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




A marriage born in the journey of John Egan of Borrisoleigh?

John Cleary married Joanna Clohesy - daughter of Tipperary farmers Edward (Edmund) Clohesy and Brigid Ryan - in Daylesford on 18 June 1870 and farmed at Blampied. John had emigrated from Anglesboro, County Limerick, probably in October 1863 with his brother Dinny on the Great Australia. Among those on the Great Australia was 17 year old Ellen Daly. Was she one of the Dalys of Anglesboro? And was Michael Ahern an Ahern from the Boro Road, Anglesboro?

Joanna - Johanna on the shipping record and elsewhere - might have arrived on the City of Melbourne in April 1864. As coincidence would have it, on the ship was 38-year-old Mary Ryan, who was the same age as Johanna's sister Mary Ryan nee Clohesy. However, as descendant Mike Ryan advises, Mary arrived in Victoria in 1853 on the David McIvor with her husband John - the couple married in 1851 in England and lived at Bald Hills near Blampied - and an infant who died on the journey. Mary Ryan witnessed Johanna's marriage.

The baptism records for the Clohesys of Killamoyne show a girl, Judith, born in 1833. This is without doubt Joanna Clohesy, as the name Judith was an anglicised version of and substitute for Johanna.

What the census says

The 1900/1911 census records for Killamoyne, outside Borrisoleigh, in North Tipperary, from where John Egan - who would become a prominent local squatter - had emigrated in 1841 confirm that this was the home of the Clohesys of Blampied.

The 1911 Irish census identifies Michael (78 years and born in 1832/33) and Bridget Clohesy (65 years) in the parish of Glenkeen, townland of Killamoyne, Borrisoleigh. There were four children, Edward, Thomas, Michael and Margaret still at home in 1911. This is consistent with the baptism records, which show a Michael Clohesy as being born to Edmund Clohesy and Bridget Ryan in in 1832, the parents of the Blampied immigrants..

There was one Ryan, 93-year-old Thomas in the same townland and a cluster of other Ryans in other parts of this (Glenkeen) parish. It would seem that the Clohesys came to the Blampied area as a result of stories coming back to Borrisoleigh about the success - gold and land - of the Borrisoleigh born, John Egan

Ryans of Tipperary

With Mary Ryan aboard the the City of Melbourne were the following Ryans; Ann aged 7, Daniel aged 8, Patrick aged 10, John aged 11, Joanna aged 17, James aged 20, Ryan aged 22, Julie aged 25 and William Ryan aged 28.

Joanna Cleary's brother Paddy might have arrived on the Lord Raglan in 1862. He married Ann Smith in Wellington around 1872 at age 43 years. She was from Dublin and some twenty years younger.

Dinny Cleary had fought in Italy in the Pope's Irish Brigade against Garibaldi. Whether John did likewise is unclear. I'm still researching that question. John died in September 1881 at 39 years of age and is buried in the Eganstown Cemetery. Johanna, who died in 1904, is with him, as is their daughter Mary. Joanna's brother Patrick was a publican in Blampied.

The original Cleary house - now on the Kangaroo Hills road - having been moved, probably around 1943, when the farm was sold to Matthew Rieniets.

On 11 March 1875 an inquest was held at the Mount Prospect Hotel into the death that day of their daughter Mary Ann Cleary, aged one year and eleven months. Senior Constable Connell described the girl's father as John Cleary, publican at the Shamrock Hotel. Doctor George Roche (from Cork) certified the death and Sergeant Conlon of Blanket Flat witnessed the statement.

The jurors include Thomas ?, Thomas Jones, Charles Poole, Edward Morrissey, Charles Whitlish, John Morgan, Charles Way? Robert Stewart, David Learman, Dennis Crotty, William Chatfield, Gaetano Tomasetti and Auguste Blampied. Morrissey, Crotty, Whitlish and Chatfield signed their name with an x. As coincidence would have it, in 1883 the inquest into the death of August Blampied (juror in the Cleary inquest) was held at 'Mr P Clohesy's Shamrock Hotel'. John and his brother-in-law probably ran the pub together.

Joanna's evidence is poignant:

I was in the kitchen at about 12 O'Clock, noon, when I heard a scream behind me, on turning around I observed the hands and halfway up to the elbows of the deceased in a boiler of boiling water. The boiler was standing on the brick hob on one side of the fireplace...I took the deceased into the sitting room and put salad oil to the wounds and afterwards flour ...after 10 O'Clock as the child began to grow worse I sent for Dr Roche...he'came a few minutes after seven this morning...said nothing could be done ..owing to the shock...the boiler was an ordinary three or four gallon...for washing...and was not more than half full...the child seemed very lively yesterday afternoon and we did not apprehend fatal results until about ten O'Clock...

One wonders why Dr Roche was so tardy. Dr George Roche died on the 24/1/81 aged 51 and is buried at Creswick.

Johanna Cleary, Tipperary immigrant and wife of John Cleary. No doubt born in the parish of Glenkeen, Killamoyne, Tipperary, Borrisoleigh.

Joanna Cleary died in 1904, twenty six years after the birth of her last child, John Joseph. Records vary as to her age. In her death certificate, nephew Edward Clohesy cites her age as 68 years (born in 1836) and her father as Michael, which is surely wrong, given she identified her father as Edward on her marriage certificate. If she is the Judith baptised in 1833 Joanna was some nine years older than husband John and would have been 45 when her last child - my grandfather John - was born in 1878. She died of senile debility, chronic bronchitis and exhaustion.

Joanna's Will offers some telling insights into class relations at the time:

1. All that piece of land being lots 48 and 49, Block B, Plan No. 2617 and being Crown Allotments 48 and 49, Section B, Parish of Bullarook, County of Talbot, containing 129 acres, 3 rods and 3 perches, or thereabouts, upon which is erected a weatherboard farmhouse containing 6 rooms, outhouses and fencing.

(Annual assessment of Shire of Creswick, 115 pound.)

2. Also that piece of land being lot 95 A, 95 A1, and 95 B being Crown Allotments 95, Section B, Parish of Bullarook, County of Talbot, containing 174 acres, 0 rods and 3 perches, upon which is erected a small weatherboard cottage containing 4 rooms (let to a tenant at 2 shillings per week) and also fencing.

(Annual assessment of Shire of Creswick
40 acres valued at 12 pound per acre = 480 pound
134 acres valued at 6 pound per acre = 804 pound = 1284 pound

The 129-acre block alongside the Mt Prospect Cemetery was part of a 7,302-acre parcel of land, owned by George Stuart Hepburn of the Smeaton Estate, Edmund Kirby, of Alfredton near Ballarat County of Grenville, Stock Agent and William Austin Zeal of Bank Place in the City of Melbourne, Civil Engineer.

Zeal would make an interesting research project. Born in England and trained as a surveyor and engineer, he arrived in Melbourne in 1852 and worked briefly on the Castlemaine goldfields. After a stint as a railway engineer he soon took to politics, and between 1864 and 1901 spent thirteen years in the state parliament. In 1901 he was elected to the senate.

In William Mitchell, who was to become President of the Legislative Council in 1870, he found a commercial ally in the acquisition of pastoral runs. Of course his devotion to making money on the backs of small selectors was enough for him to be knighted in 1895. And yes, he died in Toorak, at the ripe old age of 82 years.

The epoch following the goldrushes was a time when gentlemen could plunder the countryside and the parliament was no more than a vehicle to cement their interest in land. The corruption of the parliament was reflected in the following question by Mr Hood to the Postmaster-General in the Legislative Council in January 1858. (See my book Cleary Independent):

"Was there a petition presented to the Board of Land and Works complaining of the conduct of the District Surveyor in changing what were originally two allotments of land into one, immediately previous to the sale in Captain Hepburn's run?

Were these allotments withdrawn in consequence of such petition? Were the same lots Gazetted for sale one month afterwards, with compensation to the extent of 900 pounds put on them, and was the land finally sold in one or two lots, and who was the purchaser?

On what grounds were other two lots withdrawn from sale, and why were they put up at a sale in another district? Why was the petition of the inhabitants of Creswick against the removal of the sale from that place to Castlemaine disregarded? Is it true that Captain Hepburn was allowed compensation for fences removed from a public road, and put up between land previously purchased by him?

Is it true that the lots were of a larger size close to Captain Hepburn's pre-emptive right (or wrong) than on the remainder of the survey?"

It was probably no surprise that William Zeal was appointed to the position of Postmaster-General in 1892. The purchase of land by small selectors was a goldmine for local investors such as Zeal and financiers of the Henry Cuthbert ilk.

A Ballarat solicitor and prominent member of the Masonic order, Cuthbert was born in Ireland and was later knighted. His social and economic interests - Ballarat Times, Turf Club, The Golden Fleece Hotel and the Anglican Church - put him in a privileged class. He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1874. Was it any wonder Joanna Cleary's son, John Joseph, grew up with a strong socialist streak?

The last page of Joanna's Will is instructive:


Amount due to Robert Richardson of Ballarat, Gentleman, upon first mortgage over lot No 1 of said real estate= 1400/0/0 pound

Amount of interest due thereon from 1st of September 1903 to 13 January 1904 at 4 + 1/2% = 23/4/10

Amount due to Sir Henry Cuthbert of Ballarat upon his first mortgage over the Lot No 2 of said real estate and 2nd mortgage over said Lot No 1 = 1000/0/0

Amount of interest due from 15th September 1903 to 13 January 1904 at 4+1/2% = 13/3/10

Johannsens and Son of Allendale for timber = 6/1/7

W, S, W Pitcher of Kingston = 2/7/0

J Cushing, Draper, Creswick = 7/10/9

G and G Haintz, Rockylead Butchers = 7/15/5
(The Haintz family is buried in Mount Prospect)

Minogue Brothers, Storekeepers of Smeaton = 11/7/0

W Minihan, wages (blacksmith?) = 10 pound

M and P Clohesy, (Clohessy) blacksmith, Blampied = 3/1/0

W P Northcotte, Creswick = 6 shillings

John Stewart and Co, Newland produce = 0/4/6

M Connors, Eganstown Bread = 15 shillings

Summary of estate = 2485/16/1

Assets = 4027/15/0

Liabilities = 2485/16/1

Balance of duty = 1541/18/1

This is the property marked...

After payments of all my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give, devise and bequeath unto all my real and personal estate of every description to my two sons, Michael J Cleary and Edward Cleary. I hereby devise the said Michael J and Edward Cleary out of the said estate to this brother John Cleary 200 pounds and to each of their sisters Bridget and Annie Marie Cleary 150 pound each to be paid not later than 10 years after my decease.

And I hereby appoint thereby appoint the due said Michael and Edward Cleary executors of this my last will and testament whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 26th day of December in the year of our Lord 1903.

Signed Joanna Cleary

in the presence of us present
at the same time:

Patrick Kelly - Miner, Eganstown
Edward Clohesy (Clohessy) - Farmer, Blampied

NOTE: I suspect that this is Patrick Kelly - born in Knockanure, Borrisoleigh, Tipperary on 6 March 1836 - father of the Patrick Kelly in the photo below.

This photo, bearing the words Kelly, Cleary, Ryan on the board (top left), is undated. To the best of my knowledge it features Jack Walton (far right), Patrick Kelly, 'Tinga' Walsh and Mick Cleary (b1871), unknown woman, and an unknown man standing, who appears in other family photos. The men playing cards are also unknown, as is the location.


Mick 'Punga' Cleary, born on 13 August 1871 to John and Joanna Cleary of Mt Prospect. The first born, he was named after his grandfather, Michael Cleary, of Anglesboro, County Limerick. The word Punga I'm told is aboriginal for sun. Maybe his fair hair was the reason for the nickname.


Mick Cleary lived at Blampied (Mt Prospect) until 1920 when he sold his farm to Bob Blain. The 129-acre farm runs alongside the bluestone bridge just beyond the Swiss Mountain Hotel . This photo is taken from the Mt Prospect cemetery, which borders the farm.

The farm was later bought by the Rieniets family. All that remains is an old chimney. Mick married Maggie Dwyer in 1905. His daughter Molly Campbell provided me with many stories.


The chimney of the old house as seen from the road. Was this where young Mary Ann died in 1875?

An interesting letter:

I have a GG Uncle Thomas Patrick kelly who married Elizabeth (Queenie) Dwyer at Mt. Prospect in 1916.

Her sister Margaret Dwyer married a Michael Cleary (born Blampied) in 1905.

I was wondering if there was any connection to your Clearys.

I see you also mention the name Heagney - my mother's maiden name was Heagney and they came from around the Kooroocheang, Smeaton, Creswick, Franklinford areas. They originally came from Gortanumera (near Portumna), Galway, Ireland.

My great grandfather Matthew Heagney (born Franklinford 1864) and his wife Catherine Mary (nee Kelly - born at Brandy Hot - Eganstown in 1872) after living for a time in KOOROOCHEANG, where their daughter Ellen was born, spent some years as owners of the Victoria Hotel at ROCKY LEAD, now called ROCKLYN, where their sons Matthew and Patrick were born. The family then moved to DEAN, where Denis, John & William were born, before settling in CRESWICK where Tom, Kathleen, Rita and her twin sister Joanna were born. They were married in 1891 at St. Josephs Church, Mt. Prospect

Their son Denis later played football for Creswick and played in a combined Ballarat League Team which defeated a visiting VFL Team in 1922 (I have the photo of the team). He moved from CRESWICK to GEELONG to play with the Geelong Football Club in the V.F.L. (he was brought down by the Geelong Football Club). He was coach of the 1923 Geelong Reserves Premiership side, and was a player in the Geelong Football Club's first Premiership in the V.F.L. in 1925. Denis Heagney wore number 29 and played 6 senior games between 1925-1926.

If the families aren't connected I am sure they would certainly have known each other.


Terry Kearney

Yes, they are connected. The Mick Cleary in the photo above is the same person listed in Terry's email. He married the Dwyer girl. Patrick Kelly was Thomas Kelly's brother.

Phil Cleary

Hi Phil, I have just come across your very interesting site. I am a great niece of the mentioned Matthew Rieniets. After reading your history (knowing the landmarks!) I felt I needed to make contact. My other side of the family HEALY and RYAN were also on board "The Great Australia" and settled in Rocky Lead. William Denis HEALY married Ellen RYAN from Tipperary in Ballarat after meeting on board the "Great Australia".

There were other Healy's on board too and settled in the area. William and Ellen had 13 children (the youngest Edmund married Louisa of the area). I wondered if your RYAN was related to mine?? We probably have a conection with Clare CLEARY nee RIENIETS?



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