Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (61); some more orphan stories


Visitors to the Irish Famine Monument at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney will know well the glass panels where names of about 400 Earl Grey’s famine orphans are inscribed. As the late Professor Joan Kerr put it, “the transparent screen that takes its place bearing the names of…the Irish migrant women who lived at Hyde Park is a tribute to those whose journey created this bridge between a fondly remembered yet tragic past and a more promising yet alien future”.


Perhaps you noticed how the names fade away at the edge of the panels. That ‘fading’ is the artists’ intent.

“The fading is part of the memorial – as their names fade on the glass so does the memory of some of these young female immigrants”.  http://www.irishfaminememorial.org/en/about-monument/

I imagine this first example is one of the ‘fading memories’ the artists had in mind.

Jane Lidd(e)y per Diadem from Leitrim

Before the nineteenth century wore out, there would be few people in Australia who would remember young Jane Liddy (Liddey) from Leitrim. She may have come from Carrick on Shannon workhouse, http://www.workhouses.org.uk/CarrickOnShannon/

When Jane arrived in Port Phillip as a sixteen year old she was apprenticed to William Brickwood of Brighton, being promised £7 per annum. In 1852 she married, and married well, to a man from Denmark nearly eighteen years her senior. Like many who profited from the Victorian goldrush of the 1850s, Charles Christian Frederick Stander, or Stender, provided goods and services to miners, and for a while had success as a miner too. When their last child was born in 1868, Charles Frederick was describing himself as a ‘Gentleman’. The family owned a hotel, The Golden Age, at Knockwood.

Here is the family ‘reconstituted’ from my days working in Victorian records.  Note how young Charles and Jane were when they died. Very few, if any, of their children would survive to adulthood. According to the ‘Account of Administration’ of the estate only one child, Joseph William, was still alive in 1889, and had reached the age of 21.


Here is the database entry.

  • Surname : Liddey
  • First Name : Jane
  • Age on arrival : 16
  • Native Place : Leitrim
  • Parents : Not recorded
  • Religion : Church of England
  • Ship name : Diadem (Melbourne Jan 1850)
  • Other : shipping: nursemaid, reads & writes; Empl. William Brickwood, Brighton, £7, 12 months, apprentice; married Charles Frederick Stander/Stender 3 Feb 1852, husband a carrier, miner, publican & gentleman; 9 children most did not survive to adulthood; Jane died 28 Feb 1881, 3 months after her husband. Husband’s estate valued at £1759. Owned the ‘Golden Age Hotel’ in Knockwood. The inheritance was swallowed up in the maintenance and medical care of the children.

By the time of Charles’s death in November 1880 his estate was valued at £1759, a considerable sum for those days. Jane’s estate would be valued at £338. Yet little of that would make its way into the pocket of any surviving children.

Here is the ‘Account of Administration’ of their estate which shows you where the money went. Quite a few people laid claim;

  • monies owing to various people;
  • commission to those who arranged sale of their assets whether it was the Golden Age Hotel at Knockwood, their furniture or cattle or personal effects;
  • lawyers fees,
  • sundry disbursements,
  • doctors fees,
  • and regular sums for the board and lodging and maintenance of their young children at the Melbourne Orphan Asylum.





By June 1889, eight years after Jane’s death, Joseph William Stander having reached 21 was entitled to one fourth of the remaining estate, £102 2 shillings and 5 pence halfpenny. I wonder what became of young Joseph. Did he remember much about his mother? How loving she was? Where she came from? Did he know anything of her past?


Just a couple more brief histories. These ones are remembered.

Catherine Naughton from Tynagh, Galway per Inchinnan

She may have come from the Loughrea workhouse http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Loughrea/

Or Ballinasloe?

Catherine married John Broderick in 1852 less than three years after her arrival. John was also from Galway. Together they had eight children, six girls and two boys. Her father Edward, convicted of Whiteboy activities, was transported to Sydney in 1832 and was supposedly living in Sydney. One hopes Catherine was able to find him. Irish birth dates and ages, especially for that era, are notoriously flakey. If Catherine was indeed only 18 when she joined the Inchinnan she may still have been in her mother’s womb when Edward was tried and transported. Like many of her compatriots Catherine knew the importance of ‘family’. Her sister Mary was also part of the Earl Grey scheme, arriving in the next vessel to Sydney, the Digby. Another sister Bridget who arrived by the Sabrina in 1854 may have been sponsored by Catherine and her husband.

Catherine and John had ten, or was it eight? children, and prospered in the Goulburn area of New South Wales. When John died in 1912, nearly eleven years after Catherine, his estate was valued at £2124. At one time I did have a photograph of Catherine’s grave in Laggan, Crookwell. I only hope i gave it to someone who cherished it.


From the database, originally in Barefoot vol.2, p. 166 which lists my informant Pat Astill of Narromine.

  • Surname : Naughton
  • First Name : Catherine
  • Age on arrival : 18
  • Native Place : Tenagh [Tynagh], Galway
  • Parents : Edward & Bridget (father living in Sydney)
  • Religion : Roman Catholic
  • Ship name : Inchinnan (Sydney 13 Feb 1849)
  • Workhouse : Ballinasloe or Loughrea PLU
  • Other : shipping: nursemaid, cannot read or write, relation in colony: father living in Sydney – Edward Naughton had arrived per Eliza in 1832, whiteboy; Catherine married John Broderick in Goulburn in 1852; 10 children; died 1901, buried Crookwell; gravestones in Laggan cemetery. Her sister Mary also arrived by the ‘Digby’ 4 Apr 1849 and sister Bridget by the ‘Sabrina’ 10 Jul 1854. Her husband’s estate was valued at £2,124, mostly real estate.


The next one is a tale of acculturation, two of Catherine’s children organised the Gilgandra Coo–ee recruitment march in the spring of 1915 during the First World War, shortly after their mother had died. I wonder would she have approved. Would she have voted against conscription? Or perhaps she too, like her sons, became caught up in defence of the British Empire.

Catherine Guare from Askeaton, Limerick per  Lismoyne

Catherine may have come from Rathkeale workhouse http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Rathkeale/


From the database

  • Surname : Guare
  • First Name : Catherine
  • Age on arrival : 16
  • Native Place : Eskeaton [Askeaton], Limerick
  • Parents : Richard & Bridget (mother living at Eskeaton)
  • Religion : Roman Catholic
  • Ship name : Lismoyne (Sydney 29 Nov 1849)
  • Workhouse : Limerick, Rathkeale
  • Other : shipping: nursemaid, cannot read or write, no relatives in colony; empl. Mr de Phillipsthall, Bathurst, £8, 1 year; mother’s name Mary according to Askeaton baptismal records; married George Hitchen, Bathurst 1850; 10 children; husband ex-convict and gold digger on Meroo River, 1854-83; two sons, Richard & William, organised the Gilgandra Cooee Recruitment March in the spring of 1915; grandson, Roy Munro, was awarded a DCM for conspicuous gallantry in France in 1917. George died in 1902; Catherine died 1913, buried Gilgandra.

My Barefoot volume 2, p.218 has a bit more. “Catherine died 27 October 1913, buried Gilgandra; her estate valued at £1049. Their present descendants number in the region of 1200 people. Her obituary is in The Leader and Stock and Station News, Morning Daily, Orange, 29 October 1913. There is an excellent family history by her descendant David Leese”. I see David did a good job of filling out my family reconstitution form in April 1986!

Catherine’s obituary appears in Barefoot vol.2, p.136. It begins “There crossed the bar, at the ripe old age of 80 years, on Monday night, Mrs Catherine Hitchen, one of the grand old pioneers, who “won the land from the bitterest wastes out back“. Like Charles Stander, George Hitchen would make his fortune as miner and later hotelier, first in Tooraweenah, then ‘at Collie, on the Marthaguy Creek, mid way between Gilgandra and Warren’, and finally Dubbo. According to The Leader and Stock and Station News, “Mrs Hitchen was well known for her charitable deeds and actions, and many a western man and woman of the old and sturdy stock will shed a silent tear to the memory of the departed lady“.


Finally just a couple of extracts from the wills of orphans who prospered in Australia. They are a contrast with the sad lives of those on the streets of Sydney who appeared in the last couple of posts. Neither epitomizes the history of the orphans in Australia.

The first is of

Letitia Connelly from Enniskillen, Fermanagh per Derwent

From the database,

  • Surname : Connelly (Connolly)
  • First Name : Letitia
  • Age on arrival : 16
  • Native Place : Enniskillen, Fermanagh
  • Parents : Not recorded
  • Religion : Roman Catholic
  • Ship name : Derwent (Melbourne Feb 1850)
  • Workhouse : Fermanagh, Enniskillen
  • Other : Shipping: house servant, reads & writes; Enniskillen PLU PRONI BG/14/G/4 (2065) orphan, Ballyreagh, Salry, entered workhouse 2 Feb 1848 left 26 Oct 1849. Empl. L Tweedy, Lonsdale St., Melbourne £7, 12 months; 18 Mar, returned to depot; 29 Apr reassigned Mr & Mrs McClelland, Collins St., Melbourne £5, 3 months; 3 Jul ‘still not returned’; married William Hayes, 4 May 1856 at Brighton; 5 children, husband a storekeeper, lived Dunolly; she died 13 May 1899; husband was an astute businessman whose wealth was from dividends of Goldsborough Mining Company, his estate valued at £7487 in 1890; See ‘Barefoot & Pregnant’, vol. 2, pp.134-6 for details of Wills, funeral and death notices.




Finally, a Queensland success story,

Margaret Blair from Ballymena, Antrim per Earl Grey

From the database,

  • Surname : Blair
  • First Name : Margaret
  • Age on arrival : 16
  • Native Place : Ballymenagh [Ballymena], Antrim
  • Parents : Charles & Elizabeth (both dead)
  • Religion : Presbyterian
  • Ship name : Earl Grey (Sydney 6 Oct 1848)
  • Workhouse : Antrim, Ballymena
  • Other : shipping: house servant, reads only, no relatives in colony. PLU Ballymena PLU BG/4/G/2 (49) Union at large; empl. Mr P Friell, Paddington, near Sydney, £9, 2 years indenture; Register No.262 30 Nov 1848, transfer from Philip Friell to Rev Charles Woodward, Headmaster, Sydney College, Hyde Park, allowed by committee; orphan wages: Empl Rev Charles Woodward in 1849 & empl Elizabeth Underwood, Ashfield by Oct 1849; Rev John McGarvie applied for her as house servant 12 Mar 1849, response was to send her to the country, No.901 2 Oct 1849 Moreton Bay; married John Hardgrave in Brisbane in 1850, husband a shoemaker, 8 children; died 1924, buried Toowong. Husband’s estate valued at £9250.

What a turn up for a youngster who was of no fixed abode in 1848!



Please excuse the quality of these scans. At least they should give you an idea of the Hardgrave family’s  extensive landholdings.

What is it that we really know anyhow? We cannot hold the truth of this world in our hands. And this word truth, what can a word measure? The truths that men hold solemn, their beliefs and their doctrines and their certitude, all of it is but smoke on the wind. And so I am happy to as I am in this not knowing…”. Paul Lynch, Grace, p.353

18 thoughts on “Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (61); some more orphan stories

  1. Haha that is hilarious about the stones! Is the work house still there, I would love to visit it. The St Patrick’s Museum sound interesting. Eliza was Presbyterian, and I read that some Catholics changed to Protestant in order to be better treated in Northern Ireland. I wonder if that is what she and her family may have done?


  2. Hi Trevor

    My GGG Grandmother was Eliza McCready, one of the Belfast Girls, ‘notoriously bad in every sense of the word’. She was refused entry into Sydney, and sent to Moreton Bay. Because she did not go to Hyde Barracks does that mean her name would not appear in the glass on the memorial. How did the 400 names get chosen?
    I would like to read the primary sources by the Earl Grey surgeon, where would I look for these? I found some parliamentary debates which reference the orphans in the Earl Grey, which were very interesting.
    Also I’d like to get a copy of your book Barefoot and Pregnant. How do I purchase?
    Leeann Nolan


    • Leeann, There are answers to all your questions somewhere on my blog. See for example https://wp.me/p4SlVj-Zg
      i was able to add some notes to my original intro to Barefoot vol.1 If you scroll down to the notes you will see the reference you need. Basically there is Douglass’s surgeon’s report when the ship arrived in Sydney. That meant an enquiry by the Board of immigration. Douglass, the Matron and the Master all appeared before that. That’s another report which was sent back to London, thence to the Irish Poor Law Commission who instigated their own enquiry. The Report of CG Otway rebutted all of the claims made by Douglass, as you might expect. You may even say refuted all of his claims, that is, refuted in the proper sense of the word i.e. disproved. Not many people seem to have read that report. Jaki’s artistic licence is v. different from that of a historian.
      Otway’s report was used by the the CLEC in their own report and in Grey’s reply more than a year after the arrival of the first ship that Douglass too easily accepted what the young women said to each other in their banter. There was no real evidence to support the insults they hurled at one another. All of that is in volume one of my BArefoot and PregnANT? maybe i can suggest a library where it is held, depending on where you are.

      Similarly see the http://www.irishfaminememorial.org website for information about the monument and the names on the panel. nothing to do with the EArl Grey’scandal’ hope this helps

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Trevor
        Thanks very much for your reply. I have not have a thorough look through your blog yet, but will do. I only found out two weeks ago about Eliza McCready, and have been trawling through lots of different sites to get information. Yes, I’ve made contact with Jaki and have ordered her play. I will be going to see it in August next year. I have also got copies of the ‘Feisty Colleens’ by Ray Debnam, which is brilliant.
        I noticed that you say Eliza McCready was at Amargh workhouse; however, Perry, from Famine Memorial site, says that she was in fact in the Downpatrick work house because that was where she lived. Is there any way to find this out accurately?
        I am in Ferny Grove Brisbane, it would be great if your could name a library that holds it.
        Thanks again for your reply. It is very exciting for me to have all this information about my ancestor. I was also orphaned young, and so feel a particular kinship to my GGG Grandmother 🙂


      • Hi Leeann, Not sure where you got the info about me saying Eliza was from Armagh, a mistype in my blog maybe? My Barefoot 1 and 2 has her from Downpatrick and reference to where she appears in the Downpatrick Indoor Register. I entered that on the first version of the www,irishfaminememorial.org website. I must have what exactly is said in the Register in my notes somewhere, maybe just the bare bones of her entry and departure.

        The Qld. State Library at Southbank will have a copy of volume 1 and 2 of Barefoot and Pregnant? And the Genealogical society of Queensland too. Volume one is the one you want. Maybe also check your local library. It’s usually held in the reference section but there may be a chance of inter-library loan. Not sure if your State Library will have the Votes and proceedings of the Legislative Council of NSW. Carol Eastaughffe supplied info about her family here.

        I’ve found where the mistake arose. I had the wrong PRONI reference for the Downpatrick Indoor Admission and Discharge Register in my BArefoot and then transferred the error to the website. The reference should read BG/12/G/1. Not BG2/etc In my notes and unfortunately these ones were made in a rush I have her at entry numbers 2803 and 5703, 3rd admission. Interestingly I first noticed her, without her entry number, as “Eliza McCreedy 20 year old Presbyterian, single female, servant, 2nd admission, Homeless, Residing Union at large who entered the workhouse 4 October 1846 and left that time 22 September 1847″. One of my blogposts talks about those who gave Union at Large ie Poor Law union at large as their address. i think it was post number 5. See https://wp.me/p4SlVj-4X

        On that same research card i have a Jane McCreedy 16yo servant Established Church residing Downpatrick (the town) entering 12 June 1847 out 30 June. I wonder if they were related.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Trevor
        Thanks for replying to my later post. I can’t seem to comment there, so will do so here.
        That’s great, I will definitely get hold of vol. 1., and will start with the local library.
        Thanks for clearing up the discrepancy, I appreciate you tracking it down. It is difficult enough for me keeping track of one ancestor, I have no idea how you manage to keep track of all the Irish Orphans, and you speak about them as if you know them so well, which is lovely.
        That’s interesting that there is a Jane McCreedy, maybe it is her sister. Sisters often travelled together to Australia, didn’t they? Perhaps she died, or was not seen as ‘suitable’.
        I went and looked at the memorial page, I wish I had known about Eliza sooner, so maybe I could have had her name put up. I will have to go there, and see it. Of course, I am already thinking about my trip to Downpatrick to see where Eliza lived haha
        Thank you for all the incredible work you have done documenting the lives of these women. It is a massive job, and a wonderful achievement for you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Leeann, My name is Carole Eastaughffe, we must be related as my GGGrandmother is also Eliza MCready.. I have done a fair amount of searching for Eliza & have been to several Irish Famine events & am intending to attend again this year. Hope to be in touch soon. Regards Carole

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Carole! Ohh really! That’s amazing! Which of her children are you descended from? My GGGrandmother was her daughter, Caroline Bannister. How exciting! What have you found out? I’ve done quite a lot of research too. When is it on this year?


  3. Hi Trevor. I was wondering if I could grab your email address? I’ve been researching my Irish famine orphan ancestors (Bridget and Rose Maguire aboard the ‘Digby’) and have quite a lot of information. Thank you!


  4. Trevor, re Jane Liddy of “Diadem”. You asked what happened to their only surviving child Joseph William Stander, so I thought I would have a look on Ancestry.com. The only family tree I could find has a different (Mary) Jane Liddy from Co Leitrim who was NOT an orphan girl marrying Charles Frederick Stander. I contacted the administrator of that family tree and mentioned the “Diadem” Jane Liddy and asked how sure they were of their (Mary) Jane Liddy. And Joseph the son enlisted aged 47!!!! into the AIF, married in 1920 and died in 1936. I will let you know if and what I hear back. Chrissy Fletcher

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chrissy, Can always be me who made the mistake. The Port Phillip orphans are usually tricky to identify. I used name (and usually went to distinctive names first) age, any knowledge of where they went, Irish origin, correct date etc. But without parents’ names it can be tricky. Sometimes things like Ancestry only share ‘ignorance’, not that this is so in this case. Thanks Chrissy. Did you have any luck with the list of the ‘prisoners’ at the end of my previous post? I had plenty more. best wishes


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