1841 McNamara


Thomas and Sarah McNamara of Co Limerick, (my great great great grandparents) who never left Ireland, had three children. Their two sons, John (Abt 1797 – 1849) and Matthew (1798 – 1872) emigrated to New South Wales in 1841.

The third child, Mary (1791 – 1833), was married to Patrick Walsh, both of whom died in Ireland, after which eight of their nine Walsh children emigrated to NSW on the “St Vincent “ (1844) and the “Lord Stanley” (1850). All these siblings went initially to their uncles in the Yass area of NSW. Their Walsh stories are covered here.


The two brothers, along with their wives, and Matthew/Mary daughter Sarah, arrived in Port Jackson on the “Livingstone” on 28 October 1841, having left Liverpool on 28 June the same year, with no stops en route. The ship, Master Wm Rickerty, carried 239 Bounty immigrants.

It not clear why the brothers and their families emigrated, and furthermore why they went immediately to Yass. Many left Ireland around this time because of famine. Many merely for a better life, despite no prior connection with anyone in the colony. But “chain migration”, the encouragement by family members and/or friends who were already in the colony, was a major factor in a great many emigrants’ decisions. (The series of Murray related emigrations are an example, outlined here.)


It may be that the McNamaras were encouraged by one Edward Gleeson who had been transported from Co Tipperary on the “Earl St Vincent” in 1823 for seven years, convicted under one of the Insurrection Acts of the time. Matthew’s wife was a Gleeson, born in Co Tipperary. An Edward Gleeson was a sponsor at their daughter Mary Anne’s 1843 baptism in Yass. Moreover, Gleeson’s wife appeared to be a Hanniza, as was John McNamara’s wife.

The Gleeson story/relationship is being researched. In the meantime some notes are here.


The NSW “Livingstone” arrival statements record as follows:

John McNamara 37, Farm Labourer, RC, Reads and writes; Native of  Carrick-on-Lich (sic – Caherconlish), Limerick Son of Thomas and Sarah, both dead;

          His wife Ellen McNamara 23, Farm servant, RC, Native of Carrick-on-Lich (sic), Daughter of John and Mary Hanniza , Mother alive; Character Thomas Walsh .


Matthew McNamara 35 (33 by registry of births), Labourer, RC, Reads and writes, Native of Carrick-on-Lich (sic), Son of Thomas and Sarah, Parents  Both dead; Character  James Shine ;

          His wife Mary McNamara 35 (sic), Farm servant, RC, Native of Carrick-Lich (sic), Daughter of  Dennis and Mary Gleeson, Both alive.  Father James Shine. Child Sarah  5 years.


Several other passengers were either relatives or from the same area in Co Limerick. Some appear later in the Walsh family stories of their settlement and marriages in the Colony. See a list on the “Livingstone” page here.


The two brothers were in Yass following their arrival in 1841 and by 1844 were established on a 1280 acre squatterage at Sawyers Creek, at Bowning, near Yass.  Sawyer’s Creek (The Gap) was on the Gunning Road about twelve miles from Yass near the junction of the Lade Vale Road.


JOHN and ELLEN appear not to have had any children. John died in 1850. Newspaper report at the time recorded his funeral:


“The remains of the late Mr John McNamara of Sawyers Creek near Bowning were followed into town on Thursday last 7th inst by upwards of one hundred persons and deposited in the Roman Catholic Burial Ground. The funeral procession presented a rather imposing spectacle.”[1]


It is unclear when Ellen died but a NSW BDM entry has an Ellen McNamara having died in 1895 at Blayney. She would have been 87, Given that Matthew and family moved there in mid century, it could be that this is John’s widow. The record inconveniently shows parent names as Patrick and Ellen. (Such mistakes, if this is a mistake,  were common.)


MATTHEW and MARY’s family were:

A. Sarah, b. 1836 in Caherconlish, Ireland, arrived with parents in 1841;

B. Mary Ann/Marianne (b. Abt 1843 in Bowning NSW),

C. Margaret Mary (b. Abt 1845 Bowning),

D. Catherine Mary (b.1847 Bowning),

E. Ellen Mary (b. Abt 1849), and

F. James Joseph (b. Abt. 1852 NSW).

They had another son and two daughters who did not survive into adulthood.


Matthew continued farming at Sawyers Creek until the late 1850s.  The family was still there in May 1855 when Sarah married neighbour Michael Grogan in Bowning.. A Matthew McNamara held a Publican’s Licence in 1856 and 1857 for the Golden Fleece Inn in Comur Street, Yass.  Incidentally, Michael Grogan’s brother Bernard took over the Licence in 1858.


He and his family, and possibly John’s widow, moved to Kings Plains (Blayney) near Carcoar. Since he bought land –  2 roods – in Yass in 1857 and took out a Publican’s Licence for The Traveller’s Rest in Kings Plains in April 1857, it is likely that the family moved around those two dates


He was still there in the late 1860s. Thomas O’Shaughnessy, married to Matthew’ niece, Margaret Walsh, recorded in his diary, which can be found elsewhere on this site,  many visits to the McNamaras en route to and from Bathurst.  Matthew  had the Licence for The Traveller’s Rest  there from April 1857 to 1860. There is not much evidence that Matthew was on the land (as well as a Publican) and  it seems likely that the following extracts refer merely to accommodation at the pub. However, Matthew’s 1872 death certificate described him as “Storekeeper”, and   Mary Ann ‘s as a “Hotelkeeper”, Margaret Mary’s 1921 death certificate  describes him as a “Farmer””.


15 Oct 1867    McNamara’s, King’s Plains.

5 Dec 1867     Bought six cows and came to McNamara’s, King’s Plains

1 Jan 1868      I started to Bathurst and got to McNamara’s, King’s Plains

2 Feb 1868      Sunday. I started to Bathurst and reached McNamara’s.

6 Feb 1868      Bought six bullocks and came to McNamara’s.

8 Apr 1868      I went to McNamara’s, King’s Plains.

17 Apr 1868    McNamara’s, King’s Plains.

20 May 1868   P Walsh and I started to Bathurst and got to McNamara’s, King’s Plains.

22 May 1868   McNamara’s, King’s Plains.


Mary’s death certificate recorded that she was 47 at her death on 23 February 1864, at Grabine, District of Carcoar (Grabine is at the edge of what is now Wyangala Dam), Her place of birth was listed as Tipperary, Ireland, not Co Limerick as recorded by the immigration officials on arrival in 1841, and the same county of one Edward Gleeson referred to above. Further detail states that she had been in the Colony 23 years, that her parents were Denis Gleeson, farmer, and Mary Burke, and that she had married Matthew in Ireland at the age of 18. The document stated that she was ill for several months and died of “natural causes”. The children of the marriage were listed, with some inaccurate ages, as Sarah 28, Mary Anne 20, Catherine 16, Ellen 14, James 11, all living; 1 male, 2 females deceased. She was buried in Carcoar the day after her death.


Matthew died at Kings Plains on 27 September 1872. He was 74. Surprisingly, for a man of this age, a Coroner’s Inquest was requested on the same day. The findings at the 7 January 1873 Inquest were that he had died of natural causes. There may be a story here. His Death Certificate [2] gives his date of death as 27 December 1872, age 74. He was buried in Carcoar the next day. The witnesses were James McNamara and J J Patterson, presumably a son and grandson.


By this time daughter Sarah had married Michael Grogan, whose family had property nearby[3]. They remained in the Yass area and later moved to Peak Hill near Parkes.

Their family, of whom I know little:


1 Sarah McNAMARA b: 1836 in Co Limerick IRE, Arr Australia: 20 Oct 1841 in “Livingstone”, d: 19 Sep 1923 in Lithgow NSW

+ Michael J GROGAN b: 12 Jul 1835 in Boorowa River, Yass, NSW, m: 1855 in Yass NSW, d: 07 Nov 1918 in Peak Hill, NSW

…2 John GROGAN b: 1856 in Yass NSW

…2 William GROGAN b: 1858 in Yass NSW

…2 Matthew GROGAN b: 1860 in Yass NSW

…2 Mary A GROGAN b: 1862 in Yass NSW

…2 Annie GROGAN b: 1868 in Yass NSW, d: 1905 in Trafalgar Victoria

…2 Daniel GROGAN b: 1870 in Yass NSW

…2 Felix GROGAN b: 1874 in Yass NSW

…2 Evelyn M GROGAN b: 1878 in Cowra NSW, d: 1960 in Sydney NSW

…2 Edward Joseph GROGAN b: 1879 in Peak Hill, NSW


Sometimes known as Marianne, Mary Ann was born in Bowning in or about 1842. She grew up at Kings Plains (Blayney) and on 19 September 1860, she married Peter Cassidy, a member of a local farming family. Peter had arrived from Ireland on the “Elphinstone” arriving on 8 October 1840 at the age of one year, with his parents –  James Cassidy 28, and Mary Tierney, 22. James was a labourer and Mary a servant – neither could read or write and came to Australia as immigrants.

Their marriage certificate [4] is not very informative, listing Peter as a farmer at Grabine, Abercrombie River (possibly in an area now covered by Wyangala Dam) and Mary Ann  as a spinster of Kings Plains. The marriage was on 19 September 1860 at Kings Plains. (Her Death Certificate incorrectly gives the place as Yass.)


The family of Mary Ann and Peter is listed herewith:

1 Mary Ann (Marianne) McNAMARA b: 1842 Yass NSW, d: 23 Feb 1929 in Boorowa NSW married Peter CASSIDY b: Abt. 1836 Kildare, Ireland, Arr Australia: 05 Oct 1840  “Elphinstone”, m: 19 Sep 1860 Kings Plains, Blayney NSW, d: 21 Sep 1911 Boorowa NSW


…2 John B (Jack) CASSIDY, b. 20 May 1869, Carcoar NSW, D. 1919 Glebe NSW, married Mary HAYES b.1872, m. 27 April 1898 Yass NSW, d. 1957

 …2 Mary Therese (Minnie) CASSIDY b: 20 May 1870 Carcoar NSW, d: 07 Sep 1962 in Canberra ACT, married John Joseph CUSACK b: 1868 Bellevale, Yass NSW, m: Apr 1898 Yass NSW, d: 1956 Canberra ACT

…………3 John Stanley (Stan) CUSACK b: Yass NSW, d: 15 Jul 1971          Canberra ACT, married Alice May DAWES b: 18 Aug 1904 Goodhope nr Yass NSW, m: 1928 Yass NSW, d: 26 Dec 1947 Canberra ACT

…… ……3 Gregory CUSACK 

 …………3 Linton CUSACK

 …2 Margaret Ellen CASSIDY b: 2 Oct 1873 Cowra NSW, d: 1932 Petersham NSW married John Gregory DUFFY b:13 May 1867, m. June 1895 Yass d: 31 May 1936 Lewisham NSW

 …2 Michael CASSIDY b: 1875 in Noyeau Ck, Woods Flat., d: 11 Apr 1876

 …2 Peter Patrick CASSIDY b: 1875 Cowra NSW d. 18 July 1967 Boorowa NSW.

 …2 Sarah CASSIDY b:6 February 1877 Cowra NSW, d: 1963 married James Bernard DUFFY b: 1872 Yass NSW, m. February 1903, d: 29 March 1925 Yass NSW

 …2 Josephine Mary CASSIDY b: 1881 Sofala NSW, d: Jul 1923 married George (Leslie) WATSON

….2 Katherine CASSIDY b: 23 February 1883, d: 1938, married William MADDEN b: 1857, m. Abt. 1907 d: 1935 Linda nr Gormanston, Tasmania

 …2 Patrick James CASSIDY b: 1885 East Macquarie, NSW, d: 18 Jul 1967 Boorowa NSW married Charlotte Matilda ROBERTS b: 18 Dec 1885 Frogmore  NSW, m. 6October 1915 Boorowa NSW, d: 24 Mar 1969 Boorowa NSW

…2 Grace CASSIDY b: 1890 Lithgow NSW, d: 11 Dec 1963 Harden NSW      married John Thomas O’NEILL b: Abt. 1878 Galong NSW, m: 14 February 1912 Yass NSW, d: 4 May 1923 Casmingar, NSW

…… ……3 John Neville O’NEILL b: 1912, d: 1972 + Winifred YATES d: 1960

 …………3 Mary Therese F O’NEILL b: 21 Feb 1914 Harden NSW, d: 29 Jun 1993 in Wantima Vic married Francis Henry LECKIE m: Mar 1941 St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney

 …………3 Neil Bernard O’NEILL b: 1916, d: 1968

…… ……3 Pauline Lena O’NEILL b: 1920, d: 2006 married William K A HILL b: 1920, d: 1982

Mary Ann’s teaching record was:

Trained two months in Blayney from 1 July 1879

Appointed Wheatfields 17 February 1880

Appointed Lowther 6 November 1885

Appointed GoodHope 21 February 1891

Granted 6 months leave on full pay prior to retirement on 30 June 1909

[Dept of Education Archives.]


Mary Ann Cassidy died in 1929, eighteen years after being widowed. Her death Certificate [5] records her death on 23 February in the Murrumburrah Hospital at the age of 86. Described as a retired schoolteacher, born at Bowning. Father Matthew McNamara, hotel keeper, mother Mary Gleeson, age at marriage 17 in Yass NSW, spouse Peter Cassidy. The children [6] were Mary T 57, Margaret 55, Sarah 53, Katherine M 50, Patrick J 42, Grace 39 and deceased were 2 males and 1 female. The name Marianne was altered on the document to Mary Ann by P J Cassidy, son, as noted by the Registrar.


Her obituary:

Mary Ann (McNamara) Cassidy.

The death occurred at midnight on Saturday, at the Murrumburrah Hospital, of Mrs Cassidy, relict of the late Mr Peter Cassidy. The deceased lady was in her 88th year, and had enjoyed good health during the greater part of her long life. For several months past, however, her health was failing. She became seriously ill about a week before her death, and was taken to the Murrumburrah Hospital, but she gradually became worse and passed away peacefully on the date stated. She retained her faculties up to the last. The late Mrs Cassidy was a native of Yass, and was the second daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Matthew McNamara. When quite a young girl she went with her parents to Kings Plains, near Blayney. Some years later, she was married there to Mr Peter Cassidy.


On the death of the latter’s father, Mr Peter Cassidy became the owner of a valuable property known as the Abercrombie Estate, which he subsequently disposed of. He afterwards purchased another property at Woodstock, but after some years he sold this property, owing to unfavourable seasons.  Mrs Peter Cassidy then conceived the idea of becoming a school teacher, and passed her examinations with great success. She was appointed to a school at Bathurst and later on to a school at the Blue Mountains, afterwards coming back as teacher at the Good Hope school, her native town.


She retired 22 years ago at the age of 65 years. \A property was purchased near Burrowa, which subsequently was handed over on the death of Mr Peter Cassidy to their son Patrick. The late Mrs Cassidy has been living ever since with her youngest daughter Mrs John O’Neill of “Clevedon” Galong. Mr Peter Cassidy died 18 years ago.


The late Mrs Cassidy is survived by five daughters and a son, namely: Mrs J J Cusack, Mrs John Duffy, Mrs James Duffy, all of Yass, Mrs W Madden of Queenstown Tasmania, Mrs John O’Neill of Galong, and Mr Patrick Cassidy of Burrowa. [7]      


Peter and Mary Ann’s  first daughter Mary Therese “Minnie” married local politician J J Cusack in Yass in 1898. Minnie’s 1898 marriage to Peter Cassidy was reported in the Yass Courier as follows:

Marriage of Mary Therese (Minnie) CASSIDY.

On 15 April, 1898 an Easter Monday morning, a quiet, but pretty wedding took place at St, Augustine’s Church. In the early morning light, Minnie Cassidy, eldest daughter of Mr. P. Cassidy of Good Hope, arrived at the church on the arm of her father. She was not wearing a white bridal gown, but a grey tailor-made coat and skirt with a cream silk vest and a grey velvet hat to match. On her wrist she wore a golden bangle, a gift from her husband-to-be John Cusack.  Her bridesmaid was her sister, Sarah, dressed in electric blue with guipure lace trim and hat to match. She also had received a gift from the bridegroom which she was wearing that morning.


Following the marriage ceremony, the wedding party walked down to the Australian Hotel where light refreshments were served. The married couple then took the 7.10 am train to Sydney where they spent their honeymoon. The bride had come to Yass to establish a dress-making business. She had a flat above Peterson‘s store and it was through the Peterson family that she met her future husband.

Her story, written by her granddaughter Ann (Cusack) Jaeger, is here.


The next seven children are recorded above, but I have no additional information about them. Hopefully some detail will come forward about their families, and  their lives.from readers.  I have little detail on these  children The first few paragraphs of Ann (Cusack) Jaeger’s story of Minnie, referred to above, provide a small opening into their early lives.


Peter and Mary Ann’s youngest daughter, Grace,  married John Thomas O’Neill in 1912 and they remained on the land in the Galong area. Grace,  shown here, had four children, listed above.



I have no papers re this family. Perhaps readers may like to supplement this information.

Her death certificate [8] stating that she died at Coobng Street (Parkes?) on 23 May 1921 at the age of 76 years, born at Bowning near Yass, married at Forbes NSW at age 17 to James Mulally. Her father Matthew McNamara is described as a farmer. Mother is Mary Gleeson. The informant was Eliza J Pepper, her daughter of Currajong (sic) Street Parkes. The children were Mary C 52, Francis M 45, Eliza J 42, Gerald J 40, Cecil J 38, Leslie J 34 and deceased 3 males, I female.


1 Catherine Mary McNAMARA b: 28 Jun 1847 in Bowning NSW, d: 12 Feb 1928 in Canowindra NSW married Joseph John PATTERSON b: 03 Jan 1849 in Kings Plains NSW, m: Abt. 1870 in Carcoar NSW, d: 11 Feb 1907 in Forbes NSW

…2 Samuel Percival PATTERSON b: 1871 in Carcoar NSW

…2 Susan PATTERSON b: 1873 in Carcoar NSW, d: 21 Sep 1931 in RPA Hospital, Camperdown, NSW

…2 Mary Josephine PATTERSON b: 1875 in Carcoar NSW, d: 1908 in Parkes NSW

…2 James Gerald PATTERSON b: 1878 in Carcoar NSW, d: 20 Jun 1924 in Surry Hills, NSW

…2 Elenor Gertrude PATTERSON b: 1880 in Carcoar NSW, d: 1962 in Darlinghurst NSW

…2 Joseph John PATTERSON b: 1882 in Carcoar NSW

…2 William Francis Xavier PATTERSON b: 28 Aug 1884 in Milburn Creek NSW, d: 28 Oct 1951 in 5 Parer St, Maroubra, NSW

…2 Dennis Edgar PATTERSON b: 10 May 1887 in Spring Vale NSW, d: 28 May 1930 in Sydney NSW


Ellen b. Abt. 1849  married Patrick CAMPBELL b. Abt. 1847 in about 1873 in Carcoar. Little else is known.



James Joseph b.1852 married Margaret. Little else is known.


I welcome any correspondence clearing any error or omissions. There are many gaps. The stories of our pioneers  deserve to be told.








Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Goulburn Herald 16 February 1850.
  2. NSWBDM 1873/003748
  3. Although families had settled/squatted some years earlier the NSW Govt did not offer land grants/purchase until the 1850s. Michael was a NSW born son of William Grogan (1797 – 1868), who was transported as a 26 year old to the Colony on the “Isabella” in 1823. He had been convicted at Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, sentenced to Life, for precisely what, needs more research, though opposing British rule was the overarching reason. Under the British Government scheme where convicts could petition for their families to be sent to NSW, his wife Ann (1800 – ) and son Bryan (later Bernard) then age 11, reached NSW in 1833 on the “Caroline”. William was freed in 1840 with a Conditional Pardon and the couple had seven more children including Michael.
  4. NSWBDM 1860/1510.
  5. NSWBDM 1929/5000.
  6. The ages of the children here are generally incorrect, 2 years away from corresponding with the actual birth dates.
  7. The Burrowa News Fri 1 March 1929, copied from Yass Courier.
  8. NSWBDM 1921/006595.