Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (8)


Just an attempt to improve my use of WordPress.  Hope these are of interest whilst I begin work on my next substantive post, called “ARRIVING”, at present. As always, my thanks to descendants of the orphans who sent me photographs to use.


Sarah Arbuckle from Tyrone per Derwent


Ann Barrow from Mallow per Pemberton




I’m having a little trouble aligning these pics. Once I enter a caption they take on a life of their own. I’ll try adding some more  a little later.

In the meanwhile, let me put up a family reconstitution or two. Hope you can read these and they don’t give you eyestrain.

First an Earl Grey orphan, Violet Primrose Lackie, who went to Brisbane. Those who went to present-day Queensland tended to live longer than the others.


Gosh, you should see the mess on the page I’m working on but it seems to work okay on the post you will see.


Jane Byng/Bing from Enniskillen per Diadem


Bridget Hartigan from Newmarket, County Clare per Thomas Arbuthnot

You might like to find out a bit more about the orphans mentioned in this post. You can do so at www.irishfaminememorial.org

Now for another family reconstitution, that of Sarah McMullen and her husband, Daniel Burdett. I wonder if it is possible to work back from the present using this sort of thing. I imagine it would be a massive project, unless of course one used only a direct line of descent. But that would defeat the purpose; it would lose valuable demography. She is another Earl Grey orphan. She remained in Sydney.


The Earl Grey Famine orphans tended to have large families, as long as their health was good and they survived the child-bearing years. My impression is that their families were larger than other Irish female immigrants, in the same age range, arriving in Australia in the 1850s. But that would need a lot more research before being confirmed.

Here’s a few more pics giving us a ‘long’ view.


Johanna Kelly from Kilkenny per Panama; five generations in Australia. Photo taken c. 1917.

foellenmccluskey wmmaryc1910

Ellen McCluskey from Meath per William & Mary; four generations in Australia



Mary Miller from Queen’s/Laois per Tippoo Saib; four generations in Australia

(As you can see I’m far from mastering WordPress).







In recent times, a number of conservative politicians, and at least one illustrious journalist, have discovered an Earl Grey orphan in their family tree. Make of that what you will. Who comes to mind? Former Senator Steve Hutchins of the Australian Labor party; Senator Barnaby Joyce of the National Party, who is currently Leader of the National Party in the Federal Parliament; Mike Baird, formerly Leader of the Liberal Party and Premier of New South Wales. His sister Julia Baird, is an illustrious author, journalist and broadcaster who regularly does an excellent job ‘chairing’ an ABC programme, “The Drum”. I’ll invite you to put your own ‘spin’ on that.

Let me finish with another kind of ‘success’ story. This young orphan, Letitia Connelly from Enniskillen, married William Hayes, a storekeeper and astute businessman. The family became wealthy on the dividends from the Goldsborough Mining Company in Victoria. His estate was valued at £7,487 in 1890. To the best of my knowledge,  the family has yet to identify their descent from an Irish Famine orphan.



Until next time….


8 thoughts on “Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (8)

  1. Trevor the following may give you some food for thought, although it is dated 1832. Maybe orphan girls were still creating sample books in 1848. I will post it also to Ireland Reaching Out – The Earl Grey Female Orphans- Australia
    Antiques Roadshow Series-35 Episode 1 RAF Marham 1 (59 minutes episode). View at 47.55 min-51.22 min.
    Presentation Book: Old sample book of miniature samples of hand-sewing and other skills- tiny objects of clothing beautifully sewn with Irish linen -baby layette, bonnet, buttonhole, samplers. Handworked -Female Orphan House – Ireland -December 25 1832.
    The expert on Antiques Roadshow had never seen one like this before. She remarked that this would be an orphan girl’s ticket to freedom from the orphanage into employment, with a chance of working her way up in service with such skill. The girl may have been 15 to 16 years.
    Kind regards, Margaret O’Callaghan


  2. Thanks for your work Trevor. I have shared my information with Perry so you may be able to check with him in case he has additions to it. The Orphan Girls related to me are Frances (my 2x gt grandmother and her cousin) and Mary Ann Patterson from Killeshandra, Co Cavan per Digby 1849 and Ruth Harris per Maria 1850 – the wife of a 3x gt uncle.


  3. Trevor, if you’d like to provide a few paras about the blog we’ll happily spread the word via Tintean, the Irish Australian online brisdgauge mag. Hope you subscribe, Trevor – free, gratis & for nothing!

    Sent from my iPhone



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