My maternal grandmother told me we had Irish, English and Scottish ancestors. The Torpeys, the O’Regans and the McSweeneys were Irish, the Knightons were English and the Cooks were Scottish.
On my father’s side I always knew that his ggrandfather, William Patrick Fanning, Big Bill, came out to Australia on the Enmore in 1841 and eventually settled at Bulla north of Melbourne. I was lucky enough to know that he came from Thurles in North Tipperary. The Fannings rented land and were relatively well off so have been easier to track than the other branches of my family. They were mostly farmers but some were shopkeepers and publicans. This has meant I have been able to find them in directories and other documents.
Unfortunately, I only know that Daniel Torpey came from Kings county, his wife from Queens county, and their first child, Maria, was born in Co Tipperary. I haven’t been able to find any records for them in Ireland at this stage other than the baptismal record for Maria.
I have recently done some searching for Kilkeary records. In the Tithe Applotment books there was a Roger Kilkeary in Sopwell townland about 1824.
In Griffiths Valuations all the Kilkearys were all in one area of Ireland! in North Tipperary up in the northern most area around Borrisokane. However in the townland of Sopwell there were no Kilkearys or Torpeys in 1851. However there were lots of Torpeys in Tipperary and surrounding counties.
I think it is more than likely that Sopwell was where Ann Kilkeary was born and raised. I did come across a baptismal record for an Anne Kilkeary born Sopwell, Borrisokane, 15 Nov 1823. Mother was Catherine Nolan but the father was Roger Kilkeary. On Ann’s death certificate her father was listed as John but this could easily have been a mistake although none of her sons was named Roger but one son was named John.
I have also read that the Torpeys were actually of older Irish stock than the Anglo-Norman Fanning family.
The name Torpey is an Anglecized form of the Gaelic O Tarpaigh. Tarpey and O’Tarpey, O’Torpey are all variations on the surname. They held a family seat in Cork and are said to be descended from the ancient tribe of Erainn stock. The O’Tarpeys were also associated with Sligo Co.
The first Torpey to come out to Australia was Daniel Torpey. He came from Kings County Ireland, now called Offaly Co and was born around 1820.
His father was also Daniel Torpey, a farmer and his mother was Mary Rider.
I recently came across a Baptism record for his brother, Patrick Torpey. He was baptised in Dunkerrin Parish, Kings County (Co Offaly), on 28 Mar 1830. His godparents were Michael Torpey and Honor Cleary.
He was 59 when he died of hepatitis. He was married to Anne Kilkeary in Ireland about 1850. She came from the next county Queens Co, now Laois. Most likely they both lived on the border of King’s and Queen’s counties but I have no towns or townland names for either of them. Daniel immigrated sometime around 1855. I haven’t been able to find the Torpeys on any passenger lists.
Anne and Daniel had seven children. Their first child, Maria, was born in August 1852 in Co Tipperary Ireland in the parish of Borrisokane.
I had difficulty finding Maria’s birth/baptism record as her father’s name was written as Turpey!
Their second child, Patrick, was born in 1855 in Hawthorn Victoria Australia. So they immigrated between 1852 and 1855 and may have come from an area on the border of all three counties.
Anne and Daniel Torpey had seven children: Maria 1852-1873, Patrick 1855-1858, Katherine 1858-1930, Daniel 1861-1924, Margaret , my great grandmother, 1863-1896, John 1865-1931 and Annie 1868-1950. On his daughter Katherine’s marriage certificate his occupation is given as cab proprietor.
Death Certificate for Anne Torpey nee Kilkeary 1907
Marriage notice for the wedding of Maria Torpey and Llewellyn Trask
Maria married Llewellyn Trask on the 9th of July in 1872 in Hokitika New Zealand. She was 21 and Llewellyn 22. Llewellyn was from Merriott Somerset Shire in England. He and his family had emigrated to new Zealand.
I have always found it strange that Maria should be married in New Zealand or what she was doing there.
Hokitika experienced a gold rush in the 1860s. The population of 1,000 had swelled to over 50,000 by 1866. Many of the prospectors came from Melbourne and it was described as a “suburb of Melbourne”.
She was also not married in St Mary’s Catholic church in Hokatika but in the home of Thomas Tully, a butcher and his wife Bridget, in Fitzherbert St Hokitika. They were married by Father A Martin, the Catholic Parish Priest.
Maria Trask nee Torpey died nine days after giving birth. She is buried in the Torpey family grave in Melbourne Cemetery Victoria Australia.
Her child was reared by the Torpey family. Llewellyn Trask went to Cleveland Ohio where he settled and remarried on Feb 4, 1876. There do not appear to have been any children from this marriage. Annie was the daughter of Francis Norton and Christiana Lawrence and was born in Merriott in Somerset shire England in 1856.
Annie and Llewellyn came over to Australia in 1887 and Llewellyn junior went back with them and lived and worked as a butcher until his father’s death. He then came back to Victoria and settled.
Llewellyn died on 3 September 1890, aged 39, from congestion of the lungs, which seems to have been after an operation. His death was reported in the New Zealand paper The Colonist on Nov 7 1890.
He lived at 1428 Pearl St Cleveland where he worked as a butcher. He is buried in the Riverside Cemetery.
His brother Francis was Mayor of Nelsen on the south island of New Zealand.
Llewellyn Trask junior married Catherine Miller (1875-1954). Their children were Llewellyn Trask born 1901, Francis Reuben born 1904 and Veronica born 1906. Llewellyn Charles born 1873 died in 1942 aged about 69. He is buried in Fawkner Cemetery in Melbourne.
His son Llewellyn married Selma Salisbury in 1930. He died in Hampton, Melbourne in 1976, aged about 74.
Daniel and Anne’s second daughter Katherine married John Horan in St Ignatius’s Church in Richmond Melbourne on 28 April 1886. She was 26. Her husband John Horan was born in Collingwood in 1860 and died there in 1931 aged 71.
Daniel Charles Torpey married Gertrude Gardiner Woolley. They lived in Abbotsford, Collingwood.
He died in Kew in 1924, aged 63 and is buried in Boroondara Cemetery Kew Melbourne with his wife Gertrude.
Their third daughter was my great grandmother Margaret.
Margaret married William Charles Knighton in 1893. On her marriage record her place of birth is given as NSW which is mysterious or perhaps a transcription error. On the actual document it is Camperfield Sydney Rd. Hence the mistake.
William Knighton was a tram employee at the time of their marriage and Margaret a servant. They were both 28.
They had two children Mary and James, my grandfather. See the Knighton Family post for more on this side of my family.
Margaret died after the birth of her second child, Mary.
Annie Torpey, the youngest child of Daniel and Anne, was married to Thomas Leahy in 1915 (1864 -1924). They lived at 104 Ford St Ivanhoe Melbourne. In the 1903 census she is listed as a saleswoman. She was living with her mother and brother John at 29 Baker St Richmond Melbourne. John was a driver. In 1914 he was living at this address with Llewellyn Charles Trask, a butcher and his nephew. Annie was 84 when she died in Ivanhoe, a suburb of Melbourne, in 1950.