Daniel “Dandy” Fanning, c1805 -1853, Co Tipperary to Singleton, NSW, Australia

Daniel “Dandy” Fanning was transported to NSW in 1836, for manslaughter. He was born c1805 in Co Tipperary and died in 1853 in Singleton NSW Australia. He married Mary Ryan nee Keane.

Rathleasty Townland in Drom, Griffiths Valuation Map, 1849

The following information and documents were sent to me by Barry Ryan, a direct descendant of Daniel “Dandy” Fanning and Mary Ryan nee Keane. I found the story of his research as interesting as the stories themselves.

I don’t know if my Fannings are related to Dandy. It is possible, as he came from the same parish,  Drom And Inch in Co Tipperary.

I am publishing this information as I enjoyed reading Barry’s work and it may be of interest and help to others in their family history search.

Many thanks to Barry for allowing me to post his work. Any questions and comments I will pass on to Barry.


I had never thought of compiling a family tree until one day in about 1982 when at a family gathering of some sort my cousin the late Lola RUTHERFORD (nee FARRELL) gave me a copy of “the family tree”.



Mary Joseph 15th Oct 1876 21st Sep. 1883

William James 12th Dec. 1877 14Th Nov. 1965

Daniel 14th Mar. 1879 20th Oct. 1938

Hannah 5th Mar. 1881 15th Oct. 1944

Joseph Henry 30th Oct. 1882 9th May 1962

John David 24th Feb. 1884 3rd Jun. 1958

Percy Laurence 5th Jan. 1886 26th Jul. 1916

Francis Alphonsus 27th Jan. 1888 6th Jan. 1962

Nita Gertrude 15th Oct. 1889 6th Jul. 1964

Edward 4th Feb . 1892 19th Feb. 1950

Stella Mary 2nd Mar. 1894 23rd Jul. 1901

Evelyn Cecilia 2nd May 1895 28th Feb. 1971

George Vincent 8th Jan. 1898 27th Jul. 1965

Charles Patrick 12th Mar. 1900 14th Jul. 1978


Mother Anne RYAN Died 20th November, 1926

Father Joseph RYAN Died 19th May, 1933


That was all of it. I was approaching retirement and had the time to try to expand it. A visit to Chester Hill branch of Bankstown City Council Library provided a number of books on compiling family histories. Fortunately marriage certificates of my parents and grandparents were available and there was no difficulty in obtaining a Readers Ticket from State Archives in Globe Street. My local branch library had several microfiche viewers and a number of copies of BD&M microfiche indexes and I was up and running.

Neither of my parents or their siblings were living so there were no first hand reference points but it had been drummed into me that all my ancestors came from Ireland and that is a great bonus for family tree researchers. For whatever reason I started on the maternal side and in next to no time I learnt about Assisted Immigration, Entitlement Certificates, Remittance Regulations and Shipping Records and had completed the mother’s side of the family fully documented with copies from State Archives. How easy was this? Next step was the paternal grandmother leaving the easy part till last. Again no problems. Following the text book approach it all fell into place through assisted immigration and shipping records. Within say, six months, three parts of the job was done thanks mainly to Irish ancestry and the plethora of material available through State Archives and other sources and assistance from Bankstown City Library.

I started the “easy part” of the project sometime in 1983 and completed it in 2009 which is the purpose of this little story in documenting the pitfalls and problems encountered and hope it may help others.

According to documentation available in 1983 my paternal grandfather was Joseph RYAN, born 12th July, 1850 at Scotts Flat (near Singleton) to Joseph RYAN and Mary CAIN, and he had a brother David. He married Anne McLoughlin at St Marys Catholic Church Newcastle on 16th November, 1875. Joseph RYAN does not appear in BD&M birth records. As those records pre 1856 were compiled from church records photographed by the Church of Latter Day Saints I considered that there must have been an oversight so I applied for a copy of Joseph’s Baptismal Certificate from the Catholic Church, Singleton. The answer was negative…no record found. I could not find a Mary CAIN in BD&M records, shipping records or convict records.

As luck would have it I was able to make personal contact with the late Clare STERNBECK who prepared certificates requested from Singleton parish and so began what was almost three years of correspondence and further personal contacts. Clare took the problem very much to heart and sent me numerous letters of possible leads and contacts. As she worked purely as a volunteer I was able to send her periodic supplies of writing paper, envelopes and stamps so that she wasn’t out of pocket. I was on the verge of abandoning the project in 1986 when in the day’s mail was a rather grubby envelope addressed in pencil containing a letter written also in pencil on a piece of white butcher’s paper obviously torn from a parcel of meat. It transpired that Clare had called at the church on her way home from shopping to check some other matter and stumbled upon the solution to my problem while turning a page in a register. She was so excited to let me know that she scribbled a message on what was available in order to catch the afternoon mail. The following day another letter arrived written and presented in Clare’s usual impeccable style.

The hasty note identified three baptisms recorded at Whittingham Catholic Church to Daniel FANNING and Mary KAIN…..viz :-

Joseph FANNING born 12/ 7/1850

Daniel FANNING born 18/12/1851

David FANNING born 23/ 9/1853

There were so many matching or nearly matching factors involved (Mary KAIN v Mary CAIN , Joseph born 12/7/1850 and a brother David) that I had little hesitation in accepting Joseph FANNING as my probable grandfather. The next step was “What does it all mean?”.

Daniel FANNING was easily identified as former convict then on a Conditional Pardon but who was Mary KAIN? As with Mary CAIN there were no references in BD&M records, Immigration Records or Convict Records. I had heard that many problems arose in the early days of the Colony when names and places were recorded using phonetic spelling so I contacted some Irish people to see what names they could suggest sounding like KAIN or CAIN. A popular choice was KEANE. Back to the State Archives and there was a Mary KEANE, an Assisted Unmarried Female Immigrant, a house and laundry maid, who arrived per Royal Consort on 13th July,1840. She was able to read but not write as was quite typical of some Catholics who only had the benefit of “hedge schooling”. She was aged 24 and came from Belfast and was the daughter of John KEANE, a ship’s carpenter (deceased) and Mary KEANE (living).

State Archive records indicated that Mary married a certain Andrew RYAN. It seems that Mary struck up a relationship with a convict, Andrew RYAN, born 14th June, 1810 in Booterstown a suburb of Dublin, tried in Dublin 29th August, 1829 for highway robbery, sentenced to transportation for life and arrived in Sydney 26th April,1830 on board Forth(1). They had a son Matthew (ex nuptial) on 25th December, 1841. Convicts required permission to marry and a prerequisite was a Ticket of Leave which was granted on 14th November, 1842. Permission to Marry was granted on 2nd December,1842 and they were married on 9th January,1843.

According to BD&M records Mary and Andrew had a daughter Bridget on 25th May, 1847 and their son Matthew died on 23rd November, 1848. Andrew’s Conditional Pardon was granted on 13th September.1847. Mary and Andrew appear to have parted company soon after Matthew’s death.

Mary RYAN (nee KEANE) then seems to have got herself and the infant Bridget to Scotts Flat where she entered into a relationship with Daniel FANNING.

Mary Ryan Nee Keane

Now, who was Joseph RYAN the supposed father of my grandfather? He probably didn’t exist. He was invented to provide some respectability to the family in an era when de facto relationships and ex nuptial births were severely frowned upon. My real great grandfather was Daniel FANNING.

To complete verification of the family of Joseph and Anne RYAN I searched BD&M indexes and identified all except for the eldest, Mary Joseph. On a whim I searched for children of Joseph and Anne FANNING and guess what? I got the first six members of the RYAN family as shown in “The RYAN Family Tree”. Numbers 2 to 6 had the same registration numbers as the FANNINGS. The entries for the RYANS as recorded in the Pioneer Index have the letter “R” in the cross reference field.

Using sources which I cannot reveal I discovered that the second to sixth children were initially registered as FANNINGS and reregistered in 1904 as RYANS thus explaining the same registration numbers for apparently different people. Separate letters were written in Latin with an English translation for each of the five in which my grandfather stated that he had originally registered the five births as FANNINGS in honour of his step-father (who didn’t exist) . These letters are pasted in the old BD&M registers. Mary Joseph is recorded in the death records as Mary Joseph FANNING. Did Joseph FANNING/RYAN perpetuate a myth or had his mother told a story?

We will now return to Daniel FANNING. He was convicted at the Easter Assizes in Clonmel Co. Tipperary on the 17th March, 1836 of the manslaughter of James Long at Thurles on 3rd October,1835. He was sentenced to transportation for life and arrived in Sydney on board Waterloo(4) on 7th September, 1836 where he was assigned to Samuel CLIFT initially at West Maitland and subsequently at Patricks Plains.

Daniel FANNING disappeared from all public reference in 1853. A Daniel FANNING was found dead on the side of the road at Butlers Falls near Dubbo in 1864. After hours and hours of research he was ruled out as being our Daniel FANNING. Lots of avenues were pursued including a request published in the Tipperary Star, checking outgoing shipping records and interstate death records all to no avail.

We will now leave Daniel FANNING on hold for a moment while a major player in this saga is introduced.

In the early 1990s while browsing convict records on the internet I found that a D. LIEPINS was noted as searching a convict Andrew RYAN. I made contact and although we have never met personally Dale has become a great friend. We have exchanged phone calls, letters, e-mails, you name it ever since. Dale’s interest was an ancestor Mary Anne RYAN who was identified on her marriage certificate as being the daughter of Andrew RYAN and Mary RHODES when she married John SEMPLE. Dale and her mother before her had been searching in vain for Mary RHODES for some years.

After establishing that our families were connected we exchanged data and joined forces for the next sixteen years and still counting. I would not have progressed to this stage without Dale. She has enquired and written letters hither and yon and obtained certificates and newspaper cuttings from near and far, all of which she has willingly made available to me.

Mary RYAN (KEANE) moved to Gunnenbene near Carroll with her daughter Bridget after Bridget’s marriage to Martin FITZGERALD.

Bridget Fitzgerald nee Ryan

Mary died on 27th September, 1896 and her death certificate indicates two sons (Joseph and David) and one daughter, Bridget, living and two sons (Matthew and Daniel) and one unnamed daughter deceased. I had previously recorded Daniel as deceased at an early age but the registration number recorded at the time, 162-1930, is now proving difficult to match. The question is “who was the second daughter?”.

Over the years we searched for and eliminated every Mary RHODES born in the colony, immigrated to Australia or transported to Australia as a Convict. It was now back to square one and recheck everything. I noticed that Mary Anne SEMPLE died in 1888 thus predeceasing Mary RYAN. I then took the view that Mary Anne RYAN was the daughter of Mary KEANE not Mary RHODES. There was nothing in the records to indicate this but I felt that the birth/baptism had not been recorded or had fallen through the cracks. Going on her age at marriage I determined that she would have been born in 1842 or 1843 and like her siblings would have been baptised in a Catholic Church. I went through all the appropriate microfilms at Bankstown Library checking for breaks in the sequence of Baptism returns. Eureka!!! There it was. An eighteen month sequence of baptism notifications from the Parish of St. James was missing. When contacted, the Archivist at St. Marys Cathedral would not make the original records available but suggested that I approach the Society of Australian Genealogists who had a copy of the records. In the fullness of time and the payment of a fee a letter arrived from SAG containing a photocopy of the baptism of a Mary Anne RYAN, born 26th December, 1843, the daughter of Henry RYAN and Mary KEANE.

The fickle finger of fate intruded again. One of the sponsors was a Henry BYRNE and as this was the last of many baptisms on that day we must allow the priest a little inattention as he wrote the register up at the end of a long day and accept that he wrote Henry when he meant Andrew. The parents of Mary Anne were noted as living in Harrington St. Sydney which was the address of Andrew and Mary.

Who was Mary RHODES? My opinion is that Mary RHODES was Andrew RYAN’S partner or housekeeper. After parting from his wife Andrew and the five year old Mary Anne went initially to Tambaroora, a gold mining village near Sofala and then to Sofala where Mary Anne was married and Andrew went on to Rylstone where he died. Contemporary records suggest that the name “Mary RHODES” was fairly common in the Mudgee/Rylstone area and Andrew would have needed a woman’s touch to raise a young girl.

And now patient reader we have the big drum roll. Within two months of the Mary Anne RYAN episode I received a late night phone call from Dale LIEPINS who was in a state of high excitement. She had just arrived home from holidays and was checking her mail. Unbeknown to me she had seen the name Daniel FANNING in a listing of Intestate Estates and paid the fee for a copy of the Probate Papers. IT WAS HIM. 61 pages of gold nuggets that researchers only dream about. I won’t bore the reader with the whole document but will note the significant items.

Daniel FANNING and Mary RYAN were partners as tenant farmers at Scotts Flat. Daniel fell from a horse on 16th February, 1853 and died three days later without regaining consciousness. There is no record of his death although an inquest was held. We do know the doctor’s name, the cost of the coffin, the cost of crepe and calico used to line the coffin, who dug the grave and how much he was paid. A nephew visited from Sydney not long after Daniel’s death and we know from him that Daniel came from Borrisaleigh in Tipperary and that he had four brothers. Mary was seven weeks pregnant with David at the time. One item in the papers confirms all speculations that we had made. In an affidavit Mary states that she was married to Andrew RYAN, that they lived in Harrington St, Sydney near the old Customs House and that she “left Andrew RYAN because he dissipated the means of maintenance of herself and her family through drunkenness”.

All through the probate papers Mary is referred to only as Mrs RYAN and the children referred to as Bridget RYAN, Joseph FANNING and Daniel FANNING. One can only assume that the young children being in the care of a single mother named Mrs RYAN soon became known as RYANS.

The moral of this little story is “ don’t give up, there is an answer somewhere so keep searching and let your imagination run free”.

Barry RYAN

The following letter is to the local magistrate, George Ryan, from the parish priest of Drom and Inch, Father Thomas Mullany, advising against showing Dandy any leniency.


17th April,1836

My Dear Sir,

I beg to inform you, that it is currently reported, that a memorial to his excellency is about being presented, in favour of the celebrated Daniel or Dandy Fanning, now under sentence of transportation for the manslaughter of Long at the last assizes of Clonmel: this is not the first, second or third homicide, in which he has been concerned, all of which as resident Magistrate in this locality you should be aware of—- I am convinced a greater calamity could not happen in our parishes, with respect to public peace, and order than the return of this notoriously audacious character. Nay the peace of the country in a circumference of ten miles would be endangered.

I submit to you, whether it be not a public duty to apprize the government of the real character of this man, and warn them of the consequences, likely to result from an exercise of the prerogative in favour of so unworthy, and destructive a character.

Trusting you will pardon this liberty,

I have the honour to be

Your most obdt hble servant

Thos Mullany P.P.

Drom and Inch

George Ryan

Inch House

Here are two accounts of Dandy’s trial from local newspapers:

Extract from the Clonmel Advertiser of



The Lord Chief Justice DOHERTY arrived in court at 9 o’clock.

The jury panel being called over, several persons who did not answer, were fined each two pounds.

The following persons were sworn of the jury

Messrs Geo. Smithwick, Thomas Smithwick, James Keating, Robert Usher, John O’Leary, Thomas Cotter, Wm. Smith, Thos. O’Brien, Pat. Scully, John Lacy, Wm. Hudson, Pat. Wall.

Dandy Fannin, John Fannin, John Shanahan and James Maher were placed at the bar charged with the manslaughter of James Long at Thurles on the 3rd October.

Thomas Fogarty sworn ; was brother-in-law to James Long, the deceased ; witness, his father, and brother were attacked by a party on the 29th of September, and witness, with deceased, and some other friends who were witnesses for witness came on the 3rd of October to prosecute the party at the petit sessions of Thurles; witness was prevailed upon to make up the quarrel and he and his friends forgave their assailants ; shortly after this, on the same day, while witness was placing a bag of bran on his cart, a great crowd of people with Con. Fannin at their head, came down the street, crying out for Long ; the deceased was at this time, in Mrs. Harney’s public house, saw Thomas Fannin throw a stone at the deceased ; witness ran up and knocked down John Shanahan ; got into a contest afterwards with Dandy Fannin, when witness got a blow in the face ; on recovery afterwards witness found the deceased speechless in a house ; deceased lived until about 12 o’clock the next day ; deceased had two cuts on his head, and several bruises on his body ; did not see the deceased when struck down ; there were 30 or 40 persons of the party who were armed with stones ; there were only 7 persons with witness, who came about the prosecution ; identified only Dandy Fannin from among the other prisoners.

Mich. Shaughnessy sworn — was in Thurles the day the deceased was struck ; saw Dandy Fannin strike the deceased with an armed stick ; saw Dandy Fannin strike James Hinds ; the party was flinging stones ; the deceased was first struck ; did not see the deceased strike any person ; identified the prisoner, Dandy Fannin.

Catherine Long, sister to the deceased, being sworn, deposed that, being present at the riot, she saw Thos. Fannin strike the deceased with a stone on the head, which knocked him down ; saw Dandy Fannin strike deceased with a stick while down , and witness’s life was threatened by Dandy Fannin if she attempted to assist the deceased ; there was no fighting before this ; deceased was not knocked down by the first stone thrown at him ; before deceased was struck stones were thrown by persons named Stapleton, Glasscot, Nisbit and Shanahan at the deceased ; John Fannin was pelting stones at the deceased ; the riot was going on for a quarter of an hour ; saw none but the deceased knocked down ; witness got people to take her brother into a house ; he lived till about 12 o’clock the next day ; witness identified all the prisoners as the persons who struck the deceased with the exception of John Shanahan whom she does not know, and is not the John Shanahan who struck the deceased ; swore information against James Maher, and Thomas Fannin, and against six others.

James Hinds being sworn deposed that he saw Con Fannin throw a stone at the deceased ; which was the first stone witness saw thrown ; a fight then began ; afterwards saw Thomas Fannin, Con Fannin, Dandy Fannin and David Fannin, strike the deceased while down ; saw James Maher throw a stone at deceased while down ; witness was struck and twice knocked down ; witness identified the prisoners Dandy Fannin and James Maher as the persons who struck the deceased.

Dr. Bradshaw swore the death of the deceased was caused by a fracture on the front of the head.

Mr. C.C. Cox swore that the commencement of the riot and the coming up of the police did not occupy more than quarter of an hour.


Richard Cantwell swore he saw three persons following up Pudding Lane, and shouting after Dandy Fannin, who turned from them, and when near the Main street was attacked by a party who drove him into the Main-street opposite Mrs. Harney’s house ; this Fannin was then alone.

Thomas Boland swore that having got up on a cart the first thing he saw was Dandy Fannin opposite Mrs. Harney’s house, all covered with blood ; saw 8 or 9 persons striking Dandy Fannin , who had no persons with him at the time ; Dandy Fannin was beaten back by some men, when a stone thrown by some person in the rear of the crowd struck this man in the forehead, and this man , who was the deceased, immediately fell ; saw only one man knocked down ; saw a second stone thrown which was directed against the deceased ; Dandy Fannin had a stick in his hand with which he defended himself, and with which he attempted to save the deceased when down.

Francis O’Brien Esq. being sworn, deposed that being attracted to the window of Mr. Bray’s drawing room, in which he was, by a noise in the street, the first thing he saw was a tall man, struck by five or six men, who were all striking him together ; this man was near the market-house, of which place, witness had a perfect view ; saw this man go away bleeding ; saw a man knocked down opposite Mrs. Harney’s house, which was on the same side of Mr. Bray’s house, and about sixty yards from it ; saw a party come up to assist the tall man ; at first there were about six or seven persons, but afterwards there was a large party shouting ; the fight began before witness went to the window to look out ; remained at the window until the police came up.

Denis Reardon and Connor Shanahan swore to an alibi for John Fannin, who, they swore was for three hours in Thomas Molony’s public house before the police came up.

Here the case closed when his Lordship with his usual clearness and minuteness charged the jury ; who retired at 25 minutes after 12 ; and after deliberating about 40 minutes brought in a verdict of guilty against Dandy Fanning and James Maher .

Extract from Clonmel Herald of


Thursday – Third Day.

Shortly after 9 o’clock, the Lord Chief Justice entered the Court – the long panel was called over on penalty of two pounds by James Carmichael Esq.

The attendance of jurors was very scanty and, consequently, he number of fines very numerous.

The following Petit Jury was then sworn :-

George Smithwick, Thomas Smithwick, James Keating, Robert Usher, John

O’Leary, Thomas Cotter, Wm. Smith, Thomas O’Brien, Patrick Scully, John Leacy, Wm. Hudson, and Patrick Wall.

Dandy Fanning, John Fanning, John Shanahan and James Maher were placed at the bar, Dandy Fanning charged with the manslaughter of James Long and the others with aiding and abetting in the same, on the 3rd of October, in the town of Thurles.

Thomas Fogarty examined by Mr. Scott, K.C.—Is brother-in-law of deceased; was with him on 5th of October in Thurles ; witness’s father and brother had processed the Fannings, but forgave them ; a body of men came down the street of Thurles, crying out for Long ; deceased was in Mrs. Harney’s public house, and witness was outside ; witness saw John Fanning hit deceased with a stone ; witness threw down some of the prisoners , but was knocked down himself ; Long was speechless after he received the beating, and lived till 12 or 1 o’clock the next day ; there was a large party of assailants, about 20 or 30, and only seven witness’s party- (witness identified Dandy Fanning.)

The witness was cross examined by Mr. Brewster, K.C. who was licensed to act for the prisoners.

Michael Shaughnessy examined by Mr. Brewster, K.C. — was in Thurles the day in question ; saw Dandy Fanning strike William Long (the deceased) ; with a stick, it had a ferule on the end of it ; saw him strike a man named Hinds ; did not see the deceased strike any one until he was first struck himself – (identifies Dandy Fanning.)

Cross examined by Mr. Fogarty – was in town at 1 o’clock ; saw Fanning separate from the crowd, but he was not alone ; did not see anyone strike Fanning, but saw him bleeding.

To a Juror—Fanning was not bleeding when witness saw him strike the first blow.

Catherine Long sworn and examined by Mr. Scott, K.C. —Is sister to the deceased ; was in Thurles the evening he was struck ; saw Tom. Fanning strike her brother James in the head ; saw James Maher strike him with a stone while he was lying down ; saw Dandy Fanning strike deceased with a stick when down ; witness thought to save her brother, but Fanning said he would kill herself if she did not go away, there had not been any fighting before her brother was knocked down ; there were stones thrown at her brother and his party before deceased was down ; saw another John Fanning and a man named Nisbet throw stones at her brother and his party ; saw John Shanahan also pelt stones ; the fight continued about one hour and a half ; it did not continue after her brother was knocked down ; the deceased was lying in the street and witness got men to bring him into a house ; (identifies Dandy Fanning, John Fanning and James Maher.) ; saw a John Shanahan there, but it was not the prisoner at the bar ; her brother died the next day.

Cross examined by Mr. Brewster, K.C.—Gave information in about six days after ; did not swear in her information against Maher , though she saw him strike the deceased ; was in Thurles from 9 o’clock till near 4 o’clock ; two persons went with witness to Thurles ; did not see any of the Fogarty’s in Mrs. Harney’s public house ; when her friends came out the fight commenced ; never heard her cousin or brother bid one of the Fannings prepare his coffin ; her brother was killed about half an hour after he came out of the house ; the fight stopped in two minutes after her brother was killed ; the fight was going on about an hour and a half.

Re-examined by Mr. Scott– When Maher was in custody swore her information against him before Mr. Tabiteau.

James Hines examined by Mr. Plunket, K.C.— Was in Thurles, in Mrs. Harney’s house, the day in question ; heard Dandy Fanning’s party coming down the street shouting out for Long ; they came down to Mrs. Harney’s house, and James Long came out when he heard them crying out for him ; Con Fanning threw the first stone ; (Con. Fanning is not on trial) ; saw Dandy Fanning, and John Fanning, and Maher also throw stones ; witness

was knocked down ; does not know who did it ; the fight at that time had been going on only five minutes ; saw Dandy Fanning strike James Long when down ; could not tell anything that happened after he was knocked down (witness identifies two of the prisoners.)

Cross examined by Mr. Fogarty, at great length—- There were a great number of friends of the deceased Long and four Fogartys ; they ran out of the house when the Fannings came down the street, shouting out “no Longs, no Fogartys”, witness had no ferule on his stick ; defended Long as well as he could, but was knocked down himself ; saw no blood on Fanning before he struck Long ; the deceased was taken into Mrs. Harney’s after he was knocked down ; witness was taken in there himself about 4 minutes previously.

Dr. Bradshaw, examined by Mr. Plunkett, K.C.—- Was in Thurles the day in question ; there was a whistle given and immediately there was a fight ; the whole thing could not have lasted more than a quarter of an hour.


Richard Cantwell, sworn, examined by Mr. Brewster K.C.—– Lives in Thurles opposite Mrs. Harney’s house ; met Dandy Fanning in the street about three o’clock in the day– the court was over ; the witness saw three persons follow Fanning and shout after him ; he was attacked there by a party ; he was by himself, and was beaten back ; he had several cuts on his head ; it was witness washed his head.

To the Court—– There were about 7 or 10 persons of the party who attacked Fanning ; when the people attacked Fanning, they drove him back towards the Main street, from the road where he was going home ; he was then alone ; had no party with him.

Cross examined by Mr. Scott, K.C.— Was about 40 yards from the fight ; it could not have lasted more than 20 minutes ; the police came up and they dispersed ; did not know the Longs ; knew none of the party but Dandy Fanning.

Thomas Boland examined by Mr. Brewster, K.C.— Recollects the day of this unfortunate occurrence ; saw Dandy Fanning in the square all covered with blood ; did not see any fighting before that ; there were 7 or 8 persons striking him at the time ; he had no party with him ; saw Fanning cover his head with his arm to save himself ; saw a man who was coming up against Fanning knocked down ; saw Fanning put his stick over him to save him ; the “peelers” then came up and there was a whistle .

Cross examined by Mr. Plunkett, K.C. —-Did not see any man but the one knocked down.

Francis O’ Brien, Esq. of Turtullo, examined by Mr. Brewster, K.C.—- Saw the fight in question; saw one person rather a tall man, struck by several persons ; saw blood streaming from his head ; saw a man knocked down near Harney’s public-house ; there was no one assisting the tall man, they all seemed to be striking him, until a party came to his rescue ; saw the transaction from the drawing room window that commanded a view ; and the first thing that witness saw was 6 or 7 men striking the one person.

Denis Reardon sworn—- Was in Mullowney’s house during the fight ; had been in the house of Mr. Thomas Mullowney when the police passed by, and for three hours before that.

Connor Shanahan sworn—- was in Mullowney’s on the day of the fight ; John Fanning was already there, and had been there two hours and a half.

He was cross examined by Mr. Scott, K.C.

The case being ended his Lordship charged the jury at great length, clearly recapitulating points of the evidence adduced from the various witnesses both for the prosecution and defense. His Lordship said all who went with the party , and aided and assisted, were equally guilty as the man who actually struck the blow.

The jury retired, and in 40 minutes returned a verdict of John Fanning and John Shanahan not guilty, Dandy Fanning and James Maher guilty.

Dandy Fanning and James Maher were sentenced to transportation for life.



Hanged…………………………………………….. 2

To be hanged……………………………………… 1

Sentence of death recorded………………… 10

Transported for life…………………………….. 32

Transported for 7 years………………………. 14

To be imprisoned for various periods………20

To appear at next sessions……………………11

Held over for trial at next assizes……………28

Discharged by proclamation………………….63

Acquitted………………………………………….. 71




Information on the Fitzgerald Family of Martin and Bridget Fitzgerald nee Ryan:


Bridget Ryan (daughter of Andrew Ryan And Mary Keane) married Martin Edward Fitzgerald at Singleton on 21st April, 1869. Martin arrived in Sydney on board David McIver with his parents and siblings on19th May, 1852 as Assisted Immigrants. The family consisted of :-

Michael Fitzgerald aged 50 born 1801 at Roscrea, Co Tipperary to John Fitzgerald and Margaret Connors and

Margaret Connors his wife whom he married in Tipperary in 1835. She was 34 on arrival in Australia and was born in 1818 to Andrew and Mary Connors at Borrisaleigh Co Tipperary. Is it a coincidence that Daniel Fannings family came from Borrisaleigh? The children were…………

Margaret born 1838 aged 14 on arrival

Martin Edward born 1840 aged 12 on arrival

John Henry born 1842 aged 10 on arrival

Andrew born 1845 aged 7 on arrival

William born 1847 aged 5 on arrival

The 5 children were all baptised at the parish of Dunkerrin near Roscrea. (Joan Flood has their baptismal certificates.)

Travelling with the Fitzgeralds was a Margaret Kelly an orphan niece of Margaret Fitzgerald. The younger Margaret’s parents died during the great Potato Famine

The family apparently went straight to Scotts Flat travelling by boat to Morpeth and then overland by foot or cart. Michael died within 6 months of arrival (V18521354 118/1852). There is a headstone for Michael and Margaret in the old Singleton cemetery.

Margaret married Patrick O’Brien 1866/2852

Andrew married Ellen Mahoney 1866/2899

John married Mary A Connors 1868/3119

William married Elizabeth Gardner 1878/1878

Margaret married Patrick O’Brien 1866/2852

Margaret married Daniel Ryan (1) 1854


Married Thomas Tydd (2) 1859/2685

Martin and Bridget went to an area known as Gunnenbene on the Namoi River in !869 where he took up his first block…Conditional Purchase 69/1093 being Portion 1 , Parish of Cunnenbeme County Darling. This seems to have been his

sole holding until 1872 when he acquired the adjacent Portion 49 of 50 acres ex roads as Additional Conditional Purchase 72/7966.

Indications are that Martin and Bridget were among the very first settlers in the area because his selection is Portion 1 and no other Conditional Purchasers of !869 or earlier are obvious on the Parish maps.

Martin appears to have moved some number of miles to the North West of the Parish in 1891 when he acquired a contiguous area comprising the following :-

Portion 160 of 733 acres 1rood 20 perches ex roads and

Portion 121 of 82 acres both forming Conditional Lease 91/13

Portion 122 and Potion 123 each of 160 acres together forming Conditional Purchase 91/33

Portion 3 of 160 acres as Additional Conditional Purchase 91/81

NOTE Terms of a Conditional Purchase are 25% deposit and annual instalments of 5% of the Capital Value including interest @ 2.5% pa on the outstanding balance which usually means payment complete in 28 years.

Conditional Leases were normally leases in perpetuity with an annual rental of twopence per acre per annum with the right to convert to a Conditional Purchase at any time at one pound per acre.

Additional Conditional Purchases were available to holders of Original Conditional Purchases at no more than one pound per acre but often at reduced rates such as 6 shillings and 8 pence per acre.

Patrick O’Brien acquired 2 blocks in the Parish of Gunnenbeme adjacent to Martin Fitzgerald. Patrick also obtained a number of blocks in the nearby Parish of Keepit abutting the very large holdings of his brother-in-law John Henry Fitzgerald. Andrew Fitzgerald also took up land in the Keepit area alongside his brother. William remained at Scotts Flat as a dairy farmer.

Martin & Bridget’s family was…….

David (Ryan) 1866-13302 m Mary Manton

Elizabeth 1870-17482 m John Turner

Mary Anne 1872-15810 m Alfred Turner

Margaret Jane 1874-19721 m William Kelly

Michael John 1876-20896 m

Agnes M 1879-23966 m Patrick Byrne William Henry 1880-25159 m Daphne Meehan

Bridget Mary 1883-18918 m James Thompson

Ellen Josephine 1886-22093 m Donald Sinclair Lund

Martin Sylvester 1889-22056 m Mildred Holmes