Fanning Family from Hamilton and Penshurst, Victoria, Australia

The Fanning family who settled around Hamilton in country Victoria originated from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, Ireland. They are possibly related to the Fannings from Thurles.

Hamilton Area Victoria Australia

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.


Joseph Fanning Penshurst Gravestone
Joseph Fanning Boram Boram Cemetery Victoria Australia
Johannah Fanning 1877 Penshurst Gravestone
Johanna Fanning died 1877 Penshurst Victoria Boram Boram Cemetery


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.”


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

4 thoughts on “Fanning Family from Hamilton and Penshurst, Victoria, Australia”

  1. Hello,
    My family (O’Brien) is decended from Margaret Fanning who married Terence O’Brien who also came from Borrisoleigh. We have a farm next to the Boram Boram Cemetry at Penshurst and part of the Springfield farm where some of the Fannings lived or died.

    We are compiliing a history of Terence O’Brien but have been unable to locate any immigration records or Borrisoleigh records.

    We have been to Borrisoleigh several times and have made contact with several friendly relatives (Quinnane’s in nearby Upperchurch) and would be happy to hear any more you have about the Fannings or O’Brien’s in Borrisoleigh or Victoria.
    David O’Brien

  2. Hi David,
    Thanks for making contact. If you can email me directly at kathleenmfanningAThotmailDOTcom I can send you anything that might be of interest that I have collected on the Penshurst/Borrisoleigh Fannings. I don’t have a lot as I haven’t been able to establish a connection between them and my ancestors. But we may be able to help each other and discover something. regards

  3. Hi,
    I am a QLD academic tracing the backgrounds of footballers in Victoria during the 19th, century. In 1892, a player called Fanning, who was from Hamilton was a late selection in a game for St. Kilda v. Essendon in June 1892. He played another 2 games for St. Kilda that year. Would anyone know who this person was? His name? Occupation, etc.?
    Thanks for your time
    Dr. Mark Pennings (QUT)

  4. I had a look at the birth records for the Hamilton Fannings and in 1874 William Francis Fanning was born at Mt Rouse to William Fanning and Johanna Meagher. He would be the right age,18, to have played footy. They had another son but he died age 1 in 1874.

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