McSweeney Family History, Cork to Emerald Hill, Victoria Australia

Map of irish Counties 2
Map of Irish Counties Showing Co Cork where Peter McSweeney came from

Peter McSweeney was the first of this family to come out to Australia. He was born in Co Cork Ireland about 1801 and came to NSW in 1838. He was a cooper. His father Michael McSweeney was described as a master cooper on Peter’s death certificate. The surname was often written as Sweeny and occasionally Swiney.

Peter McSweeney married Hannah Meehan on 7 June 1838 in St Patrick’s Parish Cork City Co Cork Ireland. The witnesses were Joseph and Mary O’Keeffe.

Peter McSweeney Arrival 1838
Arrival of Peter and Hannah McSweeney on the Calcutta 1838 NSW Family Search.org Card

The above card is from the records of The Latter Day Saints. Through Ancestry.com I found the passenger lists for the “Calcutta” and some of the information is different. Hannah’s maiden name has always been given as Meehan and I suspect Newboldt is a transcription error. Below are the ship’s list entries for Peter and Hannah McSweeney.

Hannah McSweeney Ships Entry The Calcutta 1838cropped
The “Calcutta”Arrived Oct 1838 Sydney NSW
Peter McSweeney Ships List Calcuttacropped
Entry for Peter McSweeney on the Calcutta Oct 1838 Sydney

The Calcutta’s passengers were all highly skilled bounty immigrants, their fare being 15 pounds each. Their occupations ranged from blacksmiths, plasterers, carpenters to one farmer. There were no laborers on this ship. Peter McSweeney was a cooper.

“Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels of a conical form, of greater length than breadth, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. Examples of a cooper’s work include but are not limited to casks, barrels, buckets, tubs, butter churns,hogsheads, firkins, tierces, rundlets, puncheons, pipes, tuns, butts, pins and breakers.

Traditionally there were four divisions in the cooper’s craft. The “dry” or “slack” cooper made containers that would be used to ship dry goods such as cereals, nails, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. The “dry-tight” cooper made casks designed to keep dry goods in and moisture out. Gunpowder and flour casks are examples of a “drytight” cooper’s work. The “white cooper” made straight staved containers like washtubs, buckets and butter churns, that would hold water and other liquids, but did not allow shipping of the liquids. Usually there was no bending of wood involved in white cooperage. The “wet” or “tight” cooper made casks for long- term storage and transportation of liquids that could even be under pressure, as with beer.”  Wikipedia

He married Hannah Meehan in Cork about 1834. They had seven children in Australia: Mary, Catherine, John, John Vincent, Eugene and Hannah. They lived in Emerald Hill now called South Melbourne.

The Australia Directory for Port Phillip 1847 has him listed as Peter M’Sweeney a cooper in Bourke St Melbourne. In the 1866 Victoria Post Office Directory he was living at Three-chain Rd Emerald Hill. The 1869 Post Office Directory of Victoria has him listed as a cooper in Emerald Hill.

He owned some property and in his will he is described as a gentleman. His estate was valued at 788 pounds. He owned land in Bridport St Emerald Hill and also two two storey houses of six rooms each. He also owned land in Gold St Collingwood and a four room cottage 17 Albert Rd Emerald Hill.

Peter McSweeney died on 7 Mar 1872, aged 70. He resided at 17 Albert Rd. South Melbourne and is buried in Melbourne Cemetery.

Peter McSweeney Death Cert 1872 cropped
Death Certificate of Peter McSweeney March 1872 Melbourne

In his will Peter McSweeney left his two houses in Bridport St South Melbourne to his daughter Hannah.

Peter McSweeney’s Will Mar 1872

His wife Hannah died the same year shortly after her husband.

Hannah McSweeney 1872 Death cropped
Death Certificate of Hannah McSweeney nee Meehan 1872 Melbourne

In Hannah’s will five living children are mentioned, Mary married to Frederick Pearce, James, Catherine, John and Hannah. So it appears that Eugene is deceased by 1872 and perhaps Micheal James is being called James. Money is given to John Vincent, Mary and Hannah. Michael James, Catherine and Eugene are not included.

Peter & Hannah McSweeney 1872 Melb Gen Cem.
Gravestone of Hannah and Peter McSweeney and their son John Vincent McSweeney Melbourne Cemetery

Their son John Vincent McSweeney married my gggrandmother Sarah Ann O’Regan on June 4 1871 at St Peters and Pauls Catholic Church in Emerald Hill. She was 19 and John 21 and a teacher.

John Vincent McSweeney and Sarah O'Regan Marriage 1871cropped
Marriage Certificate of John Vincent McSweeney and Sarah Ann O’Regan 1871 Melbourne Victoria Australia
St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church South Melbourne
St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church South Melbourne where Sarah O’Regan and John McSweeney Married
St Peter & Paul's Church Interior
Interior of St Peter & Paul’s Catholic Church South Melbourne

Sarah McSweeney nee O’Regan died of breast cancer in 1895 she was 43 years old. She is buried in Melbourne Cemetery with other O’Regan family members.

There is much more on the O’Regan family in O’Regan Family History from Limerick to Emerald Hill Melbourne.

Thomas O'Regan Melb Cemetery
Sarah McSweeney is buried in the O’Regan Family Grave Melbourne Cemetery
Sarah McSweeney 1895 Death cropped
Death Certificate of Sarah McSweeney nee O’Regan 1895

They had one child Ann Teresa in 1872 in Camperdown Victoria in the Western District between Geelong and Warnambool. She was often called Hannah although she later called herself Annie.

Camperdown Mt. Leura and Mt. Sugarloaf, c1890
Camperdown Victoria c1890

 

Annie McSweeney Birth Certificate 1872 cropped
Birth certificate of Ann Teresa McSweeney 1872 Camperdown Victoria

John Vincent McSweeney died in 1916 at age 68.

John Vincent McSweeney 1916 Death cropped
Death Certificate of John Vincent McSweeney 1916

I have not been able to find John Vincent McSweeney on any electoral rolls. Below is a timeline for him:

1849 Born Melbourne

June 1871 marries Sarah O’Regan. He is 20 and a school teacher and resides in Emerald Hill.

7 March 1872 His father Peter McSweeney dies.

4 April 1872 Birth of daughter in Camperdown Victoria Teacher residing in Camperdown.

11 April 1872 His mother dies. John Vincent McSweeney is residing at Purrumbete Camperdown.

21 August 1888 In his father-in-laws will Sarah his wife is living at Blessington St St Kilda and he is described as from Sydney NSW.

1893 daughter Annie marries Robert Eason Cook. She lives at Inkerman St St Kilda and her father John Vincent McSweeney is described as a gentleman.

1895 Wife Sarah dies at 101 Union St Prahran where his daughter and her husband are living. On her death certificate Sarah is listed as living 2 years in Qld, 2 years in NSW and 39 years in Victoria.

1908 Daughter Annie marries for the second time, to Rupert Collier. Her father’s occupation was listed as civil engineer.

Sept 1916 John Vincent McSweeney died at 8 Woodside St Fitzroy. His occupation given as school teacher.

April 1919 His Annie daughter dies. His occupation was listed as civil engineer.

It seems that he spent some time in Qld and NSW but I can find no trace of him in electoral rolls, newspapers or teacher’s records. Strange that he wasn’t registered to vote.

Annie McSweeney cropped
Annie McSweeney

Their daughter Annie McSweeney married Robert Eason Cook in Armadale in Melbourne on 24 Jan 1893. He was 19 and a law clerk and Annie was 20. Annie is my great grandmother on my mother’s side.

The Scottish ancestry of the Cook family is covered in another post Easson Family History.

Annie McSweeney and Robert Cook Marriage cropped1
Marriage Certificate of Annie McSweeney and Robert Eason Cook 1893 Melbourne

They had four children: Grace Annie Francis born in 1893 in Prahran, my grandmother; James Alexander Thomas Eason born 1896; John Walter Clemont born 1901 and a stillborn child born in 1904.

Their marriage broke down at some stage and Annie married Rupert Owen Croxton Collier. (What I have on the Collier family is in another post still in draft, Collier Family History.) She had a child to Rupert Collier while still married to Robert Cook.

Robert Eason Cook died suddenly at age 34 in Brisbane Queensland. What he was doing there is unknown. His occupation was given as indent clerk. The informant on his death certificate was his brother Thomas Cook who usually resided in Perth Western Australia. What they were both doing in Brisbane at this time is a mystery.

Annie McSweeney married Rupert Owen Croxton Collier in

Annie Cook and Rupert Collier 1908 Marriage cropped
Marriage Certificate of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier 1908

Rupert and Annie had five children: Esther Helena in 1906; Winifred Mary in 1908; Inez Lorna c1911; Rupert Croxton c1913 and Nellie Constance in 1914.

Annie Collier Electoral Roll 1909 Hawthorn cropped
1909 Australian Electoral Roll
Annie Collier 1914 Electoral Roll 2
1914 Australian Electoral Roll
Annie Collier 1919 Electoral Roll 2
919 Australian Electoral Roll

I can remember being told that my great grandparents died in the Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918-1919 after the Second World War in which about 12,500 Australians died. Rupert Collier died in 1916 of broncho pneumonia aged 36 and Annie died in April 1919 age 43 from influenza, her youngest child was 4 years old.

She left three Cook children, my grandmother Grace being the eldest and at the time of her mother’s death. From her second marriage to Rupert Collier she left five children. I was told by my grandmother that the younger children by Rupert Collier were put in an orphanage and after my grandmother married Ernie Wilson she looked after them all along with her own children, a total of eleven children.

Annie Collier McSweeney Death Cert 1919 cropped
Death Certificate of Annie McSweeney 1919

Annie is buried in Springvale cemetery Melbourne with her second husband Rupert Collier.

Springvale Cemetery Annie McSweeny
Grave of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier Springvale Cemetery Melbourne

Michael McSweeney Descendants Sept 2015

4 thoughts on “McSweeney Family History, Cork to Emerald Hill, Victoria Australia”

  1. Thankyou for sharing your story. My ancestors John and Mary Clancy also came out on the Calcutta with their baby son in 1838. John was a millwright and ended up a teacher. Mary was a servant and illiterate. She ended up having another 5 children, one being my great grandfather John in Camden and they later moved to Concord Sydney.I found it interesting reading of another family who came out on the Calcutta.

    1. I like hearing back from people like yourself who have read my blog and enjoyed some part of it. Regards Kathleen.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      I only followed up on John Vincent McSweeney as he is my great great grandfather. His two brothers were Michael James and Eugene Bryan. I think that Eugene may have been deceased by 1872 when his parents died. I had a look but could not find anything on the McSweeneys in Vic Birth Death and marriage records. I don’t have an Ancestry subscription but if you do you might find them in their records especially electoral roles. If you do find anything I’d love to also know. We must be cousins of sorts as Annie, also christened as Hannah, was my great grandmother on my mother’s side. Annie McSweeney was John Vincent McSweeney’s daughter. What do you know of your McSweeney family history? You must be descended from Eugene or Michael I am assuming.
      regards Kathleen

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