Margaret Walsh was eighteen when she arrived in Sydney in 1844 on the St Vincent and by 7 August 1855 she was living with her sisters (Mrs Bridget Neville and Ellen Walsh) in Cowra in a new house  which they were fitting up as a public house. In October 1855 Mrs Neville opened the public house.[1]  On 24 January 1856 Margaret Walsh (aged 30) married Thomas O’Shaughnessy (aged 21) in the public house at Cowra. The Rev.Father Murphy officiated and the witnesses were Edward (Edmund) and Bridget Markham from Spring Vale, Milburn Creek, Lachlan River.

Thomas O’Shaughnessy (b.1834 Sydney) was the son of Thomas O’Shaughnessy Snr. who was born in County Limerick in 1799. In the National Library of Dublin a newspaper ‘The Limerick Chronicle’ dated Wednesday 6 March 1822, describes the trial of Thomas Shaughnessy (O’Shaughnessy) at the County Limerick Special Sessions. He was ‘charged with being an idle and disorderly person, under the Insurrection Act, having been out of his home at half past ten o’clock on the night of the 28th ultimate’ A lengthy description of a burning house and the gathering of many British soldiers follows. Then comes the statement that Thomas Shaughnessy, (sic) who lived with his father in the house adjacent to the one set on fire, was outside his house at night. The prisoner was found guilty and was promptly sentenced to seven years transportation.(See Trial report.)

 On 21 June 1822 the transport Mangles 2 with Thomas Shaughnessy (sic) on board sailed from Cork and arrived in Sydney on 8 November 1822. (On board was Edmund Markham who was also sentenced under the infamous Insurrection Actand both men were forwarded by river to Parramatta where they were assigned to settlers). Thomas O’Shaughnessy was assigned to Byrne of Appin and after serving his sentence he married Anne Byrne, the daughter of James Byrne formerly of County Wicklow, in 1829.[2]

Thomas O’Shaughnessy Jnr. kept a detailed diary, a copy of which is in the possession of the Cowra Historical Society. In this he states that in 1835 he left Edmund Markham’s place on Milburn Creek and about 1843 his father took up a run near the junction of Milburn Creek and the Lachlan River. From here he walked three miles to school at Spring Vale, Edmund Markham’s place. Edmund Markham had been assigned to James Byrne of Appin and later to McHenry at Evan. After gaining his Certificate of Freedom in 1829 Edmund Markham established a farm  on Milburn Creek. Thomas O’Shaughnessy Snr. worked here until 1835 when O’Shaughnessy went down the Lachlan to form a station (Tomabil) for John Neville who had also arrived on the Mangles 2 and settled at Milburn Creek.

In November 1839, O’Shaughnessy Snr. took up land near Goolagong with Cornelius Daley where he had a dairy providing milk and cheese. Thomas Icely owned Bangaroo on the opposite side of the river and he impounded every beast, belonging to O’Shaughnessy, which crossed the river. The O’Shaughnessy’s left the run in 1843 and took up another run on the western side of the junction of the Lachlan River and Milburn Creek.

 In 1849 when the price of wheat fell, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, his wife and family travelled overland to Sheaoak Log near Gawler Town in South Australia where wheat farming had recently begun. A neighbour (Patrick Grace) and his family accompanied O’Shaughnessy. The trek to South Australia was by bullock wagon while driving stock and took three months. There were six children in the party and the youngest was less than one year old.

 The families farmed at Sheaoak Log and Crystal Brook. Two Grace brothers (James and John) married two O’Shaughnessy sisters (Sarah and Mary). Each family had six sons and three daughters. Thomas O’Shaughnessy Snr. died at Crystal Brook in 1873 aged 74.Anne O’Shaughnessy (nee Byrne) died in 1889 at Golgol, NSW.[3]

In his diary, Thomas O’Shaughnessy Jnr. states that he and his bride, Margaret (Walsh), stayed at the public house in Cowra with Mrs Neville for five months and then started for Adelaide to visit O’Shaughnessy’s parents. Margaret was about three months pregnant when she began this gruelling trip by coach, rail and steamer.

After leaving Cowra, they changed coaches twice before arriving at Parramatta on 2nd July 1856 and taking the rail to Sydney. They stayed at uncle Andrew Byrne’s hotel at Haymarket for ten days and on 13 July they boarded the City of Sydney steamer for Melbourne. Here they waited nine days for a steamer which took them to Adelaide Port. They then caught the train to the city and a coach to Gawler Town and the Sheaoak Log Inn which adjoined the O’Shaughnessy run.

On 15 December 1856 a son (James O’Shaughnessy) was born and Thomas decided to return overland to Cowra. He bought three horses and a spring cart, hired a man and took a spare horse as they set off on the trip back to Cowra. Thomas knew the conditions he would encounter as he had described a former trip when he had difficulty crossing rivers. At the junction of the Darling and the Murray Rivers there were about 100 aborigines camped at the crossing place. O’Shaughnessy shot a bullock for them and the aborigines took the belongings across the Darling in canoes. They tied two empty casks to the drays to aid flotation and pulled them across with ropes. The cattle and horses were swum across and then O’Shaughnessy killed another bullock as payment for the aborigines.

Margaret and the baby survived this ordeal and in June 1858, Thomas opened a public house at Nanima for which Margaret’s brother (Thomas Walsh) held thepublican’s licence. On 15 September 1858, Thomas O’Shaughnessy III was born at Nanima and on 1 August 1859 Sarah O’Shaughnessy was born at Cowra. In June 1860 Thomas was held up by bushrangers at Nanima and robbed of ₤50. The O’Shaughnessys left Nanima soon after and returned to Cowra where, on 25 September 1861, Mary O’Shaughnessy was born. In October Thomas followed the gold rush to Forbes where, by January 1862, he was keeping a store.

Thomas returned to Cowra in 1862 and in 1863 he took a large mob of horses to Queensland to sell, leaving Margaret to manage their large family. In 1864 Ignatious O’Shaughnessy was born at Cowra and from then on Thomas was away from home mustering, droving and prospecting. He later settled down for a time to drive the engine at the Cowra flour mill, owned by the Walsh brothers.

On 9 June 1867 a daughter (Annie) aged two, developed typhus fever and five days later Thomas and Margaret drove by buggy to Carcoar to take Annie to see the doctor. They arrived at 8 pm and stayed at the hotel. Two doctors examined Annie and would not let the parents take her home as they had some hope that she could be saved. However, on 17 June the O’Shaughnessys left Carcoar and returned to Cowra with Annie still very ill. From 18 to 21 June it rained day and night and the Lachlan flooded. Everyone on the river flats moved to higher ground. On 22 June poor little Annie died at 5 pm and was buried next morning.

On 14 February 1868 another daughter (Kate) was born and on 8 February 1871 when Margaret O’Shaughnessy was 45 years old her last child (Grace) was born. In April 1877, Thomas and Margaret selected 200 acres at Broula Hill, took out a ‘primitive right’ and built a timber slab home. In June 1877 when Margaret’s sister (Bridget Neville) became very ill, Margaret nursed her in the parlour room at Broula. All the Walsh family visited her and when Bridget recovered she and her niece (Sarah O’Shaughnessy) went by coach to Sydney for a holiday in July 1878.

By February 1879, Margaret, herself was very ill. Thomas sent a telegram to Dr Smith at Carcoar. Mrs Smith replied by telegram to say that Dr Smith would not be home before dark. The desperate Thomas sent another telegram asking the doctor to start for Cowra as soon as he arrived home as Margaret was worse. Dr Smith arrived at 7 am the next morning and put hot flannels and spirits of turpentine across Margaret’s stomach. This caused her great discomfort for about half an hour.

 When Dr Smith left at 1 pm for Carcoar, Margaret was a little better but had some severe fits of cold shivers until night time when she seemed to improve. However, by 21 February Mrs O’Shaughnessy was no better and four Sisters of St Joseph came by coach to see her. Father Ryan also visited the sick lady and their prayers were answered, for by 28 February Mrs O’Shaughnessy was up and well enough by March 30th to go out for a drive in a buggy with her sister-in-law (Mrs Thomas Walsh). On 25 April 1879 Thomas Walsh took his sisters, Margaret and Bridget, to visit their brother Patrick at Kikiamah.

In 1881 Thomas and Margaret O’Shaughnessy left Broula and rented a cottage in Cowra. Mrs O’Shaughnessy’s health was still causing concern and on 18 May Thomas and Margaret left by coach to consult a specialist in Sydney. They arrived at Carcoar at 7 pm and reached Blayney at 9 pm. On 21 May they bought two return tickets, second class rail for ₤1.10. 6 and arrived in Sydney at 7 pm. They stayed at Fahey’s Railway Hotel on the corner of Regent and George Streets. Thomas noted that Mrs O’Shaughnessy seemed none the worse for the long trip. After resting for a day, Thomas went to see Dr Sydney Jones of College Street who visited Mrs O’Shaughnessy in the evening and charged a fee of two guineas.

May 24 was the Queen’s birthday and there were great fireworks in the evening. Thomas observed that all Sydney society seemed to walk in the city after dark. Dr Jones said that Mrs O’Shaughnessy had an enlarged liver and the lump in her side was not a tumour as Dr Smith had suggested, but an ovarian cyst. Dr Jones advised the couple to go home and Thomas paid the doctor ₤1.10. 0  for a double issue of medicine. On 16 May Thomas took his wife to St Mary’s Cathedral in a hansom cab. They walked from there down to the Exhibition Buildings and from there to the trams and travelled back to the railway station where they caught the train back to Cowra.

In January 1884, Thomas’ daughter (Sarah O’Shaughnessy) married John Hackett, a telegraph master, and on 19 December their first child (Kate) was born. In November 1885 Sarah and baby Kate visited Margaret, whose health was failing. On 1 December 1885 Margaret (Walsh) O’Shaughnessy died at 4 pm. She was buried at Cowra after a large funeral procession. Her children (Mary, Sarah, Grace and James) were all at home to comfort their father, Thomas.

James O’Shaughnessy married Agnes O’Brien of Parkes and died at Lidcombe in 1963. They had two children (Clara and Alinda). Thomas O’Shaughnessy III married Roberta McDonald in 1898. Sarah and John Hacket had one daughter (Kate) and three sons. Mary married D. McGrath in 1898. Ignatious died as an infant in 1864, Annie died aged 2 years. Kate became a nun (Sister Rose of the Sisters of Mercy) and Grace was still single when Thomas ceased writing his diary in 1903 at the age of 68 years as he was suffering from a painful ear condition. He died 14 November 1911 from cancer of the neck aged 77 years.


   Cowra Free Press – 3.12.1888

Obituary – Mrs Thomas O’Shaughnessy

“It is with feelings of the very deepest regret that we record the death of Mrs Thomas O’Shaughnessy, which sad event took place at her residence in this town on Tuesday afternoon. The deceased lady had been in a very delicate state of health for many years prior to her demise:  still when the end came, it was totally unexpected by her affectionate family. Despite the long period of suffering to which she had been subjected, our late old and highly esteemed friend bore all her afflictions and trials with fortitude and entire submission to the will of Him who doeth all things rightly.

 A loving husband and a grown up family of four daughters and one son (amongst whom the greatest unity has ever prevailed) are thus plunged in poignant grief for the loss of one whom to know was to love. The mortal remains of the deceased lady were interred in the Catholic cemetery yesterday afternoon, a very large concorse (sic) of mourning relatives and friends of all classes testifying by their presence the love and esteem in which she had been held.”




….. 1 Margaret WALSH b: 1826 in Castle Erkin, Co Limerick, IRE, Arr. Australia: 31 Jul 1844 “St Vincent”, d: 01 Dec 1885 in Cowra NSW

….. + Thomas O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 01 Jan 1835 in Sydney N.S.W, m: 24 Jan 1856 in Cowra N.S.W, d: 14 Nov 1911 in Cowra N.S.W

……….. 2 James O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 15 Dec 1856 in Gawler SA, d: 1936 in Sydney NSW

……….. + Eliza Agnes O’BRIEN m: 12 May 1892 in Parkes NSW, d: 1937 in Parkes NSW

…………….. 3 Clara O’SHAUGHNESSY b: Abt. 1892

…………….. + J MOLLOY m: Orange NSW

………………….. 4 James MOLLOY b: Forbes NSW

…………….. 3 Thomas O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 1894, d: 1940 in Sydney NSW

…………….. 3 Alinda Mary O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 03 Feb 1896, d: 1975

…………….. + George Arthur MARLIN m: 26 Aug 1920 in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney NSW

………………….. 4 Isobel Agnes MARLIN b: 1921, d: 1940 in Sydney NSW

……….. 2 Thomas O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 15 Sep 1858 in Nanima NSW, d: 1858

……….. + Roberta McDONALD?

……….. 2 Sarah O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 01 Aug 1859 in Cowra NSW, d: Aft. 1911

……….. + John Thomas HACKETT b: 1859 in India, m: 1884, d: 1947 in Normanhurst NSW

…………….. 3 Kate HACKETT b: 19 Dec 1884

…………….. 3 James HACKETT b: 1887

…………….. 3 Augustus L HACKETT b: 15 Jan 1892

…………….. 3 Gordon T HACKETT b: 08 Mar 1894

…………….. 3 John B HACKETT b: 1898

…………….. 3 Stewart G HACKETT b: 29 Mar 1899

……….. 2 Mary O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 25 Sep 1861 in Cowra NSW, d: Aft. 1911

……….. + Denis MCGRATH m: 06 Jul 1898 in The Pines, nr BIMBI NSW

…………….. 3 Thomas MCGRATH b: 1890

…………….. 3 Joseph B MCGRATH b: 1892

…………….. 3 Denis P MCGRATH b: 18 Feb 1903

…………….. 3 Stanley MCGRATH b: 1896 in Braidwood NSW

……….. 2 Ignatius O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 10 Jan 1864 in Cowra NSW, d: 1864 in Cowra NSW

……….. 2 Anne (Annie) O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 12 Jul 1865 in Cowra NSW, d: 22 Jun 1867 in Cowra NSW

……….. 2 Catherine ‘Kitty’ O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 14 Feb 1868 in Cowra N.S.W, d: Aft. 1911

……….. + Robert McDONNELL m: 13 Apr 1898 in Mrs Costigan’s residence, Cooks Vale

…………….. 3 Stanislaus? McDONNELL b: 03 Jan 1899

……….. 2 GRACE Anne O’SHAUGHNESSY b: 08 Feb 1871 in Cowra NSW, d: 1903 in Cowra NSW

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Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1.  Thomas O’Shaughnessy’s Diary 1835 – 1903
  2. Thomas O’Shaughnessy’s Diary 1835 – 1903
  3. Thomas O’Shaughnessy’s Diary 1835 – 1903