Mary Skehan nee Fanning 1845-1900 Victoria Australia

Mary Elizabeth Fanning was the eldest daughter of William Fanning and Catherine Hayes of Bulla Victoria Australia. She was born in 1845 and married Jeremiah Skehan and lived at Romsey in Victoria all her life. He worked as a farmer and they also owned and ran The Junction Hotel in Monegeetta where they lived. She died in 1900 and is buried in Lancefield Cemetery.

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 Signature 1862

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.

Mary Elizabeth Fanning Marriage to Jeremiah Skehan 1865_CR
Mary Elizabeth Fanning Marriage to Jeremiah Skehan 1865

Recently I contacted a DNA match who has Skehan ancestors from Dualla in Co Tipperary. How we are a match is a still a mystery.

I started looking for the birth of Jeremiah and discovered he was baptised on 18 Nov 1833 in Boherlahan Parish in South Tipperary. His parents’ address given as Kill Hill or Killhill. I also came across the Baptism record of his brother William Skehan, 10 Mar 1835, in the same location. So far I have not been able to find any more children of John and Mary Skehan nee O’Keeffe.

Boherlahan Catholic Parish Co Tipperary

Skehan is sometimes spelled as Skeahan, Skehane and Skehin and no doubt there are other variations.

I decided to look for the marriage of John Skehan and Mary O’Keeffe. They were married in the Catholic Church on 18 Nov 1833 after a three month scandal!

Marriage of John Skehan and Mary O’Keeffe, Boherlahan Parish South Tipperary. 22 June 1833.

John Skeahan of Dualla and Mary Keeffe of Featherd having eloped, from great? scandal for three months and their first married in Church by the Rev W Bagnall Church of Magorban, then again married by the Rev William Kirwain in presence of John Keeffe, Thomas? Ryan and Alicia? Commons?”

They had been originally married in the Protestant Church of Magorban. I am assuming that Mary O’Keefe was a Protestant.


Jeremiah’s family came from Co Tipperary, as did the Fanning family. He came out to Australia when he was about 21 years old, around 1859. His father John, was also a farmer from Dualla Co Tipperary. His mother was Mary O’Keefe from Fethard in the same county. The Skehan family lived at Kill Hill Kilballyherberry in Co Tipperary. There is now a wind farm at Kill Hill.

In Australia 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:

Map of Skehan's land at Monegeeta
Map of Skehan’s land at Monegeeta

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:

W Fannan Parish of Kerrie 1858 Monegeetta
Land at Monegeetta owned by Mary’s father William Fanning of Bulla

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.

Sale Notice of Junction Hotel Argus 1909
Sale of the Junction Hotel Skehan’s Hotel 1909

Jeremiah Skehan died intestate. His probate papers are online at the Public Records Office of Victoria, as are Mary Skehan’s.

Mary and Jeremiah Skehan and children Gravestone Lancefield Cemetery
Skehan Family Grave Lancefield Cemetery Victoria Australia

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.

Jerry Skehan Romsey Victoria
Jeremiah Skehan Blacksmith Romsey Victoria Australia
SKEHAN Doreen, Jeremiah P, Marie Monica
Grave of Doreen, Jeremiah P and Marie Monica Skehan, Lancefield Cemetery Victoria Australia

The following pages about the Skehan family are taken from:

“Celebration of the Catholic parish of Lancefield and Romsey centenary 1906-2006 [John Lynch]”

Skehans page 1 2nd time

Skehans page 2 cropped
Skehans 3
Skehans 4


Author: Kathleen

I have done an Ancestry DNA test and also have uploaded my test results to GedMatch. My GedMatch kit numbers are A029138 and T470174. Please contact me if we are a match. kathleenmfanningAThotmailDOTcom

8 thoughts on “Mary Skehan nee Fanning 1845-1900 Victoria Australia”

  1. Hi Kathleen
    I have just come across your web page which has been fascinating. I am just beginning to research my family history and discovered that William Patrick Fanning and Catherine Hayes are my 4th Great Grandparents on my materrnal side and Edward Skehan and Annie Braithwaite are my great great parents. It seems we share some relatives! Any info or photo’s especially would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for a fascinating read.
    Samantha Thompson

    1. Hi Samantha
      William Patrick Fanning and Catherine Hayes are my 3rd Great Grandparents on my maternal side and Edward Skehan and Annie Braithwaite are my Great Grandparents.My Grandmother was Eileen Marie Taylor and she was born in New Zealand.
      Cheers Des Heathcote

      1. Hi Des,
        William Fanning and Catherine Hayes are my grgrgrandparents, so we are cousins of some degree!
        Good to hear from you.
        I had noticed that Sarah Heathcote is a DNA match to me and figured out she was a Skehan descendant..
        Kathleen Fanning

  2. admin
    Submitted on 2012/01/06 at 11:08 am | In reply to Samantha Thompson.
    Hi Samantha,

    We must be fourth or fifth cousins! Good to hear from you.

    Pretty much all I have on your family is in the post Mary Skehan nee Fanning.

    There are a number of people researching the Skehans on
    This is expensive to join but you can do a free 14 day trial!
    BUT after the 14 days is up you get billed automatically for a year subscription at full rates.
    You have to cancel before the 14 days is up.

    I am interested in the Skehan side of my family at the moment as I am going on a holiday to Ireland in April and will be staying in Cashel.
    I only just realised that is where Jeremiah Skehan was born. I might find out more about the Skehans from Cashel while I am there.
    I will take lots of photos anyway of Cashel. So stay tuned.

  3. My Grandfathers brother James P atterson was at the Junction Hotel Monegeetta vic with his wife Hilda Millett and family 1900 to 1937 when he died . i was woundering if they were owners or. renting at the time or running the pub at the time i would like to know and weather you have any photo please sue

    1. Hi Sue,
      We tried to find photos of The Junction Hotel in Monegetta but so far haven’t been able to find any photos or sketches.
      The Skehans had the hotel up for sale in 1909.Jack O’Connor boght it from them.He was the lessee in 1915. It was often referred to as Jack O’Connors Hotel Monegeetta. I think he died in 1922.
      On 22 Jan 1949 Hilda Johnston the holder of the victualler’s license fro the Junction Hotel applies to transfer it to a Olive Hedges.
      Hilda and James were married in 1920. Her father was Thomas Millett and her mother was Mary Ann Anderson. Hilda was born in Sunbury in 1891.
      Hilda and James only show up as hotelkeepers at Monegetta in the electoral rolls from 1928. Before that he was a stud manager in Melton.
      The Argus 1938 states that Hilda Patterson changed her name to Johnston.
      From the electoral rolls for 1949,1954 and 1963 Hilda Constance Johnson was a hotelkeeper at Monegetta.
      It looks like she may have ownwd it for a time but worked there until 1963.
      Her husband James Patterson was a returned servicemaan so you may be able to find his service records for WW1.
      You might find more info in Trove newspapers online for Victoria.

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