mrs Tom Delaney's house. Christie's version of what happened next makes a good story, but given his liking for hyperbole, it may not be true.
He did some work for Maria and gained her compliance. She said there was a pipe in need of repair (a horse had stood on it). She said she was worried that "that bugger Christie" might find out and went to get it. After ten minutes, he claims that the younger of her two daughters said her mother would not be long-she had only gone across the creek to Sparks to get it. The elder girl told her to shut up. As Maria's two daughters were 1½ years and a few months old at the time, clearly Christie has invented this scene.
Nevertheless, he says he promised to make a new worm* and deliver it on the Friday before New Year's Day, i.e. December 29 1893.
Christie immediately went back to his friend's house near Warrnambool and then to Melbourne to get his other disguises. He returned to Camperdown, "the Kelly Country" as he called it, disguised as a swagman. A trusty butcher drove Christie and PC Tyrell, both armed and expert marksmen, about eight miles into the Heytesbury forest where PC Snowden met them with the horses. Christie then tells a fanciful story of struggling through the night across mountains (sic) (the highest "mountain range" would be about 100 metres), gullies and swollen creeks, past the house of a Delaney sympathiser, Deasy (there is no record of a "Deasy" family in the district). They silenced a barking dog there by giving it poisoned meat. But Deasy heard the horses and set out to give the alarm. The police, though, detained him. Just before daybreak, as they sighted Pat Delaney's house, Deasy got very frightened-he felt the Delaneys might think he was the informer. So they let him go.
The party searched Pat Delaney's house expecting to find "illicit spirits", ordering "all the inmates" into one room, but found nothing. The Delaney legend is that the police were offered bacon and eggs for breakfast, which they demolished, and then proceeded to trash the house looking for evidence.
The party then searched Jack and Tom's places but found only a few appliances used in distillation, and empty casks and jars. "… in fact everything (was) sold out for their Christmas customers-Mrs Tom Delaney (Maria) told us that if Tom had been at home he would have potted us with his government rifle". The Delaney brothers were detained as the party went on.
The Capture Of Sparks' Still
Christie and his troopers immediately headed for Sparks' place, "the place Mrs Tom Delaney's daughters told me (when I was awaiting for her to return with the worm) their mother had gone".
Here they found a complete distillery, spirits, etc. Christie "arrested Sparks and Hopkins and conveyed them and the whole of the apparatus to Warrnambool". This was on Friday December 29 1893.
Christie then interpolates an interesting anecdote:
I took Sparks' rifle and fired it off. I could hear guns going all around the compass and up galloped Pat and Jack Delaney who had been liberated by the two constables left in charge of them, and who were to detain them till they thought we had sufficient time to reach Sparks. The reason I fired the rifle was to test the truth of the statement that, when a suspicious looking stranger was seen in the locality, who ever saw him would fire off a gun as a warning, whereupon others would repeat it. I said to Pat 'What is all the firing about?'. He replied, 'Oh faith it's a salute in honour of your visit!'. I said, 'then why did some of you not come down to meet me and welcome me to the district?'. He replied, 'Sure, and you didn't send me a telegram you were comin!'
Sparks and Hopkins had been released on bail, the bondsmen being John Delaney, Tom Delaney and Robert Brumby (Tom's brother-in-law) and appeared in the Warrnambool Court on Friday January 5 1894, charged with having an unlicensed still in their possession.
Christie led the evidence. Sparks told him that he rented the place for £12/10/- per year, and he admitted that the still belonged to him. He said that the "old man" Hopkins, a carpenter, was staying there and had nothing to do with the still. The charges against Hopkins were dropped.
Sparks was fined £200 or 12 months gaol.
(Sparks' grandson tells the story handed down to him that it was Sparks' turn to have the Delaney still and that his grandmother had the task of keeping the fire going 24 hours a day.)
The standard of the whiskey produced had not dropped, it seems, from when Job Wines re-sold the seized Nirranda whiskey of 1881. The Melbourne Herald of January 4 1894 had this to say about the whiskey seized from Sparks' still:
By the way, the Customs Officers who have tested samples of the whiskey seized at an illicit still near Nirranda say that it is of excellent quality. In their opinion there is no better whiskey made in the colony. "You can taste the malt in it", remarked one of the experts of the Excise branch. "It only wants time to mature and there would then be no fault to find with it".
The Search Continues - Black Trackers Called In
The Customs authorities decided that a systematic search would be made to ascertain whether illicit distillation was still going on. The search commenced on Saturday January 20 1894, Detective Christie with two black trackers having arrived secretly on the express train the previous night. The party of seven armed men and the two trackers left Warrnambool after midnight with horses and conveyances provided by Stansmore stables.
At daybreak they arrived at Nirranda and searched John Delaney's house, a few kegs only being found. Then to Tom Delaney's house where "no one was stirring, the inmates being in bed".
"Open the door in the Queen's Name," cried the detective, knocking loudly.
"I'm the King and you can wait till I'm ready," came the reply.
Tom then stuck his head out the window and seeing Sergeant Graham, he said, "Oh, is that you Sergeant: you're a gentleman. I'll open the door in a minute." (Tom obviously had respect for some of the police.)
The party found a number of kegs and demijohns under the floor. Eight of the kegs were new, of various sizes and "shaped on one side, and flat on the other", made for packhorses, it is believed. No spirits were found.
At Sparks' place, which was half a mile from the nearest house, they found Mrs Sparks and her three children, grieving over the absence of her husband by then serving twelve months imprisonment in Geelong Gaol.
The search party was looking particularly for the missing worm and the distilled spirits. The black trackers found an excavated hollow, which had the imprint of a worm in the soft ground. The hollow was covered by a log split in half, lengthways-there was no sign of the excavation to the passing observer. The worm had probably been removed after the capture of the still. Nothing else was found and the armed party returned to Warrnambool on Sunday January 21 1894.
By this time, the Warrnambool Standard was getting suspicious of the reports being fed back to its reporters by Christie. So they sent their own representative to Nirranda on Saturday morning January 20. He reported:
On approaching the locality where the Delaney brothers reside, it was apparent that something unusual was occurring. Inquiries were made of Mr Robert Murphy and Mr P. Delaney concerning the presence of a search party. They were busily engaged in harvesting operations. Mr "Pat" Delaney did not regard the presence of the officers with any alarm, but referred with disgust to their actions visiting the dwellings at daybreak to search the premises as had been done on two recent occasions. "Have they given you a visit yet, today?" "No" he replies, "I am just after coming from the detective, and I asked him to come over to my place, so I expect he will be here." "Have they got any whiskey yet?" He laughs right merrily, as he answers, "How can they expect to get any when they take away the still for making it!" "But they say there are five stills." Pat looks astonished.
Pat directed them to go to the place where the search party was at work, Sparks' house:
Travel about a mile along this lane,* then turn to your left, and follow a track which will bring you to Sparks' house.
The reporter went there, caught up with Christie and his party and observed the black trackers at work.
A family story tells of one occasion when the police tied their horses up and spent the day searching the bush along Whiskey Creek. When they unrolled their capes from the saddles that night they found a demijohn of whiskey rolled in each cape.
No More Stills!
On returning to Warrnambool, Christie reported confidently that there were no stills left between Warrnambool and Cobden. There was relief among some of the clan, especially the women, that the torrid times of recent years were to be no more. On the one hand, the secrecy, the planning, the constant alertness to what was said to whom, the risks associated with the distribution of the illicit whiskey, the mothers' prayers that their sons would not get into trouble with the police and be sent to gaol were no longer to be a constant source of worry and concern. On the other hand, the excitement of carrying on an activity which broke a Colonial law of the English-a law designed as much as anything to protect English distillery interests-was in the best traditions of their Tipperary heritage and in the Kelly tradition of defiance. These contrary views were discussed heatedly in the family and local community.
As reported in the Warrnambool Standard, the idea was proposed by the local community that the Government should legalise and subsidise the distilling industry. After all, local enterprise was taking local produce, which had little market value, and adding substantial value to it. But a few struggling "cockatoo" farmers had little clout with a Government comprised mainly of merchants and squatters. (The Warrnambool Agricultural Society had passed a resolution also calling on the Government to encourage the distilling industry, but to no avail.)
Young Delaney sons of Patrick and Ellen were all fired up by the example of the Kellys and were willing to help "Uncle Tom" in resurrecting distilling operations. The Delaneys had realised the need for a remote, inaccessible location for their secret still-dense scrub along Whiskey Creek seemed an ideal spot. (Christie later reported that the only access was by hands and knees so dense was the undergrowth.)
Whiskey Flows Again
One can imagine the excitement of the young Delaneys with the decision to carry on making whiskey. Whilst confidentiality was important, the word would quickly spread that it was "on again". Yeast and other ingredients had to be ordered from Warrnambool. The worm, removed from its hiding spot at Sparks before the police got there in January, needed plumbing repairs in Warrnambool. No doubt there was a flurry of gossip and excitement in the district.
A priest in the Ballarat diocese wrote in 1979:
I've always been rather interested in the more sinful side of the family's history-I grew up on stories of the Delaneys, and their cheerful disregard of the government's excise regulations. In fact, my grandfather, Bill Flett, made their still-or, at least, one of them. Probably all of them, if there were more than one. And while it was still on his work bench in his shop in Black's Lane (Warrnambool), one of the police walked in. He went right through the shop, but didn't say a word. The family never knew whether he was dumb, broadminded or a whiskey drinker. Or whether you can make as many stills as you like, as long as you don't use them …"
Word of the new activities apparently got through to the police and Customs, and Christie was despatched to Warrnambool again. Under the cover of darkness, the police had made several visits to the locality over the weeks and succeeded in tracing the worm to Whiskey Creek, one mile from a house occupied by a James Love. Christie claims that he also visited the locality "night after night" and confirmed the suspicions that a still was being worked near the creek.
A week after he arrived in Warrnambool, the first raid on Delaney whiskey was mounted. On Thursday evening, May 5 1894, four men on good horses, dressed bushman style met at Boggy Creek Bridge-one policeman each from Cobden, Terang and Panmure and their leader Detective Christie. (The absence of Warrnambool and Allansford police is noteworthy-perhaps they were too sympathetic to the Delaneys and shared in the whiskey product.) The Cobden policeman, Arthur, told his comrades of certain information supplied to him which convinced him that they were on the right track:
Two men and a dog had been seen going through the forest in a certain direction, and a description of the individuals sufficed to indicate their identity with well-known residents of Nirranda.
There was no indication of course as to the identity of the informer.
Capture Of Delaney's Still - May 5 1894
The party left their horses and proceeded by foot through the ti-tree, tall grasses and scrub in the rain and the darkness. It took some hours before they reached the still at 2.00am (or 3.30am if Christie's Court evidence is preferred). Christie writes:
… A remarkable scene opened before us. Within a few feet of the scrub was a little building, which can aptly be described as a "gunyah", rudely constructed of saplings, with a roof and sides of bags. At one end was a chimney, in which a fire was burning, under a large boiler or still; on the top of a large vat was a kerosene lamp, which completely illuminated the interior of the building, and enabled the party to get a clear view of the operations.
The two men were identified as Tom Delaney and James Love. Eventually, Christie decided to act and burst into the gunyah with revolver drawn. Christie claims he said: "Customs! I arrest you Tom Delaney and Jim Love. Stand or I'll fire; you are my prisoners." These formal words of command appear like a formula appropriate for Court evidence. Christie actually shouted: "I've got you, you dog Delaney!" which explains Tom's immediate reaction. "Come on, Jim" he yelled as he burst through the side of the hut and into the bush, with Christie firing at least three shots at him.
What self-respecting Irishman would surrender meekly after such an insult? If Christie was not a braggart, he would have respected the dignity of Delaney and Love and quietly and sensibly arrested them and taken them in. Or maybe Christie was simply frightened of Tom. At any rate they got away "running on hands and knees through the thick scrub" as Christie described the scene.
Christie Fails Again
Christie had seized the still but not Tom Delaney. The police party went to Love's house the next morning and arrested him and brought him to Warrnambool.
Christie proceeded to Tom's house but was informed that Tom had "just gone out". They revisited the home on a number of occasions on Friday and Saturday but he was not to be found. A light wagon was sent from Warrnambool for the distilling appliances and still. A track six feet wide was cut and a structure was built over the creek to let the wagon in.
The report goes on:
News of the seizure spread through the district very rapidly. On Saturday morning discharge of arms could be heard-believed to be a signal. A large number of people visited the still-house on Friday and Saturday. The still-house was dismantled on Saturday morning. The gunyah was burnt down. The wagon, loaded with the two stills, coolers and vats together with the casks of whiskey set out for Warrnambool. The four horse wagon or dray, with the horsemen alongside made quite an imposing procession and caused a mild sensation as it approached Warrnambool, where a number of men and boys joined it on the way to the police station.
James Love was lodged in the watchhouse and a warrant for the arrest of Tom Delaney was issued. Poor old Christie. For all his planning and spying over the years, it must have been humiliating for the Celebrated Detective to return without Tom Delaney.
The End Of Delaney's Whiskey
On May 21 1894, Love was charged with having in his possession an unlicensed still. James Love had married Emily Clarke in 1877 and settled initially in Cobden where five children were born, and then in Nirranda where two more were born, in 1892 and 1894. The family was in poor circumstances, a fact to which Christie testified, but the magistrate rejected the plea for leniency on the grounds of the size of his family, their poor circumstances and the fact that Love had no prior conviction and was a "well-educated man". A fine of £250 was imposed, in default 12 months imprisonment in Geelong gaol.
Subsequently, the magistrate issued a summons against Tom Delaney to appear in court on Monday May 28 1894. In the event of his non-appearance on that day, the case would be heard in his absence and the penalty would probably be heavier than it would be otherwise.
The dilemma facing Tom Delaney was to surrender and place himself at the mercy of the Court or to continue to defy authority and remain in hiding. Many of the younger family members urged him to follow the footsteps of Ned Kelly and "go bush". Family history says that the older and wiser heads prevailed. In particular, Tom's brother Pat, the oldest in the family (Tom being the youngest) advised surrender. It was thought that he would otherwise be declared an outlaw and be hunted down like the Kellys. The strain on the family would be too great, especially as Maria, Tom's wife, was pregnant.
And so it came to pass that my father (Pat's son Pat) drove his Uncle Tom into Warrnambool under cover of darkness. At daybreak on Monday May 29 1894, 24 days after his escape, Tom went to the residence of Inspector O'Callaghan, (later to be Chief Commissioner of Police). He knocked on the door, and quietly announced that he wanted to surrender himself "as he had heard that there was a warrant against him". The Inspector "took him to the watchhouse, and the man whose name had been so prominently before the public for several weeks was lodged in safe quarters".
Tom had surrendered to the Inspector of Police and not to Christie, but at the watchhouse, Christie arranged a photograph of himself with Tom and the police and published it in his book with the caption "Reading the Warrant to Tom Delaney".
This remarkably quiet termination of the seizure of the Nirranda still came as a surprise. Many expected "a sensation before Tom Delaney was captured, and it was even asserted that he would resist arrest in the most determined manner. He was portrayed by Christie as a most desperate character, and one who would not hesitate to use firearms". The Warrnambool Standard went on to say that some treated Tom as a hero and an adventurer who had outwitted Christie and the police:
When they found he was a sensible, inoffensive man, who wisely gave himself up to the Police, they were generally disappointed. When Delaney appeared subsequently before the magistrates with a smiling countenance, those who had pictured him as a desperate individual must have altered their opinions. Certainly he is a stout-built man, and one whose broad chest and great muscular development denoted unusual strength. Though expecting a severe penalty, he appeared to regard it with indifference and gave a smile of recognition to several of his friends in the body of the Court.
Tom pleaded guilty and his solicitor Mr O'Mahony admitted Tom had the reputation of being a pioneer whiskey distiller in the district. Tom had asked his solicitor not to say anything about his wife and children, but he thought it only right to mention that they were in distressed circumstances, and he called for leniency.
There are inconsistencies between Christie's evidence in court and the story he gave to the Warrnambool Standard three weeks previously. Then, he said that he was unable to reach Delaney and Love when they turned to escape as the still was in the way, and that Constable James fired a shot after them. The officers followed Delaney and Love within a few feet of them, but Christie was caught across the neck by a projecting branch, and thrown back with some force, sustaining several scratches and bruises. In court, he said he himself had fired a warning shot in the air but when he got a blow from a piece of wood, he fired straight at Delaney (and obviously missed). Why Christie preferred to say he was struck by a piece of wood, without saying by whom, is intriguing. Perhaps he was trying to maintain in the Court that Tom was a desperate, violent character as he had done in the past, or maybe he was trying to excuse his failure to capture the man.
One Law For The Rich, Another For The Poor
The months of effort put in by Christie, the Customs and Police to track down the whiskey still were completely out of proportions to the severity of the law-breaking. Especially when compared with the corrupt Government system which allowed squatters to capture the lands of the Colony in the 1860s and 1870s [see Kiddle] and, in the 1880s, opened the way for speculators, including Government Ministers, to reap huge profits from the development of Melbourne, resulting in huge losses for small investors when the land boom burst [see Cannon].
The Police Magistrate, however, in sentencing James Love, declared whiskey distilling as a most serious offence against the revenue laws of the Colony, carrying as it does the largest penalty mentioned in any statute in Victoria. By their acts, Love and Delaney had defrauded revenue of large sums of money!
What rot! At peak production of 100 gallons a week, duty foregone at 15/- per gallon would be £75! Compare this with the millions of pounds as windfall gains for the squatters and the speculators in Marvellous Melbourne and its suburbs. Clearly the Government had no sympathy for the plight of the small selectors in their entrepreneurial efforts to add value to local products.
The Police Magistrate said that Delaney had been carrying on business for a number of years. As principal, he had been remarkably fortunate in getting free, while his employees and dupes got into trouble. He said that he could not give Tom the option of a fine. As principal in the matter he deserved to be more severely imprisoned than his employees. He would be sentenced to 18 months in Geelong Gaol.
The Government had successfully crushed the local initiative of making good quality whiskey using local resources.* The 20-year attempt by the Delaneys to develop a whiskey industry in the Nirranda district was sadly at an end, but the legend lives on.
In the meantime, the pioneer selectors of Nirranda laid the foundations for succeeding generations to transform the landscape of the district. The remoteness of Nirranda from the principal centres was significantly reduced with the completion of the road from Warrnambool to Nirranda in 1913-reducing travel time from a day to a few hours. Foundation of Pivot Superphosphate Cooperative at Geelong in 1919 and the patenting of the drop spreader in the same year led to increased availability of super and an efficient means of spreading it. Subterranean clover was developed, enabling nitrogen to be trapped and not lost. Gradually the marginal "rabbit-country" of dense scrub and bushland was converted to lush pastures supporting some of the best dairying country in Australia-not unlike the Golden Vale of Tipperary. This is the permanent legacy of the Delaneys-who refused to break in the face of adversity-and the other pioneers of the district.
After the whiskey years, Pat and Tom Delaney continued their hard work of developing the land around Nirranda. John went to the gold diggings in West Australia with Robert Murphy. The Farrells branched out from Garvoc to farm in the Colac district and later in the Terang district. The Tolemans remained at Garvoc and the Murphy family at Nirranda, until they were fairly grown.
Over the next century, Delaneys and the families they married into have continued dairy farming throughout the Western District from Toolong in the west to Beeac in the east, and from Ellerslie in the north to Yuulong in the south.
Maps (Appendix D) show the extent to which Delaneys and their descendants worked the land. They cover first the western district from Colac to Port Fairy and down to the coast and, in more detail, the areas around Nirranda, Lavers Hill, Colac, Camperdown, Terang, Warrnambool and Port Fairy. It can be fairly said that descendants of John and Bridget Delaney have, and still are, contributing substantially to the dairying industry of the State.
The stories of these next generations are told in the remaining chapters of this book. And in the telling, the dramas of producing a "dhrop of local manufacture" have not been forgotten.
Part Four: The Delaney/dunne Descendants
The children of John Delaney and Bridget Dunne were first generation Australians. Born in Ireland or, in the case of Tom, soon after arrival here, we have glimpsed something of their lives in the previous chapter. Now let us see what happened to them in the post-whiskey years, and to their children, 64 of them, who were the first Australian-born of the clan-the second generation Delaneys.
These grandchildren of John and Bridget were born over a 40 year time span, from 1866 to 1908, and the last of them died in 1998. They and their spouses were to add another 235 descendants to the family tree.
The Delaneys had migrated from Ireland seeking land for dairy farming in their new country. They were the first selectors to own land outright in the Parish of Nirranda and can rightly be celebrated as the founding settlers of the district. And their descendants are still there in large numbers. Others of the clan sought their future in other places-Western Australia, England, New Zealand, the Western Otways area of Victoria and the districts of Terang, Mortlake, Camperdown, Colac, Timboon and Warrnambool. Still others were drawn to seek work in the "big smoke"-Melbourne and Geelong-as we shall see in the unfolding stories of the second generation.
An identification system has been adopted to help follow the tree and its branches as a number of duplicate Christian names appear. The original family has been designated: (A) Patrick; (B) Catherine; (C) Margaret; (D) Mary; (E) Ellen; (F) John; (G) Thomas; (H) Margaret Dunne and (J) Anne Dunne. Children of each of these have been numbered in order of birth e.g. Patrick's 13 children are numbered A1 to A13 in order.
A: Patrick Delaney And Ellen Kilmartin
Patrick Delaney, 1842-1908, born in New Hill, Ireland married Ellen Kilmartin, 1842-1919, born in Tipperary, Ireland. Ellen, the daughter of William and Ellen Sheehy, migrated to Australia at the age of 20 years, with her younger sister Johannah, on board the Forest Rights, arriving in June 1863.
Patrick and Ellen married in 1867 in the Catholic Church Warrnambool. Witnesses to the marriage were Father Thomas Slattery, James Farrell-Patrick's brother-in-law, and Anty Harrigan (née Kilmartin)-Ellen's sister. Their first child was born at Woodford, the next two at Allansford, and the remaining ten at Nirranda.
We have read in the previous chapter of the struggle to survive with their large family at Nirranda, including the dramas of the Whiskey Years.
At one stage Patrick and Ellen opened a store in their house at Delaney's Corner. Their daughter, Ellen, told the story that her bedroom was lined with shelves laden with groceries. The years of operation are unknown. It may have been about 1890, as in that year Toleman's store was burned down. But farming was the primary occupation of the clan.
As the family grew, Patrick and his sons (there were eight) were involved in several farms. An example of close family interaction in these enterprises is shown by the history of the 120 acre block on the northeast segment of Delaney's Corner, which was purchased initially by Patrick in 1886. The Shire of Warrnambool Rate Books show the ratepayers from then on were:
1886-92, Patrick (A); 1893-96, William (A3); 1898-99 John (A2) and William and also, late in 1899, Patrick (A4); 1900-02 William (A3) and Patrick (A4); 1903 James (A7), Patrick (A4) and William (A3); 1911-12 Martin (A10), Thomas (A12) and William (A3); 1912-13 Martin (A 10) and Thomas (A12); 1914-15 Martin (A10) and Peter (A13); and 1917 onwards Martin (A10) and after Martin's death his son Kevin. The property is still in the hands of a Delaney: Edward, a grandson of Thomas Delaney and Maria Brumby.
When Patrick died in 1908, his estate was valued at 3,083 pounds. His assets included 34 head of cattle, seven horses, five sows, one buggy, one dray, one wagon, a reaper and binder and two ploughs and harrows. The house had eight rooms, with a detached kitchen, and stables, milk shed and outbuildings. His real estate included the 120 acre block (allotment 75B), mentioned in the previous paragraph. The original selection (allotment 76A) and a property of 316 acres in the Parish of Narrawaturk (held under Sec 54 of the Land Act 1898, by lease dated 1 July 1903), on the Warrnambool to Port Campbell road, completed his real estate. (Patrick in 1902 had also farmed 200 acres owned by Ann Bradley, Allotment 75A). Sons John and William received cash bequests, as also did the first grandchild, Katie Frazer. The other nine children received a portion of land each. The inheritance was split among the children in a remarkably even-handed way regardless of gender or marital status. At that time, only two of the sons were married-in fact the average age of the eight sons at marriage was 37 years, but they and their spouses still produced 48 children between them. Not to be outdone, the three married girls gave birth to 17 children in total.
In her book, Mary O'Callaghan records that:
He (Pat Delaney) kept a good vegetable plot and planted an orchard at the far end of which he grew his "Irish Peach" for Ellen his wife. She was a competent needlewoman, firstly by hand and later by treadle machine. The family did find some time to make their own amusement, gathering for family picnics at Boggy Creek and the mouth of the Curdies River, attending and taking part in ploughing matches and the Nirranda hunt …
It is a wonder that Ellen had any time left for recreation. Bearing nine sons and four daughters in 15 years and rearing them was a major task by itself.
The union of Pat Delaney and Ellen Kilmartin also produced a change in stature of the next generation. The Delaneys tended to be short and thickset. The Kilmartins were known to be long and skinny. It is not surprising that many of Ellen and Pat's children were lanky six-footers or thereabouts contrasting with the "stumpy" Delaneys of the previous generation.
Ellen, Pat's widow was to live on at Delaney's Corner until about 1917 when she, with daughter Ellen, moved to Warrnambool where she died on 10 July 1919. She is buried with her husband Patrick in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave 25-37.
A1: Bridget Delaney
Bridget, 1867-1941, born at Woodford, married Thomas Murnane, 1861-1936, born in Wangoom. Thomas was the son of Thomas Murnane and Catherine Doyle. Tom's father was one of three brothers transported from Limerick, Ireland, in 1836 for assaulting a landlord.
Bridget and Thomas were married at Purnim in 1895. They lived initially at Nirranda where their seven children were born. When Bridget's sister-in-law Josephine (wife of Thomas Delaney (A12)) died in 1918, Bridget and Tom reared the baby, Josephine Delaney. The Murnanes moved to Dennington in their later years. Tom died in 1936. Their granddaughter, Patricia Dobson of Burnie Tasmania, takes up the story:
My grandmother, Bridget Murnane, lived in Denham Street Hawthorn, and we (my policeman father, William James Murnane and his wife Dulcie and family) lived in the next street, 50 O'Connell Street. I remember visiting her with Mum and my siblings. I also remember visiting Grandma at the Kew Hospital, perhaps with Josie Delaney. Grandma died on September 19 1941 and was buried in the Warrnambool cemetery in grave 27-31, with her husband, Tom. I have vague thoughts of Dad coming home from the army for grandma's funeral. (Dad was to return to battle and eventually his death in Borneo, Indonesia, on January 26 1943 and is buried there in Labuan Cemetery.)
Josie Delaney (married to Jack Smith by then and with a daughter Helen) was staying with my mother in March 1951. Mum went in to get Helen to give her the early morning bottle to save Josie having to get up, and found Josie dead in bed, the bed that was mine till I was married in September 1950 and moved to Burnie. It of course was a terrible shock to Mum. Josie was always a very well loved person in our family.
Sometime after that, Mum and the others, Jim, Frank, Joan and John moved to Ringwood to a War Service home that was built for them. Frank and Joan were there with Mum till she died in 1973.
Joan later moved out and Frank sold the house, which was demolished and is now part of Target's car park. Frank moved to North Ringwood. Sad to say, he died tragically in Upper Fern Tree Gully in February 1986. Frank was always very conscious of his height (or lack of it). We have a document about Thomas Murnane, who was 5ft ½in tall, and Frank was about the same. (Thomas was the father-in-law of my grandma Bridget and one of the three Murnane brothers transported from Ireland.)
We have been in Burnie for 51 years and when we all get together there are 15 of us.
A2: John Delaney
John, 1868-1941, born in Allansford, married Ann Catherine Cuolahan (1872-1961) born in Panmure, daughter of Michael Cuolahan and Margaret Ryan. The surname evolved to Coolahan in later years.
John and Ann were married in 1901. They lived in the Nirranda area initially (in 1900 leasing Mary Duck's house and 250 acres-allotments 70A and B1). Their first two children were born in Allansford and Laang respectively.
In 1897 or 1898, John selected land in the Western Otways, about 70 kilometres from Nirranda. In the next three years, he set about improving the block (Allotment 27 of 278 acres in the Parish of Barwongamoong) as required by the Lands Department. During this period Ann remained at Nirranda, with John sharing his time between home and Lavers Hill.
The records show that by 1901 he had undertaken fencing, cut scrub on 70 acres and sown down to grass, "rung" another 50 acres, planted half an acre of fruit trees, and built a two room dwelling. The total value added to the block was estimated to be 380 pounds. Then on 7 February 1901 all the improvements were destroyed by bushfire. He was given a bushfire loan of 20 pounds. On February 27 1901 he applied for lease of his selection of 278 acres. This was eventually given.
On May 6 1902, he applied to divide his selection into two parcels, with 128 acres to be taken up by his brother William (A3) who had helped John in "putting on improvements". After much correspondence and rising frustration, the lease for the smaller parcel was transferred to William on May 23 1903.
The Delaney land abutted the Great Ocean Road on the north and the east, and what is now Melba Gully State Park on the south. A farm was developed out of the tall forest and fern gullies. With the construction of the Colac-Beech Forest railway (2'6" gauge), milling of first class timber flourished as an industry and farmers felled trees for the saw millers. (The railway was extended in 1912 from Beech Forest past the Delaney's land-the terminus was called Crowes after the adjacent farmer.) There was a community cheese factory at Laver's Hill-later to become a creamery as farmers acquired separators to separate cream from the milk. John Delaney was one of these farmers.
Settlements were dispersed through the ranges and 23 schools were opened to provide for the education of the children of the farmers, timber cutters, road makers, sawmill workers, railway workers and so on. Rainfall in the district is the highest in Victoria-averaging 1,900 millimetres (75") per annum at Weeaproinah-and some years it snowed. Corduroy roads were built-logs laid side by side-to enable carts to travel over the difficult terrain.
John and Ann had five more children in the Otways, all born in Beech Forest. They attended Lavers Hill State School. The school opened in 1906 or 1907 in one room of the cheese factory residence. A new school was built in 1910, and the Delaneys, Crowes and the other families transferred there. About 1914 or so John bought a farm at Coroorooke, on the banks of Lake Colac. The flat volcanic plains there contrasted with the rugged Otway Ranges. He continued to lease at Lavers Hill (sub-leasing to a local farmer) and finally was granted the freehold there on 21 December 1934.
John and Ann and their family quickly became part of their new community, which was much more densely settled than the Otways. St Brendan's Coroorooke was the local church and school, and there was a high proportion of Irish through the neighbouring districts. Card games and dances, sports and athletic events, horseracing, football and cricket provided the entertainment. Their last child, Monica was born in 1917 in Colac.
John had first cousins close by-the Farrells and O'Connors-and Annie also had relatives in the Colac district. The local cream and butter factory at Coragulac became a centre where farmers shared news and views as they delivered their milk daily. The road to the farm eventually became known as Delaney's Road.
John died there in 1941, aged 73, and Ann lived on the farm with her bachelor sons, Mick and Bill, until she died in 1961, aged 89 years.
A3: William Delaney
William, 1870-1947, born in Allansford, married Catherine Quinn, 1880-1939. Catherine was the daughter of Stephen Quinn and Hannah Frazer. William, known as Bill, and Catherine, known as Kate, were married in 1912.
As we have seen above, Bill had farmed with his brothers in Nirranda and had also leased the 250 acres from Mary Duck jointly with John, in 1900, and with Patrick Jnr in 1901-02. He then took out the leasehold of 122 acres in the Otways-Allotment 27A, Parish of Barwongemoong, adjacent to his brother John-on 23 May 1903. There he would have worked as a timber cutter and farmer. About 1913, they sold the lease and moved back to Nirranda and in 1914-15 leased a farm of 160 acres from Thomas Duck (allotment 70). They next moved to Purnim, leasing a farm of 95 acres from Mr McGuiness not far from the general store. Their two children, Mary and young Bill, went to school there. They lost the farm in the early 1930s due to the Great Depression. Bill gave the remaining cows to his son Bill and they moved firstly to Cassidy's Bridge and then to the old Half Way Hotel farm on the Bushfield Road, three miles from Warrnambool and close to brother Pat. It was there that young Bill met and later married Mary (Nellie) Smith, a neighbouring farmer's daughter.
Bill and Nellie's first farm was at Cundare North, not far from their relations, the Bergins. They sold that and farmed properties at Gnotuk and Bostock's Creek before settling at Weerite near Camperdown. Bill and Nellie's sons now have farms at Chocolyn, just north of Camperdown.
Olive McKenzie, a granddaughter, and daughter of Mary Delaney, recalls:
My Mother worked at Stella Maris Café in Liebig Street Warrnambool on the site now occupied by Mario's Fruit Shop. On her days off she would walk home (at the Half Way Farm) to help her mother with the housework as she was an invalid. Grandmother Catherine Delaney died in January 1939 aged 58. After a time, due to ill health, Grandfather Delaney came to live with my mother and family in Hotham Street Warrnambool.
Bill died in 1947. He and Kate are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 49-30.
A4: Patrick Delaney
Patrick, 1871-1952, born in Nirranda, married Margaret Ryan, 1881-1953, born in adjacent Nullawarre. Margaret was the daughter of Patrick Ryan and Ellen O'Donnell on 16 August 1911. Margaret's father Patrick had been born at Tower Hill in 1854 to a recently arrived couple from Kilkenny Walter Ryan and Margaret Ryan. Walter farmed at Allandale near Allansford but in December 1864 was tragically drowned in the Hopkins River, leaving Margaret widowed with five young children. Pat and Margaret were married in St Joseph's Church Warrnambool in 1911. Margaret's occcupation on the marriage certificate is given as "lady".
After the capture of the final whiskey still in 1894, Pat continued to work on the farms in Nirranda. It appears that he took over Uncle John Delaney's 52½ acres in 1895, when John had gone to Western Australia. A few years later, Pat and one of his younger brothers, James (A7), decided to head to Western Australia also. They worked on the wharves in Melbourne to earn their fares to Perth. There they got a contract with a squatter to fence his station beyond Narrogin, 100 miles east of Perth. Each fortnight, the squatter would deliver food, supplies and materials to the Delaneys. Salt pork became a staple diet with fresh damper. Aboriginal groups would often visit Pat and Jim, asking for tobacco.
Before the contract was complete, Jim fell seriously ill with abdominal pains. Pat rode by horseback with him back to Perth. By the time they reached Perth Hospital, Jim's appendix had burst and he contracted septicaemia. Jim remained in hospital for three months before he was fit enough to be discharged. In the meantime, Pat worked on the tramways.
They decided to return to Victoria in 1899. Late in that year, the Warrnambool Shire Rate Books show that he shared a farm with his brothers John and William at Delaney's Corner. At one stage Pat also worked for Dawsons at Shipley on the Hopkins River near Warrnambool. In the early 1900s, Pat selected a block of land, allotment number 68 of 198 acres in the Parish of Weeaproinah, some 10 miles from John's selection. He set about clearing a space for a dwelling and felling timber for the burgeoning sawmill industry. The miller's name was Kincaid and when the narrow gauge railway was extended towards Laver's Hill, Kincaid Siding was established, near the access road to Pat's place. The road was known as Delaney's Track.
Life in the "forest" was primitive but the Beech Forest pub was a welcoming watering hole. The local priest was concerned about the excessive drinking of the local Irish Catholic lads and he prevailed on Pat to take the pledge and not to drink for 12 months. He kept the pledge but at the end of it went on a spree for a week! After that, Pat became an occasional and moderate drinker, except on occasions.
One day, Pat sliced his leg open with an axe. He bound it up, but after some days the pain was unbearable. He was taken to Colac Hospital. When the doctor uncovered the wound, he found it teeming with maggots. Their efforts had ensured that the wound was clean and Pat's leg recovered. But he was unable to resume fully the development of his property and he returned to Nirranda. He retained ownership of the block.
Marrying in 1911, Pat and his wife Margaret Ryan owned a dairy farm near Delaney's Corner-Allotment 61-and the first five of their seven children were born there. The Nirranda country was poor though, and the desirability of getting a Catholic education for the children became important. So, in 1920 they bought a farm of 173 acres near Bushfield, four miles from Warrnambool in the Parish of Wangoom. There was a Catholic Church and school at Woodford, three miles away. A friend of Pat's, Thomas Duck, had moved to Woodford-Mailor's Flat some years previously-this move may have influenced Pat and Margaret in their choice. The Grassmere Butter Factory was close by where cream was delivered, and the skim milk was used to rear pigs. In 1927, Pat was able to supply whole milk to Nestle's at Dennington, as that company had extended their system of collecting whole milk from depots located near suppliers' farms. There was to be no more separation of cream and skimmed milk and therefore no need to keep pigs.
Pat had kept the block in the Otways. After moving to Bushfield, he transported blackwood timber from his dwelling in the Otways to build stables and a shed on the Bushfield farm. In the early 30s, the Otways block was acquired by the State to be part of a water catchment (Arkin's Creek), which was soon to be the source of water supply for Warrnambool.
Pat had had a varied and interesting life, based on hard work. He was a stern father, and there were many stories of conflict between him and the children as they grew to be young adults, with my mother trying to keep the peace.
For example, their three daughters wanted to get jobs in nearby Warrnambool, but he refused-no daughter of his would ever need to seek employment outside the home. Social engagements, mainly dancing, were restricted mostly to Catholic socials and balls (except the Palais de Danse on Satuday night, occasionally). On New Year's Day we always went to the beach at Warrnambool but one year Father insisted that the whole family go to the Boggy Creek Sports at Nirranda. There we could meet all the relations (like a small reunion). No amount of protesting could change his mind and the girls missed out again on an opportunity to meet the local lads and lasses.
The rosary always was said as a family, when my father was ready. Often this made the girls late for their dances-yet another cause for friction.
Along with many other Delaneys, Pat had a quick and explosive temper when things went wrong-in stark contrast to his patient wife-but he also calmed down quickly. One morning, after his newly married daughter-in-law, Mary Madden, came to live at Bushfield, she cooked him the standard fare of chops for breakfast. He turned the chops over and shouted, "These chops aren't cooked". Mary bounced back, "Well you can bloody well cook them yourself from now on". That was the last time he complained about Mary's cooking-they developed a mutual respect for each other.
In his later years, he mellowed substantially. As the youngest child by four years, I enjoyed a different side. In the late winter afternoons he would light up the wood fire, as I was doing homework by the light of a kerosene lamp. Then he would start: "Mind the time I was down in the forest and …" I knew then we were in for a night of it, as he recalled stories and incidents from his long life.
In 1948, he and Mother moved to 179 Kepler Street Warrnambool and his eldest son, Pat, took on the farm. Daughter, Eileen, married to Jack Hurley, also moved with their family into Kepler Street to look after her ailing parents. I was lucky enough to get my own bungalow in the backyard. In town water was laid on water from his beloved Otways catchment which incorporated his selection at Weeaproinah. He developed a thriving vegetable garden, which was well received-at that stage there were five married children and 22 grandchildren ready to eat the produce.
For the first time in his life he was within walking distance of a church, and so he went to weekday mass from time to time as well as the obligatory Sunday Mass.
He died in Warrnambool on August 12 1952 aged 81 years. The next year his wife (my mother) Margaret died aged 72 years. They are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 11-29A. At this time Pat and Margaret have 180 direct descendants.
The older Delaney children started at school in Nirranda. When the family moved to Bushfield, all the children were sent to St Mary's Catholic School at Woodford walking three miles across the paddocks to Bushfield and down the road to Woodford. During the Depression, men breaking stones on the roadside were a constant sight as the road was gradually repaired.
The eldest daughter Vera married Matt Roache from Fala Park and their first farm was at Toolong, north of Port Fairy. After their sixth child they bought a farm at Bostock's Creek, south of Camperdown. Vera and Matt became ill, so they sold up and moved into Camperdown. They then bought Pencoed, a property on the edge of the Warrnambool racecourse, where they farmed for some years before selling up and retiring into Warrnambool. One of their daughters, Kathleen, served for 30 years as a nun in the Sisters of Nazareth-training as a nurse in London and working in Ballarat, Geraldton and Christchurch, NZ.
Eileen married Jack Hurley from Grassmere, when Jack was in the army. After the war, Jack worked at the Grassmere Butter Factory, where he stayed until his retirement. They lived firstly in Bushfield and then Warrnambool, caring for Eileen's parents, and later moving to 13 Botanic Road Warrnambool, where widowed Jack is still living. They had four daughters.
Margaret married Geoff Kelly from Purnim, a cousin of the Ellerslie Delaneys on the Kenna side. They farmed at Wangoom, then at Purnim West and finally at Purnim, adjacent to Kelly's home place, Bracken Brae. They retired into Warrnambool. Magaret and Geoff had a family of nine.
Pat married Mary Madden from Illowa. Pat was in the army during the war, serving mainly in Western Australia. Pat and Mary continued farming the home place at Bushfield, where their three sons were reared. They sold in the 1970s and retired to Warrnambool.
Dan did not marry. He had health problems from his teen years, and was diagnosed schizophrenic. Treatment at that time proved ineffectual and he was admitted to Ballarat Lakeside Hospital. There he resided for 34 years until his death in 1980. He is buried in Warrnambool Cemetery with his mother and father.
Jack married Mary Lee from Wangoom. He left the farm at Bushfield, and worked in the milk industry for over 40 years. During that time he drove milk tankers collecting whole milk from district farms. Jack was very proud of all his family, but followed son Peter's jockey career with special interest. Peter was a successful steeplechase jockey and captained the Australian jumps jockey team in Ireland and England. The team also included Nick Harnett, Daryl Cannon and Harry Green. He won his first race in Ireland, at Navan, beating the cream of Irish jumps jockeys. As the report in the Melbourne Herald of 22 November 1986 said:
Peter Delaney has never been so cold, his fingers never as numb as they were at Navan on Saturday … The thrill of winning the first race in the … International Challenge between Australia and Ireland and the honored treatment he received afterwards more than made up for the few minutes of discomfort … Delaney is a quiet shy man of 28 and until this week the furthest his considerable riding skills had taken him was Tasmania. Lads from the Western District just don't expect to ever have the chance to travel across the globe and win races against some of the best horsemen in the world.
Peter's wife Wendy and daughter Natoli continue the family interest in horses, both riding with the Boggy Creek Hunt Club.
I was the youngest by four years, benefited from improving financial conditions and was able to continue on at school with the Christian Brothers in Warrnambool and Ballarat. I worked for the Country Roads Board Warrnambool in the soils laboratory, playing football for Wangoom and South Rovers. In 1951, I helped found the YCW Football Club (later called the Old Collegians Football Club) in the Warrnambool District Football League.
A Free Place to study civil engineering at Melbourne University in 1951 and a Sidney Myer Scholarship to study highway and traffic engineering at Yale University in 1956 were great opportunities.
Joan Gilfedder and I married in 1955. Joan gave birth to our first child Paul at Yale, in New Haven Connecticut, in 1957. We had four more children, one of whom died in infancy. I worked for the next 30 years in Melbourne as an engineer and director in State and Commonwealth agencies. After retirement as a Director of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, I did a theology course at Yarra Theological Union. From 1986 there followed 15 years as Chairman of the respective Boards of Governance of Mercy Hospitals and other health care facilities located in East Melbourne, Geelong, Colac, Sunshine, Werribee, Bendigo, Greensborough, Canterbury and Kilsyth. One of my first public tasks as President of the Board of Mercy Maternity Hospital was to host Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Hospital in 1986.
I was fortunate to serve as a Senator of the Australian Catholic University for four years and a member of the Victorian Historic Buildings Council for nine years. In 2001, I was awarded an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) and feel that our pioneering families can take much credit for this honour.
A5: Ellen Delaney
Ellen, 1872-1966, born in Nirranda, died in Hamilton. She did not marry, but spent much of her life caring for others. She lived at home with her parents and looked after them in their old age. She was also kept busy with her relatives and their families-especially when tragic events occurred. For example, the death of her aunty, Mary Murphy (née Delaney), the widowhood of Mary Frazer (née Delaney) and the death of her sister-in-law Josephine Delaney, spouse of Thomas Delaney (A12), with her fourth child in 1917.
Ellen and her widowed mother moved to Warrnambool where her mother died in 1919. Ellen then had an extraordinary career change at the age of 48. She decided to try her luck in the city, presumably encouraged by her Aunt Eliza who had moved from Ballarat to Melbourne in 1912. In the 1920s she opened a rooming house at 214 Drummond Street, Carlton. Ellen used to recount that she knew nothing of the facts of life and the ways of the world, especially of the crowded inner city. One time she was thrown down the stairs and broke her arm. But she quickly learned to control her unruly boarders and to make a success of her venture. She kept in touch with her Western District relatives and Drummond Street became a Melbourne home for many of them on their (rare) visits to the city.
Ellen was a parishioner of St George's Catholic Church, Carlton and was often called upon to be godmother to children at baptism. In her 60s she moved back to Warrnambool, staying with her brothers and sisters. She finally went to stay with her niece, Catherine (Frazer) Rowe-Gilding in Hamilton, whom she had looked after as a baby when her father John Frazer died. She died there on 25 September 1966, aged 94 years, and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery with her sister-in-law Mary Jane (Kenna) Delaney in grave number 44-25.
A6: Mary Catherine Delaney
Mary Catherine, 1873-1928, born in Nirranda, married John Joseph Frazer, 1868-190? born in Tower Hill, a twin child of Thomas Frazer and Catherine Cott from Yangery-Tower Hill.
Mary Delaney and John Frazer married in 1895 and had three children, all born in Warrnambool. Sadly their first two children died in infancy and then Mary was widowed in the early 1900s. In 1907 Mary married Irishman Richard Alpine Lyons, 1872-1927. Mary and Richard had four children. They lived initially at Tower Hill and then Kirkstall. Mary died in 1928 and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery.
A7: James Patrick Delaney
James Patrick, 1875-1914, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Mary Jane Kenna, 1873-1961, born in Ballangeich Victoria, daughter of Cornelius Kenna and Margaret Nisdale.
James and Mary Jane married at St Colman's Church, Mortlake in 1906. They probably met through a common connection in the Otways-land records show that in 1901 Cornelius Kenna inherited from his father, James Kenna, Allotment 17 in the Parish of Barwongemoong in the Otways, about the same time as the Delaney brothers were selecting land there. Cornelius was living at Ballangeich on a farm of 351 acres at that time.
As mentioned previously James had travelled to Western Australia with his brother Pat (A4), where he took seriously ill. On returning to Victoria, he worked with his brothers in Nirranda and in the Otway Forest where four of his brothers had selected land. After he married Mary Jane, they were farming in the Otways. There is no record of where they farmed in the forest but an anecdote in a souvenir booklet Otway Schools in Retrospect 1890-1973 may give some clue. The story goes:
At Wyelangta, local lads had whitewashed Ma Delaney's black cow. Poor old Bill Whelan, whose job it was to milk the cow was nearly blind, and when he went to put the animal in the bail, came back with the story that she was not in the paddock. Harry Thomas and "Bluey" Loran, we're told, had got hold of a bucket of whitewash and a large brush and converted the cow from a dark Jersey to a Friesian. In the persistent Otways fog, Bill simply could not see her in her new colours.
Is it possible that "Ma Delaney" was Mary Jane and that she and Jim lived at Wyelangta?
Their first two children were born in Colac, but James's bad health continued as he contracted TB. On medical advice they moved to Wagga for the climate, but returned to the Kenna farm at Ballangeich. They had four sons in four years, but James again took seriously ill and died in 1914 at the age of 39-ten days before their youngest son, Joseph James (Jim) was born. He lies in the Warrnambool Cemetery with his father and mother in grave 37-25.
Mary Jane was left to face the formidable task of raising their four sons. In the first instance, she leased a farm at Framlingham. Shortly afterwards, Wollongoon Station was being opened up for selection. The family story is that Mary Jane, as a single woman was not able to apply and so the selection was made in the name of her brother, Kilby Kenna. She established a farm there at Ellerslie and the nearby road is now known as Delaney's Lane. The boys went to Ballangeich and later Ellerslie schools, and milked cows before and after school. Milk had to be delivered to the Mortlake factory depot on the main road.
All the boys married. Leo built a new house and farm adjacent to the old place, and he and Betty raised seven children there. Their oldest child, Helen, became a Mercy nun and later in her career became the first Australian woman to be awarded a Doctor of Canon Law (from Ottawa University). Helen was elected Congregational leader of the Mercy Order in Victoria-Tasmania in the 1990s and in the early 2000s was elected Chairperson of Catholic Health Australia.
Mick and his wife, Emily, who was matron of the Mortlake Hospital, took over the home place and raised seven children also. Emily lobbied successfully for the creation of a Baby Health Centre in Mortlake.
Jim and Jean had six children and lived in Mortlake. Jim was a road and cartage contractor for the district. Jim's son Vern was in the motor industry in Mortlake and Warrnambool. A talented singer, he participates in choirs and has been involved in many community events. Currently he is Victorian Senior Vice President and State delegate of the National Servicemen's Association and a director of the Hampden Football and Netball League.
Con and Bridget also had six children and were hotel-keepers in many places, most notably Ararat and Lake Bolac.
The boys were good sportsmen but Con was outstanding. As a teenager, one year he won all events at the Nirranda Sports-cycling, running and jumping and even the sheaf tossing event.
In the early 30s, Con joined the Warrnambool Professional Cycling Club. His most notable performance was in the Centenary Bike Race of 1,000 miles around Victoria. The field included Hubert Opperman, Fatty Lamb, Nino Borsari and many other famous riders from overseas. John Beasley (husband of Maria Delaney) also participated, at the age of 44.
Con finished tenth on handicap after the seven-day race-a remarkable performance. Opperman failed to finish a bike race for the first time in 11 years. So tough were the conditions that Oppy broke down and sobbed after he fell coming down Mount Buffalo. Borsari, Italian gold medallist at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, also did not finish, claiming that he had never seen such difficult roads in cycle races in Europe. The Belgian rider, Mithouard, described the event as a suicidal race. He was amazed that the race was held over such shocking roads and claimed the police should have stepped in and stopped the race.
In all these circumstances, Con's effort as an inexperienced young country rider was outstanding. Con switched soon afterwards to professional foot running, winning the Grampians Two Mile Stakes at Stawell in 1939 and coming third in the same event after the war. He also played football for Ellerslie and Mortlake, alongside his brothers Leo and Mick.
Mary Jane died in Ellerslie on August 25 1961 aged 88 years, a widow of 47 years. She is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 44-25.
A8: Thomas Delaney
Thomas, 1876 - 1877, born on October 27 1876 in Nirranda, died as a result of dysentery at the age of 7 months on May 19 1877 in Nirranda. He is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery with his great uncle and great aunt, Thomas and Ann Delaney, in grave 16-25.
A9: Johanna Delaney
Johannah, 1877-1964, born in Nirranda, married Frederick James Phillips, 1883-1959, born in Penshurst, son of George Phillips and Jessie Kerr.
The following profile has been prepared following conversations with her son Jack and son-in-law Les O'Callaghan.
Johannah attended school at Nirranda, afterwards living at home and being handy in the kitchen and helping on the farm. There was no place for idle hands because there was a family of twelve (the first baby Thomas having died in infancy) to which to attend. As well there was always the arrival of more children in the various families which needed care and attention or, in times of sorrow, help had to be given.
However she participated in the social life of Nirranda, attending the often-occurring dances and balls and was reputed to be a competent horsewoman able to handle both the saddle and the buggy reins.
At age 37 years in 1915, Johannah married Fred Phillips. They moved to the much needed occupation of the day, that of sharefarming, and spent some time on James Anderson's farm at Allan's Forest in Mepunga. They lived in various houses in the district and Fred worked for a Mr Devenish, who had the general store at Allansford. They came to Warrnambool where they bought a little grocery store in Lava Street. This venture was not very profitable and in 1923 they moved to the house in Redford Street, which was to be their residence for the rest of their lives.
Fred took up work in the town obtaining seasonal employment at Nestles. However with the onset of the Depression, he went wood cutting at Naringal rather than accepting the dole. Johannah helped the family by doing domestic work, notably for the nuns at St Ann's. Eventually Fred began work at Younger's Department Store until he retired at 72.
Their Redford Street home was a gathering place for relatives from both sides, Delaneys from Bushfield, Ellerslie and Nirranda, Murnanes from Dennington, Lyons from Kirkstall, Farrells from Terang, various Tolemans, Slatterys and Morgans, and Bonnetts from Mepunga. All called in from time to time but notably at Warrnambool Show time. Due to these visits Johannah was able to keep up with the news from all branches of the family.
Fred and Johannah had four children. As was the custom, each was born in a private hospital in Warrnambool, for example, Mary at Nurse Thompson's in Raglan Parade and Jack at St Ingpen's in Banyan Street. (Jack was to spend the first 12 months of his life in St Ingpen's before he was well enough to be taken home.)
Eldest child, Mary (O'Callaghan), developed an abiding interest in family and local history, no doubt fueled by the stories told and retold by her parents. Her investigatons and research, assisted by husband Les, led to the publication of A Long Way from Tipperary launched at the 1983 Delaney Family Reunion.
Only son Jack remembers vividly visits to the Delaneys at Ellerslie. "Mick made a man of me-he taught me to stand up for myself. One memorable occasion was a fight with Kevin Kenna."
When Margaret (Burris) Delaney, wife of Peter (A13), died leaving ten children, Johannah travelled to Millicent and stayed for several months looking after the family. Again, when Peter moved to South Morang, Johannah spent some time with him and the boys.
Throughout her life Johannah took her religion seriously and participated in the social events at St Joseph's, notably the Sunday night cards. However, poor health in her later years kept her confined to her home and she died in her 87th year. Fred had predeceased her five years before. Both are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery.
A10: Martin Delaney
Martin, 1879-1951, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Mary Ellen Couch, 1893-1976, born in Nullawarre Victoria. Mary Ellen was the eldest daughter of William Henry Couch and Mary Ann Ryan. She was a sister of Margaret Couch who married Martin's cousin, John Delaney (G4), and a second cousin of Margaret Ryan, who married Martin's brother, Pat.
Martin had worked in the district and on family farms and from 1911 operated the 120 acre block, at Delaney's Corner opposite the original Delaney selections, jointly with two and then one of his brothers.
After Martin and Mary Ellen married in 1917, Martin became the sole ratepayer for the farm. Mary Ellen's father had promised to build a house on the block, but before he got organised, Martin's brother Pat (presumably after consulting Martin-but not Mary Ellen) bought a four-roomed house and had it moved to the block. There had been a major breakdown in communications-Mary Ellen was mightily miffed at being denied a new house. It was a long time before cordial relations were re-established.
The house was extended over the years as the family grew in numbers, first a skillion kitchen then a family room and a bungalow out the back for the boys.
Martin and Mary Ellen had nine children. So numerous were the sons of Delaney descendants in the district that at one period 15 Delaneys or Delaney cousins trained for the Nirranda South Football Club. In one match against Wangoom in 1946, eleven Delaneys played for Nirranda South and two Delaney cousins for Wangoom.
Tragedy struck in 1967 when the eldest son, John, his wife Mary and the youngest of their five children, Margaret Ellen, were killed in a head-on car crash at Nirranda South, near their farm. Their daughter, Denise Murrell, now lives on the farm.
Catherine (Katie) did not marry. She had 43 nephews and neices to keep an eye on and was a great help in the raising of the children of John and Mary after their fatal accident.
John Caulfield (son of Eileen Delaney and Jack Caulfield) writes:
Eileen Annie Delaney grew up on the Delaney's Corner farm. She was a beautiful young girl who was good at all sports she tackled. Jack Caulfield met Martin Delaney (Marty), Eileen's brother, in the army and they became good mates. When they got out of the army Martin introduced Eileen to Jack and so began a great union, which was to produce eight children. They share-farmed around Nullawarre till 1959 (Wallace's and Heatley's farms) and then one year at Grassmere on Jones's place. Eileen and Jack then shifted to the outskirts of Geelong in 1960 to manage the farm at St Augustine's orphanage till 1966. They shifted to Waurn Ponds and Jack worked shiftwork in Geelong and then in 1968 moved to 23 Mernda Pde, Belmont (still the family home).
Eileen died suddenly in 1996 just short of age 75 and 50 years of marriage. Jack still resides at Mernda Pde with two bachelor sons. All the family reside within the southern suburbs of Geelong with Mary at Bellbrae. There are 17 grandchildren and now seven great grandchildren.
Jack at age 82 still enjoys a punt and following the Cats-Geelong Football Club-and still helps out with St Vincent de Paul and St Bernards Parish Belmont.
The Caulfield brothers-John, Kevin, Brian, Dennis and Peter-seem to have a record that is presently unchallenged. They've now played over 1,300 games of cricket between them. Their home club being East Belmont Cricket Club formerly St Bernards Cricket Club. Peter once played against the West Indies and made 69 even though he was a bowling all rounder. Some of the younger Caulfields are now making a name themselves.
As well as John, Martin, Mick and Kevin Delaney married and farmed close to Delaney's Corner. Kevin took over the home place, Martin bought a farm on McNiff's Road and Mick bought one in Goonan's Road. William went to Melbourne and married Peg Smith. Tragically, Peg was killed in a car accident in 1981.
Loretta married Les Finck in Warrnambool. They moved to Melbourne and lived at Springvale where they reared six children.
Martin died on November 21 1951, and Mary Ellen in 1976. They are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 12-30A.
A11: Denis Patrick Delaney
Denis Patrick, 1881-1927, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Mary Ann Josephine Gately, 1880-1953, born in Balranald NSW, daughter of Michael Gateley and Ann Guyning. Mary's parents were born in Ireland and married in Terang.
Denis was the fourth Delaney brother to select land in the Otways-allotment 67B of 200 acres in the Parish of Weeaproinah, adjoining his brother Pat's block. He did not build a separate house but resided with Pat, and at other times with brother John at Crowes, five miles away. In a letter to the Premier of Victoria on April 1 1909, he explained that he had lost his health in the forest and had to put in nine weeks in Kew Asylum. By 1910 improvements on the block included fencing and "60 acres rung, scrubbed, picked up and sown to grass".
The story goes that Denis and Mary met when she was visiting her cousins, the Hickeys, in Nirranda-the same Hickeys who had jilted Thomas Delaney 25 years before. (Mrs Cornelius Hickey was a Guyning.) Denis and Mary were married in Newtown NSW in 1910, and their first child, Annie was born in Paddington NSW.
Denis and his wife Mary farmed at Yangery-Woodford, renting 104 acres from a Mr Fogarty in 1911-12, and in 1913 a farm of 171 acres at Mailor's Flat owned by a Mr Cust. Denis became very ill with a condition which may have been treated successfully today as schizophrenia. Denis was in and out of institutions and his wife was in dire circumstances. She went back to New South Wales where her mother and relatives helped her with the four young girls (the youngest child was born at West Wyalong in 1916). Mary relocated from Wyalong to Artarmon, North Sydney, probably in the 20s. She was a seamstress, but at one stage ran a kiosk at Sydney Central Railway Station.
Marlene Beck recalls that her mother, the youngest daughter Vera, was a pastrycook. She would walk five miles from the Delaney home in Artarmon to get the ferry from Milson's Point to Circular Quay in time to begin work in Martin Place in the City at 5am. Vera was a good organiser and by the time of her marriage to Charles Anderson in 1941 she was managing four shops. Vera and Charlie led a very busy life. They were to have eight children. Charlie was heavily involved in the defeat of the communists in the construction unions. He became Secretary of the NSW Labor Party. Bruce Duncan, in his book Crusade or Conspiracy? Catholics and the Anti-Communist Struggle in Australia (2001), found that Charlie had played a crucial role in preventing a split in the NSW Labor Party in 1954. He had defeated the communists in the unions but was fed up with the attempt by the Santamaria movement to extend its control over the Federal ALP. He resigned his position as Secretary and withdrew completely from politics to spend more time with his growing family.
Mary Agnes (Mollie), the third daughter of Denis and Mary Delaney, married Harry Galley in 1940. Their daughter Margaret remembers:
I remember my mother coming into my room one morning, when I was about 8 years old, to tell me that her mother (Mary) had died. She was crying. I did not have very much contact with my grandmother but I felt sad because my mother was sad. I was always curious about my grandfather Denis Delaney. Mum did not speak of her father and when I asked about him she said that he had died. He remained a mystery to all of us until we finally made contact with his family in 1978.
My mother had a close relationship with all of her sisters but particularly with Vera her younger sister. By way of describing the closeness my brother Desmond related this story that was shared between the Anderson (Vera's) and Galley (Mollie's) households. Vera, Charlie, Harry and Mollie were not averse to having the occasional bet with a local SP bookie. Apparently the story goes that they started to accrue a debt to this local SP bookie and discussed a way of paying it off. Vera, Mollie, Charlie and Harry decided they would bet whatever spare money that they had on a particular horse that was racing that day. Charlie and Harry would be charged with the responsibility of putting the bet on and off they went to the track. Vera and Mollie waited at home with the children listening to the wireless, and were ecstatic when they heard their horse win. Apparently the odds were very good and they knew with such a win that all their troubles were over.
Unbeknown to Vera and Mollie, Charlie and Harry had met an old friend out at the track. This friend told them the surest bet of the day. They in their wisdom decided to place all of the money they had on the tip that they had received at the track, believing it to be a better bet. This "sure thing" did not win. You can only imagine what wailing and gnashing of teeth occurred when Charlie and Harry finally returned home with the news of their changed plans and their loss.
The Delaney sisters met regularly in the city for lunch. When we were with them we wondered how they managed to hear what each other was saying because more often than not there would be more than one sister speaking at the same time. It was bedlam.
During the school holidays one of our favourite outings was heading into the city and having lunch at Hyde Park with all of our aunties and cousins. We had fun chasing the pigeons, while some of the more daring cousins went swimming in the Archibald Fountain.
Other memories of my childhood of our extended family included our weekly visits to our cousins home in Crow's Nest to watch the Sunday movie on TV. It was the home of Vera and Charlie Anderson. My father was an employee of Charlie's for a period of time so we had a lot of contact with them. We occasionally had picnics down at Lane Cove National Park with all of the extended family. We also had many a trip to Curl Curl beach on the back of the Anderson truck.
My mum was terribly upset at Vera's sudden premature death. Vera was only 58 years old when she died. Vera was so lively, full of life and had a wonderful sense of humour. My mum loved being with Vera and laughed a lot about all the antics that Vera got up to.
My mum then had to cope with the sudden death of Harry her husband. I don't have much memory of my mum expressing her feelings much. She was a person who just seemed to accept whatever happened and went on with her life.
My mum went on a Queensland holiday, with her sister Annie and her husband Baden Arkell, after Harry's death. Mum would get Annie to make clothes for her.
Annie, who was the eldest sister, died some years later and my mum was also very sad. Annie was the dressmaker of the family. She obviously followed in her own mother's footsteps.
Nellie was then mum's only surviving sister and my mum took every opportunity to spend time with her. Nellie moved up to Katoomba so this was also an opportunity for my mum to have little holidays away from her own home. When Nellie died my mum was the only surviving Delaney girl and she felt real sad. She missed her sisters. She died after a brief illness, heart related, on 10 May 1987 on Mother's Day.
Denis died in Sunbury hospital on October 14 1927. The inquest states that he had been visited by a priest the day before he died. He is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 32-31.
The Western District Delaneys had lost contact with Mary Delaney and her girls. Mary died on October 22 1953 in North Sydney. When the Delaney Reunion was being planned in 1978, an advertisement was placed in the Sydney Catholic Weekly seeking information about the families. Within a week the organisers received replies from three of the four girls and a daughter of the fourth girl who had died five years previously. They all came down from Sydney to the reunion and were able to meet one thousand of their relatives for the first time.
A12: Thomas Delaney
Thomas Delaney, 1882-1937, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Josephine Flood, 1890-1918, born in Ballarat Victoria daughter of Mary Catherine Flood. Josephine's father's name was not recorded on her death certificate. A George Flood had signed the 1874 land petition but no relationship has been established.
Tom and Josephine married in 1911. They were to work on the family farms and eventually took over part of the original allotment 76A and lived there. They had four children in six years but Josephine died when her last child, Josephine was born in 1917. She was only 28 years old, and was buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery on January 31 1918. Tom had to face the task of raising the children as a widower. Baby Josephine was raised by his sister, Bridget Murnane. Son Patrick was reared by Peter and Margaret Delaney on an adjoining farm until he was a teenager. Other members of the family helped out, fitting in with their own family commitments. But the two older children lived mostly with Tom.
Tom was a flamboyant character, at times wild and high-spirited, and a great story teller. He was known as "Tiger Tom". I can recall him visiting Bushfield on Sundays and bringing my father up to date with colourful descriptions of Nirranda feuds, which often finished in wild fights. "I caught him by the throat and tore his windpipe out" and "I drove my fist through him to the elbow" were two of his descriptions of donnybrooks that stick in my memory. Other cousins who lived nearby, and so knew him better, felt that he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Tom's farm was close to several other brothers and cousins and so he was not isolated. But this was no compensation for the loss of his Josephine. Tom died suddenly on September 13 1937 and is buried with his wife in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave 33-25.
The eldest daughter, Molly, went to work in the Victorian Railways Refreshment Rooms. She married a policeman, William Grant, and lived in Sydney. The second daughter was Nelly and her son Michael Shannon takes up the story:
My mother was Ellen Delaney, better known as Nelly. After meeting a cheeky young chap on a bus picnic trip around 1935 she finally married Walter Shannon in 1942. They set up home at 421 Barkly Street, Footscray, and had six children. Wally was famous for his crumpet factory in Gamon Street Seddon-hence his nickname "Crumpet".
Nelly came to Melbourne from Nirranda during the depression years and boarded with her Aunt Ellie Delaney in Drummond Street Carlton. She worked at Princes Bridge Railway Station dining room as the chief salad chef. Her association with the railways enabled her to see the whole of Australia by rail, including a trip across the Nullabor to Western Australia. She loved to reminisce about her travels around Australia.
Life for Nell was hard from her early days to her final days. Her mother died when she was only four and her dad "Tiger Tom" had to raise the children as best he could. It played on mum's mind that she didn't get home to see her dad before he died of cancer. I can vividly recall my mother crying because her dad had died. As a four year old I was innocnt enough to ask, when did he die, and she replied many years ago (in fact it would have been 16 years previously). The common thing with Nell and Wal was both their mothers died at childbirth. Nell and Wal's first child died within a few weeks of being born. The burden of all this would have made lesser people give up. Not Nell, she had five more children and was a dedicated and loving mother. She never missed mass on a Sunday and truly was a unique person.
Nell continued the family tradition of city members looking after their country cousins-Gerard Roache, son of Nell's cousin Vera (Delaney) Roache, boarded with Nell for several years while he was studying teaching.
The family interest in politics also continues on-Andre Shannon, Nell's grandson, at the age of 23 years stood as a Liberal candidate at the 2001 Federal election for the seat of Cowan.
The only son Pat grew up and worked in Nirranda. He was very tall and rangy, like his father. He was known as Tiger Pat, his father being Tiger Tom. He took to bike riding as did so many other descendants. He won the tough Midlands Tour in 1947 and 1948, the richest road race in the world at that time (500 pounds). Pat eventually bought an interstate transport, which he drove for many long years. Pat's son Tom also became a bike rider and was a member of Australia's road cycling team at the the Perth Empire Games in 1962 and Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Pat himself was assistant manager of the team at Perth.
A13: Peter Michael Delaney
Peter, 1883-1967, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Margaret Mary Burris, 1892-1936, born in Mailor's Flat Victoria, the daughter of Patrick James Burris and Catherine Mary Benson (both of whom had been born in Woodford).
Peter and Margaret married in 1913 in Warrnambool. Peter's mother and sister Ellen moved into Warrnambool shortly afterwards and Peter and Margaret took over the family home, on the original selection at Delaney's Corner. Life was busy as the family grew quickly. With the death of sister-in-law Josephine, Peter and Margaret took her second youngest, Patrick (then aged 3) into their home and raised him till he was a teenager.
Their daughter Kathleen (Hudson) recalls Christmas Day and Boxing Day as highlights of the year. On Boxing day the whole family would spend the day at the beach, travelling by horse and dray-except Father. (It seemed to be a tradition among the Delaney men never to go to the beach.) The family went to Nirranda School and Kathleen vividly remembers her first day there. She told her parents that she had played with Alma Hickey. Her father was so angry that he smacked her around the legs with his hat and sent her to bed without tea-such was the intensity of Delaney feeling over the Hickey jilting of Tom a quarter of a century previously.
Life on the small farm was difficult with a large family, and in 1929 they moved to a larger farm near Millicent, South Australia. This move severed the close day-to-day connections with family at Nirranda. The ninth and tenth children-both boys-were born in their new place. The farm was at the foot of Mount Muirhead and the children went to Mount Burr school initially and later on the younger ones went to the Convent in Millicent. They milked cows and grazed sheep but tragedy was to strike the Delaney family again-Margaret died in the Millicent Hospital in 1939 at the age of 46 years. Peter was devastated as he set about the sole-parent role as the father of ten children. Millicent was too far away from family and he returned to Victoria in 1936 to a small farm just west of Port Fairy on the Yambuk Road. This farm was not viable and he sold out and bought a farm at South Morang north of Melbourne. By this time, eldest son Patrick and daughters Kathleen, Dorothy and Veronica were married. The war was on in earnest and sons were enlisted-Jim in the army and Frank in the navy. Eddie was not accepted because of his asthma. Again Peter found South Morang isolated from family and he eventually sold and returned to Port Fairy in 1945 with his daughter and two youngest sons. After his son Laurie married Peter lived with him and family for the rest of his life.
Granddaughter Gael Rowell (née Delaney) remembers him as being very strict and ready to hand out punishment. Her father Laurie was a PMG linesman and housepainter. He was a sports fanatic, being a great middle distance runner, a bike rider and football umpire in the Port Fairy and Hampden Leagues. He was always involved in the community in some way, and became a councillor of the Borough of Port Fairy. Gael remembers being dragged along to sports events, especially running and football. Sunday was attendance at Mass followed often by a picnic in the country. Laurie was a fastidious man especially with his appearance and with any jobs he took on. He was a hard worker with a warped sense of humour and an "Irish temper" especially after a few drinks.
Peter died in Port Fairy on July 1 1967, three days before his 84th birthday. He had lived longest of his eight brothers. A widower for 30 years, he is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave 18-29 with his wife Margaret Mary.
B: Catherine Delaney And James Farrell
Catherine Delaney, 1844-1925, born in New Hill, Ireland married James Farrell, 1831-1915, born in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
James was the son of Thomas Farrell and Ann Costello. The Farrells lived in the parish of Kilmachill in Ballinvally townland, 15 miles north east of Kilkenny City. Mandy Farrell reports that:
James migrated to Australia, aboard the Balnaguith, leaving Plymouth, England on May 14 1855 and arriving in Portland Victoria on October 29 1855. He was an assisted immigrant.
The term 'assisted immigrant' refers to those who had all or part of their fare to Australia paid by the Government under Immigration Schemes. Private employers nominated individual migrants to come to Victoria and in turn received subsidies. This was the case with James Farrell. He was employed by a Mr Henry Munro on the run "Crawford" (located on the Crawford River, near Hotspur-this is now a well known winery) as an agricultural labourer. He was 24 years old, could read and write and was Catholic. He started on November 2 1855 for a term of three months at 35 pounds.
Catherine and James married on November 3 1864 at the Catholic Church in Warrnambool. James was 33 years old and Catherine was 21 years old. The marriage was officiated by Rev T. Slattery in the presence of Margaret Delaney and James Brennan. James and Catherine each registered their residences as Purnim.
In 1866, James Farrell with the Delaney family selected land at Nirranda (where their first child, Bridget was born) as reported previously. Rate books from Warrnambool Shire list James Farrell as Freehold owner of a house and 105 acres in the parish of Nirranda (this is allotment 76C, also known as Farrell's paddock). Land title records show the land being transferred for loans in 1872, but this was transferred back to James Farrell in 1877.
In 1880 the Farrells left Nirranda for Garvoc. In that year James is listed as a labourer living in a house on a ½ acre of land owned by Joseph Toleman, his brother-in-law, who had married Catherine's sister, Margaret Delaney (C). Hearsay via Delaney cousins tell us that James Farrell had "trouble" with a William Ardlie, a well known solicitor from Warrnambool, possibly a loan problem. It was quite usual for solicitors to lend money at this time-men such as William Ardlie were willing to lend, but the commonly charged interest rate was 20-30%, to compensate for the high risks involved. On the other hand, James may have decided to sell up his land and consolidate his financial position.
The Farrells lived with the Tolemans until 1882, by which time a further eight children had been born. In 1883, James bought five acres of land on the banks of the Garvoc Creek and stayed there until 1893. In that year, James leased land of 225 acres in Garvoc from William Baxter. His son took over the original five acres.
James Snr purchased land at Coroorooke from Alfred Coulstock. (Roger Farrell, a great grandson, reports that this land was bought by James at auction, on October 17 1902-two allotments of 85 acres each-at the subdivision of the Glen Alvie Estate. It was located on a road now known as Farrell's Road.) In late 1904, James was granted title to the two blocks. Sons John and Michael were to work the farm.
On 13 May 1910 James Farrell purchased land from Archibald Black at Terang on McKinnons Bridge Road, bordered by Mount Emu Creek. It was 83 acres, 3 roods and 9 perches. James and Catherine with the rest of the family moved to Noorat. Sons Patrick and Thomas ran the dairy farm.
The farming at Noorat was dairy which suited the Western District. James was said to abhor milking saying it was 'women's work'. James died on March 23 1915 of old age; he was 83 years old. He had been in Australia for 60 years. His real estate comprised 171 acres at Bullock Swamp in the Parish of Warrion and 168 acres at Noorat in the Parish of Glenormiston. His total assets were valued at 14,925 pounds.
Catherine lived another 10 years until 1925 and died at 82 years of age. She is buried with her James in the Terang Cemetery.
Today, contact has been made with the original descendants of James Farrell who still reside on the farm in Kilkenny that has been in the family since the early 1700s. Currently, Mary Farrell lives there; she is in her late 80s and she corresponds with Mandy Farrell once or twice a year.
B1: Bridget Farrell
Bridget, 1866-1868. She was born in Nirranda and died there at the age of two years. Cause of death was gastric fever, which lasted three weeks.
B2: Anne Farrell
Anne, 1867-1928, born in Warrnambool Victoria, married Patrick Hogan.
Anne and Patrick had no children. Their farm was on the Dreeite Road, close by her sister Mary O'Connor at Athlone. Anne kept in contact with the Farrell family in Ireland and wrote frequently to James's sister, Ellen Nolan. (Unfortunately none of these letters remain today.) Anne died in 1928 at Derrinook Private Hospital, Gellibrand Street, Colac. She was 60 years old. Cause of death was recorded as carcinoma of the liver and exhaustion. She is buried in the Colac Cemetery.
B3: Thomas Farrell
Thomas, 1869-1932, born in Allansford Victoria, did not marry. Thomas lived at Nirranda and Garvoc. From 1910 onwards he and youngest brother Patrick worked the properties bought by their father James at Noorat. In later years Thomas and his sister Catherine lived in a second house on the farm which was called 'Athlone'. Thomas, dairyman, died in 1932 at Noorat from long-standing bronchitis and pulmonary oedema, which he had a matter of days before his death. He is buried in the Terang Cemetery.
B4: John James Farrell
John James, 1871-1941, born in Nirranda, married Mary Ellen O'Leary, 1881-1968, born in Dooboobetic Victoria. Mary was the daughter of Patrick O'Leary and Ann Hyde.
John had moved with the family from Nirranda to Garvoc. Roger Farrell continues the story:
I believe that the land at Bullock Swamp, bought in 1902 by James Farrell senior was leased to his two sons, John and Michael. They ran the farm-dairying, onions, potatoes, oats, pigs and maize being the main produce.
John, my grandfather, and Mary O'Leary married in 1906 and lived in an established shepherd's house on the farm, also caring for unmarried brother Michael. They were to have a family of seven daughters and four sons. Milking was done by hand with up to 100 cows. All children were expected to milk, and feed calves and pigs with skimmed milk, as cream was sent to the factory at Warrion. (Later, whole milk was delivered to the Colc Dairying Company depot at Coroorooke, and the Warrion factory switched to making ice.)
The first motor car was bought in 1927-a Nash-costing 700 pounds. In the same year, a milking cow could be bought for 3 pounds 17/6. But farming methods had not yet been mechanised-up to the 1930s pasture seed was broadcast by hand.
The children went to school at St Brendan's Coragulac. In 1927, a convent and presbytery were built there, and St Brendan's pupils carried bricks from the main road to the building site during school time. John, Agnes and Peg Farrell rode to school as a threesome on Daisy the horse-six miles return.
John Farell, my grandfather was a member of the Hibernian Society and wore a sash at Mass. Sport was an important part of family life-my dad, John, and his brothers Pat, Jim and Tom, all played football mainly for Warrion. Dad also played for St Brendan's and Irrewarra. The girls were top netballers locally. They all attended dances in Colac, the pavilion at Coragulac and the Warrion, Alvie and Beeac Halls. They all had get togethers quite often with the Coroorooke Delaneys and the O'Connors at Alvie. They sang around the piano as most of the girls could play by ear.
St Brendan's Church on Sundays was a great and important social meeting place with all the cousins and friends getting together. The school and church were the centre of the life of the 3rd and 4th generations.
Granfather John died in 1941 at the age of 70. My father, John, married Estella Kucks in 1943. The farm was auctioned and my parents bought half. Grandmother Mary shifted to Colac. Electric milking machines were introduced to the farm in 1952 along with the Ferguson tractor and FX Holden. The Clydesdale horse "Judy" was used to skim the onions until the late 60s. (A skimmer was used to go under the onion roots and loosen them. It was a metre-long blade).
The farm was sold in 1971 as John and Estella retired to Colac and later Geelong West, as their sons Roger, John and Lawrence chose teaching, banking and nursing as careers.
Mary (O'Leary) Farrell died in 1968, 27 years after husband John, at the age of 87 years. She is buried with John in Colac Cemetery.
B5: Andrew Farrell
Andrew, 1872-1896, born in Nirranda, died in Garvoc. He did not marry. He was a labourer at the time he died-in 1896 at Garvoc at the age of 23 years. Cause of death was disease of the pancreas-which he had for 12 months, and heart failure at the end. He is buried in the Terang Cemetery.
B6: Mary Josephine Farrell
Mary Josephine, 1874-1956, born in Nirranda Victoria, married John O'Connor, 1872-1951, born in Tower Hill. John was the son of Michael O'Connor and Elizabeth Maguire, who had emigrated from Ireland in 1864.
Mary Lineen, a granddaughter, and daughter of Elizabeth O'Connor and Francis Lineen, carries on the story:
Mary and John married in the Catholic Church in Terang, in Feburary 1900. John O'Connor was 17 when his father died, and we believe he worked in a butcher's shop in Garvoc. Their first two children were born at Garvoc. John and Mary purchased a farm at Alvie in 1904. The farm, called 'Athlone' was situated on the Dreeite Road, with land on either side of the road. They milked cows and grew onions and potatoes. Their neighbours and lifelong friends were Delahuntys, Iletts and Mahoods.
Our memories of grandfather are mainly of his later years. During his life we do know, that he suffered from TB, and went to Deniliquin NSW, to recuperate. He was musical and played the violin, and loved telling stories and dressing up for the grandchildren.
Mary Josephine was greatly loved by her children, for her gentle motherly qualities. With her large family, her work was mainly in the home. There are many stories of her cooking abilities, trying to keep ahead of the growing lads' appetites; hiding the cakes in the piano, but to no avail! She took an interest in crocheting and tatting, and we still have some lovely examples of her work. The family home 'Athlone' was burnt down twice, and it must not have been easy for Grandma, with the loss of so much family memorabilia, etc.
Her married sister, Annie Hogan (B2), lived nearby. Annie died in 1928. Kate (B10), her unmarried sister, lived with them in her retiring years, until she went to St John of God, Ballarat, where she died in 1952.
There were many visits from the Terang relatives, the O'Connors and the Farrells and their children.
Elizabeth, the oldest O'Connor daughter was also known as Lizzie or Betty. She was born at Garvoc in 1903. (Her older brother James died later that year, aged two years.) In 1904, the family moved to Alvie. She was educated firstly at Alvie, then St Brendan's in Coragulac, and at the Mercy Convent in Colac where she was a boarder. She was a great storyteller and also wrote poetry. As a young woman, she enjoyed organizing tennis parties at 'Athlone', followed by singalongs around the piano in the evenings. She also organized picnics by horse-drawn vehicles, and groups attending district Balls. She helped in the house, and with milking etc., until the mid 1920s, when a career in nursing was taken up. As a good worker and popular nurse, she was chosen Miss Charity Queen in Warrnambool. Her sister Margaret and cousin Peg McGuire, were her attendants. Unfortunately, whilst horse riding, she was thrown off and fractured her skull, ending that career.
In 1929, Elizabeth married Francis Lineen, and farmed at Lineens Road, Cororooke for about six years, during the height of the Depression. Five children were born there-Mary, Margaret Therese, Claire, and twins Elizabeth Ann and Frances Judith. The twins were born after Francis entered the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, suffering from tuberculosis. He died in December 1935. Betty spent the following year in hospital, with TB herself. She sold the farm and moved to Heidelberg. Leo O'Connor, her brother, came to live with her there. Then her sister Katie came to look after the children, and when Katie married, her sister Margaret took over. An epidemic of poliomyelitis broke out, and the children were sent to the country to the grandparents at Alvie.
Daylesford or Hepburn Springs was recommended as a good place to live for health reasons, so the Lineen family lived there from 1938 to 1952. Betty was one of the first women in the area to wear slacks, which she thought more practical for riding a bike about Daylesford. Having suffered a nervous breakdown, she decided to move back to Cororooke, and later to Colac, where she died in 1983. She was a very devoted Catholic, and her faith stood her in good stead through the years.
John (Beau) O'Connor was born in Colac in 1904, and went to school at Alvie, St Brendan's in Coragulac, and St Patrick's College in Ballarat. He had to return to help on the farm, and there remained for the rest of his life, caring for the family. He never married. He was a great entertainer and comedian. He played the violin-in any position, on top of his head or behind his back-much to the wonderment of his nieces and nephews! As a young man he played football and tennis, as 'Athlone' had a tennis court. He helped his sister Mary put on concerts for the war effort and various charities, and with his talents, contributed to community life. He continued the farm business of dairying and onion growing, until his health failed after a stroke. He died in 1969.
Katie O'Connor was born in Colac in 1905, and went to school at Alvie, St Brendan's Coragulac, and on to St Scholastica's in Pennant Hills NSW-it was thought she might enter the Good Samaritan order, but it was not to be.
In 1936, she took over the care of Betty's children for six months, until she married David Boyd. They had no children, but had 11 years of very happy life together, until David died in 1947. Katie worked in the Taxation Department for some years; she was excellent with figures in the days before calculators. She then worked at Mutual Stores, and the Onion Marketing Board, until once again she was called upon to help out the family.
Her mother and her sister both needed care, and Katie went to live at Alvie for some years. She had a flat in East Melbourne, and her nieces and nephews stayed there often for short holidays; she was always most interested in what was happening in their lives. She was a warm and generous person. She suffered from angina, but still lived life to the full. In 1975 she went on a cruise to the Holy Places of Europe, and she enjoyed it greatly, until taken ill at Lourdes, France, where she died on May 21 1975.
Mary (Mollie) O'Connor was born in 1907 at Colac, and lived ar 'Athlone' all her life; she did not marry. She cared for her parents in later years. She did part time teaching at district schools. Mary was artistic and creative, and also produced plays and concerts. She had a love of gardening, and the garden at 'Athlone' was always something special, where garden fetes were held to raise funds for the church and district community. She suffered a brain haemorrhage whilst still quite young, which left her with a physical impairment, but she managed to keep the home going, with help from family members. She was a good communicator, loving and tolerant, and had great faith. She was much respected by her siblings and the community. She died in 1965.
Eily O'Connor was born in 1909, and lived and helped at home until she married Alan Stepnell (beloved Steppy to us all). They lived in "Warrion House", the Stepnell family home and farm. They had no children, but always had 'open house' for family, friends and neighbours. Eily helped with the milking and general farm chores. She liked horse riding in her younger days, and they both loved a day at the races in later years. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed reading and crossword puzzles. She was a great help to Mollie, after Mollie's illness, helping keep two homes going. They had a great friendship as sisters. She was a kind and generous lady, who quietly did special things for people. She died in 1972.
Leo Patrick O'Connor was born on July 17 1910. He lived in Alvie and went to school locally. After leaving school he worked on the family farm before moving to Melbourne and working on the Victorian Railways. He was a skilled footballer in his youth.
In 1935, Leo and his sister Katie moved to Heidelberg to look after their five nieces, the daughters of their sister Betty, while their mother was in hospital for a year, just after the death of her husband. When Katie later married, Peg replaced her as carer. During this time Leo met the Heffernan family who lived across the road. Frank and Nin (Mary) Heffernan and their children have remained lifelong friends of the O'Connor family.
When Betty and her daughters moved to Daylesford for health reasons in 1938, Leo visited regularly, coming up every second weekend. He was very helpful to them.
Prior to the start of World War II, Leo met his future life, Penny (Beryl Stanislaus Pendergast), who was completing her nursing training with his sister Peg, and Noreen (future wife of his brother Tom), at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
On the outbreak of the war he joined the AIF, 7th Division AASC. He attained the rank of Sergeant and was a member of the famous Rats of Tobruk, serving in various countries of the Middle East and in New Guinea. He wrote home regularly and sent home souvenirs of his travels.
On April 27 1946 he married Penny at St Mary's in Bairnsdale. Initially, they made their home in Albert Park, but also lived at various addresses in East Melbourne. In about 1952, they obtained a war service loan at 142 St Vigeons Road, Reservoir. His brother Tom and his family lived across the road at number 129.
Leo and Penny's first child, a son was stillborn in about 1953. Peta Catherine Maree was born in 1956 and Anna Elizabeth was born in 1957. The family were founding parishioners of St Stephen's, East Reservoir.
Leo caught the train to work. He was a clerk in the Repatriation Department until retiring due to ill health (TPI), towards the end of 1968. He died after a brief illness at the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, on November 14 1970.
Leo was a useful handyman and devoted family man. He often phoned his family in Alvie from a public phone on Saturday night. He had a strong belief in his Catholic faith. He supported the Geelong Football Club, but took his entire family to the football finals at the MCG when he could. Due to ill health he could not stand for long periods, but the MCG had seating.
Peg O'Connor was born in 1913 at Colac. Her young years and schooling was local. She studied nursing at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and the nursing profession she loved then became a lifelong committment. She nursed privately and then many years were spent at Dr Singleton's clinic in Collingwood. She never married, and came home to "Althone" to nurse Mollie through her final illness, and then cared for Jack after his stroke. In 1963 Peg and Pat came to Colac to live. She was active in the work of the Catholic Women's League, and in pastoral care and fundraising for "Colanda". Peg established great friendships with the clients whom she visited a couple of times a week. She cared for Pat in his final illness. She enjoyed a day at the races, or barracking for her beloved "Cats" football team, and going to Melbourne for the ballet and stage shows, and also to visit treasured lifelong friends. Peg, the last of this generation of O'Connors, died in 2002.
Pat O'Connor was born in 1915. He never married, and worked the family farm, "Althone", with Jack. As a young man, he was slight of build, but was a very good footballer, to which his awards attest. He was an all-round sportsman, playing cricket and tennis. He had a quick and delightful sense of humour, well remembered by his nieces and nephews. Besides his farm work with Jack, he tended the vegetable patch in "Althone"'s garden. Later in Colac, he had a large and well tended vegie garden. He was a very kind man, much loved by his nieces and nephews. He also enjoyed the favourite O'Connor card pastime-Solo. He spent many years as gatekeeper, with Allan Stepnell, at the Alvie Football Club, and they were both regarded there as "Legends". He died in 1986.
Mick O'Connor was born in 1916, and was a twin of Tom. As Grandma was ill after their birth, Mick was reared for the first few months by family friend, Mrs Ryan. He visited her every year on her birthday, until her death at 95 years. He went to school at St Brendan's, Coragulac, and when he left, worked with his uncle, Paddy Hogan, on his farm. He married Amy Woods in 1939, and worked in Melbourne until he joined the Army in WW2. He always attended the ANZAC march in Melbourne, with his friend Coley O'Keefe from Terang.
After the war he acquired a small dairy farm, next to Stepnell Farm, and not far from 'Athlone'. He milked cows and grew onions, and a thistle dared not raise its head! As a young man he played football and tennis, and loved a game of cards. The Monday night six handed Euchre, with partners Sam Williamson, H.P. Ryan, and Elva Mahood was sacrosant! He was musical and sang duets with Amy, at the 'Athlone' singalongs. He was a loving father and grandfather, always interested in his children's lives and activities. He suffered his first heart attack aged 50, and died in 1979. Amy lived till 1989. A son, Gavan O'Connor, became the first of John and Bridget Delaney's descendants to become a Member of Federal Parliament when he was elected as Member for Corio in 1993. He is currently a shadow minister in the Labor shadow cabinet.
Tom O'Connor, a twin to Michael was born at Colac in 1916 and grew up at 'Athlone' in Alvie. He later attended St Brendan's Coragulac, before becoming a school teacher, with French as his forte.
In 1939 Tom and his brother Leo joined the AIF and saw action in the Middle East. He became part ot the Rats of Tobruk legend. In early 1942, he became seriously ill and was being repatriated, but the ship he was on was forced to leave its patients in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Once recuperated he joined Leo in Papua New Guinea.
At the end of the war he returned home to Victoria and married Noreen O'Brien in December 1945. Noreen had been a nursing friend of his sister Peg. They had seven children-John, Peter, Elizabeth, Christopher, Damien, Mark and Paul. Noreen died in 1968, only a few days before Paul's third birthday.
The bulk of Tom's working life was spent as an Assessor with the Taxation Department. He died at home in Reservoir in 1977. He was a great lover of sports and a mean card player.
B7: James Farrell
James, 1876-1908, born in Nirranda, died in Colac. He did not marry. James had lived at Delaney's Corner and Garvoc before moving to Bullock Swamp with his brothers. He died in 1908 at Dr Brown's Hospital, Gellibrand Street, Colac at the age of 32 years. Cause of death was given as obstructive jaundice and septicaemia. He was buried at the Terang Cemetery.
B8: Michael Joseph Farrell
Michael, 1878-1938, born in Nirranda, died in Coroorooke. He did not marry. Michael had lived at Delaney's Corner and Garvoc and then worked the farm at Bullock Swamp with his brother John. In later years he bought 8½ acres at Nalangil, Corunnun, five miles away, and lived in a shack there. He died in 1938 at Bullock Swamp at the age of 59 years. Cause of death was carcinoma of the colon, which he had for 12 months. In his will he left 100 pounds to Corpus Christi College (the Catholic seminary at Werribee), ten pounds to the Colac Hospital and the balance to relatives. One of the relatives was Mrs John Delaney, 120 Nicholson Street Fitzroy. Mrs Delaney was Harriet Eliza Crewes, whose husband John (F) had migrated to Western Australia in 1894. (It appears that the Farrells, and later the O'Connors, had maintained close contact with Eliza and her family all those years.) Michael was buried at the Colac Cemetery.
B9: Patrick Farrell
Patrick, 1880-1950, born in Garvoc, married Eliza Jane Carlin, 1896-1972, born in Panmure, daughter of Patrick Carlin and Ellen Hassett.
Patrick was born soon after the parents left Nirranda and moved on to Garvoc, where two farms were owned (5 acres and 134 acres) and one leased (225 acres). His father, James, later bought a property in 1910 called 'Athlone' on Ponting's Road, Noorat. The remainder of the family, including Patrick, moved there from Garvoc.
Patrick and Eliza married in September 1922 in Terang. They had eight children-Annie, Ella, Mary, Catherine, James, Patrick, Desmond and Bryan.
Patrick and his brother Thomas (B3) ran the 'Athlone' property with approximately 100 head of Fresian cows. The cows were milked by hand until the early 1950s when electricity became available to the Noorat area. Another farm in Boorcan of 125 acres was used as a rotating pasture for the dairy cows.
All the children attended St Joseph's, Noorat with many cousins from the area-Loureys, O'Keefees and Carlins. Transport to school was initially in Patrick's 1926 Dodge and later by horse and buggy with local Noorat dairy farmer, Stuart Sinclair, who was on his way to deliver his milk to the Glemormiston Butter Factory. On Sunday all of the ten Farrells piled into the car to attend Sunday Mass at St Joseph's, Noorat. Along the way they were kind enough to fit in Monica Connors-how they did it must be left to one's imagination. All eight children left school in year 8 and went onto the farm where they were expected to help with milking and domestic chores.
Patrick was a member of the Knights of the Southern Cross, an order of Catholic men who promoted the christian way of life through charitable and social welfare work.
Patrick is also well remembered for being a founding member of the Noorat Show which has run for over 60 years. In the first year of the Noorat Show he won first prize for his Fresian bull.
Summer holidays were spent either in Portland, renting a house by the sea, or in Warrnambool in Liebig Street, oppposite the Fletcher Jones store, staying in the second storey of a house owned by an Italian family.
Patrick died in 1950. It was said that the funeral was huge, some saying that the cars were still coming from Noorat while the hearse had arrived in Terang.
Twenty two years later in 1972, Eliza passed away. All the daughters were married: Annie to Leo Lourey, Ella to Joe Harty, Mary to Adrian Brennan and Catherine to Gerard Finn. James had married Margaret Galvin and ran a farm in Woodford. Patrick (son) and his wife, Lynette Ryan ran the 'Athlone' farm which was eventually sold in 1974 to next door neighbours. Des and Bryan moved into Terang, with Des later marrying Marie Scroggie (née Sumner).
Patrick and Eliza Farrell are buried at the Terang Cemetery.
B10: Catherine Farrell
Catherine, 1883-1952, born in Garvoc, did not marry. Catherine lived with brother Thomas in a second house on the farm in Ponting's Lane Noorat, working on the farm and in later years looking after ailing Tom. After Tom died in 1932, Catherine ran a boarding house in Terang for 20 years. She died in 1953 at Nazareth House, Ballarat, at the age of 68 years. Cause of death was cardiac failure due to dementia. She is buried at Terang Cemetery.
B11: Margaret Ellen Farrell
Margaret Ellen, 1887-1967, born in Garvoc, married Francis Martin O'Keeffe, 1887-1958, born in Garvoc. Martin was the son of James O'Keefe and Margaret O'Grady.
Margaret lived at home until she married Francis on July 16 1917. They were to have a family of four girls and two boys. Daughter Agnes Harney writes:
Our family lived on a dairy farm in Ponting's Lane, Glenormiston South. The milk was transported in milk cans to the Trufood Factory one and a half miles away with a horse and wagon. We all helped on the farm as families did in those days.
We travelled to school at St Joseph's Noorat about 3½ miles in a three-seater buggy. As each finished school the next in line took up the reins. Our family went to Mass at St Joseph's Church Noorat in that same buggy in all weather conditions. That buggy has been restored and is on show at Harold Lamb's Museum in Camperdown.
Dad joined in public activities around the district. He was Secretary of the local football club for some time. When he died in 1958, Frank bought a farm out of Warrnambool (in Mahoneys Road Wangoom) and Mum lived there until she died in 1967.
Francis and Margaret are buried in Terang Cemetery.
C: Margaret Delaney And Joseph Toleman
Margaret Delaney, 1845-1932, born in New Hill, Ireland married widower Joseph (Joe) Toleman 1843-1897, born in Port Phillip Victoria, son of William Toleman and Mary Ann Norman, who had migrated from Dorsetshire, England. Joseph had settled in Garvoc in 1864. He was a widower with two children when Margaret Delaney married him in 1873. They were to have 13 children of their own over the next 18 years.
At the time of her marriage Margaret was said to be a dressmaker, residing at Garvoc. In 1876 Joe commenced store and hotelkeeping. The bell from the hotel is still held in the family. In 1879 he purchased land in the township and built a store on it. He was storekeeper, postmaster, and Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. He was also a horsebreeder, including Blackthorn, which won the Grand National Steeplechase in 1882.
Rate books of the Shire of Warrnambool show Joe's occupation as publican up to 1879 and storekeeper thereafter. The Warrnambool newspapers of the day, the Standard, Guardian and Independent occasionally carried advertisements for various Toleman enterprises. In 1878, at his store, Yallock, he auctioned drapery, groceries, hardware, saddlery, 3,000 posts and rails, 66 head of cattle and eight horses, as "Mr J Toleman is removing". In 1884, Margaret Toleman gave notice that she was applying for a "Certificate authorising a Billiard Table Licence for premises at Garvoc". The next year, Joe advised the travelling public that "at his premises known as the Old Post Office Store Garvoc he has always available First Class Bedrooms, Excellent Stabling, Coach-houses, horse feed etc".
The Terang Express reported in March 1890 that Joseph Toleman's store, drapery establishment and dwelling at Garvoc were burnt down and completely destroyed. On March 25 1890, the official opening function of the Terang to Warrnambool railway was held. Joe and Margaret moved to another house in Garvoc and the storekeeping business, it seems, continued. In 1894 and 1895 the records show Joe paying rates on a property owned by a William Baxter. By 1896, Joe was endorsing Kennedy's liver pills in an advertisement in the Warrnambool Standard-"I (and my friends to whom I have recommended them) have used them myself with the best results". Unfortunately, within three months Joe was dead at the age of 53, leaving Margaret with the task of raising the family, the youngest of whom was six years old.
Margaret had the comfort of having her sister Catherine Farrell and family nearby when the Farrells moved from Nirranda in 1880. The rate books show that they stayed in a house owned by the Tolemans in 1880 and 1881.
After Joe's death, Margaret and her family moved to Camperdown where she died in her 87th year in 1932. She is buried with her husband in Terang Cemetery.
C1: Bridget Toleman
Bridget, 1873-1873, born and died in Garvoc.
C2: John Delaney Toleman
John, 1874-1955, born in Garvoc Victoria, married (1) Margaret O'Connor, 1874-1916, daughter of Michael O'Connor and Elizabeth Maguire, and (2) Lillian Maud Gallagher, 1892-1978, born in Talbot Victoria.
John and Margaret married in 1908 and lived in Terang. Margaret died after only eight years of marriage, leaving John with little Kathleen. John married a second time, to Lilian in 1926, and they lived in Hamilton. John was the local manager of the Ballarat Brewing Company. He was also Chairman of the Hamilton Racing Club at one stage. The Company had the contract to operate the licensed booths at district racetracks. The Spillman and Toleman cousins were often pressed into service on race days to work in the booths. Some of the Spillman sons also found jobs at the brewery. John died in Hamilton in 1955, and is buried with his first wife Margaret in the Terang Cemetery. Lilian, who worked as a manageress at the Hamilton Hotel, moved to Melbourne and worked as a housekeeper in the Catholic presbytery at Flemington. She died in Ballarat in 1978.
Kathleen, the only child, married Sid Turton in 1934. Kathleen died in Dandenong in 1975. She and Sid had four children.
C3: William Toleman
William, 1876-1941, born in Garvoc, married Mary Elizabeth Miller, 1894-1949. They married in 1905 and had three children, all born in Camperdown. William worked as a butcher. William and Mary lived their lives in Camperdown and died there.
The only boy Thomas William (Bill) worked in the Post Office. His son, Ronald, reports that his father was posted to Camperdown, Colac, Merino and, in 1937 Warrnambool. In the war years, the family stayed with their Ayers grandparents in Camperdown. Bill was very much a family man. After retirement, he was secretary of the Warrnambool Bowling Club.
C4: Joseph Toleman
Joseph, 1877-1930, born in Garvoc. He did not marry.
Joseph lived most of his life in Camperdown with his mother. He had a badly ulcerated leg that became fatal and he died in 1930 in Camperdown.
C5: Edmund Toleman
Edmund, 1878-1958, born in Garvoc, married Louisa Allendorf, 1888-1963, born in Brisbane. Louisa was the daughter of Adam Allendorf and Elizabeth Hesse.
Edmund's daughter, Elizabeth Favaloro, takes up the story:
When my grandfather Joseph Toleman died, Dad (Edmund) was about 17 years old and rode his horse all the way from Victoria to Queensland, to seek his fortune. He ended up in a very historic part of Brisbane, Early Street, and became chauffeur to a Judge Real who lived in a beautiful Queenslander house (which is now an historic building open to the public). Dad was proudly in charge of the carriage and pair of horses. It was there that he met my mother Louisa Allendorf. She lived nearby and was learning to be a seamstress at the Judge's house.
They were married in 1909 in St Stephens Cathedral in Brisbane. My two older brothers, Edmund and Thomas Stanley, were born in Coorparoo and then the family all returned to Victoria. (From the birth records, it appears that the Tolemans came back to Victoria about 1912, living in Cobden, Camperdown and Hamilton before settling in Birchip in the early 20s).
Dad had a butcher shop in Birchip and Mum continued her beautiful sewing for their growing family. We were a big, active family of ten children but Dad was such a soft hearted and caring man that he was always bringing home more mouths to feed or someone down on their luck to let sleep on the veranda for the night. When we woke up sometimes we never knew who would be at the table or singing outside as they sobered up.
During the Depression when some unemployed were sent to work in the country for the dole, Dad was always generous with any extra meat he could spare from the shop. And Mum would bake extra for some of the workers that were housed nearby, as she was worried about them being away from their families. She particularly treasured some beautifully embroided handiwork that the wives of these men sent back to her with thanks.
When I think of it now and remember my mother always being so ready to help others in spite of her workload, it was all part of how she lived her Catholic religion I suppose. But saying the decades of the rosary every night was certainly something we all tried to gallop through. Apparently we used to say "pray for us, pray for us" so quickly, that some people thought we were actually saying "horse racing, horse racing".
Sometimes on our schools holidays, we would all go down to Camperdown, to our grandmother Margaret Toleman (née Delaney). She was just a little lady, but could really keep all of us lively ones under control.
Dad's great love, apart from Mum was horses and he trained some for the country racing and even one went into the big Melbourne league after he sold it. He taught us all to ride bareback and the only concession to the girls was that we were allowed to sit on a blanket.
The other great passion in the house, apart from following the races was cards, which we played with vigor and long into the night, as no-one was allowed to go to bed until we were all square again. Even now, when some of the Tolemans get together, the neighbours must know they are in for a long noisy night, when they hear the table being cleared and the cards come out.
When I was 17, I went to nursing training at the Bendigo Base Hospital, which I enjoyed very much. (In 1978 we went to the Delaney reunion and I met two ladies there that I knew in Bendigo, but did not realize they were in our clan-a lovely surprise).
One day I was catching a train back to Bendigo, when a handsome young soldier asked if he could carry my bag. I sat with him in the "dog box" even though I had a first class ticket, and found out his name was Bart Favaloro. He was heading back to Bendigo on leave and to help in the family bakery. He says that I was reading my book upside down all the way home-and maybe I was because the rest is history and we were married in the Hamilton Catholic Church in 1945.
Our daughters Margaret, Gaye, Elizabeth and Anne were all born in Bendigo and we used to visit Dad and Mum in Hamilton, where they now lived. It was great for our girls to meet up with assorted family members, depending who came home for Christmas. The card nights continued unabated but Bart had got more cunning over the years and managed to escape to bed as early as he could. Bart and his family were Italian, so he learned many things about Aussie families (especially the Delaneys/Tolemans), and I learned about Italy and how to cook spaghetti, though in my many visits to Italy, I have never mastered the language.
After a few years in Shepparton in a cake shop with Bart's brother Joe, we moved to East Bentleigh in Melbourne and bought our own business. Bart was a great pastrycook and cake decorator, creating many beautiful cakes over the years, including one for Don Chipp MP.
Our eldest daughter Margaret did nursing at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne and midwifery in Launceston, before going to NT and becoming a nursing sister at the Health Clinic on a vast cattle station Victoria River Downs. There she met her future husband, Lindsay McLean and married on the station, where all the guests had to fly, drive or ride horses to attend. Bart carried the wedding cake on his knee all the way from Melbourne. Marg became a nurse practitioner in remote Health Centres, delivered countless-mainly Aboriginal-babies, and was recently presented with an award by the Chief Minister of NT, for her work in remote nursing care.
Our daughter Gaye, also did nursing at St Vincent's, and went with Marg to work at Darwin Hospital. She loved nursing in the north and met a Scotsman named Peter Robertson, who had driven overland from Britain, and landed in Darwin to work and to continue traveling. Well again the rest is history, they drove south to Melbourne for the wedding in East Bentleigh, before setting finally settling in the Gold Coast hinterland, after working in Canberra, Gladstone, Palm Island and Yamba. They have constructed many roads, bridges and sub-divisions through their civil construction company.
Our daughter Anne was a teacher in Melbourne when we went to Marg and Lindsay's wedding in NT, and there met her future husband Alan Gitsham, who followed her home to Melbourne, where they married in East Bentleigh. They have lived on the Sunshine Coast for many years, initially running their own butcher shop, but now Ann specializes in Natural Medicine, Homeopathy and Massage, and runs her own business.
While our daughter Liz was teaching in Sale Victoria, she met her future husband Steve Hallows, and a couple of years later moved to Queensland and married in the garden of our home in Beenleigh, as Bart and I had already moved north by then.
Over the years Liz taught art and did some beautiful painting and photography. They now live in Houston, Texas, USA, and Liz is writing a book on Handscapes-Hand Analysis Theory and Psychological Types.
We are very proud of our granddaughter and six grandsons who live around Australia and in the USA. It was an exciting time in 2000 when Adam Gitsham represented Australia at the Olympic Games in the Running Target Shooting Team and performed very well.
We are also delighted to introduce our two great granddaughters, Josie and Jarita into the family and are sure that the clan, with all the new members in the other families over the years as well, is in very good hands for the future.
In 1999, I was presented with an award by the Bishop of Brisbane for my long term service to St Vincent de Paul. I had enjoyed it immensely and have tried to pass the importance of volunteering in the community to my family in the way I learned from my ancestors.
Thomas Stanley (Stan) Toleman was the second child of Edmund and Louisa, and he married Rita Curtis of Warrnambool. They had seven children, all born in Warrnambool.
One of their children, John, became a professional footrunner, and has been associated with the Stawell Gift Carnival for 50 years. In an interview in The Age on April 16 2003, John remembers:
"My uncle (John Toleman) was a pro runner … I took it from him to start running but never thought I could run as fast. Like the AFL grand final, the Stawell Gift used to get front and back newspaper coverage. It was a boyhood dream to be involved". In 19 years of running, he competed in 800 races. He broke the world professional record for two miles at Wangaratta in 1960, and held eight Australian titles over distances from one mile to 10,000 metres. He won the Federation Mile at Stawell in 1967 in track record time. In 1984, in a comeback from retirement, which required an extraordinary reconditioning program, John won his final race at Stawell, the 1600 metres.
In the 70s, John got involved in sports promotion as well as coaching and his Sportsworld businesses. As The Mail Times of April 17 2003 reports "Big Red (John) is arguably the most important single figure involved with the modern day Stawell Gift. His major brief is to convince world class athletes to be in Stawell's Central Park at Easter …"
Three of his international visitors were winners of the Gift and many others have added excitement to the Carnival. In 1975 one of them, Jean Louis Ravelomanantsoa from Madagascar, created history by winning from scratch.
Joseph George Toleman was in the army during WW2 and one of his prize memories is playing in a side led by Phonse Kyne, the legendary Collingwood footballer and coach. Joe played football for Collingwood as full forward in three separate years, 1942, 1944 and 1946. In Melbourne he stayed with Aunty May Timms in Drummond Street Carlton. He married Nita Scawcroft and moved back to Hamilton and then to Adelaide where they now live.
Edmund and Louisa moved to Hamilton in later years. Edmund died there in 1958 aged 80 years, and Louisa in 1963 aged 75 years.
C6: Alexander Toleman
Alexander, 1880-1945, born in Garvoc, died in Melbourne. He worked in Camperdown, living at home.
C7: Margaret Toleman
Margaret, 1882-1945, born in Garvoc, married Thomas Joseph Spillman, 1879-1944, born in Hamilton, the son of Samuel William Spillman and Eliza Louisa Bowler (who was born in London).
Margaret and Tom married in Hamilton in 1912. They had eight children. Nephew Kevin Timms recalls that Tom had a stroke in the 1940s and was pretty much confined to his house. Tom and Margaret died in Hamilton in successive years.
A granddaughter Faye Bailey (née Mibus), who grew up in Hamilton, takes up the Spillman story:
My recollections about Margaret Spillman née Toleman (C7) are from others who knew her including my mother, as I was born two months before she died. I did know her sister Gert (C11) whom we used to visit regularly, particularly after her husband Jack died and she lived with her three sons Joe, Peter and Alex.
Both women were feisty, strong women with determined views and in a later time could no doubt have had successful careers. As it was, they used their initiative in home, family and community particularly the church community.
Margaret won prizes for her cakes, particularly fruit cakes, at the annual shows. Gert was a keen gardener and helped her husband on the dairy farm near Camperdown.
Margaret and her husband Tom, whose first wife and child had died in childbirth, had eight children-five boys and three girls. Tom worked at the Hamilton Base Hospital and at least in later years was in charge of the boiler room. He loved gardening and produced prize gladiolas as well as vegetables, many being sold to local hotels. There was a sizeable block for the market garden.
There were three bedrooms and a sleepout. The three girls shared a front room, the parents the other front room and three boys another room as well as two boys being in the sleepout-an extra room on the back verandah. The kitchen was a reasonable size but must have been crowded when they were all together. There were forms on either side of the long table to accommodate them all. I remember visiting many times when my uncle Sam Toleman lived there with his wife Laura and children. Tom's fruit and vegetables were grown in the market garden behind the house garden as well as in the home garden. There was a gigantic mulberry tree to one side of the house, which was wonderful for climbing as well as for the fruit of course.
The children all went to the local Catholic school until they sought jobs to help the family budget particularly when Tom developed diabetes later on. The girls were all taught singing and the piano with the help of Toleman relatives. I do not know if this was also the case for the boys. The girls all were talented at sewing and/or knitting and embroidery. Margaret (Rita) was a dressmaker and it is possible her mother Margaret was as well. They all learnt to be very careful with all their resources and to save everything for use at a later date. "Waste not want not" was a favourite saying of my mother Evelyn (Margaret's middle daughter).
All of the children, or at least the five of them whom I knew well, loved dancing and some won many awards in the local competitions so it is likely that Margaret loved dancing too-or was it Tom, or both of them perhaps. The boys loved to tell stories and some were good at jokes and harmless pranks that I well remember.
The family home and block were sold over twenty five years ago and now is the site for the Lenwin Motel that is mainly on the market garden area next to the lake. Newer housing replaces the old home and which may also be a part of the motel.
Both Margaret and Thomas are buried in the main Hamilton cemetery amongst a collection of people who supported, shared and connected with each other-an era which, with our faster transport and communication, has been lost to some degree. People often relocate elsewhere for work and lose the close supportive community that was a part of Margaret and Thomas' life.
Oldest son Thomas Michael was a good footballer and played with brother Joe in the Hamilton premiership side of 1932. He worked in the railways and moved around Victoria. Bernard Dowling recalls that in 1960 "Tom Spillman was a guard on a train which left Thomastown after a green flag was received from him. Upon reaching the next station, Keon Park, the driver, Jim Elliot, a good friend of mine, received no signal from the van and walked to the other end of the train and found that Tom had collapsed and died between the two stations, a two minute trip".
Margaret and her husband Ray Sexton moved to Adelaide. Their daughter, Patricia, became a Good Samaritan nun and now works in an Adelaide parish. Sam, Evelyn and Anne each lived their lives mainly in Hamilton. Joe, Alex and Jim married and moved to Melbourne to live and work.
C8: Bridget Mary-ann Toleman
Bridget, 1883-1962, born in Garvoc, died in Sunbury and was buried in the Terang Cemetery. She did not marry. The family story is that Bridget's fiance was killed in WW1, and as a result she never recovered emotionally from her grief.
C9: Son (stillborn) Toleman
A son, stillborn in Garvoc Victoria, 1884.
C10: Elizabeth Ellen Toleman
Elizabeth, 1885-1972, born in Garvoc, married William Powell, 1881-1957, born in Camperdown, son of William Powell and Eliza Hannon.
Elizabeth and William married in 1909 in Camperdown. The first five children were born there. About 1920 they moved to Warrnambool to live and work and have their last two children. About 1930 the family moved to Ascot Vale in the inner north-west of Melbourne. Elizabeth's youngest sister, May Timms, and family had come to Melbourne from Colac a few years previously. They lived not far away, in Carlton.
Sunday was often visitors' day at Powells. Elizabeth was a great cook and daughter Irene Shorten remembers her mother turning out batches of cakes and scones-especially when the Timms family were due.
William died in 1957, at home in Ascot Vale. Elizabeth died in 1972 at Niddrie and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.
C11: Gertrude Catherine Toleman
Gertrude, 1886-1975, born in Garvoc, married widower John Patrick Nehill, 1881-1956, son of Patrick Nehill and Margaret Clarke.
After the death of her father, Gertrude moved with the family from Garvoc to Camperdown. In 1914 she married John. The Nehills farmed in Horan's Road Carpendeit and then in Alexanders and Nehills Road Purrumbete South. The Nehills were frequent visitors at Morgans in Camperdown when they came to town, but the split in the Labor Party in the 1950s brought out extreme political differences between the two cousins, Gertrude (Toleman) Nehill and Bridget (Murphy) Morgan.
The boys did not travel far and Alexander is proud to claim that for 70 years he was not a full day away from the farm.
Gertrude was widowed in 1956 and she died in 1975.
C12: Thomas Patrick Toleman
Thomas, 1890-1942, born in Garvoc, died in 1942 in Carlton. He did not marry.
C13: May Johanna Toleman
May, 1891-1955, born in Garvoc, married James Timms, 1883-1945, born in Wangoom Victoria, son of William Timms and Mary Ann Murnane.
Granddaughter Libby Tobin, née Timms, writes:
May and James married on September 29 1920 at St Patrick's Church, Camperdown. May was 29 years and James was 37 years.
James served in the first World War at Galliopli, and later in France, where he was wounded and sent home. He received a severe wound to the right and a wound to the right shoulder. As a result, he lost his index finger.
James joined the Australian Imperial Force on July 3 1915, at the age of 32 years and 3 months. He was 5ft 8in tall, weight 9st 12lbs with brown eyes and black hair, turning grey. He stated his occupation as Engine Driver, and he had served 12 months with the Warrnambool Riflemen. His father was William Timms of 'Glenfine', Cobden, mother deceased. He was assigned to the 2nd Pioneers, later the 23rd Battalion. He embarked for Active Service Abroad on August 26 1915. He returned to Melbourne on December 31 1917. On discharge he returned to live at Pamure, and May was living at Garvoc.
May and James began married life in Colac, where their first child Thomas died shortly after birth, at 1 day. William [Bill] was born in 1922, Kevin in 1925, Joan in 1926 and Brian in 1928. After Bill was born they moved to Melbourne, where the early family life was at 16 Paterson Street, Preston. When it was time for Higher Education, the family moved to Aunt Ellen Delaney's place for a short time, at 214 Drummond Street. When a house became available for rent they moved to 204 Drummond Street, Carlton, which became the family home for many years. The children went to Sacred Heart School Carlton and then on to St Joseph's North Melbourne.
Bill Timms married Norma Makepeace, daughter of Norman Makepeace and Ruby Moore, on February 15 1947. They were both 24 years old, sharing the very same birthday, October 8 1922.
Bill was not very interested in school, and left as soon as he could to take up a carpenter's job. Bill enlisted in the Australian Army on December 2 1941, at 19 years of age. He was posted to Darwin, but did not serve overseas. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was posted to Army HQ, Melbourne where he was discharged on January 31 1947. He married Norma two weeks later.
Bill and Norma had three children. Sadly, their first child, Margaret was stillborn in November 1947. Christine was born in 1949, and Virginia in 1955. The family home was 37 Trentwood Avenue North Balwyn, where Bill and Norma built a new family home.
Years later, Bill left the carpentry work behind, and joined his brother Kevin, in the bookmaking business. However, Bill loved making things, and found he never ran out of projects, with two daughters and many nieces and nephews. There was always great excitement at Christmas time when Uncle Bill was due to arrive, with children posted "lookout" at the front fence.
Norma was equally good at sewing and knitting.
Sadly, Norma died suddenly in September 1975. Bill managed to learn many new skills he had never faced before-cooking washing, ironing.
When the bookmaking business closed, he attained a job with the Melbourne City Council, emptying and fixing parking meters. Bill enjoyed being active. Bill passed away suddenly in 1996.
Bill and Norma's daughter, Christine Timms married Ian Horman, on January 17 1981. Ian had two boys from a previous marriage, who lived with the father. They built a new home in Greensborough. Their daughter, Claire was born 1981.
Daughter Virginia Timms married Nigel Chamberlain on January 7 1975 at St Bede's Church North Balwyn. Nigel was born in England, and soon the couple went to London to work for a year. On returning they bought a home in Heathmont, and had two sons, Phillip and Peter.
Kevin Timms married Lenore Scullion, daughter of John Scullion and Daisy Sullivan, on June 21 1949.
They settled in North Melbourne, in a two story terrace next to the church. During this time John, David, Angela, Peter and Libby were born, and it was time to move to a bigger house. In 1956, they built a new cream brick home in College Parade, Kew. Land in the area was not expensive, as it was "all that way over the river". So Kevin and Lenore bought a double block of land. Just as well, as Brian and Maggie were born in the next couple of years. We had a huge backyard to play in. In 1960s the family moved again, to Burke Road Kew, where we stayed until Lenore and Kevin were empty nesters.
Dad was christened the "Absent Minded Professor" by all of us children. He was a very good handyman, but sometimes it took a long time to get things done. Whenever the toaster broke, Dad would claim he could fix it, and he could. However Mum would just buy a new one, as toast for nine in the morning required one. We had a collection of broken toasters over the years. The lawns at College Parade were very time consuming to mow. In the late 1950s, Dad built a ride-on lawnmower, which was a fabulous invention.
It looked a bit like a go-cart, with a mower attached. The garage door was automatic, long before anyone else. Dad built many things with his boys, various radio-controlled model boats and planes, go-carts, and an amazing model train village. The train village was huge and was on a hydraulic lift, to store in the ceiling of the garage.
Dad and the boys also built small yachts, a Sabot and later a Mirror, which we spent many hours sailing around the Bay. Dad built a huge bird aviary, and David bred and showed his prize budgerigars.
Dad ran his bookmaking business, with his brother Bill, and Mum ran two hairdressing salons, as well as the household. Mum was very involved in fundraising for the schools we attended, running the Mother's Club and Tuck Shop. As the saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person.
Mum is a wonderful cook, and there was always an extra place at the dinner table for our friends. Family dinners every night were noisy and full of discussions and often hard to get a word in. Sunday night was "Priest Night", and Mum's brother John Scullion SJ would bring other priests for dinner. Dinners were casual and there were many serious discussions concerning the world's events, cricket, horse racing and football.
The house at Burke Road had a tennis court, and soon a swimming pool. We all played tennis, and the court was a wonderful cricket pitch and football venue. Years later the court was covered with a marquee for 21st birthdays. We could all swim like fishes, and so our home was always full of extra kids over summer. The diving board provided for many competitions.
Mum and Dad played lots of tennis, and had a regular Sunday group. Mass in the morning, followed by a big Sunday brunch, and Mum and Dad's friends would arrive for tennis, followed in the summer months by a BBQ dinner. A few years later, Dad put big light poles on the court, with huge fluorescent tubes, and so we had the first residential floodlight tennis court, and could play tennis all year round.
With seven children in the family, it was always a two car expedition for family outings. There were many picnics and attending rowing events, rugby matches and gymkhanas.
In the early 1970s, Mum and Dad built a beach house at Mt Martha, and finally we could all go away together for summer holidays. The house was always full, and somehow Mum managed to feed everyone.
Patrick Timms interviewed his Grandfather recently and wrote:
Imagine having the reputation as being the largest SP bookmaker in Australia. That was my Grandpa, Kevin James Timms.
Born on January 1 1925, Kevin grew up in Carlton with his two brothers, Brian and Bill, and sister Joan. He attended primary school at St Georges Primary before moving to St Josephs where he passed his merit certificate. Kevin completed his school years at St Kevin's. Describing himself as a conscientious student, Kevin studied hard and achieved excellent marks. He loved his school years and has no regrets about them.
He also feels this way about his decision to join the military in 1943. As soon as he turned 18 he enlisted in the Australian Air Force. He completed his training in Australia, prior to going to England. Choosing the Air Force over the army was an easy decision for Kevin to make; he had the qualifications for the Air Force and felt that it would be safer. Fortunately, Kevin came out of the war without a scratch, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer. He returned to Australia in August of 1945, but was not discharged from the Air Force until December of the same year. Under the C.R.T. (Commonwealth Retraining Scheme) Kevin attended Melbourne University where he completed his commerce degree. On January 21 1949 he married Lenore Scullion. They went on to have seven children and loved every minute of their years together raising a family.
During his time at Melbourne University, Kevin became an illegal bookmaker (it was considered illegal because he was not paying betting tax). He came to be a bookmaker because one day, Kevin was at home studying while his brother Brian was receiving bets from his mates over the phone, and Kevin overheard the conversation and decided that half the bets were ridiculous. He convinced his brother to keep his friends' money instead of placing the bets. If the horses lost they could keep the money, but if the horses won, they would have to pay Brian's friends. By the end of the day Kevin and Brian had made 50 pounds and this was the start of an astonishing career for Kevin. Kevin was a bookmaker for 35 years, 1947 until 1977. During his time as a bookmaker, Kevin was caught by the police only once, in 1965. He was let off lightly with a hundred pound fine. Considering the business was turning over 2 million pounds a year, 100 pounds was zilch. At one stage of his career Kevin was considered to be the biggest SP (Starting Price) bookmaker in Australia.
There were two main reasons for his success: using an accounting machine and using a code system to take bets. The accounting machine would record all bets taken. This allowed Kevin to take numerous bets, consequently resulting in larger revenue. He also developed a code system that would keep him from being caught. Instead of calling Kevin and placing your bet, you would call his partner and give him a number. His partner would then call Kevin and tell him all the numbers. Kevin would call the person (depending on which number was given) and ask for their bet, eg. the number 7 was Mr X at work, Kevin would call Mr X at work and receive his bet. The system was ingenious and allowed Kevin to work without the police being able to trace the calls.
Since retiring Kevin enjoys gardening walking, playing golf with Lenore and watching the races. Kevin considers himself to have had a happy and fulfilling life, he has a wonderful wife and a happy family.
Kevin and Lenore's seven children all married.
John Timms married Joan Sheehan, daughter of Frank Sheehan and Valda Smith, on August 23 1974.
John and Joan have lived in Perth WA for many years. Their son Christopher has captained the Australian Royal Lifesavers Team. He has traveled to London to compete, where the Australian team won, and was presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Last year the team competed in South Africa. Daughters Kelly and Cathryn have been involved in swimming also, with Cathryn and mum Joan, running a very successful swim school.
David Timms married Joanne Hunt, daughter of Alan Hunt and June Kerr, on September 19 1981.
David left school to pursue a plumbing apprenticeship, later starting his own successful business in the Kew area. He became the youngest councillor for the Kew district, and served for some years. David and Jo have three children-Samantha, Kevin and David. In the early 1990s, David and Jo moved the family to Bahs Srcub, Queensland. David started another plumbing business and Jo pursued her nursing career and teaching at the university. David and in later years Jo, share a love of participating in car racing and fishing.
Samantha has followed her mother in a nursing career; Kevin loves the outdoor life and is a builder, while David junior has followed his father, as a plumber.
Angela Timms married John Anker, son of Roy Anker and Ruby Oke, of Wandin, on August 24 1972.
John is a farmer from a long tradition, his family settling in Wandin over 100 years before.
Angela was enthralled with horses since she was a little girl. She spent many hours riding and competing. On finishing school at Genazzano Convent, she went to teacher's college and graduated as a primary teacher. Later to combine her skills as a teacher and her love of horses to run a riding school-Wandin Riding Academy. Angela and John have worked very hard to build an amazing property, with world class horse eventing facilities. Their property is well known by all who watch the Saddle Club on television.
Angela and John have four children, Emily, Sarah, Rebecca and William.
Emily has inherited her mother's love and passion for horses, and recently won the Werribee Open Three Day Event. Emily works on the farm teaching and training her horses, with the ambition of one day competing in the Olympics. Sarah loves the city life and moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in real estate. Rebecca has completed training at university as a teacher, and is loving her first year of teaching experience. Rebecca is an accomplished horse rider also. William is looking forward to finishing school, and studying farm management. William is very capable of any farm chores, having worked beside his father for many years.
Peter Timms married Louise Munro, daughter of James Munro and Patricia Stagg, on November 29 1980.
From the time he was a little boy, Pete said he wanted to be "a man that sold houses". On finishing HSC at Xavier College, he enrolled in the real estate course at RMIT University.
Pete worked in residential real estate for some years, before joining Central Equity, where he has worked for many years. Louise is a qualified accountant, turned extraordinary caterer. Pete is an excellent tennis player, and won several junior championships. His doubles partner was a boy from school, Peter McNamara. Macca, as we called him, went on the international tennis circuit. Peter stills finds time to play tennis. Peter and Louise lived in Canterbury for many years, but have recently built a new modern home in Richmond, to accommodate their family's growing needs. Pete and Louise have four children. Sophie, Julian-who was born prematurely and sadly died at one day, Jack and Patrick. Sophie has finished school and is attending Deakin University, studying Sports Management. Jack and Patrick attend Wesley College.
Elizabeth Timms married Michael Tobin, son of Thomas Tobin and Dorothy Mackey, on August 24 1975.
Always known as Libby, she attended Genazzano Convent, completing HSC and becoming a primary teacher, later studying Special Education. Libby met Michael at her sister Angela's wedding; he was escorting his mother Dorothy, as Tom had passed way in 1969. Tom and Dotty were great friends of Kevin and Lenore, so much so that they were Libby's godparents. Michael is a funeral director, having worked for the family business since leaving school. They live in North Balwyn.
Libby and Michael have three children-Tom, Amy and Lucy. Tom has returned to study, and will soon complete an advertising course, before heading overseas for six months to work in London. Amy has just completed a degree in Media Studies at RMIT University, and has an ambition to work in the sporting area, especially football. Lucy has completed a degree in Performing Arts at Monash University. Lucy is an accomplished musician, playing both the piano and guitar. She has taken a year off before completing her honors year, and is working at Camp Getaway in Connecticut, USA.
Brian Timms married Debra Gardiner, daughter of John Gardiner and Edna Stephens, on November 5 1982.
Brian attended Xavier College, and on completing HSC, enrolled at Monash University to study medicine. During the first week he met Debra. Brian moved to Sydney to complete his specialized training as a Neonatal Pediatrician. Brian became an expert at transporting babies to the hospital for treatment, traveling all over Australia and overseas. As a result of his expertise, he was offered a job in Cleveland, Ohio. Brian worked in the hospital as well as teaching his specialist skills. Brian, Debra and baby Gillian moved to America for two years. They returned to Australia, and settled in Townsville, Queensland. They returned to Melbourne, and settled in Balwyn. They have three children-Gillian, John and Matthew.
Margaret Timms married Brian Dureau, son of Kenneth Dureau and Eileen Stafford, on November 8 1980. Maggie and Brian are divorced.
Always known as Maggie, she left school to begin an apprenticeship in hairdressing. Maggie has always shown a talent for business and has successfully run hairdressing business. She has three children-Hayley, Daisy and Richard.
Hayley has completed her VCE with excellent results, and is taking a year away from study, before commencing university. Daisy and Richard are still at school.
Joan Timms [only daughter of May and James] married Brian Clifton, son of Lawrence and Catherine Clifton, on October 4 1952.
Andrew and his partner Sharon Pyalt have a son, Alyx.
Lisa married Cosmo Vallelongo on October 6 1990.
Brian Joseph Timms [1928-1956] youngest son of May and James, was never married.
Brian left school at intermediate level. The headmaster called him aside on one occasion and said: "Brian, you would make a wonderful leader, but the only trouble is, you would lead the boys astray!"
On leaving school, Brian became an industrial chemist trainee. On August 13 1945, he was experimenting with explosives and blew himself up. He suffered shocking injuries, loosing his left hand, 90% of his eyesight, and a perforated stomach. He was still at home recovering in 1947, when Kevin was studying accountancy in the same room as Brian was arranging bets for his friends. This was the incident that started the bookmaking business.
Due to his eyesight, Brian bought a tape recorder when they were first released on the market, and he was able to record the bets coming in over the phone. He had a terrific sense of humour, and on one occasion he was visited by the police. He stood up to let them take charge saying: "I am in front Sergeant, see if you can keep it that way for me". Brian's use of the tape recorder was actively written up in the London newspapers.
He was killed in an accident, when the Volkswagon in which he was front passenger (no seat belts in those days) turned right from Drummond Street into Elgin Street and was struck by a bus. Brian was thrown out of the car, under a Tramway bus, and killed instantly. He was only 27 years old.
Brian's death was a shattering tragedy for the family. Brian and Kevin were in business together, and as well as being brothers, they were best friends.
D: Mary Delaney And Robert Murphy
Mary, 1847-1892, born in New Hill, Ireland, married Robert Murphy 1841-1917, born in Limerick, Ireland, son of Robert Murphy and Catherine Dunlea.
Mary and Robert married in 1873 and settled in Penshurst where they ran the general store. They moved to Nirranda in 1885, buying 99 acres on the north west segment of Delaney's Corner. Mary died in 1892 giving birth to her tenth child, Michael. The oldest child, Catherine, had the task of rearing the family assisted by her aunt, Ellen Delaney (A5), who was not married. Widower Robert went to Western Australia in the mid 1890s, probably with brother-in-law John Delaney, to search for gold. He returned to the family after a short while in the west. In 1907 he married Ann Breen and had a further three children. He died in 1917 and is buried with Mary in the Warrnambool cemetery in grave 40-25.
D1: Catherine Murphy
Catherine, 1874-1955, born in Mt Rouse Victoria, married Albert (Bert) Steele, 1871-1957, born at Woodford. Bert was reared by my grandparents, Patrick and Ellen Ryan in Nullawarre, about two miles from the Murphy's place at Delaney's Corner.
Bert worked on the Ryan's farm at Nullawarre before marriage to Catherine in 1901. Valerie Scott, a granddaughter of Catherine and Bert, remembers the story that Catherine was a good horsewoman and her father used to let her ride from Delaney's Corner where they lived to jump fences at Boggy Creek. (These fences may have belonged to the hunt club there.)
Catherine and Bert lived near Warrnambool where Michael, Albert, Mary, Annie and Les were born. About 1910 they moved to a farm at Cobrico and the twins Dorothy and Gertrude, and Irene were born in Cobden. The last child Reg was born in Camperdown.
Valerie remembers her grandmother's stories about living on the farm. Hand milking was slow and hard work and all hands were called upon. After the twins were born, she would take them to the milking shed in the pram so she could help. They left the farm about 1914 and moved into Camperdown, living eventually at 5 Ferguson Street. The house still stands.
Valerie continues the story:
When they moved to Camperdown Bert worked at Pomberneit Butter Factory and rode his bike there. Later he got a job as a fireman at the Camperdown Butter Factory. Each day two of the children would take a hot lunch to him at the factory. The children went to the Catholic School in Camperdown. As many as could fit on rode a pony and the others walked.
Mick, the oldest, moved to Melbourne and worked with the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. Albert had a baking business at Lara. Les was a baker also, and worked at Lake Bolac and Mortlake. Mary and Annie both learned Irish dancing. Mary was supervisor at the Railway Refreshment Rooms. Gertrude and her husband lived in Warrnambool and after the war took up a soldier's settlement block out of Woolsthorpe. Reg worked in Camperdpwn with the SEC.
My mother, Dorothy, worked as a waitress in Camperdown. Her father, Albert, had taught himself the violin and many other musical instruments and had a great voice. Dorothy inherited those talents and would perform with her father at social occasions in the town. Their deeds are remembered with a commemorative post at the Camperdown Football Ground.
Catherine died in 1955 at the age of 81 years and Bert two years later at age 86 years. They are buried in the Camperdown Cemetery.
D2: John Murphy
John, 1876-1921, born in Mt Rouse Victoria, married Emma Killery, 1874-1929, born in Adelaide, daughter of John Killery and Bridget Corbett. The Murphy descendants in Victoria had lost touch with the Adelaide Murphys some 20 years ago. Peter Murphy, a grandson of John, found the Delaney's Corner website, made contact and within 24 hours faxed the story of his grandparents and details of their descendants. Peter tells an amazing story:
John Murphy (D2) left Victoria around 1900 and headed for the goldfields of northern Western Australia. About the same time, Emma Killery left Adelaide to go to Western Australia to work for caterers. Nothing was heard of Emma until 1922 when she wrote to one of her sisters in Adelaide telling her she was married, her husband had died and she had four children. The eldest, being sixteen was trying to provide for the family.
During those years John Murphy and Emma Killery had married at Peak Hill (near Meekatharra) WA in 1903 and had four children: Robert, Ellen, Eileen and James. They lived in various gold mining towns in Western Australia-Peak Hill, Lennonville, Cudingwarra, Cue and Day Dawn. John had suffered ill health from gold dust on the lungs, and he died in 1921 in Cue WA. Robert, their eldest, left school at 12 and went woodcutting to help provide income for the family. One of Emma's sisters in Adelaide had been successful in business and paid for her and her family to come to Adelaide.
Eldest child, Robert, worked for his Aunt and later became Manager of one of the local picture theatres in Glenelg. He married Dorothy O'Neil in 1942 and they had two children, Peter and Pauline. After the war Robert worked as a shop assistant in a Delicatessen of his wife's cousin.
John and Emma's daughters, Ellen and Eileen, did not marry. Ellen (known as Nell) was housekeeper for her aunt who brought the family to Adelaide. Eileen worked in the theatre and later as bookkeeper at the local butchers.
The youngest of the four Murphy children, James, worked at many jobs, but had the wanderlust of his father. He would go missing for many years then suddenly turn up. He was a very happy-go-lucky type and excelled at anything he put his mind to. He married Ivy late in life. He died in Sydney.
John and Emma had two grandchildren, Peter and Pauline Murphy. Peter married Patricia Edwards and they have two children. Peter spent most of his life in the bank. Pauline married Kevin Maloney. Pauline has devoted her life to bringing up her four daughters.
Of the next generation two have completed tertiary education. Joanne (Maloney) is nursing and specialising in midwifery. Anne-Marie (Murphy) is a mining engineer contracted to MIM. She, like her great-grandmother, Emma, went to a northern gold mining town in WA where she met her husband who is from Victoria-history has repeated itself.
John Murphy (D2) died on June 30 1921, aged 45 years and is buried in the Cue-Day Dawn cemetery, noted by plaque No 108. Emma died in Adelaide on November 14 1929, aged 55 years.
D3: Bridget Murphy
Bridget, 1878-1973, born in Mt Rouse Victoria, married Walter James Morgan, 1880-1952, born in Allansford, son of John Charles Morgan and Euphemia Cumming.
Bridget was 12 years old when her mother died. At one stage after leaving school, she was working as a domestic at a Warrnambool hotel. She played ladies cricket with a team called the Forget-Me-Nots. Her younger sister Mary (D4) was a good cricketer also-they probably played in the same team. Walter had been in the Boer War and he married Bridget in 1907.
They spent their married life in Camperdown and had nine children-Robert Walter, Mary, Herbert, Raymond, Ellen (who died in infancy), Jean, Annie and Patricia. The children went to St Patrick's School Camperdown. Four of the children married-Robert to Sheila Mullarvey, Walter to Eileen Dillon, Raymond to Millicent McWhirter and Annie to Robert Crooks.
Annie Crooks remembers her mother's passion for politics, a passion which was transmitted to all the family. Bridget used to take Annie as a young girl to meetings of the Labor Party. With the split in the Party in 1955 and the emergence of the Democratic Labor Party, Bridget, then near 80 was fiercely critical of those who had walked out on her party.
Robert Morgan married Sheila Mullarvey and they moved to Healesville.Walter Morgan married May Dillon and they lived in Colac.
Barry Morgan recalls his parents' life:
Raymond Michael Morgan was born at Camperdown on April 26 1914. He was the fifth child of Bridget Delaney and Walter Morgan. Ray went to the local Catholic school. In Ray's younger days, motor bikes were his passion and while courting his future wife, Millie said she always knew when Ray was coming to see her, as she could hear him coming from ten miles away on his motor bike.
Raymond met and married Millicent McWhirter at the Holy Trinity Church, Stawell on April 26 1941. After the birth of their first child, the family shifted to Geelong, as Ray had enlisted in the army, as a dispatch rider; later he was seconded to the Ford Motor Co., who had at the time the Defence Contract. After the war he stayed at Ford for many years. Ray and Millie had a family of ten children and twenty grandchildren, keeping them very busy day by day. Ray passed away on 13th October 1981 and Millie on 5th June 1996; both are buried at Geelong.
Annie Morgan married Robert Crooks. Annie recalls:
Robert worked on the Railways and, as it was a protected occupation, he could not join the army. He tried the air force but was rejected due to a bad knee. He transferred to the Commonweath Railways and was posted to Adelaide River NT, where he was involved with transporting troops, supplies and goods during a critical stage of the war. We married in 1945 and lived at 39 Wall Street, Camperdown. When we left the town, my parents took it over and lived there with the unmarried Morgans. They named the house Newhill after the Townland from which the Delaneys had come in Ireland. Herbert made a wrought iron name plate, "Newhill", which was affixed to the front of the house.
The Crooks had five children, one of whom died at birth. One of the daughters, Mary, is Executive Director of the Victorian Women's Trust and in that position is well placed to continue her grandmother's passion for politics.
Walter Morgan died in 1952 at age 73 years and Bridget lived on till she was 94 years, dying in 1973. They are buried in Camperdown Cemetery.
D4: Mary Murphy
Mary, 1880-1948, born in Mt Rouse Victoria, died in West Brunswick. Mary did not marry.
Beth Ives, a neice of Mary, recalls:
After leaving the farm at Nirranda, Mary was employed as housekeeper to the Swan family in Warrnambool. There she played cricket with a ladies cricket team.
Mr Swan owned the local furniture store in Warrnambool. Their daughter Maude (Swan) Pattison was a nurse in World War I and her daughter Dorothy lived with her Swan grandparents. Naturally Mary was a great influence on young Dorothy who herself became an army nurse and served in World War II. When Mrs Swan died, Mary moved to Terang to live with her sister Anne (D9) and brother-in-law Mick Slattery, staying with them for many years. Mary then moved to Melbourne to live with Dorothy (Pattison) Allwood. In January 1948 Mary telegraphed her sister Ellen Ives (D7): "See you tomorrow to live in your bungalow. Love Mary."
Dorothy drove Mary to Brunswick. Ellen phoned her local GP who found Mary had cancer and had six months to live. Mary died on June 30 1948 with Ellen and Maude (Swan) Pattison beside her bed. Mary is buried in the Ives family grave in Melbourne General Cemetery.
D5: Johannah Gertrude Murphy
Johannah 1882-1942, born in Penshurst Victoria, married Patrick Laurence Slattery, 1880-1968, son of James Slattery and Mary Doolan.
Pat worked as a well borer and water diviner and his skills were in demand in the Terang district. Johannah and Pat married in 1908 and lived in Terang all their lives. They were to have nine children. In later years, he lost his eyesight and daughters Mona and Marie stayed home to care for him.
The eldest in the family, Mary, married Harry Baker and a grandson of theirs, Jamie Drew, has continued the bikeriding tradition in the family, winning the Warrnambool bike race twice, 1999 and 2001. He also has had many successes overseas.
The Warrnambool Standard has been a chronicler of happenings in the district for 125 years, including the exploits of Delaneys and their descendants. It is worth remarking that a grandson of Johannah Murphy and Pat Slattery, and son of Kathleen and Clarence, Rick Bayne, is the current editor of that daily newspaper.
Johannah died in 1942 at age 60 years. Pat lived for another quarter of a century. Both are buried in the Terang cemetery.
D6: Robert Murphy
Robert 1884-1965, born in Mt Rouse Victoria, married Anna Pell,
Robert was a baby when the family moved to Delaney's Corner, Nirranda. He was eight years old when his mother died. His son John was contacted recently in New Zealand and has forwarded the following story:
My father, Robert (D6), commonly known as Bob, spent his early years in Terang and Camperdown in Victoria. About 1908, at age 24 years, with a group of other young men, he left Victoria and went to New Zealand. In the first instance the group went harvesting in the Banks Peninsula area and he later moved to the West Coast. In 1916 he joined the New Zealand Army in the Royal Signal Corps and went via Egypt (Alexandria) to France and saw action in the final battle on the Somme. On returning to New Zealand at the end of the war he went to work in the central King County, at Taumaranui and Ongarue, as a bushman. There he met Anna Pell whom he married in approximately 1922. Bob and Anna had five children, in this order-Robert Joseph, Marjorie Monica, Shirley, Patricia and John. Anna, Robert's wife, died on January 13 1962 and Robert died on December 6 1965. Both are buried at the Mangere Lawn Cemetery in Auckland.
The oldest child of Robert and Anna, Robert Joseph Murphy was born in 1924 and died in January 2003. Robert was educated at Sacred Heart College and became Dux in 1940. With the outbreak of WWII he attempted to join the Army but was underage and was demobbed and sent back home. He eventually joined the airforce in 1942 seeing overseas service in the Pacific Islands, Valalavala, Green Island and Guadacanal. Following his demobilisation from the airforce he entered the rehabilitation training scheme and became a builder. He carried on this profession throughout his life. Bob was recognised as an outstanding athlete in the sport of orienteering, winning more New Zealand National titles than any other in the history of the sport in this country (15 in all). He represented New Zealand on three occasions.
Robert married Joan McLaren and they had eight children. The first two are twins-Kevin and Frances, then came Angela, Joanne, Patrick, Michael, Peter and Robert. Kevin is a Marist Father and Frances is an airline hostess for Air New Zealand. Patrick is in public relations. Angela is living in England, the wife of a doctor and she is a nurse. Joanne is also a Nurse. Michael is in the field of information technology. Peter is in the field of heating and ventilation and Robert recently returned from Hong Kong.
Bob is buried in the churchyard in the Howick Parish, Star of the Sea.
Marjorie Monica Murphy, the eldest girl of the Murphy family was born on March 8 1926. She married James Lucas and they had five children-Murray, a senior plant engineer with Carter Holt Harvey in Wakatane; John, who has his own marine engineering business at Gulf Harbour; Robyn, who is a specialist doctor and who lives in Canberra; Warwick who is in the field of science in Australia; and Jenny, who is also a doctor. Marge's husband, Jim, died in 2003.
Shirley Murphy was born on July 28 1927 and married Trevor Bradley. Trevor joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1936 and worked himself up to Chief Petty Officer at the end of WWII. Shirley and Trevor lived at Blockhouse Bay for a period of time and in 1960 went to live on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. They had three children-Christine, Linda and Trevor. Trevor senior is deceased.
Patricia Murphy was born in August 1931. She spent some time in Australia, in particular in Melbourne living with her father's sister, Nell Ives (D7) and was well known to Des Slattery. Patricia married Derek Briggs. Both are still alive. They have three children-Catherine, Alison and Paul. Derek and Pat run a successful homeopathic practice and college in Auckland. They also live in Blockhouse Bay in Auckland.
The first four of Robert and Anna's children were born in Taumaranui. The youngest, John Patrick was born in Auckland in June 1933. John married Elizabeth Stuart Campbell in 1954. They have two children-Pamela Anne and Robert John. John was successful in sport and in his occupation in the construction industry where he is still working as a senior consultant in construction project management. John represented the premier rugby province, Auckland, in the early 1960s. Elizabeth and John live in Blockhouse Bay.
Son Robert John Murphy is also in the construction industry and is director of a large construction company. He married Lynn Pearson and they have three children-Luke, Bradley and Ben. Daughter Pamela married Ross Joyce. They also have three children-Rogan, Shanley and Liam. Ross is also involved in the construction industry and Pamela works with her father in Auckland in a project management practice.
D7: Ellen Murphy
Ellen, 1886-1961, born in Nirranda, married Stephen Ives, 1891-1970, born in Red Hall Lodge, Leeds, Yorkshire, son of Stephen Ives and Rachel Mawson. Daughter Beth writes:
Ellen was born on November 9 1888, the seventh child in the Murphy family. She was the first of the Murphys to be born at Nirranda. Ellen was six years old when her mother died in childbirth. Ellen Delaney (E), her mother's sister, and Catherine Murphy (D1), the oldest child, reared the family. On leaving the family farm, Ellen travelled to Camperdown where she was employed at the Leura Hotel as housemaid. During 1922 Ellen moved to Melbourne where she was employed as housekeeper/barmaid at the Duke of Wellington Hotel in High Street, St Kilda. There she met Stephen Ives. Stephen had served in the Royal Navy for five years. He transferred to the Australian Navy and sailed to Australia in the HMAS Melbourne in 1912. He was discharged in 1919 and lived in Melbourne.
Ellen and Stephen married on June 21 1924 at Sacred Heart Church St Kilda and lived in Balaclava for four years. In 1928 they moved to Brunswick as Stephen had been moved in his employment with the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board to the Brunswick Engine House for the cable trams.
Being the only member of the Murphy family to reside in Melbourne, Ellen was always inundated with country visitors. Stephen and daughter Beth would show the relations the delights of Melbourne-the Zoo with rides on Queenie the elephant and the antics of Molly and Jimmy the gorillas, and Luna Park being favourites.
The longest-term boarder at the Ives' was nephew Des Slattery of Terang, son of Annie (Murphy) and Mick Slattery-for 7 years until he got married. Ken Slattery, a grandson of Annie and Mick was a boarder for some months also, continuing the long history of hospitality the Ives family offered to the country relatives.
On March 25 1944, Stephen was received into the Catholic Church and on March 28 received Holy Communion (my 19th birthday) and was confirmed on June 21, my parents' 20th wedding anniversary. He retired from the Tramways in 1956.
Ellen died on January 9 1970 of bone cancer in Caritas Christi Hospice, Kew. Stephen died on May 24 1970 at home. They are both buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.
D8: Margaret Murphy
Margaret, 1888-1888, born and died in Nirranda, lived for only ten days.
D9: Anne Murphy
Anne, 1890-1947, born in Nirranda Victoria, married Michael Augustine Slattery, 1889-1967, son of James Slattery and Mary Doolan.
Anne and Michael married in 1913 and had seven children.
Their son Des Slattery recalls:
My mother (Anne Murphy) was two years old when her mother died. Sometime after her father went to Western Australia, she went to live with her oldest sister Catherine (Steele) in Camperdown. My father, Mick Slattery, had a plumbing business in Terang, at one stage employing seven people. He was not a great business man but was a great bloke-everyone loved him.
Dad and his brother Jim (Ray Tatchell's grandfather) were good bikeriders, thinking nothing of riding to Melbourne at the weekend. They were also good footballers, being members of the Terang Stars premier team of 1908.
My brother Jack was a very good track cyclist with Connie Delaney-rode also with Tiger Pat Delaney on the road.
Our house was always filled with itinerant bike riders needing a feed or a bed. Around the time of the Melbourne-Warrnambool Road Race the place was very crowded. Occasionally the smallest of the visitors had to sleep in the bath.
My brother Jack worked in our father's plumbing business until he was about 32, then moved to Mildura with his family.
My sister Kath married Clarrie Carmody of Terang, who unfortunately died at age 46, leaving Kath a widow at age 40 to rear two kids. Kath later worked for many years at the Terang Co-operative and was involved as a department manager-buying and so on.
My sister Marion, who never married was a salesperson mainly specialising in shoes and held positions in Terang and Warrnambool. Marion loved to travel and maintained friendships over the years with people she met on her various trips.
My brother Brian died at the early age of 27, due to a medical mishap. He also worked for our father in his plumbing business until his untimely death in 1946.
My sister Ella married local footballer Stewart Paton while he was on leave during the war. He also worked for my father's plumbing business until they moved to Cobram in the 1950s They had nine children and when Stewart died at age 53, Ella was left with a bit of a struggle with all those kids-but they have all turned out great people.
My sister Aileen married Geoffrey Kenna, another local footballer, and had five kids. Geoffrey also died young (age 53) but Aileen coped OK-a bright and vibrant person.
This leaves Desmond-
I boarded with Auntie Ellie (Murphy) Ives in Brunswick while working and studying accountancy. I married Clare Toohey from Essendon and we had six children. I played cricket for four years with Sub-district club Brunswick and 11 years with Essendon in what was a very strong CYMS competition. During that period Essendon won seven premierships.
The children were keen netballers, footballers, cricketers etc-in fact our son Bill is still playing Sub-district cricket with Coburg at 41!
Pat (Carmody) Lee, a granddaughter of Anne (D7) was only nine years old when Anne died, but she remembers her knitting and crocheting tea cosies beautifully:
Anne was a big woman, kind and generous. She often had extras for tea, mates her husband would bring home from the pub after six o'clock closing. And of course when the Warrnambool was on the place used be flooded with bikeriders. Anne and her siblings had a hard life after their mother died and father, Robert, took off for the West Australian goldfields. He sent back a small nugget of gold that was made into a brooch. I now have that brooch.
Anne (Murphy) Slattery died in 1947 aged 57 and her husband Mick died in 1967 aged 78. Both are buried in the Terang Cemetery.
D10: Michael Murphy
Michael, 1892-1978, born in Nirranda, married Eleanora Arnold. They married in London and had seven children.
Michael was the tenth Murphy and his mother died when he was born. As we have seen Aunt Ellen Delaney (A5) took over management of the household. The wider family had the idea that Ellen had spoilt Mick, which is understandable as she had him from birth. Mick became a skilled horseman and as far as we know worked in the district until he joined the 1st AIF.
His daughter Dorothy (Dolly) takes up the story in a letter to me dated November 1 1978:
Michael Murphy … was one of the last to leave Gallipoli. Following invaliding to Cairo he was demobilised in the UK, and in 1918 he married Eleanora Arnold. He had several occupations, notably, masterbaker, chief fly man at the Drury Lane Theatre, building superintendent, and finally buyer at Smithfield meatmarket in London. He was in full-time employment up to the age of 80 and he was active and able to look after himself and Mrs Murphy until a week prior to his death (in July 1978, aged 84 years). Mrs Murphy survived him by no more than six weeks or so; she died September 2 this year … I am sorry we are unable to give you more information … we have been abroad in the Leewards and Windwards, the Bahamas and Mauritius for long periods.
It is said that Michael fell in love with Eleanora when she was nursing his war wounds. She had a child by a previous marriage. That child, Margaret van Nieulande, wrote to me on November 24 1978 from her home in Beverly Hills California:
I left England for the States over 40 years ago to live with my father's family. (My husband is Belgian.) There were eight of us Murphys. I was the eldest, as I was about two when Michael Murphy and my mother married … Although I am not a true Murphy if only a little of such a kind, good and generous man-husband and father-has rubbed off on me, then I am truly a lucky woman to have been part of such a man and Murphy family.
In September 1979 I met up with Victor and John Murphy and their families and the bachelor son, Peter Murphy, in London. After a pleasant Sunday morning at the local pub, I recorded a conversation with Peter, which revealed a lot about his father and his personality and about life in "London Town" at that time. Peter recalled:
Australia was a tough bugger for me when I was there in 1958-59. The old man used to say: "I've got relatives out there but I don't know where they are." He didn't talk about that life, that past life. He was a really quiet man on that. We couldn't get a sense of his past life.
When the old man saw an advert in the paper in 1963-it was the News of the World-looking for Michael Murphy, it brought tears to his eyes. "It's all strange" he said. He wanted to go and said to me: "When are you going to Australia again? I'll come with you." I said: "You're a bit too old now" and he went quiet.
He was a lively guy, loved people. He played bowls up at Sydenham when he first came to London, to Waterloo in 1916-1917. He met my mother; she was a very attractive woman. As kids in the Depression we used to go around with our jam jars, work at the newsagents, the greengrocers, on our scooters and carts. We loved it, we loved the family, we had a good life. We might have been dirty; playing in the parks, getting all muddied up. We used to love it-life to us was great. That's our life in London Town. We're earth people, we're ordinary working people.
He liked scotch-he was a 'scotch' man. He worked hard five days a week. He could have made quite a bit. He was not a sportsman. He couldn't swim. He used to ride a bike. Impossible to be a sportsman at that time unless you had the cards. But he liked his outlook on life. He liked people, he liked women, he loved shows. In the 1930s, he had part time jobs in the West End. He was a card, a very truly Irishman. He would have his kid gloves on and his Trilby hat-a bit of a cockade hat, tilted on the side of the head. He loved that era, working behind the scenes, meeting Noel Coward and all that lot. The way he used to talk about this and that was nobody's business. And that was London Town at that time.
We're C of E you know. Father was a Catholic. There was a bit of friction early on about that. I was the first one to go to a Catholic school, I was in the choir up at Sydenham.
The old man loved singing-he used to play the old "joanna" and we'd gather round. In the war he would invite in the neighbours and sing and sing and sing. He loved life, he loved people.
Doll's husband, Bob, has been an administrative officer in the civil service in the islands for 20 years, a very clever chap. When the Queen used to visit the islands, he used to organise the arrangements. I had a photo of him and the Queen, I was so disgusted I tore it up.
Vic and John both did trades. They both have nice families. Vic's wife ran newsagencies and florist shops and did very well. John worked as a painter and decorator at the Council.
The oldest son Dennis Michael Murphy was killed in action with the Royal Navy in 1941.
John, with his wife Irene, visited Australia in 1992 and met lots of the Murphy and Delaney relations.
E: Ellen Delaney
Ellen, 1851-1906, born in New Hill, Tipperary, died in Camperdown. She did not marry.
Sr Mary Anthony Joseph O'Brien (J6), Ellen's first cousin on the Dunne side, recorded in the Delaney-Dunne Reunion 1978 booklet:
Ellen Delaney used to go to the O'Brien's place and that of Margaret Dunne at Killarney for holidays. She had one blind eye caused by being thrown from a horse onto a stump. When her sister Mary Murphy died when Mick was born, Ellen took over the management of the Murphy home. The older girls were fairly grown. And Ellen had a hard time especially when their father Bob Murphy went away to the goldfields in Western Australia which left Ellen with an added responsbility. It was the idea of the family that Ellen spoilt Mick but it is understandable as she had him from birth.
Ellen died in Camperdown and is buried in the Warnambool Cemetery with her parents.
F: John Delaney And Harriet Crewes
John, 1853-1933, born in New Hill, Ireland, and Harriet Eliza Crewes 1866-1946, born in Ballarat, daughter of Thomas Rodd Crewes (emigrated from Cornwall) and Mary Ann McCarthy (born in Wales).
As we have already seen, John took an early interest in the whiskey industry. He lived with his parents, his sister Ellen (E) and brother Tom (G) on Allotment 76B, one of the three selected blocks at Delaney's Corner. When Mother died in 1884, John and Tom took over the farm.
John and Eliza married in Ballarat on January 2 1887. They came back to the farm and shortly afterwards John and Tom subdivided the farm into two blocks each of 52½ acres. By 1894 they had three daughters, their eldest child John having died in infancy.
The trauma of the whiskey years led John on a different path, and in that year he took off for Western Australia looking for gold. He had no luck and did not return until 1900. Again the call of the West prevailed. He came back at least one more time, in the 1920s. My sisters remember him staying at Bushfield walking up and down the back path saying the Rosary.
My father corresponded with his Uncle John via Meekatharra Post Office. I remember one afternoon in 1936 picking up the family mail from Bushfield Post Office on my way home from Woodford School. There was a letter in my father's handwriting addressed to John Delaney at Meekatharra. On the back was stamped "Returned from the Dead Letter Office WA".
I was scared out of my wits as I walked the two miles home carrying this "dead" letter. John had in fact died-at Murchison, 50 miles from Meekatharra.
John and Eliza's grandson, Bernard Dowling takes up the story:
Left by herself with three children, Eliza had returned to her widowed mother, Mary Ann Crewes, in Ballarat East in 1894. She lived in that city until 1912, when she moved to North Carlton and then Brunswick. In 1924 she took over an apartment house at 120 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, and operated the establishment with her daughter, Stella, until her death in 1946. She was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.
F1: John Delaney
John, 1887-1887, born and died in Nirranda. He was three weeks old.
F2: Mary Ellen Delaney
Mary Ellen, aka Nellie, 1888-1965, born in Nirranda, married Gerald Dowling, 1888-1944, born in Ballarat; Gerald was the son of Thomas George Dowling and Elizabeth McConville.
Bernard Dowling continues the story of this line of the Delaney family:
Nellie moved with her mother and two sisters from Nirranda to Ballarat when she was five years old. She completed her secondary schooling up to leaving standard at Sacred Heart College, Ballarat East. Unable to get a job matching her qualifications, she took up dressmaking, and began keeping company with Gerald Dowling, who was the brother of her good friend Tessie Dowling. In 1911 she and her sister, Stella, went to stay with relatives (Annie Kemp in Malvern) in Melbourne. They rejoined their mother and sisters Lenore and Reta in 1912 in North Carlton and later Brunswick.
Nellie and Gerald Dowling married at St Ambrose's Church, Brunswick, on October 21 1914. Although Gerald was a watchmaker and jeweller, that business was affected by the outbreak of the world war. So Gerald joined the Victorian Railways and worked as a shunter in the Spencer Street railway yards.
In 1925, Gerald and Nellie bought their own home in Myrtle Grove, Regent. On February 15 1927 Nellie gave birth to their only child, Bernard. Because Bernard was a victim of eczema, Nellie took him to Manangatang in the Mallee where she had friends in Mr and Mrs Lowe who ran the hotel. She was also friendly with Fr Bernard Duffy (after whom she named her son), who was the parish priest in Manangatang. She stayed in this town for two to three months.
Nellie and Gerald were keen travellers. As a railway man, Gerald was able to get passes and they travelled widely by train, sight seeing and visiting friends and relatives. Nellie was also a prolific letter writer, keeping in touch by this means with her many relatives on both her own and her husband's side of the family. This included overseas correspondence to relatives in Ireland, in particular on the Dunne side of the Delaney family.
Nellie was a very religious person and showed a keen interest in the church. She was sacristan at St Gabriel's Church, Reservoir, for over 30 years. A very good organiser, she loved arranging fundraising activities, house parties and catering for various parish events such as working bees. Gerald died in 1944, and Nellie got a job at Miss Hall's newsagency near her home, a job she thoroughly enjoyed.
Deteriorating health eventually required her to move to Nazareth House Nursing Home in Ballarat in 1964. She began to wander and had to be transferred to Lakeside Hospital where she died on April 30 1965 at the age of 76. Nellie was buried on May 3 from St Gabriel's Church in Reservoir, following a Requiem Mass, celebrated by her brother-in-law, Father William Dowling. She was buried with her husband Gerald at the Preston cemetery.
I was fortunate to get to know Mrs Dowling, my father's first cousin, when she took me in as a boarder for three months in 1946, shortly after her husband died. Again, in 1951, when I was waiting for a place at Newman College, Mrs Dowling welcomed me for a further three months. During those two periods, I learned so much about family life from a city perspective (breakfast table cloths and crumb trays and brushes were a revelation to me) and gained a great knowledge about the Delaney family and all their relatives. New names like Toleman, Spillman, Sexton, Farrell, O'Connor, Timms, Ives, O'Brien and so on came into my vocabulary. It seems that although Ballarat was a long way from Nirranda, Nellie's mother Eliza had maintained strong bonds with her husband's relatives, and this knowledge, developed further by Nellie, has helped maintain connections between the families.
Bernard continues his own story:
Bernard was the only grandchild of John Delaney and Eliza Crewes. After completing his secondary education at St Thomas Clifton Hill and St Kevin's College Toorak, he became a clerk in the Victorian Railways, following in the footsteps of his father and his paternal grandfather. After three years, he became a primary teacher, a job that he continued for forty four years, twenty seven with the State Education Department and seventeen with the Catholic Education Office. After leaving Teachers' College and taking charge of his first rural school as head teacher, Bernard was in charge of each school he was at until he retired as Principal of Our Lady Help of Christians School, East Warrnambool at the end of 1990.
Included in his teaching career was the organisation of special excursions by train for children of the various schools he was at and many surrounding schools. The biggest was a 15-carriage train from Port Fairy to the Melbourne Show in September 1970 when 1,220 children, teachers and parents took part. He was also involved in arranging five-day train tours around Victoria on a number of occasions.
A further interest he had throughout his life was secretarial work (in which both his mother and father were also interested) and he occupied secretarial positions throughout his life including many with football clubs where he was stationed. Bigger jobs were secretary of the Whittlesea Agricultural Society for five years, the Panton Hill Football Association for four years and the Hampden Football League in the South West of Victoria for fourteen years.
Bernard was awarded Life Membership of the Hampden Football League in 1993, and was also awarded the Warrnambool Citizen of the Year Award in January 1994.
F3: Lenore Bridget Delaney
Lenore, 1890-1915, born in Ballarat East, died in Brunswick. Lenore did not marry. Lenore lived in Nirranda for about three years before moving to Ballarat where she remained with her mother until they moved to Melbourne in 1912. She was troubled with sickness throughout her short life and sadly died as result of tuberculosis at the young age of 25 years.
F4: Stella May Delaney
Stella, 1892-1979, born in Nirranda, died in Fitzroy. She did not marry.
Bernard Dowling continues:
Stella only lived in Nirranda for a couple of years before moving with her mother to Ballarat. She attended school in Ballarat and worked as a dressmaker before moving to Melbourne with her sister, Nellie, in 1910, staying with relatives.
Stella continued to work as a dressmaker for some time but lived with her mother and sisters when her mother moved to Melbourne. They lived in two or three locations before they moved into an apartment house at 120 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy in 1924. Her mother operated this apartment house with herself until her mother died in 1946, after which she operated the house herself with her sister Reta living with her. Many and varied tenants occupied the rooms in this house during the time that the Delaneys were living there. Stella was responsible for keeping the house in order and also helped with the cooking for her mother and her sister.
Although tied to the house for fifty five years of her life, Stella was a very happy person and seemed to enjoy her life. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of eighty seven.
F5: Margaret Mary Delaney
Margaret Mary, aka Reta, 1900-1998, born in Ballarat, died in Abbotsford. She did not marry.
Bernard Dowling concludes his memoir:
Reta lived in Ballarat with her mother and three sisters until 1912 when the family moved to Melbourne, living in two or three houses in North Carlton and Brunswick before settling in an apartment house at 120 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy. While her mother and sister Stella operated the apartment house as a business, Reta became a very efficient secretary. Her main jobs as a secretary were at the Advocate Press for a number of years and then as a secretary in a State Government Department for many years until her retirement in 1965. Reta proved to be an excellent typist on the old manual typewriters. She received a very nice letter of thanks from the secretary of her government department when she retired.
Following her retirement, Reta assisted Stella in the running of the apartment house until Stella's death after which she carried on the operation of the house on her own. Hip operations slowed her down a bit and unfortunately she broke her leg and was confined to a wheelchair in 1994. She spent the final three years of her life at the Good Shepherd Old People's Home in Abbotsford, dying as a result of a bad stroke in January 1998 at the age of 97. Reta had spent seventy years in residence at 120 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy.
G: Thomas Delaney And Maria Brumby
Thomas Delaney 1856-1912, born in Dennington, and Maria Brumby, 1869-1948, born in Allansford. Maria was the daughter of John Brumby and Susan Hobble. John was transported to the colonies in 1844. Susan was born in Kent, England. They married at Nirranda in 1857 and settled there. Known as Whiskey Tom, Tom was recognised as the leader of those involved in making Delaney's whiskey, especially in the later years.
Tom and Maria were married on March 3 1887 in the house of Mr F.J. Jones at Nirranda. The Minister was Edmund Bichford and the marriage was solemnised according to the rites of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The witnesses were F.J. Jones and C. Jones. (Jones was the secretary of the Nirranda Cemetery Trust.) The turbulent story of Tom (and to some extent Maria) during the whiskey years has been told in Part Three.
Tom finished his time in Geelong near the end of 1895, and returned home to see his one year old son, John, for the first time. They were to have another eight children over the next decade or so.
Tom and Maria resumed farming at Nirranda. The rate books show that they added a house and 179 acres (the farm that was to become the homeplace-allotments 78A and B and 94A) to their holdings in 1896. But the going was still tough. William Ardlie held mortgages over one or more of the properties from time to time and Maria, not Tom was listed as the ratepayer for the years 1898 to 1900. A family story is that Tom was selecting land in the Otways, probably at this time. But the records show that Tom resumed as the ratepayer on the family properties in Nirranda from 1900.
By the time of his death in 1912, Tom owned about 453 acres in the Parish of Nirranda. These comprised allotment 76B of 105 acres and house (the original selection of his parents, John and Bridget), part of allotment 77 (William Bourke's selection), allotment 40A, known as John Lee's selection, and the homeplace-200 acres comprising allotments 78A, 78B and 94A.
Tom died on December 1 1912, at the age of 56. After 25 years of marriage, Maria, 43 was widowed with ten living children, the youngest being four years old. In the War soon to follow one of her sons would be killed in France, and another seriously wounded twice there before being invalided home. But Maria was not subdued. According to family, she travelled a lot, and enjoyed life. She died in 1948 at the age of 78 years and is buried in grave 25-35 alongside her husband, Tom.
(A paragraph in the Warrnambool Standard in 1897 throws some light on midwifery arrangements at that time. Mrs Blake was claiming 2 pounds 10 shillings from Maria for attendance at two confinements. Maria claimed she had paid 25 shillings in cash and 4 pounds 8 shillings worth of tea, kerosene, salt and flour. Maria must have taken the action lightly as the magistrate reprimanded her, and two others, for displaying "great merriment" in court.)
G1: John Delaney
John, 1888-1891, born and died in Nirranda.
G2: Maria Delaney
Maria, 1892-1972, born in Nirranda, married John (Jack) Beasley, born at Cobden, 1889-1961, the son of John Beasley and Brigid O'Dwyer.
Son John Beasley and other members of the family compiled this story:
Maria and Jack were married in 1912. Their early years of marriage were spent around Warrnambool where the first five of their eleven children were born. In 1920 they moved to Melbourne, first to Richmond and then to Abbotsford. Jack worked for Lilly Cycles, a bike shop in Victoria Street, Richmond, and in 1922 joined Bruce Small, manufacturer of the famous Malvern Star cycle. There, Jack teamed up with Hubert Opperman and they had many successes.
In 1929 Maria talked Jack into setting up his first shop in Buckley Street, Footscray, and worked behind the counter and encouraged him to design his own product. Known as Clinker Cycles and later as Beasley Cycles, the business is now run by the next generation of Beasleys at 121-127 Buckley Street.
The older girls had attended school in Abbotsford and Vin and Clinton went to St Joseph's Technical College there. The other children went to St Monica's School, Footscray. Maria had her hands full bearing and raising such a large family, especially during the depression years.
Jack rode in most of the major road races in Victoria, including the 1,000 mile Centenary Race in 1934, and the annual Warrnambool-Melbourne road race (20 times). He held the Australian 100 mile championship and the world competition record for that distance. One story he told was that he carried his winnings from carnival to carnival by putting the gold sovereigns down the seat bar of his bike!
Jack and son Vincent (Vin) were the oldest and youngest father/son combination to compete in the Warrnambool.* Vin was 16 at the time and finished fourth. Twenty two years later, in 1952, he won the Warrnambool. Also in 1952, Vin's son, Vinn, won the Austral Wheel Race and was second in the Sun Tour. The girls also liked sports but Mum would not let them ride in bike races. However, one of Vin and Irene's daughters, Maureen, played netball for Victoria.
Clinton (Clinker) Beasley was perhaps the best performer of the Beasley family. At the age of 19, he outsprinted the great Fatty Lamb to win fastest time in the 1935 Warrnambool. This was followed by a win in the Alpine Tour and the Australian Road championship. In 1940 he won the premier track race, the Austral Wheel Race, the first cyclist to win the Warrnambool fastest/Austral double.
John Beasley, the third of Jack and Maria's sons, started competing in 1947. His was a stunning career, and only the highlights will be presented here. He won the Australian Road Championship in 1951 and became the first Australian to ride in the Tour de France after World War II. In 1952, The Sporting Globe had sponsored a four man team to compete in Europe, with John the youngest, at 21 years old. The five week trip was so rough little practice was possible aboard ship. The team rode in many races in France and the tough 28 stage Tour of Italy. Eventually, the other three members decided to pack up and head to England leaving John to tough it out on the continent. He was chosen to ride in the eight man Luxembourg team in the Tour de France, led by mountain climber, Charly Gaul.
After seven stages, John withdrew with a bad bout of saddle boils. John says it was "agony trying to sit on the saddle". In 1955, John paid his own way back to Europe and rejoined the Luxembourg team, this time with his friend, the Australian Russell Mockridge, a gold medallist from the 1948 Helsinki Olympics. They suffered food poisoning after a seafood meal just before the start of the Tour. John was so crook an official ruled him out of the race in its early stages. (Russell finished in 69th place.)
John's sons John and Russell (named after Mockridge who had been killed in a road race, the Tour of Gippsland) went on to become cycle champions in their own right. Russell won numerous Victorian and Australian track championships at both juvenile and junior levels. He went on to become a top line senior, despite having a serious operation. John Jr won the Victorian five kilometre title and was an unlucky second in the Australian title. He had many wins on the track, and was a scratch rider in road events. John and Russell surfed for fun and were Victorian Surf Boat Champions with Torquay Surf Club.
John Jr is now a Victorian ladies cycling coach with the Victorian Institute of Sport, and the national junior sprint champion with Australian Cycling. His wife, Vicky was also a racing cyclist. A South Australian, she won the SA Ladies Road Championship and represented the State.
Another grandson of Maria Delaney and Jack Beasley to achieve international recognition was John Trickey, son of Patricia (Beasley) and Charles. Starting in a court built by his father in the backyard at home, John won many juvenile and junior tennis championships. He defeated Paul McNamee in the final to become State junior champion. Neale Fraser and Harry Hopman coached him in the State junior squad, and he won many doubles titles with Paul McNamee. At 18, he joined the international circuit, and played at Wimbledon for three years. Injury forced retirement from the circuit. He coached at the famous Rochus Club in Germany for five years. Back in Melbourne he was to become National Tennis Coach and travelled overseas with the top ladies for five years.
The oldest of Jack and Maria's eleven children was Gertrude, known as Fay. She married James Blake in 1940. Their son, Danny was the quiet achiever of the Beasley/Delaney sporting family, excelling in golf, football and boxing. His best amateur boxing performance was winning the New Zealand Golden Gloves. Turning professional, he retired undefeated after 16 fights. In football, he was best and fairest in the Footscray and District Football League. He was boxing and rehabilitation coach at the Western Bulldogs Football Club for six years, and in 2003 was at Box Hill Hawks under Tony Liberatore.
In November 1953, the magazine, People, carried a major story about the Beasleys. The Beasleys were described in the article as an "easy-going people with no pretensions or apologies, who are unworried by social status or a few slips of grammar. Says motherly Mrs Beasley, 'We're a happy family. When I see some of the mix-ups in other families I really feel sorry for them. I've never seen my boys scrap with one another.'"
Jack died in Footscray in 1951, and Maria lived on for another 11 years, dying at the age of 80 years.
G3: Florence Ann Delaney
Florence Ann, 1893-1895, born and died in Nirranda Victoria.
G4: John Delaney
John (Caesar), 1894-1973, born in Nirranda, married Margaret Catherine Couch, 1896-1948, born in Nirranda. Margaret was the daughter of William Henry Couch and Margaret Ann Ryan. (Margaret's sister was to marry Caesar's cousin, Martin Delaney.)
John joined the AIF in February 1916 at the age of 21 years five months, seven months after his brother Bob. He proceeded overseas in July 1917 and in September 1917 was wounded in the head, neck and chest in the field near Etaples. In January 1918, while recuperating in London, he went AWL and forfeited 11 days pay.
Nephew Ted Delaney continues the story:
Returning to battle in France, it appears that he joined brother Bob in the 14th battalion in the trenches. Come one evening during this exercise, it was decided that the infantry group would camp in a school building. Caesar made the comment that if Fritz put a shell into the building they would all be killed. He decided to sleep in a haystack along with a few other soldiers. During that night in May 1918 a shell hit the building and his brother and many others were killed.
Some months later, in July 1918, Caesar was still fighting in the trenches and was wounded in action a second time, in the side and chest. He spent two days in extremely cold, wet and muddy conditions before receiving medical help. He was invalided out, returned to Australia in January 1919 and was discharged in April 1919.
John and Margaret were married in 1917 before he embarked for overseas. On returning to Nirranda, they farmed part of the original Delaney selection, allotment 76B. Later on they took up a selection of 262 acres (allotment 102 in the Parish of Nirranda) on what is now known as Whiskey Creek Road. Nephew Ted recalls further stories:
John, a very large man with a gentle disposition, loved to play the accordion at which he was very accomplished. He was a regular at Nirranda Hall dances, with a bottle at his feet to keep the blood flowing. The further into the night the louder his big heavy boot would become as it kept beat to the accordion. A first task each morning was to cut out nice squares of newspaper for his roll-your-own cigarettes.
Margaret died in 1948 and John in 1973. They are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 21-32A.
G5: Florence Delaney
Florence, 1896-1980, born in Nirranda, married William Bergin, 1876-1946, born in Warrnambool, son of John Bergin and Elizabeth Beattie.
Florence and Bill married in 1915. Bill enlisted in Melbourne in World War I and served in France. He was frostbitten and got sick in England. Back in France, he was severely shell-shocked and never regained good health. After the war, they got a soldier settlement block at Cundare North, on the banks of Lake Corangamite. They had six children. Bill died of Bright's Disease in 1946 in Melbourne, and Florence died in Timboon in 1980.
G6: Robert Delaney
Robert, 1897-1918, born in Nirranda was not married. At the age of 18 years one month, on July 26 1915, he joined the AIF. In July 1916 he was fighting in Etaples, France, and shortly afterwards was sent back to England to recuperate from pleurisy. By July 1916, he was back in action in France. In February 1918 he was wounded and gassed. Two weeks later he rejoined his unit. On May 3 1918, he was killed in action (see story under John Delaney (G4)). He is buried in Allonville Communal Cemetery, which is four miles NNE of Amiens. Two other district soldiers were killed in the same battle, Privates Ballis (Warrnambool) and Hustler (Penshurst).
G7: Thomas Joseph Delaney
Thomas Joseph (Tom), 1899-1969, born in Nirranda, married Anne Burris, 1895-1950, born in Mailor's Flat, daughter of Patrick James Burris and Catherine Mary Benson. Anne's sister Margaret was already married to Peter Delaney (A13), a cousin of Tom.
Tom went to school with his siblings at Nirranda. He left school around the age of 14 and returned to the family farm to milk cows. He also spent many long hours clearing land, doing horse and dray work, picking gravel and road building. (He and Joe Couch and other locals picked the road from Nullawarre to Delaney's corner.)
A fine article entitled "District Dairyman Says Sheltered Paddocks Pay Dividends" in the Warrnambool Standard on 9 December 1952 by a staff reporter36 is based on an extensive interview with Tom about his farming experiences:
Mr Delaney now owns his 200 acre farm on Goonan's Road and he and his sons also own two other farms and a bush block of 142 acres, a total of 800 acres all told. They are, and have been for the past three years, the biggest suppliers to the Kraft factory at Allansford. The "bush block" actually merited its name when it was taken up. But what was then 142 acres of heavily timbered bush country has been transformed in the short period of three years into good dairying land in full production, although the family still refers to it as the "bush block".
Mr Delaney bought the farm in Goonan's Road in 1929 (from Peter Bradley), and he not only weathered the depression but also reared a family of six sons and four daughters and retained a philosophic attitude to life that is very evident in his account of his early experiences. "Butterfat was 6½d when I started and it stayed at that figure for some time. What did we do? Just kept renewing the bills until it went up of course. There was nothing else we could do." "I made my start on rented ground on the Boggy Creek Road" he said. "Old Archie McFarlane stood me up a 'thousand' for stock and implements. I paid him back the thousand and was there for 5½ years. I sold up and put the money into this place (200 acres bought from Peter Bradley at 18 pounds five shillings an acre). Everything was on tick, cattle, implements and even our tucker, but we got through all right. We lived in an old hut and I cleared the land with an axe and a horse-drag and we gradually got on our feet". Tom started planting trees the second year he was on the farm. He bought the first lot of trees and then grew his own trees for his own use and for his neighbours (one year he sold 30,000 trees). They were cypresses, planted in a single row, and by 1952 there were 3,000 trees in plantations surrounding the farm and six internal paddocks. We walked the farm and found sleek-looking fat cows sheltering behind the trees in every paddock with dry ground under them, and hardly a patch of mud could be found anywhere on the farm.
The trees are not only a sound investment in terms of hard cash, they are also the expression of his love for the bush where he was born and bred … Mr Delaney says his parents (Tom Delaney and Maria Brumby) were pioneers. They were, but it is evident the pioneer spirit did not die with them. He himself has continued clearing and improving bush land, and he has also improved on nature by the intelligent use of trees for the greater profit and welfare of man and beast.
The reporter concluded the article with these words: "While the man on the land shows initiative and resource such as that there need be no anxiety as to the future of Australian food production."
Tom's son Tom has provided a further reflection on The Life and Times of Thomas Joseph Delaney:
Tom married Annie Burris at St Joseph's church Warrnambool on April 21 1925. Tom was aged 25 and Annie was aged 28. Their witnesses were Annie's brother Patsy Burris and sister Catherine Little. Annie had been working at the Royal Hotel where she cared for the Russell children. Later Tom and John Russell went on to become priests and served throughout the Ballarat Diocese for many years.
After their marriage Tom and Annie lived with Tom's mother Maria and worked on the family farm. After a short time they bought 200 acres from Peter Bradley. They moved into a three-roomed house consisting of a kitchen/living area and two bedrooms. It was here that they began family life. Tom milked a small herd of cows and began clearing the bush using two Jack's to fell the trees. The land was cultivated using a plough pulled by a bullock or horse team.
Later Tom and Annie bought 44 acres at Whiskey Creek. This property had good spars, which were cut and sold, as there was a great demand for wood after the war. Tom and his sons Tommy and Bob spent many years clearing this block. Gravel was also supplied for the roads, which were being constructed throughout the district at the time. Contractors paid royalties to remove the gravel.
In the 1930s Tom and Annie built a new home next to their existing home as their family grew. Owens built the home at a cost of 6oo pounds. The cost of labour was 45 pounds. This home was spacious consisting of a kitchen, dining room/living area, lounge, four bedrooms and a bathroom. The home was surrounded by a large and well-kept garden. Tom also had a large vegetable garden and orchard.
Tom's garden was not only a source of great pride but also a source of many stories. To protect his vegetables Tom would pay his two youngest daughters Rosie and Margaret threepence for each white butterfly they would catch. Tom once hid the family Christmas presents in the vegetable garden only to have Bob discover the hiding place and announce to all that he knew where Santa had left the presents. Tom also had placed in his garden a scarecrow, which looked so realistic that when the local parish priest Bart McDermott once visited the Delaney home he wondered why Tom wasn't answering his greetings. He wasn't impressed when he discovered he was talking to a scarecrow!
Tom over many years propagated and grew many thousands of cypress trees, which were sold far and wide. (One year he sold thirty thousand trees.) These cypress plantations can be seen today majestically standing along fence lines giving shelter to livestock and dwellings. Some of Tom's grandchildren can remember sitting/hiding in a neatly trimmed golden cypress on the front lawn of his home on a Sunday afternoon after attending mass at Nirranda then enjoying a roast lunch prepared by Jinx (Jim Jenkins). Tom would sit on a wooden block at the end of the table and enjoy having his family gathered around him.
Tom had an interest in sporting events and attended many sports meetings throughout the district. He was the leader of a tug of war team. In later years Tom was a founding member of the Nirranda South Football Club. His name can be seen today on the Life Members Board in the Nirranda clubrooms.
Tom was a member of the Curdievale School Committee raising funds and maintaining the school during the time that his 10 children attended. Tom with other parents and the teachers would once a year transport the students on a truck to Port Campbell where they would have sand building competitions and other activities. Tom built a cart for their small pony to transport his children to school at Curdievale.
Tom was left a widower in 1950 at the age of 51. Annie had been unwell for a short time with the doctor suggesting she go to bed and rest for six months! She died suddenly on October 6 at home at the age of 54 leaving the younger children to be cared for by their father and older siblings. Tom died at the age of 71 on July 5 1969.
Oldest son Tom spent several years clearing his father's bush block, on the Curdie Vale-Port Campbell Road. This block was part of a grant of 96.81 hectares (allotments 57 and 57A in the Parish of Narrawaturk) made to his father Tom on September 15 1948. With further purchases of nearby properties, the Delaneys now run many farms in this immediate area (see Appendix D Map 4). Tom and Betty's homeplace is called 'Erinvale' and the irrigated paddocks match the green of the Emerald Isle which Tom's ancestors left 150 years ago.
Ted, the seventh child of Tom and Annie, has the original home farm on Goonan's Road. He adds further to the story:
My Dad Tom's older brothers, John and Robert, had joined the army in 1915 to fight overseas. Tom also enlisted along with a mate Joe Hill. Neither had reached the age of 16 years. When Tom reached the army barracks in Melbourne he was met by military police and charged with falsifying his age. He was immediately convicted and frog-marched by two MPs through the city streets to the lock-up where he spent several days before being sent home.
Tom, known as "Tiddler", cleared the Goonan's Road block of heavy timber mainly by ringbarking with an axe and then cutting the trees down after they had died. Later on a grubber or horse winch was used-a very hard life.
Dairying and raising pigs was the main source of income. When he decided to dispense with the pigs, it was the largest number ever sold by a single vendor at the Warrnambool pig market. Dairying was carried out under extreme conditions, at times with little drainage (Nirranda country is very flat) and lots of mud. The story goes that Tiddler had a cow down with milk fever in the middle of winter. With hailstones and driving rain, he got Jack Carey a neighbour to assist. They decided that the cow needed something to warm her up, so what would be more appropriate than a bottle of whiskey. As the cow didn't need the whole bottle, they proceeded to sit down on the cow and partake of the whiskey until it was all gone. The poor bloody cow was so disgusted it got up and walked away.
Tiddler was adept at making do with limited resources. He made a rubber-tired cart for the kids to go to school, pulled by "Poddles", a Shetland pony. Land clearing became more modern with the advent of the bulldozer. He was an original member of the 20-25 member Bulldozer Co Op-probably the only such Co Op in Australia. Later on he installed one of the first refrigerated vats in Victoria.
Ted has many involvements outside the farm. In 1987 he was elected as a Director of the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. He represented his fellow suppliers as a District Councillor for the Victorian Farmers' Federation. Ted was a Director of Timboon Herd Improvement Cooperative for 24 years, including eight years as chairman, and has also worked extensively for many community organisations, including the Curdies River Committee of Management of which he was Secretary for 20 years.
The oldest son, Tom has become the patriarch of the Nirranda Delaneys. He worked his father's selection at Lower Heytesbury as a young man, grubbing clearing and ploughing and camping on site during the week. Within a few years the selection was farmable. At weekends he played football for Nirranda South, and was a constant supporter until the club's demise. He then helped found Heyteshury Football club where his sons played. Tom was community minded-he was a member of the Curdie's River Management Committee. He was a strong supporter of the founding and development of the new Catholic parish at Timboon. He is chairman of the Delaney Reunion 2005 Committee.
Tiddler Tom's sons Tom, Bob, Jim, Pat and Ted continue to farm in the district. Joe lives in Warrnambool as does his married sister, Kitty Kenneally. Annie married Eddie Sadler and moved to Geelong, and Rosie (Bell) and her husband lived in Terang, where they farmed for some time.
Tom and Annie are buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave number 2-31A.
G8: Catherine Delaney
Catherine, 1901-1982, born in Nirranda, married Albert J, aka Jim, Cannon, 1899-1945, born in Nirranda, son of Irishman James Cannon and Sarah Allwood.
Catherine and Jim were married in 1921 and had 10 children.
Son Bill Cannon remembers:
We farmed in the Western Otway Ranges at Yuulong on the ocean side of the Great Ocean Road. The older children went to school at Wangerrip School, but it burnt down in the 1934 bushfire. The Otway Schools in Retrospect souvenir booklet records that at that time: "Mrs A. Clark was Head Teacher and children from the Cannon and McCormick families were attending. School was then held in the home of Mr Chas Shields and later in the new hall which opened in February 1935, the old hall having been burnt in the bushfire."
Farming in the hilly Otways was tough going during the depression. In the late 30s, we moved back to the Warrnambool district, sharefarming for the Mellicans at Wangoom, and then for Stewart Jenkins at Aitkin's gully near Grassmere Junction.
Tragedy struck in 1945 when Dad (Jim) was killed on the road at Nullawarre. He stepped out from behind a wagon loaded with hay to open a gate. A car hit and killed him. Mum carried on sharefarming and raising the younger members of the family (the youngest of the ten chidren was only three years old when Dad died). Eventually she moved to live in Mepunga. She would hitchhike to Warrnambool to do her shopping. The neighbours were very kind and she rarely had to wait long for a ride. In her later years she went to live with her daughter, Olive, in Warrnambool. Declining health led to hospitalisation in her last year or so. She died there in 1982 at the age of 81 years.
G9: Margaret Delaney
Margaret, 1903-1940, born in Nirranda, married Stanley Joseph, (Syd) King, 1900-1971, born in Warrnambool, son of Joseph William King and Helen Emma Clarke. They had 10 children.
Margaret and Syd were married in 1923 and lived in Nirranda South, where Syd was paying rates on a house and three acres in the 30s and 40s. Sadly Margaret died a few weeks after giving birth to her tenth child, Margaret.
G10: Veronica Emily Delaney
Veronica, 1904-1990, born in Nirranda, did not marry. She lived most of her adult life in Sydney and died there. She was buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery in grave 51-1D in the lawn section on November 23 1990.
G11: Bridget Delaney
Bridget, 1906-1968, born in Warrnambool, married Ross Laidlaw, 1899-1979, born in Nirranda, son of William John Laidlaw and Phoebe Bonnett.
Bridget and Syd were married in Richmond in 1930. They had three children, Pat born in Warrnambool, Ivy born in Camberwell, and Les born in Nirranda. Bridget died in Kew and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery. Ross died in Leongatha and is buried with Bridget in Warrnambool.
G12: Edmond Delaney
Edmond, 1908-1974, born in Nirranda Victoria, did not marry. Always known as Dorney, he lived on the family farm with his mother Maria. After her death he continued his work on the farm.
In the early 50s he fell from a windmill whilst repairing it. His spine was broken and he spent many months in the Austin Hospital. He became a paraplegic. At the time of the accident, he had a large English Humber car. He had it converted so he could drive as a paraplegic, something which he never achieved. He continued farming with the help of sharefarmers.
Dorney died in Warrnambool and is buried in the Warrnambool Cemetery with his parents in grave 35-25.
Part Five: The Dunne/russell Descendants
Martin Dunne lived in the Townland of Kilmakill in the Parish of Moyne, County Tipperary (see Griffiths Valuation Survey). He and his wife, Margaret Maher (sometimes spelt Meagher), had at least ten children-Edmund, Patrick, Mary, Margaret, Bridget, Ellen, Judith, Michael, Anne, and Martin-born between 1810 and 1824. In 1990, I visited a descendant-Ned Dunne and his wife, who still lived in the house although the farm has expanded to a few hundred acres.
Bridget Dunne married John Delaney and their story has been told earlier. Her older brother, Edmund and his family also migrated to Victoria and now we turn to his story, as told by great grandson, Pat O'Brien: "Edmund Dunne married Mary Russell of Moyne Parish, Co Tipperary, on February 20 1854, seven months before John and Bridget Delaney left Tipperary. Edmund and Mary had two children, Margaret and Anne. On November 10 1863, he left Ireland for Australia on the Blanche Moore from Liverpool and arrived in Melbourne on March 10 1864. He lived with his sister and brother-in-law Bridget and John Delaney at Grassmere/Purnim and later at Nirranda. His wife and two daughters arrived on March 17 1868 on the Southern Ocean. The family story is that Mary quickly realised that husband Edmund was 'wasting his time' at Nirranda, and so they soon settled in Killarney on the Princes Highway (near the Killarney Hotel) on a farmlet of five acres. The house, with some additions, is now owned by a great-great-granddaughter of Edmund and Mary Dunne (née Russell), Donna Dixon (née O'Brien, born 1970) and her husband Anthony Dixon and family."
Mary died in 1882 and is buried in the Tower Hill Cemetery. Edmund died in 1886 and and is buried with his wife.
H: Margaret Dunne
Margaret, 1855-1927, born in Tipperary, never married.
The first of Edmund and Mary's two children, Margaret, arrived in Victoria when she was 11 years old with her mother and sister. The Dunnes settled in Killarney in the late 1860s and Margaret lived with her parents in the family home on the Princes Highway. After their deaths, Margaret continued to live on the Dunne farmlet until her death in 1927.
The Dunnes' home in Killarney was always a welcoming place for visitors. After Mary Murphy (née Delaney) died giving birth to her tenth child in Nirranda, the Murphy children were often at Dunnes' for holidays. Bernard Dowling recalls his mother speaking of holidays with the Dunnes and O'Briens, the glorious Killarney beach no doubt being an attraction. Margaret died in 1927 and is buried in Tower Hill Cemetery.
J: Anne Dunne And John O'brien
Anne Dunne, 1858-1940, born in Moyne Parish County Tipperary and John O'Brien, 1845-1921, born in Killacluig, Mitchelstown, Cork, Ireland, son of Patrick O'Brien and Ellen Moher.
Anne was nine years old when she arrived in Victoria with her mother and sister in 1868. John migrated to Australia when he was about 19 years old.
Anne and John married on September 26 1883 and they lived on a small farm in Survey Lane, Killarney, where they raised a family of eight children (one baby died at birth). John died in 1921 and Anne lived on for another 19 years, dying in 1940. Both are buried in Tower Hill Cemetery.
J1: Ellen Mary O'brien
Ellen 1884-1889, born in Killarney, died at the young age of five years.
J2: Mary O'brien
Mary 1886-1975, born in Killarney.
Mary was the last of three O'Brien girls to enter the convent-she stayed at home to work on the farm while the other two sisters entered. As a member of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, Mary took the religious name of Patrick and taught in schools in Eastern Australia.
She died in Melbourne at 88 years of age and is buried in the Sisters section at Fawkner Cemetery.
J3: Margaret O'brien
Margaret 1888-199I, born in Killarney married Harry Lowe, born in New Zealand.
Margaret and her younger sister Agnes successfully operated the Penshurst Bush Nursing Hospital for a long period before and during the Second World War. They would have delivered most of the babies in the district during that time. At the age of 54, Margaret married Harry Lowe in 1942 and they lived in Geelong East. Margaret spent her declining years in Lyndoch Nursing Home, Warrnambool, and died there in her 103rd year, in 1991. She is buried in the Geelong Eastern Cemetery with Harry.
J4: Eileen O'brien
Eileen 1890-1978, born in Killarney, did not marry.
Eileen lived at home caring for her parents until she was in her 40s. She then became a presbytery housekeeper in the Ballarat Diocese. She died in Geelong in 1978 and is buried in Tower Hill Cemetery.
J5: Honora O'brien
Honora 1892-1976, born in Killarney.
Nora also joined the Good Samaritan Order. Her religious name was Sr Philomena and she taught in schools in the eastern states. She died at the age of 84 years at Northcote and is buried in the Fawkner Cemetery.
J6: Kathleen O'brien
Kathleen, 1894-1983, born in Killarney.
Kathleen was the third sister to become a nun in the Good Samaritan Order; Sr Mary Anthony Joseph was her religious name. Teaching mainly in Queensland, Anthony Joseph in later years often recounted some of her experiences during the war. She was in charge of the Convent at Charters Towers, North Queensland, which was a large boarding school, mainly for outback Queensland families.
At the convent the nuns also looked after a number of girls, who had become pregnant to American soldiers in Townsville.There was also a large American Air Force base close by. One of her tasks was to protect her girls from the Yanks. Most of the girls stayed at the school over the Christmas holidays. Planning ahead, Sr Anthony fattened some turkeys for their Christmas dinner. But the Yanks raided the pen and spirited them away for their Thanksgiving dinner at the end of November. No amount of protestation did any good-the Yanks refused to admit guilt. On Christmas Eve however Anthony Joseph answered a knock on the kitchen door and a soldier marched in and dumped a huge pig carcass on the kitchen table. Anthony knew a local butcher who butchered the pig in time for hungry boarders to enjoy a huge Christmas dinner.
Anthony Joseph spent her later years in the Good Samaritan Convent Northcote, where she died at the age of 89 years. She is buried with her two sisters in the Good Samaritan plot in Fawkner Cemetery.
J7: Agnes O'brien
Agnes 1896-1958, born in Killarney.
Agnes became a midwife and as mentioned earlier operated the Penshurst Bush Nursing Hospital. Agnes was very outgoing with a great sense of humour and it is easy to imagine the respect in which their hospital was held in the district.
Agnes died in Geelong in 1959 at the relatively young age (for an O'Brien) of 63 years. She is buried in the Tower Hill Cemetery.
J8: John O'brien
John 1896-1896, a twin of Agnes, was stillborn.
J9: Patrick O'brien
Patrick, 1901-1960, born in Killarney married Jane (Tottie) Greene, 1904-1995, daughter of Francis and Mary Greene (née Neagle) Killarney.
Patrick was one of two of John O'Brien and Ann Dunne's children to marry. He married Jane (Tottie) Greene at St Bridgid's Church Crossley on February 21 1928. They had ten children.
Pat and Tottie lived in the O'Brien home in Survey Lane until the death of Pat's mother in 1940. They moved to the Dunne house in Princes Highway Killarney, which had been the home of Pat's aunt Margaret Dunne and later his mother Anne O'Brien (née Dunne) in 1940.
Pat died in 1960 and Jane in 1995. Both are buried in the Tower Hill Cemetery.
Most of their children married and at the time of writing this book, their descendants numbered 131-ten children, 48 grandchildren and 73 great grandchildren.
Mary O'Brien married Basil McKinnon in 1956. They lived on their farm in Warrumyea Road Wangoom and raised six children there. Mary was widowed in 1991 and still lives on the farm, which is now run by her son and his wife.
John O'Brien married Loretto Willis in 1957. John started out as a butter maker and worked mainly in Murray Goulburn butter factories, including at Macarthur, Mirboo North and Korumburra. Their children were born at Coleraine (1), Penshurst (3), Macarthur (4), Mirboo North (3), and Leongatha (2). They are now retired and live at Rosebrook.
Frank O'Brien married Mary Douglas in 1958. Frank worked with Murray Goulburn in Macarthur, Korumburra and Cobram. Frank and Mary had seven children. They have retired to Illowa.
Brian O'Brien married Irene Lenehan in 1956. They lived at Port Fairy and Brian worked at Glaxo. They had two children. Irene was killed in a tragic car accident in 1974. Brian married again to Annette Stewart, a widow. Anne died in 1992.
Patrick O'Brien worked as a priest in the Ballarat diocese for 30 years. Pat said Mass at the Delaney/Dunne Reunion in 1978. He lives in Alphington and has retained a lifelong interest in family.
Anne O'Brien married Frank Murphy in 1960. Frank worked in the coffee department at Nestles. They had seven children and are now retired in Warrnambool.
Gerald O'Brien married Mary Dwyer in 1963. They had seven children. Gerald also worked at Nestles and took a keen interest in union matters. He now works for the National Union of Workers. and they live in Dennington.
Margaret O'Brien married Ron Pickett in 1965. They had seven children. Ron worked as a tradesman, including at Brierley Hospital and other health facilities. They live in Dennington.
Leonard O'Brien died in 1962 in Killarney at the young age of 18 years.
Pauline O'Brien married Adrian Rodgers in 1969. They had two children. Pauline worked at Fletcher Jones and Adrian is a professional shark fisherman. They live in Warrnambool.
Part Six: Appendixes And References
Appendix A: Education Concerns
Appendix B: The Whiskey Recipe
Appendix C: Marriages And Baptisms Of Moycarkey/twomileborris
Appendix D: Maps Of Farm Locations
References And Notes
Index To Illustrations
Appendix A: Education Concerns
The Warrnambool Standard in May 1881 reported about an Education Department investigation into certain charges laid by John Duffy and Robert Young against John Lee, Head Teacher of Nirranda State School. Interested parents were invited to attend.
On May 26 1881, there came a sarcastic response. (The snide comment about the lack of a "dhrop of local manufacture" was undoubtedly a reference to the seizure of Delaney's still two months previously.)
On May 31 1881 came the reply:
A letter appeared in your issue of the 26th thus signed "A Little Flea …" and which purports to enlighten the public in reference to the investigation at Nirranda S.S.; but in fact the letter is only a tissue of falsehoods and personalities. If you allow me a few lines in your impartial paper I will give you facts. In the first place A Little Flea (as he styles himself) goes on to say in his nonsensical letter that only one of the accused put in an appearance viz. Pat Delaney. Mrs Young appeared for her husband who was absent. The nine charges laid by Mr Young were in my opinion fully substantiated by Mrs Young, which time will prove. I laid no charges against the conduct of the Nirranda schoolmaster, but appeared at the investigation as suggested by a paragraph in your paper, and asked to have the schoolmaster removed for the following reasons. Messrs Hayden, Goldstraw, Smith, Young and Bradley removed their children to Nullawarre school conducted by Mr C. Smeaton. I therefore set about making inquiries into the cause of so many removals from Nirranda S.S. I find it is not to any prejudice to the school teacher at Nirranda but to finish the children's education at a superior school which the Nullawarre S.S. is allowed to be by parents competent to judge. Therefore I am quite justified in asking for the removal of a school teacher who is supposed by several parents not competent to teach scholars after a certain age. I wish my children to receive all the benefit the State School at Nirranda is endowed with [a little flea given in] as I contribute to the State for the education of my children.
[Sgd] Patrick Delaney
Appendix B: The Whiskey Recipe
Police and Customs evidence about the seizure of various stills includes reference to the finding of malt in preparation, bags of malt barley and oats, fermenting mash, low wines, casks of whiskey, kegs of yeast and bags of sugar.
Equipment found included stills and coppers of various sizes, water coolers, barrels, kegs, vats and demijohns. A photograph in Castieau's book shows some of the equipment confiscated at the last Delaney distillery.
The book used by the Delaneys, The Complete Practical Distiller by Dr Byrn, contains a number of sets of recipes and processes for distilling whiskey.
Newspaper reports give further clues as to the nature of the whiskey: "no finer drop in the land"; "you can taste the malt"; "15 under proof"; "as smooth as new milk".
My father said they used barley, malt and yeast.
These proportions are varied according to the temperature, the season, the quality of the ingredients and the experience of the distiller.
The process to be followed is described in Byrn's book, and depends on the method used. The four stages of operation are:
1. Maceration, or preparing the mash
2. Fermentation, or converting the sugary mash to alcohol
3. Distillation, or extracting the alcohol by distillation
4. Rectification, or purifying the alcohol by removing all the oils and foreign substances.
Mix the prepared malt and ground barley well (methods of malt preparation are described in Byrn's Book). Add portion of the mixture to a vat containing hot water and stir thoroughly. Keep adding mixture and boiling water and continue to stir. Keep the paste firm and consistent and thoroughly moistened. This process is called Mashing.
The mixture, or mash, is allowed to stand for 15-20 minutes, letting lactic acid form. Add boiling water and mix and repeat, keeping temperature constant at 60-67 degrees centigrade.
Cover the vat and let stand until a uniform temperature is achieved (saccharification of the mash is now complete-it becomes sugary). Cool the mash slowly to 31 degrees, stir to a uniform consistency. The yeast is then added and fermentation starts.
This operation is mysterious and begins and ends by itself.
Four to six hours after adding yeast a crust appears on the surface and cracks appear. Uncover the vat-foaming fermantation has started and will last from four to six hours. Vinous fermentation follows for six hours, more tumultuous than the former, and crackling noises are heard in the vat. During vinous fermentation there will be three or four tumumultuous motions by which the contents may run over. (To avoid this boilover, smear the inside of the vat with a mixture of green soap and lard.)
Another crust forms, marking the start of alcoholic fermentation which lasts six hours. The vat must be covered. The end of this stage is marked by the crust thinning and falling to the bottom as the liquid-the wash-becomes clear and calm at the surface.
This operation separates the alcohol from the substances which are not volatile. The wash is transferred to the pear-shaped still made out of beaten copper. The still has a gradually diminishing neck which leads to a condensing coil or worm. The wash is heated so the alcohol vapourises and rises into the neck of the still and then into the worm where it cools and resumes liquid form. The first vapours condensed are known as low wines. (When John Delaney and Dennis Dinan were arrested in Farrell's paddock in March 1881, they seized a demijohn of low wines as well as casks of whiskey, bags of malt and barley, bags of fermenting mash and so on - see page 49.)
The final operation of rectification removes all essential oils and other foreign substances. The aim is to produce alcohol in its greatest state of purity. Low wines are passed though the still and distillation continues.
Appendix C: Marriages And Baptisms Of Moycarkey/twomileborris
1. Templetuohy/moyne Parish, Co. Tipperary Baptism Records
Extracted By Joe Delaney, October 20 1990
Date Name Parents Sponsors
May 1 1809 Patrick Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher Patrick Dunne & Margaret Cahill
November 1 1810 Mary Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher John Maher & Bridget Maher
May 3 1812 Margaret Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher Thomas Shaw & Patrick Egan
January 1 1814 Bridget Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher Thomas Hayes & ?? Brassil
October 16 1815 Ellen Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher James Brassil & Mrs Doyle
April 20 1818 Judith Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher James Doyle & Bridget Cormack
February 21 1820 Michael Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher John Carey & Mary Grace
March 1 1822 Anne Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher James Carey & Catherine Connolly
October 12 1824 Martin Dunne Martin Dunne & Margaret Maher Patrick Doyle & Margaret Brassil
2. Extracts From Baptism Records Moycarkey/borris Parish, Co. Tipperary
Extracted by Joe Delaney at the Moycarkey Presbytery, October 20 1990
Date of Baptism Name of Child Parents of Child Sponsors
September 1 1796 John Delaney of Ballymureen Tim Delaney & Honora Brien Edward Meara & Eleanor Carrol
March 18 1801 Denis Delaney Kieran Delaney & Catherine Collins Roger Fogarty & Martha Smee
October 27 1801 Margaret Delaney John Delaney & Mary Flynn Mr. McEvoy & Michael Moore
September 10 1808 Johanna Delaney John Delaney & Catherine Flynn Patrick Hill & Catherine Phelan
March 20 1831 Patrick Delaney Martin Delaney & Mary Ryan Patrick Scanlan & Mary Delaney
December 26 1834 William Delaney [Forgestown] Martin Delaney & Mary Ryan Daniel Hayes & Mary Ryan
April 29 1836 Margaret Delaney [Ballybeg] Timothy Delaney & Jude Maher Thomas Larkin & Catherine Ryan
October 20 1836 James Delaney [Forgestown] Martin Delaney & Mary Ryan Thomas Boyleson & Catherine Ryan
March 28 1838 Ellen Delaney [Newhill] James Delaney & Ellen Shanahan Jude McNamara
September 17 1839 Timothy Delaney [Ballybeg] Timothy Delaney & Jude Maher John Delaney & Mary Delaney
October 9 1840 James Delaney [Coolcroo] Thomas Delaney & Catherine Long William Long & Mary Maher
March 10 1851 Ellen Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne Edn. Dunne & Ellen Hayes
August 29 1841 James Delaney [Coolcroo] Thomas Delaney & Catherine Lowry Thomas Delaney & Mary Hayes
October 16 1842 Patrick Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne James Delaney & Ellen Dunne
November 14 1844 Catherine Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne John Dunne & Catherine Maher
November 9 1845 Margaret Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne Martin Dunne & Jude Maher
September 22 1847 Mary Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne Patrick Ryan & Ellen Hackett
September 22 1847 Jude Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne Jude Delaney
May 8 1852 John Delaney [Newhill] James Delaney & Ellen Hackett Patrick Delaney & Jude Maher
May 7 1853 John Delaney [Newhill] John Delaney & Bridget Dunne Thomas Hayes & Kitty Dunne
October 21 1858 Martin Delaney [Ballymureen] Daniel Delaney & Mary Geehan Martin Delaney & Catherine Geehan
April 14 1860 Timothy Delaney [Rahinch] Daniel Delaney & Mary Geehan Mary Delaney
March 30 1862 Mary Delaney [Rahinch] Daniel Delaney & Mary Geehan Patrick Delaney & Mary Geehan
December 16 1863 Mary Delaney Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle Rev James Delaney & Bridget Doyle
April 21 1866 Ana Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle Martin Delaney & Anstice Doyle
July 28 1867 Thady Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer William Dwyer & Mary Delaney
February 6 1868 John Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle Patrick Delaney & Anne Delaney
February 18 1869 Catherine Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer Timothy Delaney
February 18 1869 Margaret Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer Margaret Tuohy
January 7 1870 Anne Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle James Doyle & Margaret Hahesssy
January 19 1870 John Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer John Dwyer & Anne Maher
February 26 1871 Thomas Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer Timothy Cormack & Jon Coppinger
April 27 1872 Patrick Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer Michael Coppinger & Catherine Ryan
July 17 1872 Catherine Delaney [Coolcroo] James Delaney & Johanna Carew Thomas Hayes & Mary Carew
August 24 1872 Ellen Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle Daniel Delaney & Margaret Doyle
July 2 1873 Margaret Delaney [Coolcroo] James Delaney & Johanna Carey Michael Carey & Margaret Long
August 27 1873 William Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer
October 17 1874 Martin Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle
November 1 1874 Margaret Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer
March 5 1876 Mary Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer
May 19 1877 Catherine Delaney [Curraheen] Martin Delaney & Ellen Doyle
July 22 1877 Margaret Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer
December 20 1879 Patrick Delaney [Ballybeg] Patrick Delaney & Mary Dwyer
August 1 1897 Mary Delaney [Rahinch] Martin Delaney & Anastasia O'Grady
August 14 1898 Daniel Delaney [Rahinch] Martin Delaney & Anastasia O'Grady
3. Moycarkey/ Borris Parish, Co. Tipperary Marriage Records
Extracted by Joe Delaney, October 20 1990
Date Partner 1 Partner 2 Witnesses
February 22 1810 Delaney, Margaret [Borris] Patrick Delaney Daniel Ryan & Bridget Grady
March 6 1832 Judy Delaney Ned Morris Richard Blake & Margaret Mension
January 28 1839 Mary Delaney [Borris] Denis Hickey [Killenaule] Denis Keefe & Mary Maher
February 6 1840 Margaret Delaney [Borris] Thomas Brennan [Killenaule] Watt Hall & Jude Maher
January 2 1849 Jude Delaney [Borris] Michael Hickey John Delaney & Catherine Delaney
February 19 1852 Mary Delaney [Borris] Thomas Dwyer [Moyne ] John Dwyer & Mary Hayes
March 7 1859 Catherine Delaney [Borris] Patrick Murphy [Clonmore] John Murphy & Mary Delaney
February 1 1860 Catherine Delaney Robert Large [Urard] Richard Large & Mary Delaney
February 12 1862 Mary Delaney [Moycarkey] Michael Dunne [Gortnahoe] William May & Anstice Delaney
July 2 1868 Anto Delaney Patrick Reidy Thomas Dunning & Catherine Hayes
November 3 1874 Anne Delaney James Wall John Stapleton & Mary Walsh
February 10 1891 Anto Delaney Nicholas Shanahan John Brien & Anne Delaney
February 5 1895 Mary Delaney Daniel Hackett William Cahill & Anne Delaney
February 10 1852 Ellen Hackett [Borris] James Delaney Patrick Delaney & Jude Maher
February 27 1865 Margaret Hahessy [Moycarkey] Patrick Delaney Daniel Ryan & Bridget Grady
July 22 1895 Honorah Lonergan William Delaney Unknown
Maps Of Farm Locations
Part One And Part Two
BLAINEY, Geoffrey Our Side Of The Country: The Story of Victoria, Methuen Haynes Australia 
CAHILL, Thomas How the Irish Saved Civilisation, Hodder & Staughton London 
CAMPBELL, Colin The Squatting Question Considered With A View To Its Settlement, James Caple Melbourne 
DUFFY, Charles Gavan Guide to the Land Law Of Victoria, Government Printer Melbourne 
JONES, Ian Ned Kelly: A Short Life, Lothian Books Victoria 
KENEALLY, Thomas The Great Shame: A Story Of The Irish In The Old World And The New, Random House Australia 
KIDDLE, Margaret Men Of Yesterday: A Social History Of The Western District Of Victoria, 1834-1890, Melbourne University Press 
MCWHIRTER, Norris Book Of Historical Records - the 25 Main Civilisations of History, Virgin Publishing Ltd, Great Britain 
MOLONY, John I Am Ned Kelly, Penguin Books Australia 
MOLONY, John Eureka, Viking Penguin Books Australia 
MOLONY, John The Penguin Bicentennial History Of Australia, Viking Penguin Books Australia 
O'FARRELL, Patrick The Irish In Australia, NSW University Press Kensington NSW 
Spreadborough, Robert and Anderson, Hugh: Squatters in Victoria, Red Rooster Press, Ascot Vale (1962)
Squatters' Directory And Key To The Squatting Map Of Victoria, James Blundell & Coy Melbourne 
PART THREE AND PART FOUR
Byrn, Dr Marcus Lafayette The Complete Practical Distiller, 8th edition, Henry Carey Baird, Philadelphia 
Cannon, Michael The Land Boomers, Melbourne University Press 
Castieau, J.B. Reminisences of Detective Inspector Christie, Geo. Robertson & Co Pty Ltd 
Christie, John M Capture of the Celebrated Nirranda Still, Handwritten MS, State Library of Victoria
Delaney, D.J. [Joe] The Delaney-Dunne Reunion, 1978, 
Duffy, Hon. Charles Gavan Guide To the Land Law of Victoria, Wilson & McKinnon, Melbourne 
Kiddle, Margaret Men Of Yesterday: A Social History of the Western District of Victoria, 1834-1890, Melbourne University Press 
Lahey, John Damn You, John Christie!: The Public Life of Australia's Sherlock Holmes Melbourne, State Library of Victoria,
O'Callaghan, Mary A Long Way from Tipperary, 
Sayers, C.E. Of Many Things: A History of Warrnambool Shire, Olinda Books, Olinda 
Publications And Newspapers
Warrnambool Magistrates Court Records
Camperdown Magistrates Court Records
On The Web
Delaney's Corner website - http://www.inweb.ch/delaneyscorner
Reed, Wendy: Whiskey Creek website - http://www.newflutes.com/whiskeytales/
The Great Irish Famine website
1. Delaney-Dunne Reunion 1978 by Joe Delaney
2. Mary O'Callaghan A Long Way From Tipperary
3. A favourite chant was
"Ireland was Ireland when England was a pup.
Ireland will be Ireland when England's beggared up!"
4. This summary has been drawn from various publications of the Irish Government and in particular Harbison's Guide to the National Monuments of Ireland.
5. See Norris McWhirter Book Of Historical Records - the 25 Main Civilisations of History, p.132. McWhirter co-founded the Guinness Book of Records.
6. Stories of the Irish Famine have been drawn from Cecil Woodham-Smith The Great Hunger, Rev James H Cotter Tipperary, (Devir-Adair Company, 1929), and many websites especially http://vassun.vassar.edu/~sttaylor/FAMINE/, http://www.people.virginia.edu/~eas5e/Irish/Famine.html and http://www.nde.state.ne.us/SS/irish_famine.html
8. Cahill, Thomas How the Irish Saved Civilization
9. From Ireland's Own. Hilary Murphy's Famous Irish Names, Delaney 1988
10. The Griffiths Valuation Survey for Tipperary lists John Delaney as occuper of land in County Tipperary, District North Riding, Parish of Twomileborris, Townland of Borris.
11. Department of Lands, Dublin
12. Syme, Martin Shipping Arrivals and Departures - Victorian Ports Vol 2 1846-1855, On February 27 1855, the Cyprus departed Port Fairy for Portland with wool and on March 5 departed Portland for London.
13. See Geoffrey Blainey The Far Side of the Country
14. Drawn mainly from Blainey op.cit., Molony, John Eureka, O'Farrell, Patrick The Irish in Australia. My interpretations are closer to the oral views passed down in the Delaney family.
15. Kiddle, Margaret Men Of Yesterday: A Social History of the Western District
of Victoria, 1834-1890 Chapter 11 'Unlock the Lands'
16. The Age editorial on Feb 24 1874
17. See Tain No 15 Nov 2001 "Australia is not Ireland down under" by Patrick Morgan
18. Drawn mainly from O'Farrell op.cit. Chapter Five
19. Molony, John The Penguin Bicentennial History of Australia pp157 et seq, Blainey op.cit
20. Molony, op.cit. p157
21. Blainey, op.cit. p67
22. Mary O'Callaghan, op.cit. p4
23. One of the Carmody grandchildren, Clarence Carmody, was to marry a great granddaughter of John and Bridget Delaney, namely Kathleen Mary Slattery.
24. Warrnambool Rate Books are available at the Victorian Archives
25. Appointment of Trustees by the Governor-in-Council: 242P/21/71/25708
26. Board of Land and Works file: VPRS 625 P/242/15529/19.20
27. Eventually the National Bank became the lessee and, later, the freehold owners of the land.
28. Warrnambool Guardian April 26 1878
29. Ibid May 10 1878
30. Ibid October 31 1878
31. Byrn, M. La Fayette The Complete Practical Distiller
32. VPRS 640/P/695/82/44914
33. Castieau, J.B. The Reminiscences of Detective-Inspector Christie
35. Extract from a copy, held by the author, of a manuscript written by Christie
36. Reputed to be Howard McCorkell, author of A Green and Pleasant Land: A History of Koroit
|Unless otherwise stated all text & images © Maurice Delaney, 2001-2006|