While looking at records from the Pioneer Index for Victoria which covers the period 1838-1888 I noticed that a huge number of records related to gold rush towns and settlements. Their names reflect their gold prospecting origins as well as the different nationalities of immigrants. So many places were gullies, leads, creeks, flats, diggings and they were all far from Melbourne.
Some interesting place names are Yankee Creek, Deep Lead, Italian Gully, Jobs Gully, Scotchman’s Lead, Welshman’s Reef, Frenchman’s Creek, Eldorado, Digger’s Rest and Chinaman’s Flat.
While investigating the impact of gold I came across this interesting article on a great site which answered some of my questions. I have included parts of it below.
When we talk about the Victorian gold rushes, that occurred from 1851 onwards, we are really talking about people, specifically the movement of people. During the gold rushes, people moved on a small scale: trying their luck at different locations on the diggings, or shifting from one town to another. Many people moved from the city of Melbourne into the centre of the colony, leaving certain industries and businesses desperate for workers. There was movement between colonies too, for example hundreds of workers abandoned the copper mines in South Australia and switched to gold seeking in Victoria. Many folk in Melbourne were appalled to see Vandemonians streaming into Victoria from Tasmania to look for gold, fearing increased crime and social unrest.
But perhaps the most significant population movement was the migration of thousands of people from overseas countries to the Victorian goldfields. The influx led to dramatic changes in Victoria’s population, and more importantly, to its society and culture. This group of people is described as the ‘gold generation’, a generation that left a profound and lasting impact on the colony and on the Australian nation. Continue reading The Victorian Gold Rushes 1851 and Immigration Australia
John Henry Fanning was the eldest son of “Big Bill” Fanning and Catherine Hayes. He was born in 1842 in Werribee, Victoria, Australia.
One story about him is that he took off and went up north to Queensland and was breaking in horses there. He was supposed to have been cut off by his father for doing this. He is also supposed to have eloped with the station manager or owner’s daughter.
He married Ellen Gormley in Sydney, in Nov 1870, at St Patrick’s Church. Ellen was the third third daughter and youngest child of Cornelius and Anne Gormley.
He married the daughter of Connor Gormley, a farmer in NSW. This may well have been where he was breaking horses. It looks that they may have eloped as they were married in Sydney which is a long way from either of their family homes. Although Ellen did get the permission of her father to marry as she was under the age of 18, although the above record has her age as 21? It also has her place of residence as Sydney.
Ellen’s parents were Cornelias (Connor) Gormley and Ann McDermid and Ellen was born in Ogulary (Townland or Parish of Ogulla) Co Roscommon, Ireland about 1851. Cornelius was the son of Thomas Gormley. She and her family came out to Australia on the “Ellenborough” arriving on 12th October, 1853. On board were her father, listed as Connor Gormley, a shepherd, aged 43, her mother, Ann aged 35, her sister Sarah, aged 11, her sister, Eliza aged 6 and Ellen aged 2. Her brothers, Thomas aged 13 and Peter aged 9, were also on board.
Her family lived near Kempsey in New South Wales at Belmore River, where they farmed. Her parents and brother and sister are buried in Frederickton Cemetery, just north of Kempsey.
John Henry Fanning was also not left the Family property which is customary as he was the eldest son. Was this because of his wild ways? or did he get the best deal anyway? “Emu Flat”, 342 acres purchased by his father on July 7 1855, was larger and supposedly a better property. John Henry’s branch of the family became known as the “Flat Fannings” as opposed to the “Hill Fannings” up on a hill at Bulla.
John Henry Fanning from Bulla is listed as signing the Petition for Clemency for Ned Kelly in 1880.
In 1888 he put up for sale land at Emu Creek:
John Henry Fanning died aged 52, in 1894 in St Kilda, Melbourne of a liver ulcer which he was sick with for six months. He was supposed to have died after being trodden on by a cow.
When he died in 1894 at age 52, his youngest was one year old. Ellen Fanning leased Emu Flat and moved to Essendon. The property was sold about thirty years later and had become very run down.
John Fanning died without a will and his probate papers are online at PROV. His land of 346 acres was mortgaged and the remaining balance of his estate was 793 pounds.
On his land was a four roomed stone house. It is hard to imagine 18 people living in a four roomed house. Ellen came to live at 35 Keilor Rd Essendon with her children.
John Henry Fanning is buried in Bulla Cemetery with his wife Ellen Gormley and many of his seventeen children.
John Thomas Fanning, son of Ellen and John Henry Fanning and grandson of Cornelius and Ann Gormley, also lived at Belmore River before he enlisted in 1916. He is listed in the Sands Directory 1858-1933 at Gladstone in the years 1910-1914. In 1914 he had 14 horses and 65 cattle on 149 acres. Gladstone is a village in the Belmore River area. He farmed land owned by his uncle Peter Gormley. After Peter Gormley’s death in 1916 Ellen Fanning was left this land . She sold it in 1924.
Ellen Fanning died 21 May 1928, aged 76 years. In this grave is buried a John Fanning who was buried on 26 Nov 1925.There is no death record for him or details on the cemetery records other than his name and burial date.
John Henry Fanning died on the 28th October 1894, aged 52 years.
These graves are in the Bulla Cemetry, Victoria, Australia. A number of their children are also buried in the cemetery at Bulla:
The following reports trace the ancestry of John Henry Fanning back to Co Tipperary Ireland and also describe his descendants in Victoria Australia.
Edward ( known as Ned) was the youngest son of William and Catherine Fanning who emigrated to Victoria in 1841. He was born on the 15th of Feb, 1850, at Bulla.
Ned attended the denominational school at Bulla and took over the farm after his father’s death and remained there until his death in 1927 at the age of 79.
He was a member of the Royal Agricultural Society, a founding member of the Victorian National Party, and accompanied the Burke and Wills expedition when they passed through Bulla. He is my great grandfather. My great grandmother was his second wife, Sarah Collins.
He married his first wife Bridget Anna Collins on Jan 2, 1884, at Bridget’s parents’ home in Northcote.
Bridget Anna Collins (pictured left) was the eldest daughter of Patrick Collins and Mary Gribben. She was born in Footscray, Melbourne in 1860. Her family home was in Waterloo St Northcote, Melbourne.
Her father, born in Co Limerick Ireland, was a Police Constable. His wife Mary came from Co Down in Northern Ireland. Pat Collins came out to the colonies sometime between 1853 and 1856 and worked on the gold fields before becoming a police constable in Melbourne. His wife, Mary, arrived from Ireland in 1857. Bridget Collins was born at Footscray in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1860. She had four older brothers and seven sisters.
Bridget married Edward Francis Fanning, the youngest child of William Patrick Fanning, “Big Bill” and Catherine Hayes, in 1884, at her parents’ home in Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria. She was twenty four and Edward was thirty four years old when they married.
Bridget had three children: William Patrick born in 1885 at Bulla, Edward Francis born in 1887 at Northcote and Thomas Augustus who died, at Deep Creek, after three days, in 1888. Bridget died in childbirth on July 2 1888, after giving birth to Thomas. She was twenty seven old and had been married less than four years. Edward was left with two young sons, one three years old and the other two years old, to look after. Bridget and her infant son, Thomas, are buried in the Melbourne Cemetery.
Two years later, on the 18th of February, 1890, Edward married Bridget’s younger sister, Sarah Ann Collins, at St John’s Church, Clifton Hill, Melbourne. Sarah was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1870.
Family stories have it that after Bridget died Edward needed help with his young children and Sarah Collins came to live there and help out. Apparently she fell pregnant to Edward and a huge rift came between the two families over this out of wedlock pregnancy. This explains the Collins family looking after the eldest two boys but not the children of Sarah and Edward. One of the boys complained that Edward kept the half brothers separated from each other.
Ned and Sarah Fanning had five children but only three survived to adulthood: My grandfather, Francis Collins Fanning born 1892, John Hugh Fanning born 1893 and Thomas Augustus Fanning born 1894. John Augustus Fanning died aged 2 mths, and Joseph Leo Fanning also died as a baby.
Sarah was only 27 when she died of tuberculosis (called phthisis in those days), in 1897. She had been sick for two years. Below is the memorial card for Sarah Fanning.
Their son, Thomas, also died of the same disease in 1915, at age 20. He died in a sanitarium in Surrey Hills, Melbourne, after being ill for four years with tuberculosis (sometimes referred to as consumption).
Apparently there was talk of Edward marrying another Collins sister, Tottie (Mary Josephine Collins) but this did not eventuate.
Edward was a farmer and lived his whole life at “Sunnyside” in Bulla.Edward was elected to the Board of Advice for the Bulla District in 1878 and re-elected in July 1881.This was reported in the Argus on June 18, 1878:
The above photo of Bulla residents was taken in 1921. Edward Fanning is the sixth person from the right standing, directly behind the seated woman in black.
Ned Fanning died in 1927 and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton with his parents, William and Catherine and Sarah and Bridget, his two wives and his infant son Thomas Augustus. His death was mentioned in The Argus:
The following genealogy reports trace the ancestors and descendants of Edward Francis Fanning 1850-1927 Bulla Victoria Australia.
There was a Johannah Fanning who came out from Co Tipperary c1861. She died in Beechworth 5 May 1886. Her father was Edward Ryan, a farmer and her mother Mary Gleeson. She was born c 1811 and married Thomas Fanning in Ireland. They were from the townland of Glenaguile in the parish of Toomevara. He died 9 Sept 1912.
Her children were Thomas born c1830 died Beechworth 1891, married Mary Byrns;
Eliza born c1832 married John McDonald and then Richard Cain in the Beechworth area. Eliza died Sept 4 1922.
Margaret was born c1838,
John born c1840 died 1915 in Beechworth,
Michael born c1842,
Edward born 1840 in Toomyvara in Co Tipperary, he died on July 15 in 1914 in Beechworth and
Johanna born c1846 married a Carey.
I haven’t been able to establish a connection to my family and the Beechworth Fannings, as yet.
These Fannings came from Thurles and could well be related. As yet I haven’t been able to link them with my family.
FANNING – On the 11th April, at the Hen and Chicken Hotel, Little Flinders Street, Melbourne, John, third son of the late Mr John Fanning, merchant of Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland, aged-years.R.I.P
Johanna Fanning, the wife of the late John Fanning, merchant of Thurles, came out to Australia c1853.
Jeremiah Fanning age 13, Mary Fanning age 19, John Fanning age 9 and Joseph Fanning age 7 are listed aboard the “Bloomer”, which arrived in Victoria July, 1853.
Johanna’s father was Jeremiah Carroll and her mother Mary O’Mara. She was born c1814 in Thurles Co Tipperary. She married John Fanning of Thurles in Drom Parish on Sept 25, 1830. Witnesses were Pat Fanning and Johanna Mara.
Her children were Mary, Patrick, Margaret, Jeremiah, Kate, John and Joseph. Johanna is buried in the Melbourne Cemetery with her sons John and Joseph, and her daughter, Mary Boland. John died in 1877 aged 33. He was a compositor and single. He resided at Flinders Lane Melbourne. He died of consumption. Joseph was also unmarried and died in May 1894 aged 48. He was a printer and lived in Darlington Parade Richmond.
Mary who married John Boland in 1866 lived to the age of 80 and died in 1922. I have not been able to trace any Boland children. John Boland her husband died age 61 in 1886.
Looking through the National Library of Ireland’s online parish registers for Thurles Parish I came across these baptism records for five of the children of Johanna and John Fanning:
Mary of John Fanning and Joanna Carroll, 14 Nov 1833. Sponsors were Pat and Elen Fanning.
Patrick, 28 July 1835 sponsors were James Fanning and Margaret Carroll.
Cath, Nov 1840 sponsors were John Maher and Mary Ann Armstrong.
John, 29 Oct 1842 sponsors were Walter Bourke and Cath O’Mara.
Joseph, Sept 1844 sponsor was Valentino O’Meara.
There is a John Fanning a Thurles merchant buried in St Marys Church of Ireland Cemetery in Thurles who may well be the husband of Johanna, He died in 2 Dec 1844 aged 42. His brother is a Patrick Fanning, who is also buried there.
This Fanning family originated from Borrisoleigh in North Tipperary. Borrisoleigh is not far from Lissaroon and Clondoty and Bouladuff where related Fannings lived. There is a good chance that they were related, although I have not found a connection yet.
Johannah Fanning nee Bourke came out from Borrisoleigh in Co Tipperary between 1857 and 1863. Johannah was born c 1792 and died 13 June 1877 aged 85. She is buried in Boram Boram cemetery Hamilton Victoria.
She came out with her children: William, Joseph, Margaret, Johanna and Mary.
William married Johanna Meagher in 1870. She was also born in Co Tipperary and was the licensee of the Victoria Hotel, in Penshurst, which is near Hamilton. Johanna, his wife, was also a publican.They were involved with this hotel from 1891-1905.
Margaret married Terence O’Brien.
I’d like to hear from anyone researching this Fanning family or who knows more about them back in Ireland, particularly William Fanning’s parents and siblings.
From the Borrisoleigh site:
“Like most parishes, Borrisoleigh was badly affected during the famine years which saw her population drop significantly through starvation, disease and emigration. It was one the darkest periods of the parish and remains of old potato drills left, untouched since the 1840’s, can be seen in different parts of the parish, a symbol of abandonment of the land and in many cases the inability of people to work due to starvation and illness. A survivor of the famine recalled how “one morning I picked up a man lying dead on this spot, and another day I found five dead bodies on the road from Glankeen to Ballyroan, and t’was hard to get men who could help me bury them. More than once when I opened the door in the morning I found a dead body on the steps”.
As was happening all over the country little was done by the sitting absentee landlords. In October 1846 Lord Portarlington, whose extensive estate took in Borrisoleigh, threw a banquet in the Borrisoleigh Temperance Hall. It was at this that Lord Portalington was pressed strongly for much more badly needed assistance in the lives of his starving tenants. He dashed all hopes of assistance when he departed leaving just £100 for the Poor Relief Committee and returned to being an absentee landlord while the men, women and children of Borrisoleigh died in their humble shacks which many could hardly afford to rent. This was probably one of Borrisoleigh’s darkest hours.”
There was a Fanning family living in Sunbury, Victoria which is relatively near Bulla. One of their descendants believes we are related. I had a look and this family originates from Co Wicklow in Ireland so I don’t think we would be related.
Michael Fanning who married Mary Hogan, in 1872 in Victoria, came from Co Wicklow. In 1876 Elizabeth Mary was born to Michael and Mary Fanning. In 1907 she married Thomas Richard Wickham. Other children to Michael and Mary Fanning were John Jackson 1877, Michael Joseph born 1879, Kate (Catherine Teresa)1881, Lilian Francis 1873, Mary Josine and Ann (Margaret Ann)1883.
In the Sunbury News 1892, a Michael Fanning is listed as a publican for the Railway Hotel in Sunbury. He died age 85, in Sunbury, in 1927.
Mary Fanning nee Hogan died in Sunbury age 74 in 1917. Her father was John Hogan and her mother Eliza Brophy. She lived at Powlett St in Sunbury for 63 years, where her parents had lived before her.
In researching my branch of the Fannings from Thurles I came across four other Fanning families that I thought might be related.
It was often thought that the Fannings who lived, and still live, in Charlton, in country Victoria, were related to us. People often asked if we were related to them and pointed out a strong physical likeness to my father. They even said he walked in the same way as the Fanning Charltons. My father went over to Charlton to visit them there but apparently they knew of no connection.
I looked into their family history and found three sites where the Charlton Fanning family history has been explored:
Kevin Shepherd starts with George Fanning who was born c 1864 in Dublin and married Margaret Masterson in Charlton in 1899.
I found out that this Fanning family came from Dublin. Three brothers, Michael, George and Joseph and a sister, Margaret came out to Australia sometime after 1864. Their father was James Fanning, a farmer and their mother Kate(Kathleen) Stammers.
Michael born c1850 died in Bendigo in 1931 aged 81.
Joseph died a very wealthy man in 1922 in Charlton. He was born in Dublin c1856.
Margaret was born c1860 and died in 1925 in Charlton.
George born c1864 in Dublin died 1943 in Charlton.
According to Archbishop O’Donnell’s letter there were Fannings from Thurles who went to Dublin and set up businesses there. So the possibility exists that these Fannings could be related but I think it fairly unlikely.
If anyone knows when the four emigrant Charlton Fannings came out to Australia I would be interested to know or if anyone has any more research on this family back in Ireland please contact me. I also have more on this family than what I’ve written here.