THE COTTER 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 country.

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.
                                                                                                                   
 
   Daniel Falvey, Mary's Grandfather 
      (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 here.


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 Innes

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 this page.

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

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 Coorparoo c 1890

"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.



William & Mary wedding photo 1895
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.

1895/98 map
1895/98 Map

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
 
            (photo 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.


182a
The house at 182 James St (Drinagh) as built


182b
    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.


family
                            Jack, 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.

footy
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
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

Abe Pat

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
                          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 "open image".


Click here to see map of grave sites at Nudgee Cemetery  - you can then return to this page.

Eddie
Eddie (Pat)

With thanks to Mai Brennan (London) for information on Cotter Irish family history.

This page written 5 Feb. 2002
Amended 3 August 2002
Amended 14 March 2003 (Falvey charts)  
Amended December 2005 (Drinagh photos)
Amended 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)                                                        email.gif