William Cree McNeilly “Billy” was born near Goulburn in 1887 to Sarah Jane (nee Cree) and Hugh McNeilly. William had three sisters: Mary Alice b1885 d1940; Annie Maude b1889 d1953; and Katherine I b1892 d1961. He married Catherine Agnes Cahill “Agnes” in Sydney during 1912. Catherine Agnes Cahill was born 11 November 1879 in Durras Lake, NSW to Elizabeth Mary (nee Hickey) and John William Cahill. Durras Lake is north of Bateman’s Bay on the south coast of NSW. Catherine, or Agnes as she was known had two older brothers, Richard James b1876 d1915 and William John b1878 d1954. When she was turning three, in 1882, her younger brother Patrick Bede arrived and two years later another brother, John arrived, sadly dying that same year, 1884. Agnes probably had little recollection of this brother, but another was to arrive in 1886 whom was also named John. This time Agnes would have been turning seven and would certainly recall her baby brother although he would only survive until 1887.
Billy and Agnes lived in Sydney at least until 1915 but moved to Queensland prior to the birth of the girls. In 1913 the couple were residing at 126 Bridge Street, Glebe.
They were living in Mareeba in 1917, Malanda in 1919 and 1925 when Billy’s occupation was listed as ‘teamster’. in 1929 the family were living in Cairns when Billy died from cancer at the young age of forty one. He is buried in the Cairns Martyn Street Cemetery.
Agnes and Billy had four children:
- William John Cree McNeilly was born on 12 July 1913 but sadly only survived until 27 November 1913.
- Patrick Cree McNeilly was born 13 January 1915 in Sydney. He married Alison Betty Reiman and the couple had one son before Alison’s death on 19 May 1958. The couple’s son was then raised by his sister Josie. Patrick died 22 November 1974.
- Kathleen Mary “Molly” was born 2 December 1917 in Mareeba. She married Cecil Andrew Percy Keller.
- Elizabeth Josephine “Josie” was born at Malanda on 18 March 1919. She married Robert Valentine Cannon.
After Billy’s death, Agnes was left to raise the three children on her own. Patrick would have been 14, Molly 12 and Josie 10. The family remained in Cairns with Agnes running a boarding house. By 1954 Agnes was living at 55 Queen Street, Grafton. She died on 18 January 1961 and is buried in the cemetery located in Villiers Street in Grafton; sadly her grave bears no markings.