1822 O’Shaughnessy

My link with Thomas Shaughnessy Sr is through his son, Thomas Jr of  the Diary 1835-1903, who married my great grandmother’s sister. But a keen interest in Thomas Sr is the relationship with my great great grandfather, Edmund Markham and their life together in Co Limerick, on the ‘Mangles’ , during their ‘assignments’ as Government Servants, and life in freedom on the Lachlan River. 

 O’Shaughnessy Outline Descendant Tree is here.

Thomas Shaughnessy Sr, later O’Shaughnessy.


Thomas Shaughnessy Sr, (later, in Australia, O’Shaughnessy) age 24, ploughman was from Adare, in County Limerick, was sentenced to seven years transportation at Co Limerick Special Sessions in March 1822 under the United Kingdom’s (Irish) Insurrection Act 1822 .  He was arrested the day after the Act was promulgated. He had been “idle and disorderly”, a definition in the Act which covered all manner of incidents, including in his case, breaking a curfew. The newspaper reports of his trial reads as follows:

28 February, 1822: Court Report from Limerick Chronicle 3 March, 1822 re incident at house of Mr Fosbery, Adare.
Thomas SHAUGHNESSY, an able stout man, was put to the bar, charged with being an idle and disorderly person under the Act, having been out of his home at half past ten o’clock on the night of the 28th ultimate.
William JOHNSON, one of the Adare Yeomanry, deposed that he saw a house burning belonging to Mr. FOSBERY on the 28th ult; when he first saw the fire he was two miles distant from it; accompanied by a detachment of the 42nd Regiment, and a policeman hastened to the place; when he arrived there, it was all in flames, being a thatched house; there was one woman in the house at the time it was set on fire; and she was got out; some of the 42nd from Kildimo had arrived there before his party; he and his party then searched the adjoining houses to see it the inhabitants were within; they went into SHAUGHNESSY’s house and saw an old man sitting by the fire; while they were interrogating the old man the prisoner rushed in from the back door in great heat, as if after a chase, and on being asked where he was, he said that he was feeding the cow, upon which witness to ascertain the truth and found the cow in the yard without any food before it, but saw another man in the stable, where there were two horses; the distance from the back door to the cow was not more than eight or nine yards. (The prisoner addressed the witness from the dock, denying having said he was feeding the cow, but that he was feeding the horses).

Daniel ROSS, a soldier of the 42nd Regt. was in the house of the prisoner on the night stated, and saw him come through the back door; he seemed in a great heat, as if after running-the witness put his hand upon the Prisoner’s side, and felt his heart palpitate.
COURT: Witness, you know what it is to run after an enemy, and not from
him-was it a state of heat similar to that he was in?
WITNESS: smiling-“Yes, my Lord, as if he was after a chase.”
Prisoner told witness also, that he had been feeding cows. Francis MAGINAS, a soldier of the 42nd deposed that prisoner told him after he had come in, that he was feeding horses; Prisoner said that after the yeoman and soldier had interrogated him.
The Prosecution closed, and for the defence was called Patrick SHAUGHNESSY, brother to the Prisoner, who stated that he was not long in bed when the army came in; that he had given directions to his brother to put the cow in the stable; his brother was not long gone when the soldiers were searching the house. On his cross examination, he could not tell whether four or five minutes or three or four hours in bed, before the soldiers had arrived, but he believed four or five minutes; he had no watch and how could he tell.
The Prisoner was found Guilty, and sentenced to seven years Transportation. The Court and Magistrates were of opinion that the Prisoner was at the burning of Mr. FOSBERY’s house. The Court observed, that a report had been currently circulated that New South Wales was a comfortable place to be transported to, but the Prisoner would find, and the Public may be assured, that an Island not so comfortable would be selected by the Government

He was sent to Cove of Cork  and in June boarded the ship ‘Mangles’ which arrived in Port Jackson in the following November.

On arrival at Port Jackson in November of the same year, he was assigned, along with Edmund Markham, to James Byrne at Airds, consistent with the practice of assigning agricultural workers to farmers. It has always been assumed that Thomas remained with Byrne until gaining his freedom in 1829, when he married Byrne’s daughter Anne, born Sydney in 1813. However the 1828 Census has him employed as a 30 year old Ticket of Leave  labourer to John Kennedy of Appin. As a Ticket of Leave holder, Thomas was free to offer his services to any employer so long as he did not leave the district. John Kennedy was a free settler who arrived in the Colony in 1794. At the time of the Census he had 280 acres at Appin. Kennedy is a key figure in the history of Appin, and his part in the area’s settlement over more than two decades is well described  by Anne Maree Whittaker in “Appin. The Story of a Macquarie Town”. Such histories include other early settlers as James Byrne, Thomas’ father in law, the Sykes and the Dwyers, who – sent away from Ireland as ‘Men of ’98”, contributed so much to the Colony’s development.

In the early 1830s, Shaughnessy and Markham moved to central western NSW, right on the limits of location, where his friend Edmund Markham had settled permanently on ‘Springvale’ Milburn Creek at its junction with the Lachlan River. O’Shaughnessy farmed in various locations in the Lachlan River area,and his son’s Diary provides an indication of his activities during the decade:

FROM MEMORY AND AS TOLD BY OTHERS.  From what I can remember and what I have learnt from others, sometime in 1837 (he was born  on 1 January 1835) left Edmund Markham’s place on Milburn Creek and went down the Lachlan River to farm a place for John Neville. They named the station ‘Tomanbil’.  Father lived there to about the end of 1838. We left “Tomanbil” and came back to Edmund Markham’s, and lived there for a short time. Father went to the  Bald Hills  afterwards owned by Boland.[1] Father intended to take up a station there but the place did not suit him.[2] From there to Bungirrilingong?? – five miles above Goolagong on the Lachlan River and took a run there. He took Cornelius Daly as a partner in the station. This happened sometime in Nov 1839.

The first time I remember eating a piece of pumpkin. The blacks brought some with them. They cooked a piece and gave some to me. Father kept a dairy and butter and cheese.

Thomas Iceley owned Bangaroo Station on the opposite side of the Lachlan . Every beast of ours that would cross the river, he would impound. We had to leave Bungirrilingong – about 1843. My father took up a run on the west side of the Lachlan River at the junction of Milburn Creek. Cornelius Daly took up the next run below us. I used to walk three miles to school to Spring Vale, Edmund Markham’s place, and back again in the evening except on Friday. I stayed all night for half Saturday school. (By this time Thomas was eight years old.)

Father made butter and cheese. We took a load of cheese to Goulburn and (sold) it there, and went from there to Gundaroo – across the centre of Lake George. Most all of the lake was dry at this time. My Grandfather and Grandmother, the Byrnes, lived at Gundaroo. We stayed there for ten days and came from there home. My uncle, John Byrne, came and lived with us. The next year we took a load of cheese and a hundred fat bullocks to Sydney. Father, mother and I went.


After returning home we had the great 1844 flood in the Lachlan River.[3]

He  moved to Sheoak Log, South Australia, in 1848, droving 800 head of cattle. Thomas’ journey, accompanied by 13 year old Thomas Jr, was desdcribed in the latter’s diary thus:

About 1847[4] My father made up his mind to start to Adelaide. We had a team of bullocks, about 800 head of cattle and 20 head of horses. Long Tom, or Thomas Lovett, with a team of bullocks and a married man named James Argent, with a team of bullocks, joined us. A young man named James Butler, and I drove the cattle and Bill Jones drove the bullock team.

We passed through Cowra[5]. There was one Public house, just opened here[6]. Passed James Sloan’s North Logan. He kept a store and shanty here

We kept to the river to ‘Bangaroo’, lceley’s station. Crossed the river there at Towney’s Fall, passed Goolagong, followed the south side of the Lachlan River to ‘Cadow’ John Strickland’s Station. We crossed the river at Cadow and down the north side to Quoogong’. Crossed there again on the south side and followed down to ‘Mulla Mulla’, Evan Evans’ station. Crossed the river again, no grass and very little water in the river. We followed the river down to Lake Waljeers[7] – any amount of grass on the lake. From starting (the journey)  up to here were a great many cattle. The cattle got very poor and the water holes being so boggy we were pulling the cattle out every day and leaving them behind. 

We stayed three weeks at Lake Waljeers, Peter’s Station. Our cattle got strong again. Any amount of frontage to the river could be taken up for runs.

We made a start and camped on the river about 10 miles below the lake. Next morning some of the working bullocks were missing. Argent and Butler went to look for them. They saw a mob of cattle out on the plain. They galloped out to see if their bullocks were amongst them.  Argent’s mare put her foot in a hole and turned over on top of Argent.[8] Butler caught Argent’s mare and got Argent onto the saddle and held him on and started for the camp. Argent kept getting worse. He took him off the horse and laid him down by a tree about a mile from the camp. Butler came to the camp for assistance. When they got to the tree again, Argent was dead. We brought him back to the camp. We sent a man to Phelp’s Station. Phelp was a magistrate. He sent an order back to bury him.  We did – by the roadside and fenced in the grave. From there we followed the river down past Phelp’s and Shadwick’s station called ‘Two Flock’.

Six miles lower down we passed James Tyson’s place.[9] He was living in a reed gunyah. He had a few cows. He had not long taken this run up. From Tyson to the junction of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee River are all reed beds. All this country was Government land. The old squatters of those times did not like this kind of country for grazing on account of the reed beds and being subject to floods. We followed the Murrumbidgee down to Jackson’s station at the junction of a creek that feeds Lake Walgerie; a small lake about three miles from the Murrumbidge.  We followed the Murrumbidgee down to its junction (with)  the Murray River. Here the country back from the Murray River is not so good. In some places, the mallee scrub comes close on the banks of the river.From here we leave the river and pass through a mallee for 12 miles. We had to camp in the mallee as it got too dark to get through. Next day we passed Mt Dispersion, a red sandhill on the bank of the Murray. At this place the blacks attacked Major Mitchell, the explorer.[10]  We travelled down the Murray River to Jenkin’s station on a high bank over the river. At this station they had a small swivel gun mounted on a stump. Sometime previous, the blacks were troublesome.  I believe the owners were forced to use this gun.

From Jenkins’ we came to the junction of the Darling River with the Murray. Poor country along here. Mallee scrub with red sandhills running on to the banks of the river. There were about 400 blacks camped here at the crossing place. We shot a bullock for the blacks. They then commenced to take our things across the Darling River in canoes. The blacks  tied two casks, mouth down on the centre of the dray and pulled them across with ropes. We swam the cattle and horses across and killed another bullock for the blacks. The nearest station to the crossing place was 6 miles below on the Murray. Tooth and Newman’s. And nearest station on the Darling was 25 miles up.

The country on the Adelaide side of the Darling is more open. We followed the Murray down. We crossed the Anna Branch – a creek that runs from the Darling into the Murray. From there to ‘Moorna’ – Captain Bagot’s station. From Moorna we followed along the Frenchman’s Creek  to Lake Victoria, boundary between South Australian and New South Wales.[11] This is a most beautiful beautiful lake – high white sandhills around it – the lake is 25 miles around. It is fed by the Rufus, a creek running from the Murray.

The blacks here are not to be trusted. Any amount of game on the lake. We followed the lake around for 5 miles and then left it. Went through 12 miles of mallee scrub to the fresh water holes. All the water in the lagoons here is salt, all but this one water hole. Tom Lovett[12] shot a very large red kangaroo here. From here to tumble down, Yarraman Creek and from there to Chowilla on the Murray, James Chambers’ station. There are so many creeks running in and out of the Murray River they keep you out from the river.

From Chowilla to Ral Ral Creek, from there to Spring Cart Gully – here the high red banks come on to the river. They rise all at once off the low flats on to the high tableland. We leave the river here and pass through mallee and quandong scrub to the Lake Bonney. This is a small lake 2 miles across. Between the lake and the river, James Chambers has a station called ‘Cobdogla’. From the lake to Overland Corner. Here, you rise off the flats onto the Murray Cliffs. The banks to the Murray in some places are 200 feet perpendicular into the water. From here we keep on the cliffs. The mallee scrub follows the cliffs.

Devlin’s Pound -10 miles from here we passed the seven sandhills. Little Yarra. The Broken Cliff, Reedy Flat, Harry Weston’s Pound. The North West Bend. And from there to Moorunde[13] . Here the road leaves the Murray for Adelaide. We passed through 14 miles of mallee. Out on to a plain and 12 miles across to the accommodation yards.  A spring and a creek here but the water is very brackish. The hills here are clear – all but a few ‘she-oaks growing on them.

From here we travelled on passing a great many German farmers[14] until we came to the She Oak Log Public House on a plain. Camped here intending to have a look around. The She Oak Log is 35 miles from Adelaide and 8 miles from Gawler Town.

Sheaoak Lodge, South Australia. After camping about a week, my father took up 80 acres frontage to the main Burra road and bounded the She Oak Log Public House land. We made up a team of bullocks. Butler and I started work on the road to cart copper ore from the Burra Burra mines to Port Adelaide about 100 miles.

A short time after this Patrick Grace from the Lachlan River brought  some cattle and bullock teams and took up land next to us. He sent three bullock teams on the road. His two sons, James and John and stepson, W. Hughes driving them. Our cattle ran about the plains. We carted copper ore to Port Adelaide for 12 months. The copper mining Company opened another port called Port Augusta, north of Port Adelaide. Most all the copper ore went to this port afterwards. About this time a large English company built a smelting furnace close to Burra Burra mines. After the smelting works started the Copper Mine Company sent nothing but the very best ore to England. Captain Roche was the top Captain and Captain Dick the underground captain on the Burra Burra, and Williams, manager of the Smelting Company. [15]

The remainder of the family followed their tracks, under the protection of Patrick Grace and his family. Later two Grace sons married two Shaughnessy daughters.

He and Anne had seven children (James born 1830; Frances 1832; Thomas 1835; Sarah 1842; Mary 1844; John 1850; and Patrick 1853. All except Thomas remained in South Australia and married as outlined in the Outline Descendant Tree below. Their lives are deserving of research and exposure, but I leave that for story tellers closer to their families, limiting myself on this website to Thomas Jr.. 


Thomas  (Sr) died at Crystal Brook, South Australia in December 1874..His widow, Anne died at Gol Gol, NSW in 1889.

There is nothing in extant records, including the Diary, to suggest that Shaughnessy and Markham, whose lives had been intertwined over a quarter of a century, visited or corresponded in later life. But the next generation, maintained relationships, some through the Limerick Walsh family, who emigrated in the 1840s.

  • Thomas (Jnr) married Margaret Walsh in 1856. Edmund Markham and his wife Bridget (Slattery) Markham were the Witnesses.
  • James Markham (Edmund Markham’s only son) married Margaret’s sister Ellen Walsh in1858.

The Diary shows, moreover, that the two sons maintained a close relationship in the Cowra area for the rest of their lives. There are 631 references to ‘Markham’, as well as 455 to ‘Walsh’ in the Diary.

There is much evidence, not only in these extracts, but also more comprehensively in the full Diary, that the members of these families interacted extensively over the period covered.

To go O’Shaughnessy Outline Descendant Tree, click here.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. “Bald Hill” is out past the Grenfell Golf Club about eight miles from Grenfell. It is the location of Edmund Markham’s 38,000 ac. “Licence”  in the year to 30 June 1840, the second year of the Govt issuing Licences for £10 to graze etc beyond the “Limits of Location”. He didn’t renew – understandable given the terrible drought at the time. Connor (sic) Daly was his “employee”  on the land at the time of the Lands Commissioner’s visit on 10 October 1839. Cosby’s Report stated there were three persons on site. Presumably , the other two included Thos O’Shaughnessy Sr. 
  2.   “That summer of 1839-40 was one of the hottest and driest in our history. Not for the next hundred years did that part of Australia – the present Sydney Catchment Area and far beyond it – experience a more devastating drought than that which began in 1836 and did not break till 1843. The rivers trending east had ceased to flow, while the Murrumbidgee and the Murray were only a chain of water holes for hundreds of miles. The land everywhere was as dry and as parched as a desert and looked as if it would never grow grass again.” [‘The Men of Thirty Eight’ by John O’Brien.]
  3.  In September, ’44, Charles McAlister  stated “the great flood out in that part was then subsiding, and coming along by the river (Lachlan) we saw several carcases of horses and cattle high up in the branches of the trees. About two miles from Nevilles, we saw the tree where two men belonging to Lees’ Station had taken refuge from the flood, staying there a day and night before they were rescued by blacks in their canoes. Hundreds of drowned sheep were lying on the flats, and the late Mr. James Butler, of Merriganowry Station, lost over 1000 fat sheep in the back- wash of the river, which, of course, had overflowed its banks for miles. It was the greatest flood ever known on the Lachlan side.” [Charles McAlister: Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South. A trip to the Lachlan just after the Drought.]
  4.  The departure for South Australia from the Lachlan was more likely 1848.
  5.   In September, ’44, Charles McAlister recorded that “there was no sign of a town at that period, the only house near the present town site being that occupied by the district pound keeper, a Mr. Best.”  [McAlister.]
  6.  This was the original Fitzroy Hotel, which, in 1846, was a rough bark building with a shingle roof. Also known as the Fitzroy Arms, the hotel’s management changed frequently in the early years, passing to John Millar in 1850, David Middlemiss in 1851, and William Ousby in 1854. [Joan Marriott: Cowra on the Lachlan.]
  7.  Part of the Lachlan wetland system. Lake Waljeers and Ryans Lake are shallow depressions. These wetlands are considered to be a good example of River Red Gum / Black Box vegetation association in western NSW. When flooded the area supports large numbers of waterbirds.
  8.  James Argent –  I think I know who he was.  There was a family at Boorowa called Argent who were stock and station agents – I think he was one of them, but I will have to do a little more research to make sure. (From John McInerney  4.8.2004.)  No death record in NSW Records.
  9.  James Tyson (1819 – 1898) was 29 at this time and had not yet achieved the financial success of his later life. He was born on 8 April 1819 near Narellan, New South Wales, third son of William Tyson and his wife Isabella, nee Coulson, who had arrived in the colony on 19 August 1809 in the Indispensable with a seven-year sentence for theft in Yorkshire. James worked from age 14 as an agricultural labourer, and bootmaker’s apprentice. In 1845 he embarked on an unsuccessful farm development with his brothers. In 1846 , with his brothers William and John, he moved to Tyson’s run (Toorong) on the west bank of the Lachlan near its junction with the Murrumbidgee. It was here that Thomas O’Shaughnessy passed by with his family and cattle in 1848.

    Early in 1852 James and William arrived at the Bendigo goldfield with a small mob of cattle, set up a slaughter-yard and butcher’s shop and in three years established a business which was sold late in 1855 for an estimated £80,000. He built his substantial wealth over the next 46 years. He took up land in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. By 1898 he owned more than 5 million acres, breeding and fattening stock for the metropolitan markets. He  was a member of the Queensland Legislative Council in 1893-1898. He was a magistrate, and a prominent lobbyist against the building of the Queensland transcontinental railway line by overseas capitalists on the land grant system; he opposed the Victorian border stock tax and campaigned actively for the land tenure reforms embodied in the Crown Land Acts of 1884 in New South Wales and 1885 in Queensland. Generous to a wide range of charities, he contributed £1000 to the New South Wales Sudan Contingent and variously to the building funds of the Women’s College, University of Sydney, and the Church of England at Leyburn.

    He died, intestate and unmarried in 1898, leaving £2.000,000. A B “Banjo” Paterson wrote of him is his poem ‘T.Y.S.O.N.’

  10.  “In 1836 Mitchell set out on an expedition to explore the Lachlan, Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. An incident which occurred on the 26th May, 1936 was recorded in his journals. They were camped on the banks of the Murray River and nearby a group of 200 Aboriginal people were performing a corroborree. Mitchell was convinced this was the prelude to an attack. When some of the scrub was set alight nearby, he ordered his men to open fire on the group and keep firing as they attempted to escape by swimming the river. Seven Aboriginal people were reported killed and many more injured. Mitchell reported his ‘satisfaction’ with the events and named a nearby hill Mt Dispersion. [“Blood On the Wattle – Massacres and Maltreatment of Australian Aborigines since 1788” by Bruce Elder.)
  11. Not so, though many thought so at the time.
  12. Do you know anything about Thomas Lovett – the one I have in my data file was married to Elizabeth Prendergast and was connected to the McLarens and the Woodbridges at Koorawatha. (From John McInerney 4.8.2004)
  13.  Now called Blanchtown. At the time O’Shaughnessy crossed the NSW/Victoria border, this was the nearest location of a Police Station.
  14.  (Noteto be written here re german immigrants to SA story.)
  15.  Notation on the page :”Kapunda Copper Mine discovered 1843 by Francis Duthie. In 1843 ‘Capilarda’ copper mine discovered by Francis Dutton, Charles Bagot. In 1845 Burra Burra discovered by a shepherd named Picket.