Concerning some members of the Murtagh Clan

by Clara Murtagh 29 Oct 1982

May God bless all who read these lines - old and young. There maybe a few errors but as far as I know the little scraps of history are correct.

To begin with I warn my readers that my knowledge of most of my ancestors is rather vague. However, I'll let you have all I can remember hearing about them.

On a few occasions I heard my father (Patrick Murtagh) say that very ancient Irish history books claimed there were many Christian Kings in Ireland, and that the first one was King Murtagh - in Gaelic it is pronounced Muredach, and he is now a canonised saint, but whether he was actually one of our ancestors remains a mystery.

However, we - of my particular generation - can claim that our great-grandparents were Larry and Norah Murtagh who owned farm-lands in County Sligo, near the village of Aclare, and the larger town of Tubbercurry.

One of their sons was Denis Laurence who married Mary Cunny probably in the early 1840's - just before the great famine occurred in Ireland. These were my grandparents who reared nine children (seven sons and two daughters) on the farm called "Lislea" in County Sligo. Their names Martin, John (always known as Jack) Patrick, Catherine, Frank, Mary (or Maria), Denis, James and Matthew.

Commencing with the oldest - Martin - my knowledge of him is very scanty. When they reached manhood Martin and Jack migrated to Australia some years before their four brothers ventured out. Martin married an Irish lady named Eleanor Nary but I never heard when and where the marriage took place. However, I did hear that Martin and Jack saved sufficient money to return to Ireland to see their home folk, and that they returned to Australia, settled in Queensland and reared their families.

Martin and Eleanor were blessed with five children named John (commonly called Jack) Lily, Martin, Florrie and Joe. They settled for a time in Rockhampton, but as Martin acquired a team of bullocks the family moved along with him when he was carting material and goods along the newly constructed railway line that extended from Rockhampton on the coast to the Far West of Central Queensland.

It was a very severe life for all members of the family. as there were only rough roads - no roads in many places - and only primitive little shanty towns along the way. This meant food supplies had to be carted from Rockhampton by horse or bullock teams. Under these difficult conditions the children's education suffered considerably. This may not be true but it was reported that Martin and Eleanor, in their latter years, were addicted to drink. However, about the turn of the century both parents had passed away and were buried in Rockhampton. By then the children, with the exception of Joe, were working at various jobs.

Martin's eldest son Jack married Catherine Pring. He worked in many towns in Queensland mostly around the Cloncurry district in the North-west, also in Central Queensland and Brisbane. Jack and Catherine had four children - Mary, Eileen, Mable and a young son who died in a house fire when they lived outside Cloncurry.

Mary married George McAllister and had no children.

Eileen married Albert Warner and they had three children named Albert, Shirley and Jennifer. Albert was killed in a car accident when quite a young man. Shirley is married to Keith Craig and has two sons, Matthew and Stephen, both in their early twenties (now 1982) Jennifer (Jenny) is married to Robert Jeays, and has one daughter. Mabel (Jack's third daughter) is Mrs Niven Duff, a widow with one son, Colin who is married and living in Brisbane.

Lily was the second child of Martin and Eleanor Murtagh. As a single girl she worked in Rockhampton. She married a Mr.Robert Bartley, and they too, lived for many years around the Cloncurry district, and they reared two children named Robert and Ethel Bartley. Some years after Bartley's death Lily married Tom Curry and they continued to live in Western Queensland. All four members of that family have now passed away.

Martin (Junior) was the third child of Martin and Eleanor. After working (as a shearer) for many years in the West. Martin married Annie Shea. He also lived in Rockhampton for some years and the children, Edna, Jack and Jim attended a Convent School. Edna married Bill Stewart and they have lived in Ipswich for all their married life. They have no children. In fact all Martins's family moved to Ipswich, where he and Annie are buried. Jack, their son, is single and now lives in Ipswich, after working as a journalist for many years in Sydney. Jack and Jim fought in World War II. After the war James Patrick (Jim) lived with his aged mother in Ipswich. He was killed by a car about twelve years ago.

Now I come to Florrie, Martins's fourth child who had married Arthur Stanford, and had eight children named Joe, Harold, Stephen, Martin, Elva, Lionel, Arthur and Tom. When Arthur Stanford died Florrie married Dillon. He was delicate and unable to work so Florrie had the tremendous task of supporting herself and eight children, which she performed cheerfully and well. It is said her hearty laugh and generous nature endeared her to all. She died at the age of 69 (R.I.P.) Joe, her eldest died a few years ago age 72. Harold was a cancer victim and died at the early age of 38. Florrie's other six are living in and around Brisbane. All are married with the exception of Arthur.

Next in line is Joe Murtagh, the fifth child who was about 13 when left an orphan, then living in Rockhampton where his parents had passed away. As the older brothers and sisters were working Joe was left unprotected and likely to get into trouble. On hearing about this from Lily our father brought Joe out to our home at "Gainsford" in the country 60 miles west of Rockhampton. Being a school teacher of experience our Dad soon showed Joe who was in control, but the lad who had already too much freedom, could not take disciplining and after a few months disappeared. He was brought back, but soon gained freedom once more. He eventually joined his brother Martin in the shearing sheds around Western Queensland.

When in his early twenties, Joe married Nellie Campbell - a Longreach Lady. They lived in various parts of Queensland for the first few years, and eventually settled in Townsville. They had three children, Martin James, Mary and Cecilia. While living In Townsville the children were educated by the Sisters of Mercy. Joe's work was mainly in the shearing sheds in W.Queensland. Eventually his visits to his family in Townsville became less frequent, and finally he disappeared, and no trace of him could be obtained ever since. His sister Florrie saw him on a few occasions and naturally she worried when she learned he had deserted his good wife and children. His brother Martin last saw him when Joe was on his way from Clermont to Longreach. That was in the 1920's. His nephew Stephen Stanford, saw him for a short time in Hughenden about 1928.

Joe's son Martin died while quite a young man. His two daughters, Mary sometimes called Min and Cecilia married and lived in North Queensland. Mary, Mrs Tom Ryan and husband are still alive and reside in Charters Towers. They have three sons (all married with families) named Thomas, Joseph and Danny. Cecilia (Mrs Price, reared David and Marguerite) now both married. Cecilia died suddenly from a heart attack about seven years ago.

Tommy Ryan (the eldest son of Mary and Tom Ryan) and his wife Cathy live on a property near Malanda. N.Q. They have five children - Thomas, married to Blanca, with one baby Thomas, Heather, a nurse at Cairns hospital, Luke, 22 years of age, Angela 20 and newly married, and Timothy age 16 still at school.

Joseph Ryan (Joe's 3rd grandson) is a policeman in Charters Towers, he and his younger brother Danny are both married. Danny is on a property near Loganville not far from Beenleigh. Their children would be the great-great-grand-children of our Uncle Martin who came to Australia over one hundred years ago.

Now I begin to write what I know of the second Murtagh (my Uncle Jack) who arrived in Australia with his English wife - formerly Emma Feather - for the second time on board the sailing ship "The Quetta".

Jack's first job, after landing at Rockhampton, was with a grazier named Atherton, who had a large cattle property near Yeppoon, called "Adelaide Park". After being there for a time he was engaged to drive a herd of cattle overland to the Palmer Goldfields (a distance of over 700 miles) and these were eventually sold to the butcher who opened a business near the miners. You can imagine what hardships were endured on those long journeys over trackless country for men so new to Tropical Queensland.

Jack's second job was with the Railways construction gang which was then working about 40 miles west from Rockhampton (in mountainous country) at Rocky Creek. As was stated on a former page Jack's brother Martin was engaged in the carrying of goods and materials for the workers in that construction gang. Sometime later Jack secured work in the cutting of timber on Peak Downs for the miners at Copperfield, near Clermont on the Central Highlands.

He finally settled at Nambour where he bought (or won in a land ballot) a cattle property called "Dulong". He had five daughters - Mary, Maggie, Emma, Lily and Nellie when his wife Emma died. Some years later Jack married a Finnish lady named Helma Karylainen. She was a widow with a young son named Viner. Jack and Hilma had two more daughters - Elsie (now Mrs D'Arcy) and Doreen. The latter died at the early age of 32 yrs. Her mother had pre-deceased her by some years. Jack died on 19th October 1925. In a book on Queensland's early history, there is a short account of Jack's life which is very similar to the one just given.

All Jack's daughters were married. Mary was Mrs Hall, and had six children, two of whom she lost in a drowning accident in their early years. She reared two girls and two boys.

Maggie, Mrs Bury reared three boys and three girls. Emma had no children. Lily (I've forgotten her married name) had nine children - the last causing her own death. Nellie, Mrs Williams, also had nine children. All the above - named five daughters have passed away (R.I.P)

Elsie, Mrs D'Arcy, reared two sons and two daughters. All four are married. Kevin lives in New Guinea with his wife and family. Yvonne (Mrs Sundholm) and family live in Sydney. Elaine and husband in Perth and John with wife and children in Cannon Hill. Elsie is the sole survivor of Jack's daughters and is living in Brisbane.

Fred and Yvonne Sundholm have two sons - Allen and Grant, and two daughters Irene and Jane. Kevin was married twice and has one child, Craig. Elaine has no children. John and wife Dell have Sharon, Noeleen and Patrick.

Next in line in the Murtagh family was my father, Patrick Aloysius Murtagh. With his brothers and sisters he attended the National School near the home farm "Lislea" and finished his education with the Presentation Brothers and taught with them in Ireland for a few years before applying for a position in a large boy's school in London. He also worked for a time in the British Railways, and there secured the position of guard. At the age of thirty Patrick, with his three younger brothers migrated to Queensland on the steam ship "The Duke of Buckingham" That was in November 1882.

While on board ship Patrick met his future wife Clara Pocock, who was coming from Wales to Rockhampton with her parents, four brothers and four sisters. Soon after their arrival Patrick and Clara found jobs. Patrick applied to the Railway Dept and the Education Dept. resolving to take employment with the one that offered first. That was teaching in a small one-teacher school at Boolburra, fifty-nine miles west of Rockhampton on the Dawson River. Clara (our mother) secured a dressmaking job with the wife of a legal man and family in Rockhampton. Her father and brothers, cabinet makers also secured work in Rockhampton.

Pat and Clara were married in Rockhampton in April 1884, and lived in Boolburra for about eight years. Their first three children were born there - James in 1886; Denis in 1889 & Patrick in 1890. At this stage Pat acquired a selection a few miles away but continued to teach at Boolburra on a very low salary. Rearing horses and cattle on the property would help to support the family. As this selection proved to be in a flooded area Pat secured another on the western side of the Dawson River which some years earlier (probably in the 1869's) had contained a small bush township, acting as a stepping stage for those traveling from the Copperfield mine near Clermont to the coastal town of Rockhampton.

This primitive little town called Gainsford boasted of a Post Office, a Police Station and hotel. When the railway line from Rockhampton to the west was completed and built a few miles north of Gainsford, the township moved, and Boolburra came into existence while Gainsford became a ghost town. That was in 1871. Patrick then acquired the property, still called Gainsford, and with his wife and three young sons settled in the building that had been the Police Quarters. He traveled on horse back to the school at Boolburra each week day, while Clara accompanied him one day per week to teach sewing to the girls.

When James was six years of age he too, rode to school each day. Denis followed three years later. Mary, the fourth child was born in 1892. In 1893 Patrick aged 21/2 died rather suddenly from pneumonia, and was buried near the home. The following year Clara (this scribbler) was born, and in 1897 Norah (Sr. M.Angelia) appeared.

In 1898 our Dad had a new and much larger home erected on higher ground. This remained our much loved home for the next sixteen years.

In 1900 Anne, the youngest and seventh child was born to Patrick and Clara. In the same year James (known as Jimmy) went to Christian Brothers College in Rockhampton to finish schooling. Two years later, although only 15 yrs of age he was at St. Patrick's College, Manly, Sydney studying for the priesthood.

Denis helped his father on the property until nearly sixteen. Then, for about 18 months he worked in a shop in Rockhampton. When he decided to become a priest he was sent to Nudgee College, Brisbane in 1906 to complete his Secondary education. He joined Jim at St.Patrick's College, Manly early in 1908. Jim was ordained priest in St.Mary's Cathedral Sydney on 30th Nov. 1908, and Denis five years later in St.Joseph's Cathedral, Rockhampton, on 13th Sept.1914. All members of our family were present on this latter and very happy occasion, Father Jim having traveled over 1000 miles by train and coastal steamer from Cloncurry (he had been appointed Parish priest there in 1910) to Rockhampton to be present. Those were the days before motor and air traveling were available in Queensland, and railways few and far between.

Mary, the eldest daughter was sent as a boarder to the Sisters of Mercy in Rockhampton early in 1907, and returned home at the end of 1908.

Clara, the second daughter (this writer) journeyed out to the Presentation Sisters in Longreach with Fr.James (who was relieving there in Jan. and Feb. 1909) and was still a student at Our Lady's College when Norah (Sr.Angela) arrived in March 1911. Anne followed in 1914 for one year only for that was the year our parents sold "Gainsford" and went to live in Rockhampton, and she completed her Secondary education with the Sisters of Mercy on the Range.

Our beloved parents, Patrick and Clara, resided in Rockhampton for the remainder of their lives. They invested their money in the purchase of houses which they rented. A new home was built (in the Cathedral parish) which they called "Lislea" after the old home in Sligo.

Each day, as long as they could they walked to the St.Joseph's Cathedral for daily Mass & Holy Communion. All the years they lived at Gainsford this wonderful grace was denied them. As Boolburra was such a small town with very few Catholics, the priest who traveled about 180 miles by train from Emerald could visit only four times a year, and always on a week day. It was not until Father Jim was ordained that we had the privilege and joy of Holy Mass on Christmas Day and a Sunday (1908) and that was celebrated in St.John's tiny Church at Boolburra, a building our Dad helped to erect by collecting funds and furnishings.

In the new home in Davis Street, besides our parents, our sisters Mary and Anne resided. For about nine years our Dad was an active member of the Sacred Heart Sodality, the Hibernian Society and the Knights of the Southern Cross. In 1923 his health began to fail, and after a period of four months in the Mater Hospital he passed peacefully away in the presence of all members of the family. R.I.P.

Requiem Mass was offered for his soul in St.Joseph's Cathedral. Fr.Jim was the celebrant and Fr.Denis, the assistant. Bishop Joseph Shiel presided at the Mass and preached the panegyric paying tribute to this excellent Catholic man who was proud to give four members of the family to God's service as priests and nuns. He passed away on 10th Dec. 1923 aged 72 years. R.I.P.

After a well filled and saintly life our dear mother, then almost 80 years of age showed signs of weakness. She wished to remain in her own home so a private nurse was obtained. Fr.Denis, Anne and the nurse were kneeling at her bedside when our dear mother slipped peacefully away, yielding her soul to the God who created her. R.I.P. This was on 28th Jan. 1940. Requiem Mass was celebrated in St.Joseph's Cathedral for the repose of her soul.

This time Fr.Denis was the celebrant and Fr.Jim the assistant. His Lordship, Bishop Romuald Hayes presided at the Mass and preached the panegyric extolling the good example our dear mother gave to all when she walked to and from Mass which she attended so faithfully for 24 years.

Both parents, our two brothers, our sister Mary and husband Joseph Herley, were all laid to rest in the Rockhampton cemetery. May God rest their dear souls.

Mary, our oldest sister was married to Joseph Herley who owned a drapery and mixed business in Rockhampton. Father Jim performed the ceremony and Father Denis assisted. Their first home was a rented one. Later they purchased a piece of land in an ideal position on the Range in Rockhampton and built a new home. When Joe was about 70 years of age he sold the business and spent the remainder of his life in happy retirement. He died in Aug. 1961 aged 90 years.

Mary had joined the Catholic Daughters of Australia and some years before her death she was elected Diocesan President, a position she held when she died in the Rockhampton Mater Hospital in June 1963, aged 71 years.

Anne, the youngest member of the family had studied Shorthand and succeeded in passing 150 words per min. This high speed secured for her a good position in the Q'land Insurance Office in Rockhampton. Having a good knowledge of English, she studied journalism and secured a more favorable position with the "Morning Bulletin", a Rockhampton daily paper with a wide circulation. After our mother passed away, Anne sold the home in Rockhampton and went to Brisbane. During World WarII she worked at different occupations, mostly as reporter on daily or weekly papers. These took her to places as far away as Mt.Isa, Sydney, and Melbourne. In 1948 she married Kenneth Scott in Brisbane. He, too, had worked on a variety of newspapers, was a Dr. of Literature, but did not enjoy the best of health.

They sold their home in Brisbane and bought a property on Mt.Nebo outside the city. While on a visit to his native England Kenneth took ill, and died suddenly in London on 3rd Oct. 1948. Anne continued to live on Mt.Nebo for a few years, and eventually returned to Brisbane and bought her present home in Bardon where she has resided for 14 years.

To return to more information about our brothers. During his priestly life Father Jim worked as a curate in Townsville. While quite young he was appointed as P.P. of Cloncurry in 1910. After seven years he was transferred to North Rockhampton. From there he went to Clermont, then Mt.Morgan, and finally to St.Peters parish in Rockhampton. While there in 1952 he received word from the Holy See in Rome that he was to be invested with the title Monsignor. The investiture took place in his Parish Church, St.Peter's in the presence of a large congregation. After labouring for 24 years in his parish he passed peacefully away in the Mater Hospital in the 79th year of his age. R.I.P.

Father Denis' first appointment was as a curate at Mackay. He also served in Cloncurry, Barcaldine, Mount Morgan, Townsville, Marian, Blackall and N.Rockhampton. Owing to a heart condition he retired from parish work in 1950 but continued to work for God as Chaplain at the Rockhampton Mater Hospital where he passed peacefully away on 13th October 1953 then aged 64 years. R.I.P.

Coming now to a few lines about the other two daughters of Patrick and Clara. Sister M.Evangelist (Clara) now 691/2 years in religion, entered the Presentation Congregation in March 1913, was invested in the habit in Oct. 1913, and finally professed in Jan. 1916.

Sr.Angela (Norah) now 671/2 yrs in religion entered the Presentation Congregation in May 1915. On the same day, 17th Jan 1916 that she received the habit Sr.M.Evangelist was professed. The double ceremony took place in St.Brigid's Church in Longreach. Present on that memorable occasion were all members of the family except Father Denis who was unable to get a replacement when stationed at Mackay, which was over 600 miles from Longreach. Bishop Joseph Shiel of Rockhampton was the officiating Prelate at the ceremony, and those assisting in the Sanctuary were Fathers James Murtagh, Patrick Healy, and Julien Ploermel. Sr.Angela was professed at Yeppoon in 1918.

During their active years Srs Evangelist and Angela have been stationed in many Convents and taught in many schools including Longreach, Emerald, Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Herston, Clayfield, Northgate, Wondai, Pomona, Isisford and Monto. They also served as Superiors in most of the above-mentioned Convents. Both are now octogenarians and living in a very well-equipped Retirement Home ("Nagle House") in Manly overlooking Moreton Bay, and receiving every care and consideration from a kind, patient Superior - Sister Teresa Geraghty - and from our Congregation in general. We thank God every day for His many graces and favours over a long period of time.

Now for some information about Francis Michael Murtagh, the 5th member who left Sligo when quite a young man and worked in England. There he met and married Mary Rouse. With hundreds of other men he was eventually conscripted, and became a member of the British Army, but was not engaged in any war. After he was released from the Army and while still in England his eldest child Lawrence was born.

At the end of 1882 Frank and his wife and child boarded the steamship "The Duke of Buckingham", and with three other Murtagh brothers landed in Q'land in Jan.1883. He was not long in the country when he secured a job with the Moreton Sugar Mill Company in Nambour. He also acquired a good farming property called "Highworth" on the outskirts of the town. Frank built his own home on a commanding rise overlooking the town cutting the timber for it from the surrounding hills. Frank and Mary were blessed with four sons and one daughter. Larry (or Lawrence) the eldest, Jack, Denis, Frank and Eva.

Larry married Teresa Jones (Trixie) and they reared six sons named Laurie, Alex, Frank, Vincent, Bill and Hubert. All these married and reared families, but only two of Larry's sons are now living, namely Frank and Bill. Larry and Trixie were well over 80 when they passed away, but four of their sons were much younger.

Jack married Venie Firth, and had no children when he enlisted in World War I and was killed in action in France.

Denis, the third son of Frank & Mary, married Mary Slattery and they reared two sons and three daughters. Denis & Mary lived in Nambour, but retired to Toowoomba and died there in recent years. Their sons Ray and Jack and daughters Molly, Enid & Shirley are still living in distant places.

The fourth son of Frank & Mary was Frank who married Nora Scanlan. They lived most of their married life in Brisbane but were not blessed with children. Frank died many years ago, but Nora, now aged 92 is still residing in Brisbane.

Eva married Harold Townsend and had one son called Scott. He and wife Mary have two sons and two daughters. Eva & Harold passed away in Brisbane a few years ago.

Returning to more information regarding the original Frank of Highworth. He lost Mary (when his five children were reared and in homes of their own) and married a widow named Trixie who had a small daughter called Myrtle. Frank and Trixie had twin sons named Patrick and Michael Charles. The latter, married to Enid, (has one son and three daughters) and is the sole survivor of all the Highworth Murtaghs. Their son Graham, and daughters Lorraine, Margaret & Kathleen are all married.

Frank (Senior) of Highworth died in 1925 when his twin sons were still under school age. His second wife Trixie died in Brisbane (while residing with Myrtle) about 1976. R.I.P.

All the Murtagh properties and homes, in and around Nambour, are now in other hands.

The next Murtagh to be recorded was James, the fifth son, who migrated to Q'land with his three brothers Pat Frank and Denis, arriving on the "Duke of Buckingham" at Rockhampton in January 1883.

He too, spent his first years in Queensland taking any kind of work that offered. One job was with the Construction gang on the railway line between Emerald and Barcaldine (1885-1890).

Jim was about ten years in Q'land before he married a Norwegian lady named Christina Anderson. They had two sons - Denis and James - and one daughter Mary (May). For a few years their home was at Anakie, a small town on the Gemfields, which was close to Jim's work on the new railway line.

Before the children were reared Jim and family had made their home on "Copper Hill" which Jim had won in a ballot. It was a good property and situated close to Nambour, and was their home for over thirty years.

The boys, Denis and James completed their education at Nudgee College, Brisbane, while May boarded for some years with the Sisters of Mercy at Sandgate. All three eventually married, Denis to Ruth Beatty, a teacher; Jim to Mellani Scouall; and May to Jim Hilton, a postal official, who later became Post Master and stationed at various places in Queensland. The Hiltons were blessed with a family of four boys and two girls named Joseph, John, James and Clement, Cecilia and Agnes (known as Terry). All six are married and have families. Their grandparents, Jim and Christina Murtagh were octogenarians when they passed away during World WarII. May's husband, Jim Hilton died in August 1971. Her brother Jim & wife Mellani died some years before. Denis and Ruth (octogenarians now) are living in a Retirement home in Nambour. They reared 3 sons - Colin, Neville and Ray.

The youngest Murtagh to migrate to Q'land was Denis Laurence who landed with his older brothers in January 1883. Being only 15 yrs of age he left the old home in Sligo without permission from his parents. Instead of farewelling his brothers at Dublin he joined them, and sailed in "The Duke of Buckingham" in Nov.1882.

Like his brother James, Denis spent his first years in the Central district of Q'land, accepting any kind of manual work that was offering. One was at "Gainsford" with his brother Pat when he replaced the shingle roof of the house with a new one, cutting the timber from trees in the district, using only primitive tools.

Later Denis had moved to Brisbane, was married to a Goulburn lady named Sarah Beck, who had been educated in her home town by the Sisters of Mercy. He opened a good business (Tobacconist & Barber's Shop) in Brunswick St Brisbane, and settled there.

Denis and Sarah had six children named Jack, Kathleen (who died while still a child) Doreen, Bob, Eileen, and Denis Lawrence. Many years later Denis opened a similar business, & paper shop in Nambour. Later this was sold and he commenced a good grocery business in Maroochydore, and was ably assisted by his good wife and daughter Eileen. They continued to live in Maroochydore until their deaths. Denis died in Aug.1939, and Sarah in April 1940. Since then all their children have passed away. Jack, the oldest married and left two sons Neil and Brian Murtagh and two daughters Hazel and Una. Doreen married Joseph Nemeth and after living in a few country towns, or on properties, eventually retired to Birkdale where their daughter Eileen & husband Ray had built them a unit on to their own home.

Bob, the fourth child married and was seldom seen in Q'land. He lived, worked & died in India, leaving a wife and daughter Patricia who lived in N.Zealand for a time and eventually settled in Sydney.

Eileen was the fourth child of Denis and Sarah. She married a Mr Evans, and they had only one son who was about twelve when Eileen died. Have heard nothing of husband or son since she passed away.

When writing about Doreen and husband Joe Nemeth I neglected to say they reared a family of six sons and two daughters named John, Peter, Bob, Denis, Brian and Noel, Josephine and Eileen. All are married and living mostly in and around Brisbane. John was killed in an accident some years ago. The families of these eight are nearly all reared.

Doreen and Joe passed away in their early eighties. Both died in the same year (1979). Their Requiem Masses were held at the Catholic Church in Salisbury, and they were buried in Mt.Gravatt Cemetery.

The sixth and youngest child of Denis and Sarah was also called Denis Laurence (named after his father and grandfather). During World War II he married Miss Maud Parker. They had two sons and one daughter, named Grant (who was killed in a road accident) Mark and Denise. The two later are married and have a son and a daughter each.

When Denis was married to Maud he had a thriving business at Sandgate and lived there for many years. They retired from Sandgate and bought a home close to the beach at Caloundra. Denis had suffered from asthma and a heart condition so his death was not unexpected when it came early this year. He was the last member of that family, and was aged 70 years. His wife is still living in their lovely home in Caloundra and is often visited by Mark, Denise and their families.

Now for a little information concerning the three Murtaghs who remained in Ireland. Catherine the fourth member, married Patrick Henry, and I think settled near the old home called "Lislea". They reared a large family. I think five sons - Patrick, James, Tom, Walter and Mick, and three daughters - Maria Bridget and Ellen. Most of them married and live in U.S.A. All have now passed away (R.I.P.) but their descendants would be found in, or around Boston and Philadelphia.

Mary (known as Maria) was the sixth member of the "Lislea" Murtaghs. She entered the Order of the Sisters of Charity as Sr.M.Eusebius, and spent all the early years of her religious life in their Convent in Cork. Probably the last twenty years of her life were spent assisting the blind inmates of a Home for the blind, in Merrion which is a town near Dublin. She died in Dec.1943, after living an exemplary & holy life of over 60 years for God.

Matthew, the youngest of nine remained in Sligo and minded his parents (Denis & Mary) in their old age. He and his wife Bridget reared a family of three sons and six daughters, and acquired the farm & home after the parents' death. The children were named Maree, Denis, Catherine (Katie), Patrick, Bridget (Bea), James, Agnes, Ellen (Nellie) and Nora (Noreen)

After reaching adulthood Maree (married name Costello) Denis (married twice) and Patrick all migrated to the U.S.A. Bridget (Bea) entered the Marist Order of Nuns taking the name of Sister Imelda. Catherine (Katie) worked for a while in Dublin and then came to Australia with about fifty other young girls who entered with the Sisters of St.Joseph in Sydney in Jan.1926. Agnes & Nellie followed and entered the same Order in Jan.1935. All are now in Convents in Melb. Vic. Nora (Noreen) married Jim Mannion & went to live on a farm in Tipperary and reared Mary, Bridget, Gerard, Seamus, Matthew and Brian.

Nagle House,
28 Oceana Terrace,
Manly, 4179.
29th Oct.1982

Dear Yvonne,

Have just completed the twentieth page of some history of the Murtagh clan, and trust I have given you all the information you require. Am afraid I wouldn't undertake such a task again, but seeing you were so kind as to write from overseas, and then for the happiness of a visit from you three dear ones, how could I begrudge a few hours pen driving to comply with your request??

Where I have erred, or omitted, any of the Jack Murtagh history your own dear mother will be ready to fill in the discrepancy. I've attempted to relate something of the original members (the nine reared in "Lislea" Sligo) and their children but the grand and great-grand children would need immense researching which is beyond me at this age.

After you left Manly, my dear Yvonne and Fred, I spoke to our sister, Anne Scott, on the phone, and she was eager to contact you. Thinking you were leaving on Friday she phoned Elsie's home early on Thursday only to find you had left Brisbane that very morning. I do hope you had a safe and happy trip back to Sydney, and found all members of the family in good form. We hope to see you all up here again in our lifetime, please God.

1st Nov.1982

P.S. You will notice Page 4 (concerning the D'Arcy family) is not quite complete. Please fill in any vacant spots, and forgive the writer for omissions or mistakes.

Fond love to all. and may God's love and peace remain always with you.


I must have a phone chat with Elsie and see what news she has for us. I have not been in touch with May Hilton either. A letter from Victoria tells us that the three Sisters and their two nieces (both teachers) are all well. I still pray that Grant will retain the sight he now possesses. Lots of love from Sr.Angela & self.