Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : History Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

JOHN JOSEPH CLEARY

BORN TO JOHN AND JOHANNA CLEARY (NEE CLOHESY) IN 1878 AT MT PROSPECT, NEAR DAYLESFORD

SEAFARER - RADICAL AND DEVOTEE OF ESPERANTO

My grandfather, John Joseph Cleary - possibly in New York - circa 1910.

THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT IS TAKEN FROM MY BOOK:

CLEARY INDEPENDENT - PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS 1998

As Jack approached his 20th birthday in the spring of 1898, his soul was unmistakably Fenian and Republican. In the bourgeois citadels, the Anglo establishment searched for legal solution to the problems posed by a democratic Federation document. Sir John Downer, whose great grandson Alexander, had for 253 days stood as the mortal enemy of Prime Minister P.J.Keating in the Australian Parliament, proclaimed the need for safeguards against the masses. In the creation of a Senate capable of controlling the people's chamber the conservatives believed they'd found the solution.

The Fenian from Blampied and the Australian-born Anglophile squatter from South Australia represented two of the warring faces of Australia. One face was etched out of manual work and the collectivism of everyday life, the other out of privilege and individualism. In the Swiss Mountain that night the representatives of manual labour displayed only a passing interest in Federation.
`Vested interest and the rights of capital, that's all this Constitution is about. Allowing that Upper House `Tory', William Austin Zeal and his silver tail squatter mate George Hepburn and the rest of those land grabbers to fashion a Constitution for the working man is nothing but highway robbery,' he declared, the young girl behind the bar lifting her gaze from a now sparkling glass. Her name was Florida Lafranchi, daughter of the deceased Andrea after whom the medals were named.

It was said that Jack had a romantic interest in the Lafranchi girl and that on the night before he left she'd whispered 'I hope you return soon.' It wasn't to be. When she was lowered into the earth on the eastern corner of the consecrated Eganstown Catholic cemetery above the creek where Borrisoleigh man John Egan had found gold in 1851 it was her sister, Olympia, who lay beside her. She remained and was remembered as Flo Lafranchi, publican, spinster daughter of Andrea.

Adulthood did not dim Jack Cleary's radicalism. When he arrived on Annie Crowle's doorstep it was his urbanity and worldliness that conquered her innate conservatism.

John Joseph Cleary, as captured on an original metal plate photo. Undated, but probably at around age five, ie, 1883.

 

An undated photo in John's possession. I believe it to be of John and his mother, Johanna. Was it at the Patrick's Day race meeting, held on the paddock across from the Swiss Mountain Hotel? A warm day in March in 1898? Maybe!

 

Johanna Cleary - the similarities in the bone structure - mouth, cheeks and nose - are unmistakable

 

The full photo

John's father, also John, was born in Anglesboro, County Limerick around 1842 to Michael Cleary and Mary Martin. Johanna was from Tipperary. Her parents were Edward and Brigid Clohesy (nee Ryan).

Jack's photo, as it appeared on shipping documents, circa 1915. He was listed as First Class Fireman. I understand that meant shovelling coal into furnaces.

Jack spent much of his time travelling as a merchant seaman. In 1920 he took out US citizenship. He was a great advocate of the language, Esperanto.

A letter to sister Brigid on the back of the photo at the top of the page.

 

Jack (far right) in a photo with some interesting mates.

 

Jack's sister, Brigid, and husband 'Banker' Blain on their wedding day circa 1907.

 

 

Jack - holding the flag in a photo dated 1913 - presumably in Denver, Colorado.

 

 

 

 

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