John Thomas Fanning was the third son of Ellen Gormley and John Henry Fanning. He was born at Bulla in Victoria in 1878.
He was also the father of the famous Melbourne full forward, Fred Fanning and I have been told that John Thomas was himself a very talented boxer and althlete who held various sporting records.
Before he enlisted in 1916 he was living and farming at Belmore River NSW on land owned by his uncle Peter Gormley. John Thomas was reported in The Macleay Argus, 24 June 1910, as having donated money, five shillings, to the Dr Casement Memorial Fund for the Belmore River area. His mother Ellen Fanning was left this land and she eventually sold it in 1926. Before he enlisted John Thomas Fanning held an auction of his goods.
Published in the Macleay Chronicle Feb 3 1915.
Belmore River is where the relations of John Thomas Fanning were living. John Thomas’ mother was Ellen Gormley. His grandfather was Cornelias “Connor” Gormley. The Gormley family grave is in Frederickton Cemetery, near Kempsey, NSW. Belmore River is near the village of Gladstone and is a very beautiful lush farming area near the coast. Even today there are probably only about 30 farms/houses along the river.
John Thomas Fanning was a 38 year old farmer and single when he enlisted in Sydney on the 30th October, 1916. His address was given as Bulla, Victoria and his next of kin, his mother Ellen Fanning, of the same address.
His unit was called The March 1917 Reinforcements and embarked from Sydney on the “Marathon” on May 10, 1917. John Thomas was a driver. He returned to Australia on the 23rd of March, 1919.
After the war he returned and married Annie Tapscott and had two children. One of these, Frederick, was the famous Melbourne footballer, Fred Fanning. He did not return to NSW and lived the remainder of his life in Coburg Melbourne and worked as a rubber worker.
He died in Heidelberg in 1957 and is buried in a military grave in Bulla Cemetery.
The following detailed genealogy reports trace the ancestry of John Thomas Fanning back to William Fannin of Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland and also his descendants in Victoria Australia.
Joseph Fanning was the brother of Senator Michael Fanning and the son of William Fanning and Catherine Fogarty of Clondoty Co Tipperary. He was born at Clondoty in 1871. He and his brothers Michael and Patrick were very successful publicans in Dublin City. Joseph married Mary Josephine Fogarty in Dublin in 1904. Mary Josephine was born at Bellewood in Templemore Co Tipperary.
In the foreground is Kate Teresa Crowe, Mary Josephine’s mother. Mary Josephine is in the trap. Joseph Fanning eventually lived at “Carnalea” Greystones, Co Wicklow. Greystones is a coastal town about 18 miles south of Dublin. Joseph Fanning died there in 1942.
Alice (Alyce) Constance Hedigan nee Fanning was born in Dublin North in 1918 and she married to John Hedigan in 1942 in Dublin South. She was a daughter of Joseph Fanning and Mary Josephine Fogarty. One of their sons is the Irish High Court Judge John Hedigan. Alyce died in 1993 and her husband in 1973. They lived at Geraldstown in Santry Dublin from 1947 to 1980 with their family of twelve children.
Below are photos of William Gerald Fanning 1907-1979, a son of Joseph Fanning. William was a solicitor and married Mary (Maureen) Kelly in Dublin in 1937.
The younger girl on the nannie’s lap would have been Mary Josephine(Ena) who died about 13 or 14 at boarding school. The other sister is most likely Myra who later became Mrs Murray-Hayden.
The following reports detail the ancestry of Joseph Fanning as well as his descendants.
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.
Michael Fanning was born in Clondoty near Thurles to William (Billy) Fanning and Catherine Fogarty on 15 Jan 1866.
He and his brothers Ned, Patrick and Joe went to Dublin and started businesses there as wine merchants. Joe and Michael stayed and Ned came back to Co Tipperary and bought Shanbally House near Moycarky.
Being a merchant Michael appears in various directories as do his brothers.
Another of Michael’s brothers, James Joseph Fanning, born 1869, went to Liverpool where he was a victualler. He married Ellen Wills from Newry Co Down and they had four children only one of whom survived infancy. Ellen was a newsagent. He is buried in Liverpool Ford Cemetery. His death is also inscribed in Loughmore Cemetery one of the Fanning gravestones. He died in 1912 aged 43. In his will he left his widow 472 pounds the equivalent in today’s money of 45,000 pounds.
In 1901 and 1925 Michael lived at 19 Lincoln Place Dublin. Joe, a publican, was listed as residing at 1 Russell St Mountjoy Dublin.
He carried on a business as grocer and vintner at Lincoln Place Dublin for many years. He was for a period chairman of the Licensed Vintners’ Association and was for many years a member of the South Dublin Union Board.
Michael married his cousin Margaret Ryan on 10 June 1901.
He was elected to the Senate in 1925 and served until 1936.
Below is an old picture of the premises in Lincoln Place. Not sure when it was taken or who is out the front, Michael most likely.
The premises is up for sale in 2009 and below is part of the advertising material.
An O’Connor descendant was told by a great aunt that Lincoln’s Inn was often filled with poets like Yeats and playwrights and politicians and that the members of the new Dial would often adjourn to Fannings for drinks and lively discussions. She also said Michael was know as “God Almighty Fanning” due to his penchant for beginning sentences with “God Almighty”.
He died in 1950 in Co Kildare at his daughter’s at Mylerstown House, Naas, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Michael Fanning died in June 1950.
The following reports details the ancestry of Michael Fanning back to William and Sarah Fannin of Lissaroon Co Tipperary Ireland and also his descendants.
Edward Fanning the son of Catherine Fogarty and William Fanning of Clondoty lived at Shanbally House. Below are photos of members of his family and Shanbally House as it is today. These wonderful old photos were kindly found and sent by an descendant of Edward Fanning and Johannah Hogan.
William Fanning of Clondoty was Edward’s father and the son of William Fanning and Hanera Cormick of Lissaroon.
Edward Fanning’s parents were William Fanning and Catherine Fogarty of Clondoty.
Edward and Johannah Fanning’s three daughters. Joan (Johannah) Maureen (Mary) and Kitty (Catherine) Fanning.
From left to right: Joan and Patrick in front and in the back William, Edward (her father) and John Fanning.
Wedding of Joan Fanning and Denis O’Sullivan from Ballinure 1938.
Edward had a share in this business with Michael Fanning his brother but he sold it and bought Shanbally House around 1900 from the Kavanaghs.
Edward Fanning bought the house c1900 from the Kavanaghs. They had brought it from a Protestant leaseholder named Manning. Apparently Manning had a servant, a Ms Dwyer, who he got pregnant and she was shipped off to Queensland Australia. But the story has a happy ending. Manning sold Shanbally House to the Kavanaghs and went out to Australia where he married Ms Dwyer. The pieces of this story were put together when descendants of Manning and Ms Dwyer, from Australia, came to Shanbally House researching their ancestry.
I came across this death notice searching in Trove newspapers for something else:
The following genealogy reports trace the ancestors and descendants of Edward Fanning 1868-1948 Co Tipperary Ireland.
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.
Catherine was the second daughter of William and Catherine Fanning and was born at Bulla, Victoria in 1846. Below is the record of her baptism in 1847 at Mount Macedon.
She married John Ryan in 1868 and then lived in Kilmore at Moranding.
Her husband, John Ryan, was born about 1838 in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. His father was Patrick Ryan and his mother was Margaret Hogan. He came out about 1856 aged about 18. Her husband was a farmer.
He died a tragic death on Dec 11 1876, drowning himself in the river at Moranding. He was 38 years old and left six children under the age of nine at the time of his death. They had been married eight years.
Their children were all born at Kilmore and were Patrick Ambrose, William John, John William, Edward Francis, Catherine, Michael and Thomas.
Catherine died at Kilmore on 15 March 1899.
John Ryan’s Will and Probate and that of Catherine Ryan are online at PROV (Public Records Office Victoria).
Below are obituaries for some of Catherine and John Ryan’s children:
The following genealogy reports trace the ancestors and descendants of Catherine Ryan nee Fanning.
Mary Elizabeth Fanning was born at Werribee in Victoria in 1845. Her parents, William and Catherine Fanning, had come out from Thurles, Co. Tipperary Ireland in 1841. They lived and worked at Werribee for the first few years before moving to Bulla.
In 1862 Mary Fanning aged 18 was a witness at an inquest into the death of an infant girl in Emu Creek. Johanna Doyle who lived and worked on the Fanning property was suspected of the child’s death.
Mary Fanning’s Signature at the 1862 inquest.
Mary Fanning married Jeremiah Skehan in 1865, at her family’s home at Deep Creek, Bulla, Victoria.
Jeremiah’s family came from Co Tipperary, as did the Fanning family. Jeremiah was born in Cashel in 1840. Cashel is in South Tipperary and about 23 kms from Thurles. He came out to Australia when he was about 21 years old, around 1859. His father John, was also a farmer. His mother was Mary O’Keefe.
Jeremiah and Mary lived at Monegeeta, in Romsey, Victoria, where they were the licensees of The Junction Hotel. The hotel was at Lancefield Junction, on the corner of Gisbourne and Lancefield Rds, at the Railway Station. It was next to Mintaro Homestead, the smaller replica of Melbourne’s Government House built in 1882. Mary and Jeremiah also farmed as well as ran the pub.The hotel was on their land. Below is a map of the area from 1880-1890:
Victoria. Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey. Parish of Kerrie 1880 – 1890.
This land was originally owned by Mary’s father William Patrick Fanning (listed as W.Fannan) and gazetted in 1858:
Jeremiah and Mary had thirteen children between 1866 and 1883: John, William, Mary, Thomas, Jeremiah, Catherine, Jeremiah, Jeremiah Patrick, Margaret, Edward, James, Sally and Michael.
Jeremiah died at Monegeeta in Sept of 1896, age 58, of a heart condition, and is buried in the Lancefield Cemetery. Mary died at Romsey in 1923 at the age of seventy eight.
The Junction Hotel was in the Skehan family for over 50 years. It burned down in April 1975. It had passed out of the Skehan family when it was put up for sale in 1909.
Jeremiah’s son, also named Jeremiah, was a blacksmith. I think the photo below of Jerry Skehan is him although it could also be of his son Gerald Skehan who was also a blacksmith. The young boy is Bruce Laing. If anyone knows which Skehan this is please let me know. I don’t know when it was taken.
The following pages about the Skehan family are taken from:
“Celebration of the Catholic parish of Lancefield and Romsey centenary 1906-2006 [John Lynch]”
Frank Fanning on the left and Pat Kelleher in the middle at Kilmore
My grandfather Frank Fanning is in the center. I don’t know when this was taken but he is obviously in his work clothes.
He was a talented builder. He is said to have built the original St Theresa’s Primary School and quite a few of the local picture theaters around Essendon.
His son Jack, also a builder, built the Presbytery at St Theresa’s. One thing I remember my father telling me about him was that he played the violin I also have been told he liked to bet on the horses.
One story I heard was that one time he won a thousand pounds on the horses and wanted to buy his daughter Eileen a piano with it, but Ida my grandmother was opposed to spending the money in this way and wanted to buy property. Frank prevailed and Eileen got a piano.Given how strong willed my grandmother was, this was no mean feat!
Francis Collins Fanning, “Frank” Fanning, my grandfather was a builder in the Essendon area. This advertisement was in the local Church paper and may have been around 1923.
The wedding was at St Monica’s Catholic Church in Essendon, Melbourne, on Sept 25, 1915.
Ida Fanning was an avid card player and president of the card committee at St Columba’s College in Essendon, where she organized the card afternoons until the early 1960’s. She also held card afternoons at her flat “Collida” in Stanley St Essendon. The name being a combination of her first name Ida and Collins, my grandfather’s second name. On her flat at Stanley St Essendon there was a brass plate with Collida on it. She taught me to play euchre in her front room. She loved the British monarchy and had numerous royal memorabilia.
Frank died at the age of forty after a three year illness.
Ida Fanning died age 84 and they are both buried in Fawkner Cemetery Melbourne.
I am not sure when this photo was taken, outside “Sunnyside” Bulla, but I suspect it may have been when “Big Bill” was sick, as he is sitting down. He died of cancer of the jaw in 1876. In 1863 a tender was advertised by the architect Mr J F Mathews in The Argus for construction of the verandah so it is after this time.
William Patrick Fanning, known as “Big Bill” because he was a very tall man, was born in Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland in 1812. His parents were Edmond Fanning and Johanna (Judith) Darmody.
He was the third son of a family of 10 children. The Fannings were quite numerous and well known in Northern Tipperary and many were farmers while some went into business, quite a few were publicans, spirit sellers and shopkeepers. This pattern continued in Victoria with two of his daughters, Mary and Johanna, being hotelkeepers. By Irish standards they were well off and this is reflected in Big Bill’s business initiative and land acquisitions here in Victoria.
His surname is inconsistent being spelt as Fannin in 1841, Fanning in 1862, Fannan in 1869 (in an advertisement in the Argus, for a neighbour’s property, he is referred to as Mr Fannan). In 1862 he signed as Fannan but his two children, Mary and John, signed their surname as Fanning. This may be to do with the fact that he could not write and would have been using phonetic spelling. In those days people may not have been as particular about how they spelt their names.
Unfortunately, not much is known about Catherine Hayes. From her death certificate we can establish that she was born c1818 in Co Tipperary Ireland and that her father was a farmer. I remember being told that she smoked a pipe when she lived in Victoria.
She married William Patrick Fanning in 1841 in Cork presumably just before they sailed on the “Enmore” on the 22nd of June. They left from Cobh, in Co Cork on june 22 1841 and arrived three months later at Port Phillip Victoria on Oct 4 1841. Catherine is listed as Mary Fannin, age 24, farm servant, who can neither read or write. Both were Roman Catholics and came as assisted passengers, their fares being 19 pounds each.
Below is the “Enmore” passenger list page where Catherine and William Fanning are listed as William and Mary Fannin. The full passenger list for the Enmore and more on immigration at this time are in the post Australia The “Enmore” Cork Ireland to Port Phillip Victoria 1841. Descriptions of Melbourne as William and Catherine would have found it in 1841 are in the post Life in Melbourne Victoria 1841-1852.
The post “Ireland in 1841” gives the political and social background in Ireland and the preceding years and makes it easier to understand why they decided to leave their home and families and come to Australia.
I have wondered why they chose to come all the way to Australia and not go to America or Canada. I have read that immigration to Australia became more attractive as it was aid provided through the bounty system. Fares were paid.
The colonial bounty system came into being in 1837 but was revised in 1840. It granted money to people bringing into NSW from the UK (including Ireland) agricultural laborers, shepherds, tradesman, female domestics and farm servants. There was plenty of work as there was a shortages in these areas.
Kikenny, Tipperary, East Limerick, East Clare and North Cork accounted for over half of all Irish assisted emigrants to Australia. It also seems that life was better for immigrants in NSW and that they did not end up in urban ghettoes like so many did in America.
One of Big Bills relations, Martin Eviston had been transported to NSW in 1830 for manslaughter. He came back to Ireland sometime after 1839 and married Johanna Fanning Big Bill’s cousin. While he came back all his children ended up emigrating as well as quite a few of their cousins (children of Thomas Eviston and Mary Fanning) and settling in Australia. The Evistons lived at Clonomocogue close to the Fanning families and Big Bill would no doubt have talked to Martin Eviston. While Martin Evaston came back to Ireland he must have painted a very positive picture of life and opportunities in the colonies for most of his children and their cousins to have emigrated.
When Catherine and William first arrived they spent some time working at the wharves before they moved to Wyndham in Werribee.
They had five children: John Henry, Mary Elizabeth, Catherine, Johanna Louisa and Edward Francis. The two eldest John and Mary were born in Werribee in 1842 and 1844 while the others were born at Bulla.
In 1844 William Fanning purchased 150 acres of land in what was called “Tullarmarine Island” the area south of the Sunbury Road enclosed by Jackson’s Creek and Deep Creek on Loemans Road near Bulla Bulla where he raised his family. It would have been purchased from the Colony of NSW as Victoria did not exist as a separate colony until 1853.
“The current project study area is located on land that was theTullamarine pastoral run (Spreadborough and Anderson, Settled District map). Some of the early landholders of pastoral runs located between Jacksons Creek and Deep Creek included W.J.T. Clark, W. Fanning and M. Loeman (Symonds 1985, 213). In 1844 William Fanning purchased 150 acres of land on what was known as “Tullamarine Island”, which is the area south of Sunbury Road, enclosed by Jacksons Creek and Deep Creek on Loemans Road (Symonds 1985, 41). Here he set up his farm, which his wife looked after while Fanning undertook contract carting to the goldfields during the 1850s. The Fanning’s built their Sunnyside homestead during the 1850s at the village of Bulla Bulla (Symonds 1985, 41-42). Bulla Bulla was surveyed in 1847, and by 1853, Bulla Bulla consisted of 12 wooden houses, the Deep Creek Inn and Tulip Wright’s hotel, with the first post office opening within this hotel in 1850, then moving to another building (Symonds 1985, 49). During the 1850s, traffic to and from the goldfields passed through the Bulla region, causing some problems with the steep sloping roads. During this time several businesses commenced at Bulla Bulla, including a kaolin clay works used to manufacture porcelain, as well as a large flour mill and brickworks (Symonds 1985, 50). In 1854, Bulla Bulla became known as Bulla. By 1870, the population of Bulla was approximately 200 people, with 2630 in the Bulla district, and 263 dwellings in an area of 73,500 acres (Symonds 1985, 51). By the 1880s, Bulla contained four hotels, a hunt club, several churches and a grocery store and wine saloon. In the 1860s, the State Government introduced the New Industry Act that gave special assistance to enterprising people to develop virgin land (Symonds 1985, 117). Early settlers to the Bulla area, such as W. J.T Clark took advantage of this assistance and started to grow grapes.” From theOuter Metropolitan Link to Melbourne Airport and Bulla BypassAssessment Report 8/8/2011
According to “Victoria and Riverina 1931-32” Aboriginal people were numerous at this time but “owing to his tactful handling the family never had the slightest trouble with them.”
On the discovery of gold at Sandhurst (Bendigo) in 1851 Bill started contract carting to the goldfields. It is thought they would have used bullock teams as the tracks were extremely rough. Broken axles were common. The first day took them to Monegeeta. While William “Big Bill” took supplies across to the gold fields in the 1850’s, Catherine looked after the 100 acre dairy farm. It took three months to do the round trip by waggon. Bill did five trips a year at 100 pounds a ton. The first day got them to Monegeeta.
After the village of Bulla Bulla was surveyed in 1847, he was the first to purchase land in Quartz Street just behind Tulip Wright’s Deep Creek Inn.
On 16 August, 1852, lot 119a at Bulla Bulla was gazetted to William Fannan.
This is where he had “Sunnyside” built. The original homestead on Loemans Rd was a slab hut built under the shade of a large gum tree some 60 meters from the present home, and this was followed by a separate kitchen, later used as a storeroom. “Sunnyside” a single storey bluestone slate roofed farmhouse with outbuildings was built in 1859 using only local stone and gum trees, with the chimney built of hand made bricks. The outbuildings include a simple bluestone kitchen, bluestone woolshed (originally used as stable and coach house), a piggery and a shed with roughly split timber side walls and weatherboard gables. The piggery dates from 1853, the cow shed from 1855 and the shearing shed from 1860. Originally Loemans Rd used to run directly in front of the “Sunnyside” picket fence but this was later resurveyed to the present line. ” The house was registered as a historic building in 1992. It has stayed in the Fanning family.
Photos of “Sunnyside ” Bulla Victoria Australia
On the 7th of July 1855 William purchased 342 acres along Wildwood Rd, called “Emu Flat”. This was left to his son John Henry. He also owned land at Kilmore and in Melbourne where the present day Windsor Hotel is situated in Spring St.
Some time after he and Catherine emigrated a group of 17 relatives came out to Victoria. We are not sure of their names or the dates or their exact relationship to Big Bill. I have been told it was about ten years after Bill came out. He apparently wasn’t all that happy to have them staying at Bulla and let them stay in the cattle sheds before letting them stay on his land at Spring St for three months. Some are then said to have gone up to Queensland and some to NSW. All attempts to discover who they were and what happened to them have been unsuccessful.
The Argus of August 2, 1856 published a list of names of those petitioning W.J.T.Clarke esq., to nominate to run to become a member of the Legislative Council. W. Fanning is listed on this as are other Bulla residents including Martin Batey, David Patullo and Richard Brodie. Clarke also called “Big Bill” owned huge amounts of land in the Sunbury area and was elected to the Legislative Council in 1856. His son built the mansion “Rupertswood” in Sunbury.
In 1858 William Fannan had land in the Parish of Kerrie gazetted. It was 107 acres 2 rods and 38 perches in size. This land was at Monegeetta and was either given to his daughter Mary or sold to her and her husband Jeremiah Skehan.
William Patrick Fanning is listed as William Fannin, farmer, in this 1856 Census for West Bourke in the colony of Victoria. He has a farm on 100 acres freehold at Bulla.
In 1862 the body of an infant girl was found in a sack in Emu Creek. William found the sack which was close to the living quarters of a Johanna Doyle. She was arrested but later acquited. At the inquest William, his wife Catherine and son John and daughter Catherine were all questioned. William signed his name as Fannan.
When William arrivd in 1841 he could read but not write according to the passenger log. His signature may well have been the only thing he could write. Being a farmer he would have had little time to learn to write. His son and daughter both signed as Fanning in 1862 at the same inquest. Fannan is the phonetic way of spelling Fanning.
In 1871 the following farmers, mainly from the area across Jacksons Creek towards Bulla and Sunbury, successfully objected to a proposed land sale: Martin Batey, Dugald Stewart, John Skuse, John Dickens, William Fanning, Martin Dillon, Patrick Leyden, Alexander Guthrie, William Prendergast, Isaac Batey, ? Batey, John Daly, Peter Murphy, John Murphy, Michael Bourke, Thomas Condon, John Scully, Charles Bradley(?), Anne Gregor (“Dairy Woman”), Thomas Emerson, (“Dairy Man”), George Randall, Thomas Faithful, Harriet Sharpe, John Heaghney, and Michael O’Brien. (Hume City Council site)
William Patrick Fanning died in 1876, age 65, after a long and painful illness, cancer of the jaw.
William Patrick Fanning, “Big Bill”, is buried in the Catholic section of the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton, with his wife, Catherine, daughter-in-law, Bridget Fanning nee Collins, and his grandson, Thomas. In the Argus he was described as a much respected old colonist of 35 years whose passing was much regretted.
Catherine died on the 20th May 1895 aged 77 and is buried in the Melbourne Cemetery.
Below are detailed genealogy reports on the ancestors and descendants of William Patrick Fanning 1812-1876.