FAMILY OF NEW FARM BRISBANE
This is a short history of Mary
and William, my Grandparents. William died almost 20 years before I was
born and I have only minimal memories of Mary, but it is a good story
of two people in a new country and their family who grew up in their own
On 15 April 1866 in Ballymacelligot, County of Kerry, Ireland,
Mary Healy was born to Margaret (nee Falvey) and John Healy. Ballymacelligot
is four miles from Tralee on the high roads leading to Killarney. She
had sisters Alice, born 15.5.1871, Norah born 1868 and a brother Daniel,
born 13.5.1877. Other children were Patrick, Edward and John. Her father,
John Healy, was the son of James Healy and Mary (Brosnan).
When Mary was about 18 years old she came to Australia.
It seems her Falvey grandparents came to Australia about ten years before
this, and four of her mother Margaret's siblings had variously arrived earlier
from 1865. Mary initially went to her Falvey grandparents near Toowoomba
when she arrived in Australia. Click
here to see timeline of Falvey and Healy arrivals.
John and Margaret Healy and all their children arrived on the
SS Indus as bounty passengers to Brisbane on 22 Aug 1884. The Indus
had left London 20 June 1884 and dropped passengers at Townsville (11
Aug), Rockhampton (15 Aug) and Maryborough (19 Aug). The family name was
recorded as "Haily" - accent difficulty. (Immigration arrival information
courtesy of David Healy).
The original passenger list does not show the family as one group,
probably reflecting the on board accomodation arrangements. The parents
and three youngest children are shown together - John aged 38, Margaret
40, Edward 10, Daniel 8 and John 5. Then the three oldest girls are shown
together - Mary 18, Nora 16 and Alice 14. Shown separately is Patrick 21.
The Falveys settled on the Darling Downs, Queensland, near Cambooya.
Mary's grandfather was Daniel Falvey (c1814 - 3.2.1897 born at Killarney,
Kerry, son of John Falvey, farmer) and her grandmother was Alice O'Brien
(c1815 - 4.3.1900 daughter of Patrick O'Brien and Julia Ready). They were
married in Ballymacelligot, Kerry. Their eldest child Margaret was Mary
Healy's mother. Daniel Falvey is recorded as coming to Australia in 1874
and farming a property at the Sugar Loaf, near Cambooya, outside Toowoomba.
His second eldest child, Julia, Mary Healy's aunt, arrived in Australia
in advance of this and worked in Melbourne, where she was married to George
Gordon in 1867.
(photo courtesy Helen Jones)
Patrick Healy, brother of Mary Healy
(photo courtesy Helen Jones)
Click here to see charts and some photos of Falvey families
in Queensland - you can then close the new window and return
to this point.
John and Margaret Healy, Mary's parents, settled in the Northern
Rivers of NSW at some time after Mary arrived in Australia, probably
in the early 1890's. There were Healy relatives including Dan Healy (Mary's
brother) in northern New South Wales, around Mullumbimby, and her eldest
brother, Patrick, moved to Mullumbimby in 1903. Obituaries of Mary's
brother Patrick, his sister-in-law Bertha (Reilly) Healy, and Bertha's
father, W J Reilly, can be viewed by clicking
David Healy, grandson of Dan, has researched some of the Healy family
history which can be viewed by clicking here.
On 11 April 1868 in Rath (Rawth), Clare, two counties
north of Kerry, William Cotter was born to Catherine/Kate (nee McMahon)
(1845-1875), and Thomas Cotter, a farmer (1832-1910). They had been
married 19 February 1867. Kate's father was Michael McMahon, a farmer
from Kilcolumb, Kilmaley. Thomas' father was William Cotter (1797-)
and his mother was Margaret (nee Ahern) (1809-1879).
Cotter house. This house is
about three hundred years old.
Click here to see some photos inside, of the farm, and people
- you can then close the new window and return to
Thomas and Kate had four other children, Michael (1869-), James
(1871-1871), Mary (1874-), and Patrick (1875-). Rath is east of Ennistymon
and in 1841 had a population of 2647 and 398 houses. Kate died at Drinagh,
Rath, aged 29 on 27 March 1875 and Thomas remarried to Bridget. Thomas
died at Drinagh 29 July 1910, aged 78.
William's father Thomas with his second wife Bridget.
William arrived in Australia in 1893, at which time
Mary had already been here some years. She was used to seeing kangaroos
and Aborigines when she walked with her sister Alice to Kangaroo Point
on their way to mass from where she by then lived (and was the housekeeper
of a large house) at Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo, Brisbane.
The house was owned by Englishman Richard Newton, a stock and
station agent, and was named "Woodhill". It was on the eastern side of
Cavendish Rd. The Brisbane Hunt Club, which held weekly hunts, used Woodhill
once every year as the venue. There was no fox - a rider trailed an aniseed
scent in advance of the start. In July 2002 a local resident whose family
has lived in the area since 1914 was able to identify the site of the house
near the current Woodhill Street. It is now occupied by an ordinary set
of 1960's/70's units at 230 Cavendish Rd. An annex at the back containing
some flats is part of the original house. The paired eaves supports of this
small section are the only feature recognisable from the 1889/91 photo of
the hunt at Woodhill (below).
"Woodhill" Cavendish Rd Coorparoo circa 1890
Richard Newton had established a 593 acre sugar plantation on
the site of the current Redland Bay hotel. His house there, "Plantation",
which had 16 bedrooms, two dining rooms and stables for eight horses became
the first Redland Bay hotel, but burnt down in the 1930's. He sold "Plantation"
in 1879. He owned Woodhill from 1889 to 1915. The property had earlier
been owned by Nathaniel Lade. Alice also worked at Woodhill. There was
another sister Norah in Australia.
At some time after his arrival in Australia William
obtained work as a coachman at the same house at Coorparoo. Whether they
had known each other previously is unclear, as is how long they worked
together. However by the time they married on 27 November 1895 in St
Stephen’s Cathedral Brisbane, William was a brewery employee living at
Merivale St South Brisbane. There is a suggestion that he lost his coachman
job as a result of insubordination after waiting all day to drive home
from shopping in the city – when he had other duties waiting. Or maybe
he was just ready to start a new job. However Mary was still living at
Cavendish Road Coorparoo at the time of their marriage.
One of the Newton daughters, Elizabeth (Mabel), married to Peter
B MacGregor (who became a prominent lawer and member of Parliament for
Merthyr 1920-1923), lived at 150 Bowen Terrace, New Farm, Brisbane,
and often visited Mary at New Farm. This may be a pointer to Mary having
worked at the Coorparoo house for some time. Mrs Newton (Mary Underwood)
had died before the move to Coorparoo, leaving a widower with six children
under 11, and under 16 at the time of the move to Coorparoo. So it may
be that a close bond had formed between Mary, about 10 years older, and
the motherless Mabel.
Mary and William, married 27.11.1895, St Stephen's Cathedral,
Brisbane. This is an interesting photo taken
on to and remaining on a sheet of glass. It was hand coloured after being
taken. Some of the instructions were "Improve lady's wedding ring", "Alter
laces in gent's boots - also watch chain".
William and Mary's first child William Thomas (Bill) was
born 1 January 1897, when they were living at River (now Dath) Street,
Brisbane. River Street ran at a right angle from the river where Dath's
wharf was in the second half of the 1890's. When their second child John
James (Jack) was born 25 July 1898 they were living in Wilson Street, Teneriffe,
very near River Street. It is unclear how long they had been in
Wilson Street at that time. The Queensland Brewery Ltd was on the river
at the end of Wilson Street, where Florence Street now meets Vernon Terrace.
This would have been very convenient accommodation for a brewery worker.
Wilson Street was renamed sometime before 1906 to become Chermside
Street. Queensland Post Office Directories show their house was very
probably the current number 65. Number 65 appears old enough to have
been built around 1895 and could easily be the same house where some of
the children were born.
A description of the area in 1886 tells that an extensive brewery
stood at the foot of a bold knoll which bears the name of Teneriffe. "This
establishment, viewed from the river is perhaps the most picturesque
brewery in the southern hemisphere. Its buildings are fairly embowered
in foliage. On this strand also are the wharves of the Queensland and
British India Navigation Companies, and the new furnaces of the Brisbane
Gas Company are in the course of erection." The estimated Brisbane population
at that time was seventy-five thousand.
Mary Alice (Alice/Allie) was born in 1900 setting
the sequence of boy, boy, girl which was to follow for the remaining
three children. Patrick Edward (Eddie/Pat) was born 7 March 1902
and the family was shown as living at Wilson Street New Farm .
By the time Daniel Francis (Neil) was born 17th April
1904 they were at James Street Kingsholme (the then name for the area
around the current Kingsholme Street). Presumably this was the home
they bought at 182 James St New Farm. It is likely the Wilson Street
house was rented not owned. Kate Helen (Kitty) was born in 1906.
Allie and Kitty
courtesy Helen Jones)
The 182 James Street house was named “Drinagh”. As mentioned
above, this is an Irish place name. The Griffiths' valuation of Clare
published 1855 lists William Cotter (William's grandfather) occupying
property in (Townland) Drinagh (Parish of) Rath (Union of) Ennistimon.
This was a house, shed and 30 acres 17 perches of land, with a total valuation
of ten pounds. It appears Thomas (1832-1910) later inherited this. Thomas's
father William was married twice, first to Honora Hegarty in 1822, and
following her death in 1828, to Margaret Ahern, Thomas's mother. Margaret
died at Drinagh, Ireland 30 May 1879 aged 70.
The house at 182 James St (Drinagh) as built
182 James St with adjustable vertical
wooden louvres added above the broomstick balustrades.
The house remained like this until
the 1950's when the front verandah was fully enclosed.
The children attended primary school at St Patrick’s school,
Ivory (now Berwick) Street, Fortitude Valley and the boys went on to
St James’ in Boundary Street and the girls to All Hallows’ in Anne Street.
Allie made her first Holy Communion 16th October 1910.
Alice, William, Mary, Neil, Bill, Kitty, Pat about 1913.
The boys were involved in a range of sporting activities
including football, gymnastics, boxing and sailing, helped by growing
up close to the river at New Farm. Mary recalled occasions when
one or two of her boys would be swimming in the river at lunch time and
she would send another boy to get them, then another, until all would
be swimming and none would be at lunch.
More than one of the boys would sometimes be in the
same football team or sailing crew.
Rockton Rugby League Football Club New Farm
1922 (Pat Cotter is 3rd from right third row, Bill
Cotter is at the right hand end of the second row.)
CREW OF "SCHEMER"
Australian 18 footers sailing Championships
Brisbane, January, 1930
From back left
H Devlin, E L Costin, P Healy, J Costin
J W Beyrer, P Cotter (skipper), C Swanson
Absent - J Cotter, F McConachie, V Callaghan
Pat was also on the crew of "Aberdare" , the Australian 18 footer
champion for two years later in the 1930's. Click here
for Aberdare photos.
The girls learnt to play the piano. On family occasions
old Irish songs would be sung around the piano in the living room as the
girls played either solo or in a duet.
Either at the time of purchase of 182 James Street
or between then and about 1920 Mary acquired the land at 180 James Street
and subsequently built a rental house on it, similar in style to No.182.
One long term tenant was Constable Potts of the Queensland Police.
The boys went on to employment, and as was not unusual
for the times, stayed for long periods with the same employers.
Bill joined the Post Master General’s Department (PMG now Australia Post),
Jack joined the Queensland Works Department, Pat worked in the State
Government Insurance Office (SGIO – now Suncorp-Metway) and Neil became
a teacher, working at various schools around the state including Kangaroo
Point, Bulimba and Norman Park. He stayed longest at Norman Park,
approximately 25 years teaching the Grade 8 (Scholarship Examination)
classes, before moving to the Correspondence School for a while before
retiring. Neil was also a keen bowler and supporter of the New Farm
Bowls Club in Brunswick Street, where he was President.
The newsletter for the Parish of St Patrick’s the Valley
and the Church of the Holy Spirit, New Farm, dated 6 September 1931,
records a large attendance at the First Annual Ball in the Broadway Dansant
(probably in Wickham Street Fortitude Valley), 31 August 1931. Included
were Mr and Mrs W.T. Cotter (Bill and his wife Gladys, whose father, Sam
Powell, had a barber shop at the corner of Annie St and Brunswick Street),
Billy Cotter and Brian Cotter (their small sons), Mr J Cotter, Miss A Cotter
and Miss K Cotter. So this was before Kitty married Percy Edward Barber,
who used to take Kitty out through the back gate of 182 James Street before
there was a house built behind. Percy worked at the large department
store McWhirters in Fortitude Valley, where he had met Kitty, who was a
secretary there. Percy became the manager of the furnishings department
and later in life he opened his own business in Riding Road Balmoral.
Click here to see photos of William and the children
- you can then close the new window and return to this point.
Bill and Kitty established their respective family homes
in Dilkera Street Balmoral, and it seems Mary had some part in arranging
the purchase of these blocks at number 40 and number 28, as well as two
blocks in between. Kitty and Perc's house at 28 Dilkera Street was built
over six months by Perc's brother Arthur and their father Percy Douglas
Barber. Because of the slope of the land the house was 30 feet above the
ground at the back. This steep slope meant that the panoramic river and
city views are still retained today, making positions on this ridge some
of the most sought after in the city. On 24 June 1935 at St Stephen's Cathedral,
Pat married Dorothy Wyatt, a teacher who had been born in Mt Morgan. They
bought a house at Camp Hill.
Patrick and Dorothy
- 24.6.35 - St Stephen's Cathedral Brisbane
William, having suffered some injuries in his work at the
Colonial Sugar Refinery on the river at New Farm, not far from his house,
was not in the best of health in his later years. He died 4 March 1929.
Mary, although living until 1953, and dying three
weeks short of her 87th birthday, spent the last years of her life with
severely limited mobility. This resulted from being struck by a runaway
truck while standing on the footpath outside an open fronted fruit shop
during a shopping trip to nearby Fortitude Valley. Remaining a strong
personality to the end, Mary died on 23 March 1953.
Allie devoted many years to looking after her mother,
and there is a chance this was at the expense of her own romance, possibly
a man called Jim. Allie is remembered as a very active woman with
a bubbly personality and a happy outlook on life.
William and Mary had 12 grandchildren.
Click here to see photos of some of the grand-children
- you can then close the new window and return to this point.
Pat died 9 January 1962, Allie on 10 January 1967,
Jack also during 1967, Kitty 9 October 1978 and Neil 14 May 1982. Percy
died 15 January 1984 aged 74. Bill died in 1974 and Gladys in 1993.
Both are buried at Hemmant Cemetery. Dorothy died 6 October 1996 and
rests at Caloundra near the ocean that her holiday house overlooked.
William, Mary, and four of their children, Pat, Allie,
Jack and Neil are buried in Nudgee Cemetery. Kitty and Percy rest at
the Albany Creek Crematorium.
Photos of Nudgee Cemetery headstones are on www.nudgeecemetery.com.au
- search for surname, click on individual, after map appears click on
here to see map of grave sites at Nudgee Cemetery - you can then
return to this page.
With thanks to Mai Brennan (London) for information on Cotter Irish
This page written 5 Feb. 2002
Amended 3 August 2002
Amended 14 March 2003 (Falvey charts)
Amended December 2005 (Drinagh photos)
Jan 2008 (David Healy info on Healy family)
Amended Aug 2010 (3 photos added to Falvey charts)
Amended Aug 2012 (Healy immigration arrival info)
Latest amendment January 2017 (Healy photos and obituaries)