Dillon is a Norman name. The first person called Dillon came to Ireland in 1185 and was Sir Henry de Leon. He was from Brittany in France and came to Ireland to act as secretary to Prince John (later King John) The name in France can be traced back to the town of Lyon. It’s Gaelic form was O’ Duilleain and this was eventually anglicized to Dillon.
Martin Dillon snr came out from Co Tipperary in Ireland on the “Eastern Empire” arriving 11 June 1863, with his wife and four children. He stayed with his sister Margaret Ryan. His sisters Ellen, Margaret and Bridget and brother James had previously immigrated to Victoria. Bridget married Richard Feehan in 1853 in Victoria, James married Mary Duhy in 1855, Margaret was married to Thomas Ryan and Ellen to John Dalton.
Martin’s sister Ellen who married John Dalton is buried in the Dalton family grave in the Melbourne Cemetery. Roman Catholic compartment E Grave 94. In this grave are buried her daughters Margaret and Catherine, her niece Ellen and her nephew, Patrick Dillon.Also in the grave are James Crowe who died age 72 and was buried on July 5 1866. Ellen’s mother’s maiden name was Crowe so he could be her uncle.
The Dillons came from Clonpett in South Tipperary and this is what Martin Snr called his property at Bulla, “Clonpett Farm”. The mother of Martin and James was Margaret Dillon nee Crowe. Their father was Martin Dillon a farmer. In the Tithe Applotment books for 1832, for Clonpett Civil Parish, Co Tipperary, there is a Martin Dillon listed living in Clonpett Townland. On the Griffith’s Valuation for Clonpet 1851 there is a Margaret Dillon at Clonpet. She has a house, offices and land. In the house next to her was Patrick Quirk, who had 64 acres of land. In the 1901 Census there are no Dillons living at Clonpet but there are Quirkes in 1901,1911 and 1940.
Martin Dillon snr would have been about 35 years of age when he immigrated with his wife Hanora Quirk. They had married in Co Tipperary in c1857. By 1879 they had twelve children.
The Dillons bought the property Craig Bank from the Patullo family. They renamed it Willow Bank. It is at 400 Wildwood Road, Wildwood, Bulla and was constructed in the mid 1850s. The buildings are set among river gums on a knoll beside an alluvial flat overlooking Deep Creek.
“The Dillon family-Martin Sr., Martin Jr., Michael and William- worked about 850 acres until the turn of the century, which coincides with the death of Martin Dillon Sr. in June 1900. Before then, however, Martin Dillon Sr had taken up residence with his wife Honora, on a farm called Clonpett, which encompassed the 217 acres of Allotment 2 of Section 27 in the Parish of Bulla Bulla and fronted the Bulla -Sunbury Road. The present weatherboard house is thought by the Dillon family to have been built in the late 1890s or early 1900s. Prior to that one of the Dillon daughters, a small girl at the time remembers living in the whitewashed stone dwelling (the current building) which had a timber attachment housing washtubs. It may have been only temporary accommodation, during rebuilding the main weatherboard house. When the family moved into the “new house” they acquired a piano, which became a great fixture. The area around the river at the bridge attracted excursionists at least from the time of the late nineteenth century. The Dillons came to know a few families from Melbourne suburbs who camped and fished there every year. The girls would bake for the visitors, and on the Sunday evenings the campers would be invited into the Dillon home for a sing around the piano. The site near the bridge is known as the Martin Dillon Reserve. William Dillon was Shire President in 1897-98″.
From 1900 on the former Craig Bank property, which the Dillons had renamed Willow Bank, was some 415 acres in size (the rest appears to have been sold) and was worked by Martin Dillon Jr. He lived at the property until his death at the age of 59 in December 1917.”
(These notes taken from the Hume Council website on Willowbank. If you search for Hume Council Willow Bank there is a pdf on the Hume Council site which goes into more detail about the Patullos and Craigbank/Willowbank.)
The Dillon family were well known in the district and active in local government.
Martin Dillon Snr died a tragic death by accidental drowning in Jackson’s Creek Bulla in 1900. He was 73 years old. There were many articles in papers about this accident and the recovery of his body. He is buried in Sunbury Cemetery. These clippings are from The Argus June -August 1900.
Martin Dillon jnr was married to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Flanagan in 1892 at St Francis Church, Melbourne. He was a farmer and in 1900 resided at Craig Bank (The Dillons later renamed it Willowbank). They had four children: Mary Josephine, Margaret, John and Ellen.
Signature of Martin Dillon jnr 1914
Martin Dillon, who was born in Co Tipperary c1858, died on the 22nd of Dec 1917. Below is an obituary published in The Sunbury News:
Martin Dillon jnr’s eldest daughter, Mary Josephine, married William Patrick Fanning in 1920 and lived at “Sunnyside” in Bulla. They farmed and had three children.
William Patrick Fanning 1915
I remember Mary Josephine as “Aunty Daisy”. In her later years she lived in Essendon with her daughter, Elizabeth “Betty” Fitzgerald. She loved walking and I would often see her taking long walks around Essendon. She used to call in and have a cup of tea with my mother who was very fond of her. I remember Aunty Daisy with affection. She died in 1970 and is buried with her husband, William Patrick Fanning, in Bulla Cemetery.
The following genealogy report traces the ancestry of the Dillon family from Co Tipperary Ireland to 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.
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.
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.
This picture was taken outside “Sunnyside” c 1868. She would have been about twenty years old.
Johanna Louisa Fanning was born in 1848 at Bulla in Victoria.
She married William Frederick Dell on the 17th Nov, 1884. She was 36, although the marriage certificate says 27, and he was also 27.
They were married in St Francis’ Catholic Church, Melbourne.
On her marriage record Johanna signed her name using the more English “Joanna”.
William Dell was born in Berkshire, England about 1857. His being English did not please Johanna’s Irish father and it is said that Johanna was cut out of the will because she chose to marry an Englishman. She was the only child not to receive property from her parents.
On her marriage certificate her occupation is given as “Hotel Keeper” and address as Bulla. I wonder what hotel she was working at or managing.
Family stories have them owning a pub in Richmond. In 1888 on her daughter’s death certificate she is again listed as a hotel keeper.
From the years 1909 to her death in 1923, she lived at 145 Surrey Rd, South Yarra, Melbourne and her occupation was described as “Home Duties”.
Her sister, Mary Skehan of Monegetta, left Johanna 50 pounds in her will in 1900.
Joanna was 74 when she died.
She had a very sad life, in that her only two children died as infants.
William Frederick Dell died after only two weeks on 28 Dec, 1887. His parents’ address at this time was the Norfolk Hotel in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Joanna Louise Dell was born at South Yarra, but died after five months, at Bulla, on 3 Dec 1888.
William Dell died in Richmond in 1939 aged 81.
On the census forms he is listed as a Gentleman in 1884, a Hotel Keeper in 1888 and from 1909 to 1924 as a Cook.
In 1936 he was living at 7 Claremont St, Sth Yarra, Melbourne.
Joanna and William Frederick Dell are buried with their two children, in the Melbourne General Cemetery, in the Catholic section, but not in the Fanning plot.
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.
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.
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!
“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:
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]”