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Kirwan – John

November 28, 2010

John Kirwan was born in Kilmaine, County Mayo, Ireland around 1807.  His parents were Edmund Kirwan and Celia Hopkins.

John was a Sergeant of the 30th Regiment of Foot.  He enlisted in 1828 and was discharged in 1836.

John’s military pay book describes him as 5ft 9 1/2 inches tall, with blue eyes, fresh complexion and brown hair.

John Kirwan married Jane Olose/Close and they had five children before arriving in  Australia – Eliza b. C.1834; Edmund b. C1842 Mallingar Galway, Ireland; Caroline Frances b. C. 1848; Julia Emma b. C. 1849 and Richard b. C. 1846.

John, Jane and their five children travelled to Australia aboard “Scindian“.  John was the Sergeant Major in charge of the Enrolled Pensioner Guards guarding the first shipload of convicts to be sent to the Swan River Colony (Western Australia).  The “Scindian” arrived in Fremantle on 1 June 1850 – the colony’s 21st birthday.

Shortly after arriving in Fremantle/Perth, John Kirwan met William Wade who had travelled to Western Australia on “The Ganges” in 1841.  The story is told in the family, that he then introduced William to his 17 year old daughter, Eliza, with the words “Eliza, this is the man you are going to marry”.  Eliza married William Wade on 15 September 1851 at Fremantle Church, Fremantle.

On 23 October 1851, Jane and John Kirwan’s sixth child,  Nicholas, was born in Perth Western Australia.

Eliza and William’s first child, William John Wade was born 15 November 1852 at Fremantle.

Jane and John had one more child, Elizabeth Kirwan born around 1854.

John Kirwan was granted or obtained a 1/2 acre block at Freshwater Bay (Claremont) and 9 1/2 acres at Butlers Swamp (Lake Claremont).

John and Jane took their family to South Australia aboard “Anna Dixon” in 1858 and they travelled inland to the Flinders Ranges.  The family kept eating houses at Wilpena, Arkaba and Edeowie.  There was no railway in the area at the time, and ore was carried by oxen drays to Port Augusta.  The teams would stop at the eatinghouses for refreshment along the way.  Kirwans also drove the mail coaches and carried out mining and farming activities in the area for many years.

Eliza and William stayed behind in Western Australia, but moved to South Australia later.

Eventually the whole family was in South Australia.

John shot himself on new years day (1 January) 1873.  A newspaper report of the Coroner’s Inquest was published in the  South Australian Advertiser 17 January 1873, p. 3.

Jane died in April 1888 aged 79 years.

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