Child's Maid Makes Good


1. Julia McCARTHY

by Chris Loudon © All rights reserved
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Julia McCARTHY arrived in Sydney Cove, aboard the S.S. China on 20 December 1839.[1] Aged 16 years, and in the company of her mother Johanna McCARTHY (nee IRWIN) a widow 42 years old, her three younger brothers, William 11 years, John 9 years, and Michael 5 years, the family arrived as bounty immigrants. Johanna, Julia, and siblings were natives of County Tipperary, Ireland. 

Sydney Herald – Monday December 23, 1839....

‘The China arrived from Waterford with 260 Government Emmigrants(sic), the whole of whom have arrived in good health; only one death occurred during the voyage.  They consist chiefly of agricultural labourer, mechanics, and a few labourers…

The same newspaper also states elsewhere that the China sailed from Waterford on July 28, via the Cape of Good Hope on October 17, under Captain PHILLIPS, and ‘...superintendence of Dr. O'Brien R.N. Passengers Captain Jobling, 104th Regiment, lady and three children, from the Cape.'

Julia's occupation was recorded in the ships indent on arrival as a child's maid.

The McCARTHY family travelled to the Monaro District after their arrival from Ireland. At the time of their arrival in Sydney there is no known record of Julia’s mother or any of the family having friends or relatives in the Monaro district, but is very likely that they did know people in the district, and possible that there were relatives in the area. 

There were a reasonable number of Irish people (the Irish contingent) on the cattle and sheep runs, and later squatting runs, in and around Cooma. We know from historical accounts of the region that there was substantial encouragement given to family and friends in Ireland, particularly from Co. Tipperary, to immigrate to the area. 

Some historians say that the bounty immigrants from Irelandtook full advantage of the generosity of the system, at the expense of others, particularly from Englandand Scotland.  However, the English and Scottish were reluctant to migrate, and the ‘… emigration commissioners in the British Isleswere compelled to send Irish[2], but there is also substantial evidence that the skills and class of people coming from Ireland was what the country needed at the time. 

The family of Johanna McCARTHY was evidence of these needs; she was a dairywoman; her daughter Julia a child’s maid; her fellow traveler James McCarthy (who may have been related, although this is as yet unproven) was a tailor, and his wife Bridget was a dairywoman, all skills in demand.[3]

Within six months of having arrived in the country, on 19 May 1840 at around 17 years of age, Julia McCARTHY married James LYNCH(aged 32) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Sydney.  Her place of residence was recorded at the time as being ‘Manera’ (Monaro), that of her husband being recorded as Sydney. 

Witnesses to the wedding were James McCARTHY[4] and Mary RYAN. Mary was perhaps a relative of Julia’s younger brother Michael McCARTHY's wife to be, Mary RYAN. Michael's future wife Mary was not yet born (b. 1841), but this Mary is possibly a sister of Mary's father James RYAN[5]).  A good Irish Catholic wedding!

It could well be that Julia had gone to Sydneyseeking and gaining employment in her declared occupation as a child’s maid, after spending some time in the Monaro district. Whatever the circumstance she and James LYNCH met there, and decided to marry.  Perhaps she had employment nearby the HARRIS farm in Parramatta where James was possibly working. James had been assigned to Jas HARRIS on his arrival as a convict in 1825. 

Julia was young at the time of her marriage, being just 17 years of age, and married a much older man, James was 32.  We could conjecture that she was pregnant at the time, and that James did the honourable thing by marrying Julia, as there is no official record of her first-born child Bryan LYNCH. In this period it was not unusual for females to marry older men, particularly among the Irish.  Whatever the circumstances, they appeared to make a good go of the marriage, and had a large family and productive life.   

Shortly after their marriage, Julia and her new husband settled back in the Monaro district of NSW.  Julia’s mother and siblings also settled there.  There is later confirmation of their continuing residence in the district, referenced in the NSW State BDM records, Electoral Rolls, and Census Reports covering the Cooma and Adaminaby districts. Various church records, including those at St Patrick’s (Catholic) Church Cooma, St Raphael’s (Catholic) Church at Queanbeyan, and St Mary’s (Anglican) Church at Berridale also hold records of the family.

Julia and James moved from place to place in and around Cooma over the next 20 years, spending time on numerous properties where James was variously employed as a cattle hand, shepherd and labourer. The children were born at a number of the well known sheep and cattle runs in the area, being: Frying Pan, Bolero, SnowyRiver, and Mambrooh.

The life for a woman in the bush was not an easy one, and whilst we have no specific records available to tell us what Julia herself experienced, there is ample material available of the deprivations that she was likely to have suffered. A Daub and Wattle, or timber slab hut would probably have been her home for sometime, at least until James, or his employers, was able to provide something more substantial.

James would have spent extended periods, sometimes months at a time, shepherding, droving cattle, or carting a wool clip to markets, perhaps to Goulburn, Sydney, or even Melbourne and Adelaide, as was the practice at the time.

Loneliness was just one of Julia’s worries, cold weather in the highlands, an adequate diet, bushfires in the summer months, snakes, and the need to look after her growing young family would have kept Julia busy. Whilst there was a growing population in the Monaro, and a familiar Irish lilt, distance between properties and towns was a handicap to regular travel for women at home. Julia’s mother and siblings were in the area, but the family may not have been able to gather together on a regular basis.

Julia and James produced 13 children over the next 21 years; Bryan (Brian) (1841-1923); Mary Ann (1843-1875); Johanna (1844-1919); William (1846-1925); James (1847-1922); Julia (1849-1866); Ann (or Anna) (1851-1937); Bridget (1853-1930); Michael (1854-1904); unnamed female (1855-1855); Patrick (1856-1857); Catherine (Kate) (1859-1891); John (1861-1865).

Other than the birth records of her children, the next official record that we have of Julia is as a witness[6] to her younger brother John’s marriage to Catherine CULLENon May 2, 1852 at Queanbeyan, NSW; some 12 years after her own marriage, and by which time she had had 7 children.

James LYNCH died of exposure after falling from his horse on 24 May 1863, at the age of 48 years, leaving Julia with 11 surviving children aged between 22 and 2 years old. James’s death certificate lists the undertaker as John McCARTHY. This was very likely Julia’s younger brother John, who would have been about 36 years at that time.

Eight years later, on May 23, 1871 Julia LYNCH married William DELANEY,[7] aged 40, at St Patrick’s Church, Cooma; Fr Daniel KELLYofficiating. Witnesses were Bryan LYNCH(Julia’s eldest son) and Mary LYNCH,probably Bryan’s wife Mary Ann (nee STOPP).

Julia’s youngest child John LYNCHwas now 10 years of age, and daughter Catherine LYNCHwas now 12.

The 1891 Census indicates that Julia and James LYNCH’s descendents were extensive in their movement around the Monaro district, and a number of their offspring were on properties of their own.[8]

Julia’s siblings were married and rearing families of their own; John married Catherine CULLEN, and produced 10 children; Michael married Mary Ann RYAN, and had 16 children, both were on their own properties; William married a widow late in life at age 53, Ann LECOUNT, and now had 11 children under his care.

The State Electoral Rolls for the Eden Monaroarea of NSW, for the years 1869-1870, 1881-82, 1890-91 and 1899-1900 give further indication of the expansion and growth of the McCARTHY and LYNCH families to 1900.

Julia died on March 19, 1892 at the Canadian Hotelin Fitzroy Street, Dubbo NSW. The informant was her daughter, Johanna HANLEY, living at Lismore, NSW. It appears that Johanna did not know her grandmothers name, or it was not recorded at the time of Julia’s death, she apparently knew her grandfathers name, which is shown as Williamin the records.

William DELANEY[9] died in Liverpool, NSWin 1899.

Great Great Grandmother Julia McCarthy made a lasting contribution to her new country suffered her fair share of heartache in the bush, the untimely death of young children, and the tragic death of her husband.

The child’s maid made good, and her legacy lives on.

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Sources and notes 

[1] SRO NSW microfiche no 30, also reel no 2654 ref 4/4730, and reel no 1300 ref 4/4840

[2] O’Farrell, Patrick‘The Irish in Australia – 1788 to the present’ – University of NSWPress Ltd, 2000, 3rd edition, pp71

[3] James and Bridget also settled in the Monaro district, however James died in September 1842, aged just 25, and his daughter Johanna in October 184, aged 3 years. Both James and Johanna were buried at Gegedzerick Cemetery

[4] Possibly a relative to Julia's (cousin?) and almost certainly the James McCARTHY (CARTHY) who was a fellow passenger on the China

[5] James RYAN married to a Honorah DWYER; the DWYER and RYAN families feature significantly in the history of the Monaro

[6] SRO NSW BDM reel no 503, Vol 98 Fol 201

[7] Son of Edward DELANEYand Ellen COLLINS

[8] Various Electoral Rolls and Police Census data for the Cooma District, 1891-1900

[9] Nsw Reg. Gen Death Index No. 1899/9781, Liverpool

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 08:26