William Byrne, trooper

My mother’s maternal grandparents were Irish. George and Susie Byrne came from Killarney, though not at the same time. Susie came first, when she was 16, with her parents and siblings, in 1877. George, who had known Susie in Ireland before her family left for Australia, followed her out, at the end of 1882. They... Continue Reading →

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Tom’s ships

Tom Needham joins the Navy Tom was 13 when he joined the navy in 1864, a young Irish boy who had grown up beside the sea on the coast of County Kerry. His father George Needham had at one time been a captain in the Kerry coastguard, and may well have been in the navy... Continue Reading →

“My dear sister…” November 1865

A letter home from a young sailor, an Irish boy on a British ship, in 1865: Addressed to "My dear sister..,” this letter was probably written to Belinda Needham, Tom’s older sister, the one of his five sisters to which he seems closest. A transcript follows the images. Nov 6th 1865 My dear sister, I... Continue Reading →

Tom goes to sea

I was very excited toward the end of last year to receive a comment on my blog from Scott Anderson, a descendant of Thomas Needham: I am the great, great, great grandson of Thomas Needham, my grandfather was Thomas Needham Sitler, my uncle John Needham Sitler, who is a Presbyterian minister. I have my copy... Continue Reading →

Coastguard

I had a letter from my mother's cousin, Keith Walmsley, a few years back. I had asked him what he knew about our Irish forbears - my great great grandmother (who is Keith’s great grandmother) was Mary Hickson, who came out to Australia with her husband William from Kerry in 1877. Mary Hickson was the... Continue Reading →

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