Home : Content : CustomSearch : Downloads : Feedback : Forums : gallery : Journal : Members List : Private Messages : Recommend Us : Statistics : Submit News : Surveys : Top : Topics : Web Links : Your Account :
  Welcome Anonymous   [Register]
  Visitors: 69 Members: 0 Total: 69   Overall: 685   Latest  JMWR
World-wide home of McCrohan Genealogy

MacCriomhthainn history - Part 3

Eugene Richard McCrohan aged 18 (The Irish Immigrant)

It was 1854 when Eugene had finished most of his studies in Killarney. On returning home to Valentia he found that most of the families he had grown up with were no longer living on the Island. His father Eugene and mother Bridget had done their best to help the other families on the Island as much as they could during the famine. But the famine had taken its toll on the family and they were now desperate again. Eugene had a number of brothers and sisters and all were now living in hopeless conditions similar to those experienced 50 years earlier. Things had now become so appalling for our family that we could not afford to live on our Island farm anymore. The British government took this opportunity to destroy the poor Islanders by increasing the rent to an all time high so they could force them off the land. It was during this time on Valentia that the British built a large Telecommunication building on the Island. In 1857 the British finished laying the cable from Valentia to the USA. Valentia Island became the location of the first link for all of Europe to the New World.

Forced by the British Government our family were re-located from the Island. Ironically our McCrohan family moved to Reenard, the site of Letter Castle. Things were much worst for our family now. Parents Eugene and Bridget had spent the last of their money on re-locating and sending the second eldest of the family, Thomas, to America. For the eldest son Eugene Richard he did not want to leave Ireland at this stage for he had met a woman named Margaret Carroll who was from Cork. Margaret’s parents were Richard Carroll and Norah Fitzgerald; they were peasant farmers from the neighbouring county of Cork.

Eugene Richard was very fortunate to be able to obtain work as a schoolteacher due to his good education from Mr. Donaghy. With this he was able to obtain employment through the local Cahersiveen parish at the age of 18. Whilst fulfilling this role as a teacher for a number of months he realised that he was still unable to provide enough money to support the entire family. More importantly he really did not have enough room or money to start his own family. News had reached home that Thomas was doing moderately well in Boston and was able to afford to bring another sibling over to Boston. With this in mind Eugene devised a plan. Being the eldest in the family and the most educated he decided that it be best to allow the other younger siblings to use the money sent from Boston to travel to America whilst he found another way to reach the new world.

On the other side of the globe in a place call Victoria, Australia; word had got around that they were having a Gold rush. Irishmen and Irishwomen who had enough money to leave Ireland had set sail to the British Colony. For Eugene and Margaret they were living in desolate conditions, the English had finally destroyed their dream of being able to live in their own country. Eugene and Margaret did not have money and they realised that if they wanted to raise a family the only way their children would survive is by migrating to the New World. They could not afford to migrate to America because most of the money was spent on moving the younger brothers and sisters. But Eugene had a plan on getting himself and Margaret to the New World.

After the Battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland in the time of Queen Victoria. He passed through parliament an Act to establish the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and persuaded the farmers and middle class people to get their sons who had any education to join up or else join the British Army; this was in the late 1850’s. About the year 1854 the Gold Rush broke out in Victoria, Australia and the majority of police in Melbourne threw up their jobs and went off to the Gold Diggings in Ballarat and Bendigo. Melbourne was now left without police protection and so the Victorian Government sent home to the British Government asking for some Police to be sent out to Melbourne. It was advertised that men who joined the RIC would be allowed free passage to Victoria to work as police in the new city.

Eugene decided to join the Royal Irish Constabulary (police) in 1856, this decision may have caused some concern for his family since he was now joining the old enemy. Upon joining the Constabulary as a constable Eugene had to leave the seaside village Reenard and head to the large town of Killarney once again. Life in the constabulary during the 19th century could certainly, on occasions, be difficult. There was periodic agrarian unrest and constant simmering discontent in relation to the land question, particularly in the county of Kerry. Indeed the dominant image of the RIC for many people often stems from its responsibility to give protection to bailiffs executing distress warrants and evicting tenants, an unpleasant duty that was greatly disliked by Eugene and other members of the force (most of whom were themselves from a Catholic rural background).

The RIC was characterised by a strict code of discipline. There was no official system of duty, rest days or annual leave, and in the interests of political impartiality members were even banned from voting at parliamentary elections. There were strict instructions laid down in police regulations concerning standards of conduct and appearance (for example, at one time police were absolutely prohibited from entering a public house socially). Other regulations were principally designed to maintain the standing of the police within the community. Members were forbidden to marry until they had at least seven years service and any potential bride had to be vetted by the constabulary authorities to ensure her social suitability. It was forbidden for policemen and their wives to sell produce, take lodgers or engage in certain forms of trade (for example, wives could be dressmakers but could not employ apprentices).

After a number of months serving in the RIC, Eugene decided to start the formal preceding to get himself and Margaret to Australia. This may have been due to family pressure; most of the Irishmen who served in the Constabulary were seen as anti-Irish of even traitors to their people. So it was no wonder that Eugene was keen to get himself out of the RIC and into the Victoria Police Force on the other side of the world.

In November 1856, Eugene and Margaret left their homeland of Kerry and headed north to County of Limerick. A month later in December 1856 they married in Limerick. This should have been a cheerful time for them but it was quite the opposite. The next 8 weeks became the most depressing and disheartening experience they would ever face. What they went through took its toll upon them and stayed within their memories forever. It would be the last time they would ever see their family and home ever again. The wedding they had may have been small since their families were from the counties of Kerry and Cork in the south. After the wedding, instead of a honeymoon, they headed straight to Dublin, caught the Ferry to Liverpool where they bought a one-way ticket to Melbourne.

The voyage to Australia

Eugene and Margaret aged 21 and 20 respectively, sailed for Australia in the sailing ship "Lightning" that had 393 passengers on board at the time. They set sail from the port of Liverpool on the 5 February 1857. The shipping line they bought their tickets with was the Black Ball Line of British and Australian Clipper Packets. The “Lightning”, was the fastest ship sailing the seas at that time, the length of their voyage would take 2 and a half months on the open seas.

The following is what Eugene may have wrote in his diary:

“Ugh,” I groaned, as the ship lurched violently from side to side. I buried my head in the pillow and wished with all my heart that I were back in County Kerry with my comforting friends and family. In all my life I have never felt so lonely or afraid. Waves crash mercilessly against the sides of the ship, determined to sink it but just as it’s about to topple over and be lost forever, it manages to right itself just in time causing my stomach to do yet another somersault. I had left the port in Liverpool with high hopes of a bright and sunny future in Australia, but after endless nights of tossing and turning in a bunk made for two, but actually holding five, my hopes were beginning to fade.

I had been on the ship for nearly two weeks and already I wished I were back in Ireland, on my seaside farm, which I grew up on. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. My dear wife Maggie is all the family I have left going into the new world, for my other siblings are in Boston. Luckily, she has stayed positive and is lying safely here beside me, snoring gently. It's amazing, but no matter how loud and frightening a thunderstorm there is, she’ll sleep right through it, completely unaware. I, on the other hand spend the night, anxiously anticipating the ceiling to come crashing down on top of me.

If it wasn’t for Maggie’s comforting presence, I don’t think I could have made this terrible journey alone. At night, rats patter over my feet and scurry along the floorboards. Thunder rumbles all around me, the nauseating stench of urine and vomit is forever crowding into my nostrils. Floorboards creak every time the ship sways. Hunger knags mercilessly at my insides until I eventually give in and try to silence it with a moldy piece of oatcake from the rapidly decreasing supply that I brought with me on board. Every day, I pray that what seems to be an eternal nightmare, will be over and I can be happy and free again. I’m not sure what will become of my wife and I when we reach Melbourne, but hopefully I’ll be able to do my work as a policeman for a short time until something better comes up. Eventually I would like to buy my own land and start my own farm.

If I had my own land, I know that I could easily provide for Maggie and I. All the pain and suffering could be put behind us and it would give us a chance to start again and begin a new life. Sometimes, I long to be back in Ireland but when I think of how much death and disease there is, I realised how lucky I am to have escaped. Even though trying to start a new life in Australia will be a long and difficult struggle, I know that if we stayed in Ireland, trying to recover from such a devastating blow of the famine would be an even harder path to follow and with such a risk of catching the fever, I know that I’ve made the right decision.

Life on the ship is so monotonous I feel like I’m living the same day over and over again. I wake up from a restless sleep, to find that absolutely nothing has changed and the nightmare continues. I gratefully accept a bowl of watery porridge and sit down with the rest of the weak and forlorn looking passengers that aren’t too sick to eat. Once breakfast is over there is nothing to do except talk about happy memories in the distant past or hopes for the nearing future. Occasionally, we have a game of cards, which normally helps me to forget the misery of the present. We do get one hot meal a day, which is normally a watery stew. The water is stale as it is kept in barrels since there is no fresh supply. After this meal there is nothing much to do but sometimes if there is anyone who can play some music, we generally would listen gratefully to them. But during nail-biting thunderstorms like these, there is no laughter or talk as everyone is anticipating death. Since there are no toilets on board the sickly smell of excretion hangs in the air mixing with equally disgusting smells of rot and decay. The thought that it will soon be over and I will at last be free from such dark and miserable times always gives me strength and I know that I can endure this time for as long as it takes because I have such a comforting hope.

The arrival: Melbourne 17th April 1857

After 71 days sailing, Eugene and Margaret finally made it to the Gold Rush city of Melbourne. As the new Irish emigrants stepped onto the landing of Queens Wharf, facing them now was nothing they had ever expected. Melbourne to them was amazing. Here in the Southern Hemisphere was a city larger than most European capitals. There was one major problem though and that was the smell. Melbourne had as much stench as style.

Scraps, slops, urine and faeces flowed through the streets in open gutters. Diseases such as diphtheria and typhoid flourished. Between the years 1851 to 1861, Victoria’s population had increased seven fold from 77,000 to 540,300. Most of the new arrivals chased a single dream — gold. Lodging houses and hotels were packed to bursting point. Makeshift houses of iron, timber and canvas sprang up on the city's edge. Gold brought both progress and problems. Sudden wealth transformed a small port town into a frantic world centre. The wharves were constantly jammed with shipping, cargo and migrants disembarking.

On arriving in Melbourne, April 1857, the rural life Eugene and Margaret had once lived would never be experienced again. All their troubles in the old world were now behind them. Or so they thought. As they entered the Customs House alongside Queens Wharf to record their arrival in Melbourne, they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of other immigrant families. Being a young Irish couple from a rural background they soon found themselves caught up in the troubles of the old world. Being Irish within a country ruled by the British Empire, they would soon find that establishing a new life would be harder than first expected. Without their knowledge, the Customs House officially recorded Eugene and Margaret as both being unmarried, both female, with occupations of Spinsters, their ages were incorrect, and to cap it off they were recorded as being English immigrants. This kind of act was quite common by the Customs officials towards couples like Eugene and Margaret, for they were young peasant Catholic Irish, the bottom of the social ladder.

Making their way around the streets of gold rush Melbourne was no easy matter. Rains turned dirt roads into knee-deep mud. Main streets became raging rivers. Pedestrians and animals actually drowned. During one storm, a bloke named William Kelly watched from the Post Office steps, in the city centre, as a hapless horse floated down Elizabeth Street. In summer, hot winds whipped up dust storms. People tied veils around their heads to protect their eyes and nostrils. Water carts dampened the streets to keep down the dust. Even in good weather there were dangers. Deep potholes claimed many victims. There was also the constant risk of being trampled by galloping horses. Nevertheless there were improvements, such as gas street lighting, introduced in 1857. Many hoped the lighting would make the city safe after dark and prevent the congregation of 'bad characters'

Eugene and Margaret finally found accommodations and settled down for the night, for the following day would be their first full day in the New World. Although Eugene had a job lined up with the Victoria Police Force, he still had to wait 3 months before his enlistment. During this time the two of them had to find work wherever they could. With a population primarily of British descent they did find anti-Irish prejudice throughout Melbourne and as a result found it quite difficult to obtain work. The couple found themselves unprepared for the industrialized city of Melbourne. Although Eugene and Maggie were not the poorest in Ireland (the poorest were unable to raise the required sum for steerage passage on a ship to the new World), by Australian standards they were destitute.

They joined the other Irish immigrants in Melbourne in hope of finding food and shelter. Most of the Irish immigrants were often crowded into subdivided homes intended for single families, living in tiny, cramped spaces. Most of the poor were forced North of the city within the suburbs of Fitzroy, Carlton and North Melbourne. Cellars, attics and make-do spaces in alleys became home. Not only were many immigrants unable to afford better housing, but also the mud huts in which many had lived in Ireland had lowered their expectations.

A lack of adequate sewage and running water in Melbourne made cleanliness next to impossible. Disease of all kinds resulted from these miserable living conditions. Thus, when the Irish families moved into neighborhoods, other families often moved out fearing the real or imagined dangers of disease, fire hazards, unsanitary conditions and the social problems of violence, alcoholism and crime.

There was an increase in hatred toward Irish immigrants from English Australians because of their poor living conditions, and their willingness to work for low wages was often exacerbated by religious conflict. Centuries of tension between Protestants and Catholics found their way into Victoria and verbal attacks often led to mob violence.

“No Irish Need Apply”

With the arrival of the new immigrants to Melbourne, it was the Irish that experienced immense racial tension. Up until the 1860's, most British immigrants and Convicts that eventually settled in Melbourne were members of the Protestant middle class. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to 80,000 uneducated, Catholic Irish began to pour into Victoria to escape starvation. Despised for their religious beliefs and funny accents by the Victorian Protestant majority, the immigrants had trouble finding even menial jobs. Many positions advertised in the local newspapers were labeled with NINA (No Irish need apply). In the mid 1850’s when Irish Australians in Melbourne took to the streets on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate their heritage, newspapers portrayed them in cartoons as drunk, violent monkeys.

For many years the Orange Society in Melbourne assumed at first a very aggressive and deliberately offensive attitude toward the new Irish Australians. Collisions between the insulted Catholics and the overbearing Orangemen were not unknown; and at one Twelfth-of-July demonstration (12th July being the anniversary the Protestants celebrate the Victory over the Irish at the crossing the Boyne), serious rioting was the result of a premeditated display of Orange banners and emblems from the upstairs windows of the Orange Society Headquarters, in which the disciples of King William were toasting the " pious and immortal memory." Impulsive Irishmen indignantly heard the news, and hurrying to the scene from all quarters, surrounded the building, and succeeded in forcing ad­mission. In the meantime Father Geoghegan had been in­formed of the disturbance, and, dashing into the building, he en­deavoured to separate the combatants, who were by this time fighting in close quarters. One scoundrel deliberately fired at the heroic priest. Providentially, he missed his aim, but the bullet struck and wounded Irishman David Hurley.

Eventually the military put in an appearance; the com­batants were separated, and the Orange leaders arrested. The Catholics withdrew to the north of the city, and the Orangemen to the south. Martial law was proclaimed, and the military encamped for the night in the heart of Melbourne, midway between the two forces. Fortunately, the influence of Father Greoghegan prevailed, and the exasperated Irish Catholics were induced to return to their homes in the north of the city.

Being a McCrohan in Australia today, it is not unusual to have limited Irish culture, knowledge or even pride. Before we came to Australia the McCrohans were fighting for their existence on their own home soil. After 800 years of this suppression, our name amazingly lived on through many wars and sacrifices. Our family did not come to Australia because it had nice weather; they came here because they were forced to. The British Empire had brought war and terror to Ireland; the British Empire also brought war and terror to other countries such as Africa, West Indies, and Indigenous Australia.

Eugene and Margaret wanted to live in a world where they could raise a family in peace. They wanted a life where they could be free of any foreign forces controlling their world. Together they took a chance and decided to use their free travel granted through the RIC and Victoria Police. This was a very hard decision for Eugene because it meant he had to fulfill compulsory service as a policeman for the Royal Crown as part of re-payments for the travel. Eugene and Margaret had no choice; they left British ruled Ireland for a future of freedom. Unknown to them, Australia was the least likely place for them to find freedom as Irish. Only a few years before they arrived in Melbourne, in the Victorian town of Ballarat, the Eureka Stockade took place. During the proceeding four years the diggers (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, English, American, Italian and Chinese) had suffered injustice, indignities, violence and intolerance from the British Crown. In defiance and defence the diggers built a stockade, they turned their backs to the Union Jack and swore allegiance to the South Cross. On the dawn of 3rd December 1854, the British colonial troopers attacked the diggers at the stockade. Some diggers had guns, but many were unarmed; some twenty of them were killed after the attack.

One of the constant refrains of those who continue to nurture the same concepts of the authority enjoyed by the Queen’s representatives in 1854 is that, in telling the story of Eureka in word or symbol, it is necessary to be ‘fair to both sides’. They seem to regard the event as a kind of cricket game played under wholesome British rules in which one side won and demanded that the other gracefully bear defeat. In its stark reality Eureka was no game, but a bloodied drama of the human spirit played out on a battlefield where not even the rules of war were observed. Thankfully, relatively few men died on that battlefield in the line of duty. For each of that few, ten others died because they stood fast to the rights and dignity possessed by every human being. Their deaths and the symbol under which they died, the South Cross, now belong to the consciousness of the nation. They rest in the keeping of the Australian people whose democracy began on the field called Eureka

Although in Australia Eugene and Margaret did not have to fight for their lives anymore, their children and grand children were the ones who had to face the greatest test. What they had to fight for is the survival of their culture, language, religion and social status under a British ruled society. The members of our family that were left behind in Ireland, they were fully aware that this would become our family’s challenge in an English dominated world.

The following may give you a bit of an understanding of how our Irish family was viewed by the English:

The Irish have not always been treated as equals within society, especially in Australia. Unlike their American cousins, the Irish that immigrated to Australia have had the conditions of the Monarchy and English Crown shaping their destiny. With this Commonwealth system in which we live, plus being a minority that is not always favored by a majority, it has lead to a far greater deterioration of Irish Culture in Aussie society when compared to our cousins in the US. Some examples of the Irish struggles are the Rebellion at Castle Hill, Eureka Stockade and Ned Kelly, all have been quashed by the Crown.

About the time Eugene and Margaret arrived in Australia, racism towards Irish was reaching a peak. In the British view of the world, the Irish occupied a position way below themselves, but just above the Africans. The two were often compared, as in these verses from the British magazine Punch in 1848:

"Six-foot Paddy, are you no bigger –

You whom cozening friars dish –

Mentally, than the poorest nigger

Grovelling before fetish?

You to Sambo I compare

Under superstition's rule

Prostrate like an abject fool."

In the 1860s, the debate among scientists about the relationship of humans to animals prompted British to make frequent comparisons between Irish people, Black people and apes.

In 1860 the first live adult gorilla arrived at the London Zoo just after Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species had been published. Englishmen flocked to see it and debate the relationship of humans to animals. In 1862 the British magazine Punch published "The Missing Link" a satire attacking Irish immigrants: "A gulf certainly, does appear to yawn between the Gorilla and the Negro. The woods and wilds of Africa do not exhibit an example of any intermediate animal. But in this, as in many other cases, philosophers go vainly searching abroad for that which they could readily find if they sought for it at home. A creature manifestly between the Gorilla and the Negro is to be met with in some of the lowest districts of London and Liverpool by adventurous explorers. It comes from Ireland, whence it has contrived to migrate; it belongs in fact to a tribe of Irish savages: the lowest species of Irish Yahoo. When conversing with its kind it talks a sort of gibberish. It is, moreover, a climbing animal, and may sometimes be seen ascending a ladder with a load of bricks."

Anthropologists went around measuring peoples skulls, and assigning them to different "races" on the basis of such factors as how far their jaws protruded. Irish (Celts) and others were said to have more "primitive" features than English (Anglo-Saxons).

Because of these and other factors affecting Australians of Irish heritage, if they were to survive in the New World, they would have to assimilate into a British type of culture and society. If you have ever wondered why there are many derogatory jokes about Irishmen then you can thank the creative minds of the British for that humor.

A 150 years after leaving Ireland, the McCrohans here in Australia, in recent times, would probably hold the least amount of Irish culture and customs when compared to those that immigrated to America, England, Scotland and Canada. The main reason for this is due to the distance we are from Ireland and the fact that the majority of the people we live and work around hold greater value towards Aussie-English based society. To this very day most Australians want to remain a part of the English Monarchy and they want to have England’s Queen as our Head-of-State. Living amongst a majority holding these values has been a major reason for the deterioration of our Irish identity. Our family over the years has had to continue to develop more like English modeled Australians if they were to fit in with the majority. Even in recent time with the Greeks, Italian, and Vietnamese immigrants, they to received a great amount of racial abuse simply because they did not blend into this Australian society. Even the way indigenous Australians have been treated it makes you wonder whether we really are “Young and Free”? Before ‘Advance Australia Fair’ became our national anthem, ‘God save the Queen/King’, was our Australian anthem for over 150 years. What kind of Australian pride would this bring to all the other non-English cultures in Australia? Especially the Irish…?

Eugene and Margaret McCrohan and their 13 children

After 3 months in Melbourne, Eugene joined the Victorian Police Force on the 30th of July 1857, his register No. 856. He was the assistant Lock-up Keeper at the Police station next door to the Melbourne Town Hall. This was the Head Office in Melbourne at the time and it was not long before he became the Sergeant in charge in 1869. This is where they lived for the first 8 years in Melbourne, some of their children were born here, the address is Little Collins St. East-South side between Swanston St & Sleight Lane. The building is no longer there today but the Town Hall still stands.

Eugene was not the only one from his family to come out to Australia. There were three other cousins that came out a couple of years later. The first cousins to come out were Father Moran, who became the parish priest of Tamworth and later Monsignor of NSW. The second cousin was Dr Riordan; he brought all of the 13 McCrohan children into the world including most of their children too. He later married a nurse at St.Vincents. The third cousin did not like Australia and soon returned home to Ireland. Eugene was the only member of his immediate family who migrated to Australia; all the other siblings who did migrate went to Boston, Massachusetts USA. Our family kept in constant contact with family back home in Ireland for many years afterwards, with our last recorded visit back to Ireland to visit family in County Kerry in the 1930’s.

After serving for nearly 18 years as a Policeman, Eugene was dismissed from the Police Force by the Chief Commissioner of Police on the 17th of March 1875, for inappropriate behaviour. He was drunk on duty during St.Patrick’s day celebrations. It was mentioned that Eugene had a drinking problem ever since he left Ireland and it subsequently lasted for many years after. It is well known that Alcohol has been a major problem with many Irish all over the world and this is no exception for the McCrohan family. If there were one Irish custom in our family that has been passed down from generation to generation it would have to be this!

Munster Arms Hotel 1875

Later Eugene became the Publican of a new hotel he named the “Munster Arms Hotel” in Canning Street, North Carlton. Eugene named the Hotel “Munster”, after the province in Ireland in which he and his family came from. During this time between 1874 to 1880 there was a very famous Irish Australian Bushranger going around Victoria. His name was Ned Kelly and his family also originated from Munster. Ned Kelly to our family would have been a hero, as he was to most Irish Australians. He was brave enough to make a stand against the Crown and in turn was hung at the old Melbourne Gaol in 1880.

The Munster Arms Hotel was located in the Irish ghetto of North Carlton. The exact address of the Hotel in 1875 was corner of Canning Street and Reilly Street, eastside North Carlton. During this time, Carlton had many additional problems besides the Irish slums. Reilly Street was also an open drain (today it is called Alexandra Parade and Princes Parade).

The drain was from the very beginning a total failure. It was originally built to drain the Collingwood flats to enable people to live there. However it quickly became polluted and in winter it had a tendency to overflow into the road. Even so it was later extended as far as the Munster Arms Hotel in North Carlton, bringing with it an ever-increasing flow of garbage, pollution and consequent anxiety to the residents.

There were also problems associated with the drainage in the Melbourne Cemetery. It was alleged that water was being drained from the vaults and into the Reilly Street drain. This would have caused Eugene McCrohan and the Carlton residents some concern as in the early days of the colony, cemeteries were highly unsanitary places especially where graves were not very deep and were used for mass burials.

In the 1880’s the Munster Arms Hotel was bought out and refurbished and renovated. It was then renamed the “Daniel O’Connell Hotel”, or “The Dan”. You may remember that Daniel O’Connell is the Liberator; he is also a very distant relative of the McCrohan Clan. The Daniel O’Connell Hotel is still running today and the current Publican is from County Kerry.

After the Munster Arms Hotel, Eugene managed a few more Hotels and also worked as a clerk in the city. Like most Irish Catholic families at the time, they had many children, in fact Margaret gave birth to 13 children (six boys and seven girls). Margaret whilst very busy with the children, also provided an income for the family as a dressmaker, she passed on her skills to her daughters. For more than 27 years, (1878 to 1905), Eugene, Margaret and a few of the young kids lived at a very large group of Terraces at 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy. During the 1890’s Eugene began building his own home for the McCrohan family. During the 1890’s Melbourne’s economy started a decline and we experienced our first Depression. As a result of the Depression in Melbourne it took almost ten years for Eugene to have his house built. When it was completed Eugene named it “Valentia”, after the place of his birth in Ireland. The house is a huge two-story Terrace at 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy. The house is still standing today and the name “Valentia” on the head stone is clearly readable from the road below.

The following is a copy of the birth certificate of Thomas John McCrohan (7th child born). He is my Great Great Grandfather.

Birth certificate details of Thomas John McCrohan, the 7th child to Eugene and Margaret.





BORN; First JUNE 1869 at the Police Office, Swanston Street, Melbourne


NAME: Eugene McCrohan , Police Constable, 33, male, Co.Kerry, Ireland.

WHEN & WHERE MARRIED: 1856, Limerick, Ireland

NAME of MOTHER: Margaret McCrohan, formerly Carroll, 31, Co.Cork

CHILDREN: Richard Eugene age 10

Bridget Cecilia age 8

Honora age 7

Mary Ann age 5

Eugene age 4

William age 21 months

Celtic Cross on Valentia Island Co.Kerry

The following is the list of the 13 Children. Please note that Phillip McCrohan (12th Child) born on the 16 June 1877, died aged 14 days on the 30th June 1877, from Inflammation of the Bowels.

Richard Eugene McCrohan; Born on 1 October 1858 - Emerald Hill, Vic

Married on 22 March 1884 in Fitzroy to Emma Mary Pritchard, 12 Children to Richard and Emma McCrohan

Bridget Cecilia McCrohan; Born 1861, Melbourne

Married 1881 to Paul Anthony McAnulty, 9 Children to Bridget and Paul McAnulty

Honora McCrohan; Born 1862 Melbourne

Married 28 November 1906 to John Hardy, No Family

Mary Ann McCrohan; Born 1864 Melbourne

Married 29 January 1922 to John Francis Lewin, No Family

Eugene McCrohan; Born 1865 Melbourne

Married 1887 to Elizabeth Summersford, 6 Children Eugene and Elizabeth McCrohan

William McCrohan; Born 1868 South Melbourne

Married 1899 to Henrietta Bentley, 4 Children to William and Henrietta McCrohan

Thomas John McCrohan; Born 1 June 1869 Melbourne, Vic

Married St. Josephs, Collingwood 5 June 1893 to Lilian Shelmerdine, 7 Children to Thomas and Lilian McCrohan

Margaret McCrohan; Born in 1871 - Melbourne, Vic. Dressmaker, Spinster

Redmond George McCrohan; Born 1872 Melbourne, Vic

Married 1901 to Mary Ann Ryan, One daughter to Redmond and Mary McCrohan

Catherine Lucy McCrohan; Born 1874 South Melbourne, Dressmaker, Spinster

Elizabeth McCrohan; Born 20 March 1876 Carlton Vic,

(Sister Mary Lelia of the Sacred Heart) Died 9 February 1939 NSW, Buried at the Northern Suburbs Cemetery, Roman Catholic, Nuns Lawn Section C grave No 13, Entered as a novice on the 2nd of July 1903, Took her vows as a Sister of St. Joseph on the 6-1-1915

Phillip McCrohan; Born 16 June 1877

Died 30 June 1877, Aged 14 days, Died from Inflammation of the Bowels

Eileen McCrohan; Born 1880

Married 28 December 1927, William Fleming, No Family, they ran a farm up near Daylesford

From this first generation of 13 Australian McCrohans we have now expanded to a population of at least 60 McCrohans in the 2005 Victorian Whitepages. The following is the Melbourne directory listings of our family. It shows a very good picture of how our family has expanded over 47 years from 1865 to 1912.

1865: Eugene McCrohan, Assistant lock-up keeper of Police Station at Little Collins Street East

1869: Eugene McCrohan, Resident at Police Station, Little Collins St. East – South side between

Swanston St & Sleight Lane (No. 50 –54)

1874: Eugene McCrohan, Assistant Keeper of Police Station cnr. Little Collins & Swanston Streets

1875: Eugene McCrohan, 132 Elgin Street, Carlton

1879: Eugene McCrohan, c/o Munster Arms Hotel, Canning Street, Carlton

1886: Eugene McCrohan, 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Miss McCrohan, (Dress Maker), 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Richard McCrohan, Fergie Street, North Fitzroy (1st son)

1890: Eugene McCrohan, 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Richard McCrohan, 148 Park Street , North Fitzroy

Eugene McCrohan Jnr, General Store, 17 Tait Street, North Fitzroy (2nd son)

1895: Eugene McCrohan, 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Richard McCrohan, 148 Park Street , North Fitzroy

Eugene McCrohan Jnr, General Store, 17 Tait Street, North Fitzroy

Thomas McCrohan, 58 Berry Street, Clifton Hill (4th Son)

Thomas had his first child at this address Thomas Aubrey McCrohan born 1894, he was

commonly known as Uncle Aub; he was delivered by Dr Riordan.

1896: Thomas McCrohan, 122 Westgarth Street, Fairfield

2nd child Francis McCrohan born at the address 1896

1900: Eugene McCrohan, 248 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Miss Honora McCrohan (Music Teacher) Valentia House, 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Richard, Union Street, Northcote

Eugene Jnr, 52 Heidelberg Road, Clifton Hill

William, 67 Dwyer Street, Clifton Hill (3rd son)

T. J. McCrohan (Hat Manufacturer), 122 Westgarth Street, Fairfield

1908: Eugene McCrohan, Valentia House, 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy (This house was built by family)

Miss Catherine (Dressmaker) Valentia House, 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy (10th child)

The Misses McCrohans Dressmakers 312 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Richard, Austin Street, Alphington

William, Bower Street, Fairfield

T. J. McCrohan (Hat Manufacturer), 122 Westgarth Street, Fairfield

1912: Eugene McCrohan, Valentia House, 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Miss Catherine, Valentia House, 716 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy

Richard, Austin Street, Alphington

William, Bower Street, Fairfield

Redmond George, (Contractor), Healesville (5th son)

Eugene, (Hat manufacturer), Healesville

T. J. McCrohan, 122 Westgarth Street, Fairfield

McCrohan & Bardsley (Hat manufacturers) 26 Heidelberg Road, Fairfield (Thomas’s factory)

Submitted by member, Clinton McCrohan

Copyright © by All Right Reserved.

Published on: 2006-03-19 (7121 reads)

[ Go Back ]


Home : Content : CustomSearch : Downloads : Feedback : Forums : gallery : Journal : Members List : Private Messages : Recommend Us : Statistics : Submit News : Surveys : Top : Topics : Web Links : Your Account :
[We received 21586817 hits] [Submissions:0]
Content  Top ^  
An Internet Community Website