Susan, Edward and Bungaree Station…

How lucky can you be, eh?  Is it serendipity or maybe another force at work here? … No worries, all I know is that today it came to me to log onto E-Bay and go on a search in “books, magazines” with a focus on South Australia… then up it popped.

“The Story of Bungaree Station by Rob Linn.

Paperback book published by Bungaree Station 2011, unpaginated with black and white photographs as well as some black and white illustrations, colour photographs and colour illustrations.”

Bungaree Station. book

I simply clicked, clicked and clicked again and this book will soon be winging its way to me…  “quicker than you can say Jack Robinson”.

Why am I so happy?… glad you asked.   😆

My Susan arrived from Ireland, aged 18, and was employed from the Clare Depot by a Mr Bryden at 5/- a week. Eight months later, on 15 Jan 1856,  Susan married Edward Nicholls and they had three daughters; Catherine Ann, Mary Anne and Margaret Nicholls.

Four years later, when Susan and Edward’s youngest babe Margaret was just 10 weeks old, her daddy died of pneumonia, at the age of 26, and was buried at his workplace… Bungaree Station. I’ve had trouble locating records of Edward’s burial place and especially an understanding of his working life. Hopefully this book will take me a step closer with the understanding. The blurb reads:

“Bungaree Station, 140 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia, is a unique cultural tourism destination. Within its buildings, site, artefacts, memorabilia and historic documents lies the story of rural Australia over the last 170 years. There are few other centres of Australia’s wool-growing history that have so meticulously retained the historic documentation behind the settlement, management and progress of operations.

Bungaree Homestead 1863

Bungaree Homestead 1863

The story of Bungaree Station is full of fascination. The story began on Christmas Day 1841, when the brothers George, Charles and James Hawker, Sons of an Admiral in the British Navy, came upon and settled at the place that became Bungaree Station. From that point on, the fortunes of the Hawker family mirrored the history of South Australia. The records they kept, in word and picture, reveal the story of pastoral occupation and the European settlement of the land. Bungaree was a rare gem at the height of the pastoral era and it is this fact that makes the buildings and their interpretation so significant for visitors, cultural tourists and the study of Australia’s history.

 Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

For generations the Hawker family have kept alive the core of Bungaree Station’s heritage. Central to their thoughts was the preservation and use of the buildings that are at the heart of Bungaree Station’s life.”

So, colour me happy and you can be sure that I’ll be sharing any info which may arise as a result of this exciting discovery    😯

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Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

TROVE TUESDAY… the gathering of further information

This blog is named after two of my Ancestors whom have featured significantly in my determination/ obsession to “find family”. The first of these is my Irish 2x Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, whom I’ve written about often.

My 2X Great Grandmother. Susan Kelleher

My 2X Great Grandmother. Susan Kelleher

After fleeing the horrors of the Irish Potato Famine“, becoming shipwrecked, marrying and widowed young with 3 small children, marrying again…  Susan’s final move, in 1887, was from Laura in the Mid North of South Australia to Broken Hill, in the far north west of New South Wales .  This was at the beginning of the mining boom when silver was discovered in huge quantities, the creation of BHP etc. Many of Susan’s children moved to Broken Hill with her.  My Grandmother, Elizabeth Mary Murray, daughter of Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray and Peter was born there and survived the horrific living condition which her two younger baby brothers did not.

Recent events have drawn my attention back to Broken Hill and it soon became clear that I needed to go right back to my original sources and carefully look over it all again, using my more recently developed research skills.  One of the best places to check, double-check and to gain further information is in the newspapers of the day – bless you TROVE…    😀

Banner. The Barrier MinerROWEN. Susan. funeral 10Apr1922

So, the Funeral Notice for my Susan, although difficult to read, provides valuable information as to which of her children were still living, at the time of her death, and where. Fortunately, despite the bad copy the names are familiar and so provide endless clues as to possible ways for following up on missing family…

First thing I will be doing is trying to find Susan’s home in Sulphide Street onGoogle Maps and how wonderful it would be if it’s not been re-developed… but no worries. Just being on the street where my Susan lived will be enough for me.

I love modern technology and I especially love TROVE.

TROVE

Many thanks to Amy Houston, of Branches, Leaves & Pollen, for initiating the TROVE TUESDAY Theme. Please click HERE to visit Amy’s Blog and HERE to read the contributions of others.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout_Habel

A FEW MOMENTS IN TIME…

CrissouliAm pleased to have found a few moments to respond to Crissouli’s request to fill out a questionnaire which I hope will help others, as they continue with their search for Ancestors and the Ancestral Stories. Hopefully some reading this, who are also genealogy/ family history researchers, may find the time to join in. No time limit.

Chris wrote:

WANTED – A FEW MOMENTS OF YOUR TIME…

Working with family historians/genealogists daily, I see the same questions being asked on a regular basis. I often wonder what has led this or that person to researching their ancestry.

No prizes for answering the questions below… but it could be of interest to all of us who help others on a regular basis.

You may answer on your own blog, in the comments section below or on Facebook which will have a link to this blog.

Please let me know if you answer on your own blog, so I can keep a list for others to follow… no time limit…

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QUESTIONNAIRE

1. What is the most important detail you want to find about your ancestors?

Their beliefs, activities and daily life, the times they lived in and especially what it is that they were passionate about.


2. Do you buy certificates?

Sure do… It’s absolutely essential to be clear when documenting the lives of our families and there is also a great deal of additional info on Certificates which can lead to even more discoveries e.g. my paternal grandparent’s marriage certificate had the name of his UK Army Regiment which enabled me to track him down and find a whole heap of additional living relatives in Canada… and what a joy that is.

3. Do you belong to a paid subscription site, if so, which one?

“Ancestry UK” and “Find My Past”

My subscription to Ancestry is via their UK site because it’s half the price for accessing exactly the same information through their Australian site. I find “Ancestry Family Tree Maker”, which synchs with my Ancestry Tree, to be most valuable in creating reports, on selected parts of my large tree, which I then either print out and “snail mail” or email direct to other family and genuine researchers.  My Ancestry Tree is private, which enables me maintain it’s integrity and stop people “swiping” branches off my Tree and incorrectly grafting onto their own. Genuine researchers can always make a personal request and so we share, and share, alike.

“Find My Past” provides access to information not available on Ancestry and also serves as a double checking mechanism which I find invaluable.

4. What has been your ‘best’ find?

Oh… there are just so very many it’s impossible to select a “best“. However some of my research has led to amazing amounts of information which is valuable to many, apart from me. Here are a few examples which I hope will encourage many new researchers in their detective work.

Tracking down my paternal Grandfather, Henry Eden Crout  jnr,  and finding so many living relatives in Canada, connecting with them and forging great friendships is indeed a highlight. That came about through accessing his marriage certificate I found on “free BMD” then purchased, contacting his Army Regiment, accessing his Canadian Attestation papers for WW1 and once I knew where, in Canada, he lived I trawled the Internet and left a message of a Veteran’s Redevelopment Housing Estate Website and some 9 months later I got a reply. I’ve now found more “Canadian Cousins” than “you can shake a stick at” and am far happier than I can say    😥

Finding all the children of my Irish 2x Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, was another delight. Initially my problems were because she had been married before wedding my 2x Great Grandfather, Susan first married Edward Nicholls, had 3 children and was widowed when the youngest was just a baby. Much sorting and sifting, trips to Country Family History Centres, communicating with others and online research reaped a rich reward. What a joy to be contacted by a direct relation of Susan’s only son, who lives in Queensland and to be told what pleasure my research had given to her aging Grandfather. There was some sort of mixed up family story that he had been “on the run from the police” but my post “Of Scabs and Riots” showed that they had every reason to be very proud of our Andrew Rowen.

Another highlight, which I must mention, was being contacted by a woman in Queensland who had found my information about hubbie’s Grandmother on Ancestry. She was researching this Hembury family in support of a woman, here in Adelaide, who was writing a book on Nana’s family. They knew nothing about this branch of the family other than that which was published on my Ancestry Tree. Agreeing to see who else I could find was challenge but with a huge payout when so many of Nana’s living relatives joined us for the Hembury Family Reunion and Book Launch  some 12 months later.  What a joy!!!

5. Who is your favourite ancestor and why?

My Susan Kelleher… indeed she is. Well, that is apart from my darling mum, of course.

Susan is my 2x Great Grandmother who at the age of 18 arrived from County Clare, Ireland, on the “bride ship” the Nashwauk which was wrecked off the coast of South Australian, on 13 May 1855, just 40 miles from their destination of Port Adelaide. As a child I thrilled to the stories of the girls being carried ashore on the backs of the sailors and many holidays were spent in the vicinity of the Wreck Site and family photos taken around the “Nashwauk Anchor”. It is Susan who began my love of/ obsession with Family history and saving her daughter’s grave at Cheltenham Cemetery has led me to help others save the graves of their Ancestors as well. I “feel” Susan very close to me all the time and many with even a “touch of the Irish” know what I mean by this.

Next is my Marie…and I must mention her. Marie is my dad’s mother and she is the person who was “the wind beneath my wings” encouraging me to keep on keeping on, one tired step after another to eventually find dad’s childhood home in Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England and bring back the photos which delighted, and comforted, him in his declining years. I have a sense that Marie was pleased and also that she’s satisfied I’ve discovered where her errant husband disappeared to and that the family has finally become whole. Incidentally, when I asked June what  our Grandfather would think of us tracking each other down, she said he would probably say… “Nosey little buggers…”  but we sure are smiling with the happiness of it.

6. What are you looking for on a regular basis?

A number of things. Most important, to me, is finding the links to bring our estranged family back together again, particularly those of us who are still living.  Then finding the family stories, understanding the period in which the Ancestors lived and trying to understand who they were as people, what motivated them and what it is they were passionate about.

From time to time there have been individuals I’m particularly curious about whom seem to have “fallen of the planet“, particularly female ancestors whom we know can be very difficult to track down.  One such person is Rosa Patience Crout who was a first cousin to my Great Grandfather Henry Eden Crout snr. As well as being cousins, Rosa and Henry also married, I lost track of them and finally found Henry with a “visitor” and her child, Henry Eden Moody (whom ultimately became my Grandfather, Henry Eden Crout jnr), on a Census but his wife/ cousin Rosa Patience had disappeared, I could not find her anywhere and did “fret”.  I wrote about the missing Rosa HERE but have not had a chance yet to write the follow-up story i.e. about 2 months ago, along with one of my Canadian cousins, I found Rosa had become Rose Crout and had  “married” another man.  That made me SO happy but then Rosa (now Rose) has disappeared again. My newly discovered Canadian cousin Jane and I think Rosa may be a “serial bride”, for want of a better description, and we chuckle over the thought of it.

7. Do you belong to any genealogy group, or family history society?

For decades now, ever since I started researching my family, I’ve been a member of the “South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society Inc” and also their Irish Group. I’d often thought about joining one, or maybe both, of the local Family History Groups nearby but kept thinking there was not much to be gained as none of my Ancestors ever lived here which has been the home of me, hubbie and our children, for the past 40 plus years. Then, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I discovered that the “Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group” has not only local family history resources but a wide range of resources, on hand, and also internet access to even more… so I joined “lickety spit” and have discovered a great group of people with the same interests. Why John even taught me how to say “Portsmouth”, where many of my dad’s Ancestors lived for generations, with the correct Hampshire accent. He delights in giving me a little “test” each time we meet up. I found much to be gained, apart from accessing resources, when joining a local Family History/Genealogy Group.

Twenty years ago I joined the South Australian “Irish Australian Association” and spent many happy hours banging on the “Bodhran” and tweeting on the “Tin Whistle” in their Celtic Music Group… not to mention singing songs, rhymes, ditties and having  conversations in “the Irish” in their Irish Language classes and attending a number of  “Language Summer Schools” interstate and making a whole heap of other wonderful friends. So, an obsession with Family History can indeed lead to other friendship groups, is what I’ve found.

8. Do you belong to any Facebook or other social media genealogy groups? Would you join if there was one available?

Oh yes… and maybe too many I’m thinking and may need to begin to “cull”.  As well as membership in many “groups” I’m also an Administrator for two small “dedicated” and “secret” groups which is an effective tool sharing research information with just a few.  I’m also a Joint Administrator for another far more demanding “group“. Thank heavens for having loyal people working with you because this one I’d certainly not be able to manage on my own.

As well as having a Facebook page “South Australia matters”, which is lots of fun, includes genealogy and family history but much more also. In addition,  I’ve “liked” very many Genealogy Facebook pages which was a bit over-whelming initially but once you learn how to “manage” them it’s a breeze and so much valuable information comes to you via these “pages”. 

Facebook is a comfortable place for me, probably because many, many years ago my eldest Grandson who was then 11 years old said, “Mamo, you have to go on Facebook” and there and then he set me up.  Sometimes I think that now he’s older her may regret this action…  So, it’s been my children, and grandchildren, who introduced me to the joy of Facebooking, showed me the pitfalls, advised where I’ve “gone wrong”, and all the rest of it… including ways to maintain security without falling for the endless “scare campaigns” which appear from time to time. My personal page is deliberately small and is where I enjoy to meet with family and close friends and especially delight in seeing photos of the “littlies” as they grow up and get to hear of their achievements which I’d miss out on without the wonder that is Facebook. I do understand, however, that Facebook is not a “comfortable place” for others.

Worth mentioning also is that I use “Twitter” for accessing, and sharing, information on a whole range of topics which are of interest. Some happen to be genealogical / historical, in nature, some are not. Twitter is not a place where I go to socialise.

Finally, another valuable source of online information, which I enjoy, are the Internet Newspapers to which I’ve subscribed.  One example is our Jill Ball’s  ” Australian Genealogist Daily” but I also subscribe to a range of others whose content is not  focussed on geneaology.

9. Have you ever volunteered to transcribe, index etc.? Would you be interested in doing so?

No, although I certainly admire, and appreciate, the work of  people who donate their own valuable time to do this transcribing for others and try always to show my appreciation. I have some information which I’m thinking the Clare Roots Society, or maybe some other similar Group, would appreciate but am not sure how to go about it. Maybe this post will result in contact from someone advising how best I can do this.

10. What is your personal reason for being involved with genealogy/family history?

For me it’s about knowing who you are, where you come from and what the forces are that shaped you. Also it has a lot to do with the fact that, after my Nana died, mum split from her very large family which has left me with a childhood longing to “reconnect” with the lost “rellies”. I was only 6 at the time and have very fond memories but, as an adult, understand exactly why mum made that very difficult decision.

After decades of research, clarifying the truth in the many “family stories” and especially debunking the nonsense with “verifiable” information, I then needed to find a way to pass this information on. I believe that I owe this to my Ancestors.  Many of their other descendants I don’t know and there are others I rarely meet up with nowadays so, once again, it was my children who showed me the way forward… i.e. “blogging”.  It took a while for me to work out the “blogging platform” which best suits me but it was well worth all the time and tryouts.

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Well there you have it and hope it’s helpful to others…  🙂

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

TROVE TUESDAY: Susan’s first 15 years in South Australia…

It’s now 158 years since by Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, arrived in South Australia from Ireland, aboard the ill-fated Nashwauk and I was wondering what life was like for Susan, after her arrival? Did she often reflect back to the night of the wreck? Did she remember the Anniversary of that traumatic event as she made a life for herself in this foreign land?… Of course, we can never know the answers to these questions but I decided to use TROVE, and look through our digitised Australian newspapers, to get a sense of what was happening in the area where Susan made her home on the 15th Anniversary of the Wreck of the Nashwauk…  13 May 1870.

Back in Time

On her arrival in South Australia, Susan was initially housed in the German Hospital, Carrington Street, Adelaide and transported 4 months later to the newly established “Clare Servants Depot”, in the mid north of South Australia, from which she was employed by Mr Bryden, near Skillogalee Creek, at 5/- a week.

Four months later, on 17 Jan 1866, Susan married Edward Nicholls and they had three daughters, Catherine Ann, Mary Anne and Margaret Nicholls. On 20 Oct 1860, when Margaret was only 2 1/2 months old, Edward died of Bronchitis and was buried at his workplace, Bungaree Station. The following year Susan, who was working as a Dressmaker, purchased land at Armagh (just outside of the township of Clare) and settled in a home there with her 3 daughters.

Armagh

On 7 Feb 1864, after almost 3 1/2 years as a Widow, Susan married a near neighbour Timothy Rowen. By the time of the 15th Anniversary of her arrival, and the shipwreck, Susan had added to her family with 3 more children: Bridget, Eliza Jane (my great grandmother) and her only son Andrew Rowen.  She did go on to have another 2 children, Susan and Mary Ellen, but on 13 May 1870 Susan had been widowed, remarried, given birth to only 6 children of her 8 children and still lived at Armagh on the outskirts of the township of Clare with her husband and children.

 map-south-australia

Their local paper was the Northern Argus and this is what I found on Pages 1 and 2 which I expect would have been of interest to Susan and her husband, Timothy Rowen, as they worked and provided for their 6 children.

TROVE. Northern Argus 13May1870p.1

TROVE. Northern Argus 13May1870p.2

On page 3 I found this letter which shows that even 143 years ago the young were irritating their elders with “rowdy” behaviour.

TROVE. Northern Argus 13May1870p.3

So thanks to TROVE I have a snapshot of what daily life was like for Susan on the 15th Anniversary of her arrival and wonder if, in her busy life, she took a moment to reflect on her unusual landing in this new, and foreign, country.

Many thanks to Amy Houston, of Branches, Leaves & Pollen, for initiating the TROVE TUESDAY Theme.  Please click HERE to visit Amy’s Blog and HERE to read the contributions of others.

TROVE

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 

MARITIME MONDAY: Anniversary of the wreck of the Nashwauk…

It was a dark Sunday morning, on this day 158 years ago, as  my Great Great Grandmother Susan Kelleher and her sister Bridget were sailing north along the coast of South Australia and were only 40 miles from their final destination when the “Nashwauk” ran aground. The young Irish servant girls were carried ashore on the sailor’s backs and violent storms over the following days ripped the ship apart and all my Susan’s worldly goods went down with it. The emigrant ship left Liverpool on 13 Feb 1855  with Captain McIntyre, as master, and 268 mostly Irish emigrants aboard and now met its fate on this lonely strip of South Australian coast exactly 3 months later.

I’ve written about the shipwreck on many occasions and today, on the 158th Anniversary of that fateful morning, discovered some recent photographs of the location of the wreck and decided to share. They are taken by an amazing young South Australian photographer, Joel Dawson, and I encourage you to visit his facebook page to enjoy many more stunning sights Joel has captured of my beautiful state of South Australia.

“The night was clear, with starlight and a fresh breeze, and one yellow point of light glanced across the water from the shadow of the land. At 4 a.m. the watch was changed. Clouds obscured the coast. Less than an hour later the Nashwauk was aground off the mouth of a creek that wanders half heartedly through the Moana sand hills.”

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

  View from the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty looking toward the wreck site.

“For half an hour after the Nashwauk struck the crew ‘made sail on her’ in a desperate effort to get her canted off, but, although her sails were all drawing, the surf, pounding in about her, shook the wind out of them and left her helpless. There she remained until the wind, setting in from the southward and westward next day drove her firmly on the reef, which in those waters lies some six feet beneath the sand.”

The passengers all made it safely to shore but one young woman, a servant girl Catherine Stanley, died later of exposure as did Captain McIntyre. The emigrants walked, or were taken inland by dray, to the township of Noarlunga and cared for overnight by the residents.

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

The Port Noarlunga jetty which was constructed in 1855  just prior to the wreck

The following morning the passengers were taken to the newly built Port Noarlunga jetty to be transported aboard the mail steamer “Thomas Melbourne” to be transported to Port Adelaide.

“Here the sea was so rough that boarding was impossible.  The Thomas Melbourne had to be relocated at the mouth of the Onkaparinga. So the passengers trudged another four kilometres along the cliff tops from Harriott’s Creek and reassembled at Gray’s Store near the present day footbridge.”

My Great Great Grandmother spoke of the terror she faced walking along those cliff tops with the raging sea below.

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

Copyright (c) Joel Dawson

 Cliffs at Port Noarlunga

By the time they reached the boarding spot it was dark and only seventy girls agreed to get on the lurching steamer for the journey. The remainder were returned to Noarlunga and the following morning were taken overland, by dray, the city of Adelaide. My Susan, and her sister Bridget, were amongst those who refused to travel by sea and were lodged in the newly built “German Hospital” in, Carrington Street, until arrangements were made for their employment.

Some months later both Susan and Bridget travelled to the newly established “Servants Depot”, in the mid north township of Clare, and were soon employed within the district. However, that is another story… for another day.

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Thankyou to:

Joel Dawson for the magnificent photos. Please visit Joel’s facebook page, to enjoy more of his work, by clicking HERE.

Jean Callen, author of “What Really Happened to the Nashwauk?”  from which the quotes are taken. Printed by Butterfly Press, 225 Main North Road, Blackwood, South Australia. 5051. Tel: 08 8278 2899.  ISBN 0-9595356-2-4  © 2004

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Copyright © Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Musical Memories on Mother’s Day 2013…

My beautiful mum...

My beautiful mum…

Remembering my beautiful Mother… Kathleen Mary (Allan) Crout (31 Mar 1925 – 7 Sep 2007) and dedicating this enchanting song to her this Mother’s Day, 2013.

The lilting voice of  “Geraldine Sexton” drew my daughter, Kirrily Ann, and myself to Geraldine as she sat perched on a stone wall adjacent to the Bunratty Folk Museum in County Clare, Ireland in 1994…. My first visit to the land of our Ancestors.  This is for you mum…

 

My 2X Great Grandmother. Susan Kelleher

My 2X Great Grandmother. Susan Kelleher

Mum closely identified with our Irish Heritage which soon became part of my personal identification, through the stories passed down through the generations. We heard how the ship my Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, immigrated to South Australia on was wrecked as they were approaching their final destination. How everything she owned went down with the “Nashwauk”  and especially meaningful was hearing of Susan’s reluctance to leave her family, and her homeland… but that the effects of the “Potato Famine” made this a necessity.

I dedicate this song to my Susan Kelleher, born Country Clare, Ireland in 1836 and died in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia on 9 Apr 1922 leaving behind three living daughters and one son, with three daughters deceased. “The grandchildren and great grandchildren number 71.”  Susan never did return to her native land.

 

Lastly I thank my precious children: Cullen Andrew, Jarren Vaughan (deceased), Kirrily Ann and Chad Sean Habel for enriching my life and loving me. This is for you my lovelies.

 

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

TROVE TUESDAY: Busting the myth of the Nashwauk Anchor…

Our Australian Digitised newspapers, provided free of charge by the National Library of Australia, are not only interesting and entertaining but provide a wealth of information for those researching family. This article from the 1927 Adelaide newspaper, “The Mail” is but one example of the value of this wonderful resource.

Banner. The Mail

TROVE. Moana Mystery explained

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954)
Saturday 27 August 1927page 1.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051

Finally the mystery of  “the Anchor”, which had been embedded in sand on a southern South Australian beach for 73 years, was solved.  It was indeed the abandoned anchor from the ill fated ship “The Nashwauk”, the Irish “bride ship” on which my 18 year old Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher, and her sister Bridget, emigrated and was wrecked just 40 miles short of their destination. A witness, Mr Giles, confirmed the anchor was not that of the other nearby shipwreck,  “The Star of Greece“.

For 73 years the Nashwauk Anchor lay abandoned near the shoreline until in 1927, the same years that the Roundhouse  was constructed, the Noarlunga Council offered a reward for its recovery.   Local residents,  Mr Robinson, his brother, son and three of their horses successfully completed the task.

Nashwauk Anchor. laying on beach. The Mail. 27Aug1927. page1

“Mr. Robinson said that one day in about every two years the anchor of the Nashwauk used to become visible about 50 yards from the shore off Moana, and when, in May of this year, he noticed the anchor showing, he decided that he would endeavor to reclaim it. With his brother and son and three horses he set about the task, and after five or six hours of strenuous effort was successful. The anchor of the Nashwauk is 11. ft. long and weighs several tons, but Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which is developing Moana, has decided to transport it another hundred yards, and set it upon a pedestal to remain a link with history for all time. A concrete base to take the huge anchor has already been constructed.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

As the area developed the iconic Roundhouse was demolished the Anchor moved, from its grand plinth on the foreshore, and embedded in a slab of concrete in the Moana Caravan Park. Although no longer the grand monument to Irish Immigration, and the settlement of South Australia, but rusting away behind boom gates. However, at least it survived and for that we’re very grateful.

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

In 2010 the curator of the Exhibition –  “Not Just Ned – A True History of Irish Settlement in Australia”  Dr Reid, borrowed the “Nashwauk Anchor” had it restored by the Australian National Museum and placed this iconic relic on display in Canberra. It’s now back in South Australia, the public is being consulted re: its placement. Many are calling for it to go back to its original spot, in the caravan park, totally unaware its unique history. The original display site of the “Nashwauk Anchor” was never the Moana Caravan Park but on the foreshore, alongside the iconic Roundhouse which unfortunately was demolished in 2006.

This article, in the 1927 copy of “The Mail”,  is but one of the many which describe these events, can be accessed on-line and are there to “set the record straight” so the decision makers have the correct facts upon which to base their decision.

I LOVE YOU TROVE!!!

TROVE

Public consultation of the placement of the restored Anchor is just that… “public“.  You do not need to live in the area to provide feedback and if you are of Irish descent and especially if your Ancestors were immigrants on the “Nashwauk” you are an “interested person” and entitled to contribute your opinion.

Only problem is, if you wish to give feedback, that there is a very tight time-line and responses need to be in by this Friday, 3 May 2013… however, with the wonders of modern technology you can quickly and easily contribute. Just click HERE to access my post where you’ll find the link to provide on-line feedback.

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To read the very detailed and informative Newspaper article, quoted here, just click on this link:   http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051
For other fascinating articles on the wreck, the enquiry and the Anchor just go to TROVE and do a search…

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 

Maritime Monday: Good News on the Nashwauk Anchor

nashwauk anchorAt long last the process to put the Nashwauk Anchor back on public display has commenced and I sure am smilin’…

The City of Onkaparinga,South Australia  is taking it to public consultation and is seeking feedback which you can be a part of, regardless of where you live. However there is a tight time frame and the cut off date is, Friday 3 May 2013 but just click HERE for a link to quickly and easily provide your feedback online.

This would be of particular interest to those with Irish heritage and especially if their Ancestors were upon this ill-fated Immigrant ship when it was foundered and then sank off the coast of Moana, South Australia, taking all their worldly goods with it.   Information of the history of the “Nashwauk Anchor”, and the sites proposed for it’s re-location, is provided below.

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Many would remember my post of 12 months ago where I described the sinking of this immigrant ship on which my 18 year old Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, travelled from County Clare, Ireland to make a new life in South Australia. Susan and her sister Bridget were among the 207 single Irish girls who boarded this “bride ship” in Liverpool, UK which, after a three month journey, made its made its way up the Gulf St Vincent toward its final destination, Port Adelaide, South Australia. It had been an uneventful voyage and was a dark, but clear, moonlit night when at 4am the watch changed, clouds obscured the coast and the “Nashwauk” was wrecked adjacent to Harriott’s Creek (Pedler’s Creek) at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, some 40 miles short of it’s destination.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Childhood stories of the shipwreck, the girls being carried ashore on the sailors backs and especially our family visits to the Nashwauk Anchor, whetted my appetite for researching all aspects of family.

Mum, my brothers and I with our car and caravan in the background. Circa 1954. Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

Mum, my brothers and I with our car and caravan in the background. Circa 1954. Copyright(c)2012.Catherine Crout-Habel

It was a sad day when, preparing to take my own children to visit their Great Great Great Grandmother’s Anchor, it was not to be found…  No longer was it standing proudly and majestically on the foreshore adjacent to where the ship foundered and then broke apart, taking all of my Susan’s belongings with it.  Also gone was the Moana Roundhouse which kept the Anchor company during its constant vigil as well as providing us with yummy icecreams and ice cold cool drinks on those hot summer days.

Nashwauk.moana_beach_roundhouse_4

Sadly the Roundhouse is gone forever..  It was the first building erected in Moana. The stone laid on 19Nov1927 and this iconic building was demolished in 2006. To read about this sad event and view some irreplaceable photographs please click HERE. (please note: 2 days ago this links was working and now it’s not. I’ll leave it here for a while and see if it fixes itself)  🙂 …

Fortunately the Nashwauk Anchor has survived and has been in the custody of what was once the “Moana Caravan Park” but has grown and is now the “Moana Beach Tourist Park”.  Although I was terribly disappointed that it had been reduced in stature, and no longer had a commanding presence, at least survived.  I’m sure that those who dragged it ashore 73 years after the ship went down and then set it on its high concrete plinth, overlooking the sea, would be most pleased that it has not been lost or abandoned.

Nashwauk Anchor. reward to recover

In 1927 the Noarlunga offerred a reward to recover the anchor and Mr Robinson, his brother, son and three horses successfully completed the task.

Nashwauk Anchor. laying on beach. The Mail. 27Aug1927. page1

“Mr. Robinson said that one day in about every two years the anchor of the Nashwauk used to become visible about 50 yards from the shore off Moana, and when, in May of this year, he noticed the anchor showing, he decided that he would en- deavor to reclaim it. With his brother and son and three horses he set about the task, and after five or six hours of strenuous effort was successful. The anchor of the Nashwauk is 11. ft. long and weighs several tons, but Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which is developing Moana, has decided to transport it another hundred yards, and set it upon a pedestal to remain a link with history for all time. A concrete base to take the huge anchor has already been constructed.”

The entire newspaper report can be read HERE.

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

Nashwauk Anchor before restoration

So highly regarded is the Anchor that it was taken to Canberra by Dr Richard Reid, restored by the National Museum of Australia, and put on display (17 Mar 2011)as part of the “Not Just Ned – A true History of the Irish in Australia” Exhibition. The Australian National Geographic reported on the significance of this Anchor as an important part of our South Australian heritage:

“Women were sent out on government ships to work as domestic staff on the new colony and to redress the gender ratio. The exhibition will display an anchor from the Nashwauk, a ship wrecked off South Australia in 1855, carrying 207 of these young Irish women. They were carried from the waters on the shoulders of men who swam out to rescue them – and they all survived.”  

To read the entire Australian National Geographic article please click HERE 

Dr Richard Reid

Dr Richard Reid

It’s wonderful that this precious relic has been cleaned, restored and has taken pride of place in such and important Exhibition but my fear, which I wrote about HERE, was that it would never come back to its rightful home in South Australia. Well, its back home and ready to go on display. To read about the   “Not Just Ned – A True History of the Irish in Australia” exhibition, please click HERE.  Thankyou Dr Reid. All that’s needed is a decision about the location which you, the public, is invited to be a part of. The City of Onkaparinga has listed 3 Potential sites:
a)  Moana Tourist Park: approximate cost $4,000

The proposal was to return the anchor to the Moana Tourist Park and to have the anchor semi-enclosed in a recycled timber and galvanised iron structure which would give the anchor some protection from the environmental factors at the site. The cost of the structure and concrete plinth is approximately $4,000 but does not include any enclosed side panels on the structure. This site has existing lighting which will reduce costs associated with its display. This location would not address the concerns of some people in the community who have expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area.

Roadway leading down the side of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to Moana Tourist Park

Roadway leading down the side of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to Moana Tourist Park

b)  Nashwauk Reserve: approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000

There is existing developed open space that resides between the Moana Surf Lifesaving Club and the Moana Tourist Park. This reserve was developed several years ago as part of the Coast Park program. The anchor could be located as a feature within the reserve. This location would not have the passive surveillance that it previously enjoyed at the Tourist Park to assist with avoiding vandalism. The cost of the structure would be $4,000 for the same structure as is proposed in the Tourist Park but would be increased if side panels were added to the structure to protect it from the sea environment. Lighting of the structure and anchor would also increase costs. For an enclosed structure with lighting the cost would increase to approximately $15,000.

Nashwauk Reserve viewed from Nashwauk Crescent

Nashwauk Reserve viewed from Nashwauk Crescent

Nashwauk Reseve viewed from Moana Crescent

Nashwauk Reseve viewed from Moana Crescent

c)  Moana Pioneers memorial Hall approximate cost $4,000 – $15,000

There is sufficient area in the open space in front of the Moana Pioneers Memorial Hall to locate the anchor and this would also serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area. The cost of the structure in this location would be as described in option (b) above, dependent on the nature of the structure.

Nashwauk Pioneers Memorial Hall

Nashwauk Pioneers Memorial Hall

The City of Onkaparinga has provided this “birds eye” view to help folks get their bearings.

Potential sites for the Nashwauk Anchor placement

Potential sites for the Nashwauk Anchor placement

However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology via Google Maps, you can go for a stroll down Nashwauk Crescent, Moana, South Australia towards the Esplanade and check out the sites for yourself.  Just click HERE to begin your journey at the round-about, with the road to the Moana Tourist Park (proposal a) on your left, the Pioneer Memoral Hall (proposal c) on the corner… and as you travel down to the seashore Nashwauk Reserve (proposal b) is on your left.  Enjoy…

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The managers of the Moana Tourist park left a message, about this matter, on my blog… click HERE to read in the comments section.  I phoned, we chatted and they took up my offer to publish their point of view which differs from mine, because we’re coming from a different perspective, but certainly is worthy of consideration before any decision is made. Thanks Daryl and Sandi-Kate. Their proposal is as follows:

Proposal for  relocating the
Nashwauk Anchor
from the
Moana Beach Tourist Park

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“As the current Managers of the Moana Beach Tourist Park, we would like to contribute to the community consultation process in regard to finding a new location to place the Nashwauk Anchor. There is debate about the length of time that the anchor has been displayed inside the Park, but it has been a significant number of years. During this time many a guest to the Park have taken photographs of their families with the Anchor, some of them repeatedly each time they visit. The anchor is a part of many guest’s childhood memories of summer holidays spent at the Tourist Park. Over the 12 months of 2012, we received a visit from 549 families that reside within the City of Onkaparinga. This accounts for over 30% of all reservations for the year, and demonstrates that the Park is accessed by a high proportion of local ratepayers who qualify to be part of this engagement process. The residents that live on the Park under a lease agreement are also used to the anchor being a part of their home environment, and some feel very connected to it and are prepared to put forward their ideas. Over the years, the Tourist Park has built an identity around the anchor, with it’s inclusion on the Logo and photographs on the Parks Facebook Page. We would like to continue marketing the Tourist Park with the anchor as our point of difference, as it gives a great impression of history and proximity to the beach. 

We understand completely the views of those who have ancestors that were on the Nashwauk when it went down. They should be able to visit and view the anchor easily, and would choose for it to remain close to the actual site where it occurred. 

Everyone shares the same concern for the safety of the anchor going forward, that it can be protected from the elements and also intentional damage caused by vandalism. 

Daryl and I would like to propose an alternative site to the current 3 choices under consideration. We would love to see the anchor displayed at the entrance to the Park within close proximity to the visitor car park and Nashwauk Crescent. This would be a compromise to address the concerns of those in the community who have already expressed an interest in the anchor being located in a more publicly accessible area, and also allow it to continue the passive surveillance from Park Management in an endeavour to avoid vandalism. This location would also be ideal to serve as an entry statement to the Coast Park area from the south, along Nashwauk Crescent, while also highlighting and identifying the entrance to the Park.

This proposal would tie in comfortably with the proposed future upgrade of the Tourist Park entrance area and/ or the sealing of the dustbowl that is a visitor car park that has been put forward as a Capital Works Project for several years running. The associated costs in choosing this location would still be in the same vicinity as the other 2 sites that have been proposed outside the confines of the Tourist Park.

As with any issue that is undertaken, either by City of Onkaparinga or Moana Beach Tourist Park, you will not be able to satisfy each and every person with an interest in the outcome. However we suggest that this site would at least address the issues raised thus far by interested parties, and could be viewed as a positive result for all stakeholders.

Best regards,
Daryl and Sandi-Kate Hutchins
Managers Christies Beach and Moana Beach Tourist Parks.

Nashwauk. Moana Beach Tourist Park. panorama

To access the Park’s Facebook page please click HERE

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My vision is to see the Nashwauk Anchor retured to its former glory before being removed from the foreshore, tucked away behind boom gates and removed from the public eye.  It would be wonderful to see it returned to serve the purpose envisaged by Lake Beach Estate, Limited, which developed Moana when, in 1927, it set it upon a pedestal on the foreshore for it to remain a link with history for all time.

I envisage a future where exciting public events, celebrating this important aspect of our South Australian heritage, are held on Nashwauk Reserve… especially during May, which is South Australian History Month and also the same month the “Nashwauk” foundered and was torn apart by the stormy seas.

The 160th Anniversary of the shipwreck is only 2 years away – 13 May 2015–  and is a perfect time to proudly showcase Moana Beach, and its environs, pulling in tourists from far away just as the summer season is coming to a close.

For these reasons, of the 3 Potential sites, my choice has to be Option b) the Nashwauk Reserve. However, like the Management of the Park, I have an alternative, and preferred site, which is right there at the corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade… overlooking the sea, close to the Life Saving Club and the Australian flag. Family picnics, fetes and history festivals could be held on the Nashwauk Reserve with the Nashwauk Anchor in full sight.

The view along Nashwauk Crescent

The view along Nashwauk Crescent

Corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade

Corner of Nashwauk Crescent and the Esplanade

Just imagine swinging around the corner of Nashwauk Crescent, travelling past the Pioneer Memorial Hall, and being drawn towards the beachfront by the stately majesty of this iconic piece of South Australian History… and to see it floodlit at night would add to its magnificence.

This position is more central and protected than the reserve as it is close to the Lifesaving Club, the car park and with buildings on this corner of the Esplanade. If the Lifesaving Club has security cameras, this would be an advantage… if not, installing them would provide extra protection for both structures. If funding is an issue, maybe other organisations would be willing to contribute a little to help offset the cost… after all it is a State Heritage item.

These are my thoughts and I hope the City of Onkaparing gives them due consideration.  Your view may differ, and that’s OK…  remember that the cut off date is Friday 3 May 2013 which is not far away.  Just click HERE and you can download a hard copy of the form to provide feedback, or fill in an online survey.

On Saturday, January 26, 1929 – Australia Day… The Adelaide Newspaper “The News” featured a magnificent photo of the “Nashwauk Anchor” mounted high on its pedestal on the foreshore and the caption read:

                 MOANA BEACH LANDMARK

This old anchor has been mounted on a concrete base. It formerly belonged to the Nashwauk, which was wrecked at the mouth of the Onkaparinga in May, 1855.  After 72 years the anchor was em-bedded upright in the sand, but it has been since mounted and will be suitably inscribed in the near future.

How wonderful it would be to once again see the Nashwauk Anchor return to its former glory as a Moana Beach Landmark.

UPDATE:  The Councillors of the City of Onkaparinga met, on 23 Jul 2013, and decided that the “Naswauk Anchor” would be re-located adjacent to the Moana Pioneer Memorial Hall. Exact positioning not yet decided.

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RESOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
To provide feedback on the Anchor’s placement: http://onkaparingacity.com/onka/council/community_engagement/project_status_board/nashwauk_anchor.jsp

Nashwauk Anchor Needs a New Home:
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/historic-nashwauk-anchor-needs-new-home-in-adelaides-southern-suburbs/story-e6frfkp9-1226624244320

A True History of the Irish in Australia – Not Just Ned
http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/irish_in_australia/home

Major Exhibition of Irish Australia to open in 2010:
http://www.irishecho.com.au/2010/02/17/major-exhibition-on-irish-australia-to-open-in-2011/2000

ABC includes interview with Richard Reed:
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/02/15/3139451.htm

Exhibition opened on St Patricks Day 2011:
http://www.irishscene.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=220:irishaust

The Irish in Australia:
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/irish-in-australia.htm

Moana Roundhouse:
http://winecoast.heimat.eu/index2/moana_beach/pages/moana_roundhouse.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moana,_South_Australia

Treasures recovered from the Nashwauk: http://maritime.historysa.com.au/collections/shipwreck-collection/moulded-bricks-nashwauk
http://www.oceantreasures.org/blog/do/tag/nashwauk/

Nashwauk Passenger List:
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nashwauk1855.shtml

Historic Newspaper articles from TROVE:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/5291051
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/58536914
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/58533948

SAMemory – Shipwrecks:
http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=715

Moana Lifesaving Club History:
http://www.moanaslsc.com.au/history.html

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

TROVE TUESDAY: St Patrick’s Day in the times of my Ancestors…

ShamrockAs the St Patrick’s Day excitement and celebrations  were coming to an end… the flow of green beer drying up and the green wigs shoved back in the cupboard to await their re- birth in 2014, I reflected on St Patrick’s Day past.  Despite growing up in a family  closely, and proudly,  identifying with the Irish Diaspora I have no memory of celebrating St Pat’s Day.  Curiosity aroused I turned to Trove for some answers.

Always fascinated by the daily life of my Ancestors  I’ve found Australia’s free digitised newspapers, on Trove, as a perfect way to satisfy my curiosity and have decided it will be fun  to share these discoveries with readers by participating in Amy Houston’s, theme of Trove Tuesday.

Back in Time

The first to catch my eye was from the Broken Hill “Barrier Miner” in 1897. After arriving from Ireland in 1855, as an 18 year old, my maternal Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher Nicholls Rowen settled in the mid-north of South Australia. Thirty two years later, and 10 years before this article was published,  Susan had separated from her husband and moved with her children to Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia which is just over the border in the North East corner of South Australia.

What a delight to read how she may have spent St Patrick’s Day, as a 51year old Irish immigrant, 116 years ago.

Banner. The Barrier Miner

ST PATRICK'S DAY. B.H.MINER. 1897.re Adelaide

The first article to appear was in regard to the celebrations way down south in Adelaide, South Australia. The final sentence was a little confusing re: “no counter display” until I remembered that, at that time, in the South Australian mid north town of Laura my Great Grandmother (Susan’s daughter) was being abused as she walked through the town and called a “filthy Irish bitch“… mmmhhh…

The next article, also appearing on page 1, described the sports activities held at nearby Silverton. As my great great Aunt Susan’s husband was a manager of the mines in Silverton I expect the family living in Broken Hill and Silverton may well have attended these celebrations.

ST PATRICK'S DAY. Broken Hill. 1897

Twenty seven years later my Nana, Susan Kelleher Nicholls Rowen’s grandaughter  Elizabeth Mary Murray Evans Allan, had left her husband and three children in the mid-north town on Port Pirie and moved south to Port Adelaide with my Grandfather, Frederick Alexander Allan, and 12 months after St Patrick’s Day my mum was  born… “on the other side of the blanket”… so I looked to the Adelaide newspapers to see what was happening there on St Patrick’s Day 1924.

Banner. The Register

ST PATRICK'S DAY. Adelaide.1924.(1)ST PATRICK'S DAY. Adelaide.1924.(2)ST PATRICK'S DAY. Adelaide.1924.(3)

Clearly they celebrated St Pat’s Day in great style, in Adelaide 1924, and unlike today it seems to be largely a Catholic celebration.  My mother certainly would never had been included because, being illegitimate, was unable to take up the Catholic faith and would have had to listen to her cousins, who all went to Catholic schools, talking about their celebrations, dressing up, performances and parades. Must remember to ask Helen about it.  Now I understand why St Patrick’s Day celebrations were never a part of my childhood experiences.

Thankyou Trove!!!

TROVE

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RESOURCES:
 Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW. 18 Mar 1897. Pg1.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/44184711

The Register, Adelaide, South Australia. 15 Mar 1914. pg9.  

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/64206807

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Are Ye Right There Michael… are ye right?

Corofin Railway Station - County Clare, Ireland

Corofin Railway Station – County Clare, Ireland

Come take a little trip with me  through the West of County Clare, Ireland… the Homeland of my Great Great Grand-mother Susan Kelleher, to the accompaniment of Percy French’s rollicking tune; Are Ye Right There Michael… are ye right?

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Why not sing along?…

 

“Are Ye Right There Michael”
by Percy French (1902)

Ennis, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Ennis, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

 

“You may talk of Columbus’s sailing,
Across the Atlantic sea
But he never tried to go railing,
From Ennis as far as Kilkee.

You run for the train in the morning,
The excursion train starting at eight.
You’re there when the guard gives the warning,
And there for an hour you’ll wait.

And while you’re waiting in the train,
You’ll hear the guard sing this refrain:

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Do you think that we’ll be home before the night?
Ye’ve been so long in startin’,
That ye couldn’t say for certain’
Still ye might now, Michael,
So ye might!

Corofin, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Corofin, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

They find out where the engine’s been hiding,
And it drags you to sweet Corofin;
Says the guard: Back her down on the siding,
There’s a

Kilrush, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Kilrush, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

goods from Kilrush comin’ in.
Perhaps it comes in two hours,
Perhaps it breaks down on the way;
If it does, says the guard, be the powers,
We’re here for the rest of the day!

And while you sit and curse your luck,
The train backs down into a truck.

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right?
Have ye got the parcel there for Mrs. White?
Ye haven’t, oh begorra,
Say it’s comin’ down tomorra –
And well it might now, Michael,
So it might!

Lahinch, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Lahinch, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

At Lahinch the sea shines like a jewel,
With joy you are ready to shout,
When the stoker cries out: There’s no fuel,
And the fire is teetotally out.
But hand up that bit of a log there –
I’ll soon have ye out of the fix;
There’s fine clamp of turf in the bog there.
And the rest can go gatherin’ sticks

And while you’re breakin’ bits off trees,
You hear some wise remarks like these:

Are ye right there, Michael? Are ye right?
Do ye think that you can get the fire to light?
Oh, an hour you’ll require,
For the turf it might be drier,
Well it might now, Michael,
So it might!

Kilkee, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia
Kilkee, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Kilkee! Oh, ye’ll never get near it,
You’re in luck if the train brings you back.
For the permanent way is so queer, it
Spends most of its time off the track.
Uphill the oul’ engine is climbing,
As the passengers push with a will.
You’re in luck when you reach Ennistimon
For all the way home is downhill.

Ennistymon Waterfall, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

Ennistymon Waterfall, County Clare. Source: Wikipedia

And as you’re wobbling through the dark,
You’ll hear someone make this remark:

Are ye right there, Michael? Are ye right?
Do you think that we’ll be there before it’s light?
Oh, it’s all depending whether,
The oul’ engine holds together,
But it might now, Michael,
So it might!”

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 Thanks to  http://www.kinglaoghaire.com/site/lyrics/song_12.html  for the lyrics as well as the following information:

Percy French 1854-1920

Percy French 1854-1920

The Clare County Library writes: “In 1898 Percy French sued the directors of the West Clare Railway Company for “loss of earnings” when he and his troupe of entertainers were late for a performance in Moores Hall, Kilkee. He had advertised a concert for 8 p.m. on the evening of 10th August 1896, in Kilkee. He left Dublin that morning and arrived in Ennis on time for the 12.30 train which was due to reach Kilkee at 3.30p.m. The train slowed up approaching Miltown Malbay and when it got to the station there did not go any further. Five hours elapsed before a replacement train arrived and as a result he did not get to the hall in Kilkee until 8.20 p.m. His magic lantern, which was with his luggage, did not arrive until 9.00.

When he reached the hall most of the audience had gone home and the receipts were only £3 instead of the usual £14. A railway company official explained that when the engine took on water at Ennistymon weeds got into the boiler. This became apparent after a few miles and by the time Miltown Malbay was reached the driver decided to put out the fire because of the possibility of an explosion. No further progress was possible and a replacement engine was requested.

French was awarded £10 expenses. The Railway Company appealed but the award stood. The incident led to the song Are ye right there Michael? which became one of the most popular numbers in his repertoire.

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Thankyou to the Clare County Library for the photo at the top of this page. To view many more wonderful photos of the  engines and railway stations of the West Clare Railway Line, held by the Library, please click HERE

For further information on Percy French just click on the following link: :  http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/people/percy.htm

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel