Ann (nee Perry) and Hugh McNeilly (g-g-g-grandparents)

Born in County of Down, Ireland, Hugh McNeilly was most likely baptised in Killinchy on 24 August 1826.  His immigration document indicates his parents were John and Jane Davis (an assumption is made that Davis is Jane’s maiden name and not another unusual family circumstance).  If this information is correct he likely had the following siblings: Robert b 1822; John b1823; Thomas b1827; John b1829; Robert b1832; and Eliza Jane b1834.  The immigration document indicates he was born in Killala county Down however Killala is located in the county Mayo.  Errors often occur in early documents due to the information being provided verbally.  At the moment, I tend to think his birth location was actually Killyleagh.

Hugh married Ann Perry in Newtownards, Ireland on 8 December 1849.  The spelling of his surname on that record was McNeely, while the immigration document records it as McNiel.  Despite this inconsistency, Hugh was recorded as being able to both read and write, while Ann was able to read.  Ann was born about 1827 in Bangor, County Down to Jane & Hugh Perry.

The couples first child was named William and was born in Ireland shortly after their marriage.  It must have been such a bitter-sweet time for the young family, as this was right in the middle of what we know as the Irish Potato Famine and I would imagine this was a contributing factor in their decision to emigrate to Australia.  Their immigration documents show they had no family in Australia, so their leaving was possibly preceded by an Australian version of the American Wake.  This was the party held before their departure when they all knew there was little chance they would ever see their family and friends again.  The journey in 1852 aboard the Irene started with great hope but became a journey filled with tragedy.  During the voyage thirty four people died, mainly due to an outbreak of measles, with one of the deaths being the couple’s two year old son William.  Ann was expecting the couple’s second child when they left Ireland, and, when their son was born on the voyage they named him William.  

Irene measles

Hugh found work with  on Chatsbury, a property owned by Sir Charles Cowper who became the second premier of New South Wales.  Hugh eventually went on to lease his own farm on Macarthurs’ Richlands Estate, also in the Taralga area.  Hugh and Ann had the following children:

  1. William b1849 d1852 Died on board the Irene and was most likely buried at sea.
  2. William b1852  Born during the voyage and mentioned as deceased in his mother’s obituary in 1916.
  3. Alice J b1854 married Hugh White and mentioned as deceased in her mother’s obituary in 1916.
  4. Mary b1855 married John Ross and had two daughters and a son; Cloudy, Jennie & John.  I am not sure of their birth dates or real names. Mary died 20 February 1940.
  5. Hugh b1857 married Sarah Jane Cree and had four children: Mary Alice b1885; William Cree b 1887; Annie Maude b1889; and Katherine I b1892.  Hugh died 10 July 1925.
  6. Alexander b1859 and died in 1940
  7. Annie b1861 married James Cameron and had five children: Arthur J S b1888; Donald Victor b1890; Arthur James b1891; Marion E b1894; and Annie Elizabeth b1899.  Annie died in 1938.
  8. Robert b1894 He was still alive at the time of his mother’s death in 1916.
  9. Elizabeth b1868 married Alexander McKenzie and had five children: Lillian EA b1890; Alice Pearl b1893; John H b1894; George A b1896; and Florence May b1905.

Hugh died 22 December 1900 after a long illness.  He was described as “..a most upright and straightforward man,…greatly respected throughout the district.”  Ann (nee Perry) died at her daughter’s home on 3 July 1916.



This list is incomplete but I will update it as I find more records.

Sir Edward Paget – arrived 14 Feb 1842

Patrick Cronin, from Dromcolliher, Ireland
Catherine (nee Sullivan) Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
James Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Elizabeth Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Mary Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
John Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Johanna Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Sydney/Daniel Cronin, born on the journey, recorded as Sydney later recorded as Daniel

‘Irene’ – arrived 16 October 1852

Hugh McNeilly, from (Killala) ?Killyleagh, county Down, Ireland
Ann (nee Perry) McNeilly, from Bangor, county Down, Ireland

‘Malvina Vidal’ – arrived 20 June 1853

Eliza Kershaw, from Tipperary, Ireland

‘Phoebe Dunbar’ – arrived 25 December 1854
The Phoebe Dunbar was owned by Duncan Dunbar and was a sister ship to Dunbar Castle, Dunbar Castle and the ill-fated Dunbar that was wrecked at the Gap on 20 August 1857.

Lavinia (nee Macklin) Gibb, from Tyrone, Ireland

‘Light of the Age’ – arrived 13 December 1855

Thomasine Eliza (nee Anderson, nee Keller) Underwood, from UK

‘Gipsy Bride’ – arrived 29 April 1860

Herbert Francis Keller, from Dublin, Ireland
Horace Keller, from Dublin, Ireland

‘Clara’ – arrived 22 February 1875

James Richard Harrison Pelling, from Middlesex, England
Emma Louise (nee Grinder) Pelling, from Middlesex, England
Albert Pelling, from Middlesex, England

Sarah Jane (nee Cree) & Hugh McNeilly (g-g-grandparents)

Hugh McNeilly was the second eldest of seven children born to Irish immigrants Anne (nee Perry) and Hugh McNeilly.  His birth was registered at Goulburn in 1857.  On 7 October 1884 he married Sarah Jane Cree.  Sarah was the eldest of three children born to Mary J (nee Cronin) and William Cree who were also Irish immigrants.  Sarah’s birth was also recorded in Goulburn.

Sarah and Hugh had the following children:

  1. Mary Alice b1885.  She married Henry Victor Summers in Glebe in 1916.  I have only found references to two children, Alice and George Francis but do not know any further details.  Mary died in 1940.
  2. William Cree “Billy” b1887, maried Catherine Agnes Cahill in Glebe in 1912.  They had four children: William John Cree b1913 d1913; Patrick Cree b1915 d1974; Kathleen Mary “Molly” b1917 d1990; and Elizabeth Josephine “Josie” b1919 d2009. Billy died from cancer in 1929
  3. Annie Maude b 1889.  Annie married Edwin Henry Waller 10 April 1909.  Annie and Edwin had at least one child, William Cree Waller.  In 1920 Annie petitioned for divorce from Edwin on the grounds of desertion, citing his drinking habits.  After the divorce was granted she married Alfred J Freeman in 1921.  I have been unable to locate records for any other children.  Annie died in 1953.
  4. Katherine Isabelle was born 8 April 1892.  She married John Munro “Jack” Sinclair on 28 July 1920 and they had six children: Colin Hector b1921 d1991; Catherine Helen b1923 d1966; Annie Isabel b1925; Bertha b1927; William John b1931 d1931 and Phillip Baden b 1934.  Katherine or Catherine died in 1961.

On 14 October 1892, just six months after the birth of their youngest daughter Katherine, Sarah died suddenly at the young age of thirty one.  Mary Alice would have been seven, Billy five, Annie three and Katherine still a baby.  Hugh was left to raise four young children on his own which was not destined to work out according to a news report from 1905.  According to the report Sarah Jane did not have a will and thus it would be a number of years before her estate was finalised.  According to this report, Sarah’s death occurred in 1901, however, I’m hoping this is a misprint as she was buried in 1892 in Stone Quarry Cemetery, Taralga.  In 1905, according to the news report, the children were being cared for by their maternal uncle William James Cree who was only eighteen at the time of Sarah’s death.  I can’t imagine he would have taken the children into his care immediately after Sarah’s death as he was only eighteen at that time.  But, it would have been very difficult for Hugh to care for the children on his own and I imagine that Sarah’s mother may have cared for them until William’s marriage to Margaret Quinn in 1900.  This household would have been very busy as William and Margaret’s children arrived regularly: Bertha M b1901 d 1927; Evelyn b1903 d1916; William S b1905; Catherine b1907 d 1907; Alice Ellen b1909;  Ann J b1911; possibly others born after the search date cut off 1913.

It wasn’t until 1915 that the public trustee advertised to sell the land owned by Sarah Jane.

Hugh’s death notice indicated he had been living in Narromine and was brought to the District Hospital (presumably in Dubbo) where he died after a short illness.  Hugh was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Dubbo cemetery.

Catherine Agnes (nee Cahill) and William Cree McNeilly (g-grandparents)

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.

William Cree burial

Agnes and Billy had four children:

  1. William John Cree McNeilly was born on 12 July 1913 but sadly only survived until 27 November 1913.
  2. 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.
  3. Kathleen Mary “Molly” was born 2 December 1917 in Mareeba.  She married Cecil Andrew Percy Keller.
  4. 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.

CAHILL Catherine Agnes McNeilly