Puz­zle pieces from the past

Au­thor look­ing to New­found­land for help filling out Aus­tralian pi­o­neer’s fam­ily tree

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYS­TOWN, N.L.

Most peo­ple in this prov­ince have never heard about the con­nec­tion be­tween 19th cen­tury Aus­tralian pi­o­neer Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley and how a por­tion of his for­tune wound up in New­found­land af­ter he died.

Su­san Kennedy hopes some may have, though.

In­trigued by the man’s story, Kennedy, a re­tired teacher who lives in Sale, in the Aus­tralian state of Vic­to­ria, is dig­ging deep into his life and try­ing to fig­ure out the puz­zle of his roots.

“It’s like a jig­saw, re­ally,” she told The South­ern Gazette in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“I’m sort of piec­ing this jig­saw to­gether, just out of in­ter­est re­ally, and hope­fully put it into a book.”

It’s not the first time Kennedy has writ­ten about Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley. In 2016, she pub­lished a book called On the Prospect for the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions of the small Aus­tralian town­ship of Sea­spray. Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley’s homestead was lo­cated on a hill over­look­ing the site where the town would even­tu­ally spring up. The book in­cluded a chap­ter on him.

Hum­ble be­gin­nings

Buck­ley’s life got off to a pretty in­aus­pi­cious start, ac­cord­ing to Kennedy’s book.

Buck­ley’s par­ents – To­bias Coady, from Kilkenny, and Eleanor Collins – were mar­ried in Dublin, Ire­land in 1809. In 1815, how­ever, Eleanor was con­victed of steal­ing from her em­ployer and sen­tenced to seven years trans­porta­tion to the Bri­tish pe­nal colony at New South Wales.

“I’ve ac­tu­ally got the court record of her trial,” Kennedy said, whose first teach­ing post was in Sea­spray.

Pa­trick was born on St. Pa­trick’s Day, March 17, 1816, while his mother was in pri­son in Dublin await­ing trans­porta­tion. Two years later, they ar­rived in Syd­ney on the con­vict ship Canada. To­bias and the cou­ple’s other child, a daugh­ter named Anne, stayed be­hind.

In New South Wales, Eleanor would meet and marry Ed­mund Buck­ley, rear­ing Pa­trick in an area known as Prospect. They had no chil­dren to­gether.

In adult­hood, like his step­fa­ther, Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley es­tab­lished him­self as a pas­toral­ist, a sheep and cat­tle farmer.

In the early 1840s, when he was in his late twen­ties, he headed south­ward to a newly set­tled dis­trict called Gipp­s­land in Vic­to­ria. On the coast, he claimed a 53,000-acre piece of un­oc­cu­pied Crown land, ini­tially call­ing his new “squat­ting run” Coad­y­vale be­fore later chang­ing it to Prospect, as well.

“He was very suc­cess­ful and a very good rearer of stock, he bred very well, he put up very ex­ten­sive build­ings in his homestead and he em­ployed a lot of peo­ple,” Kennedy said.

New­found­land cousins

Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley died of diph­the­ria at Prospect, on June 12, 1872, aged 55, with an es­tate worth around £63,000, nearly $12 mil­lion Cana­dian to­day, ad­justed for in­fla­tion, and with­out a will.

A decade-long process then started to in­ves­ti­gate and ex­e­cute the dis­per­sal of his for­tune, which would di­min­ish sig­nif­i­cantly in the process.

A search to find out whether Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley had any liv­ing rel­a­tives ul­ti­mately con­cluded nine claimants were le­git­i­mate first cousins of the Aus­tralian pi­o­neer, in­clud­ing two from New­found­land.

One was Pa­trick Coady of Burin. The other was Ellen Tobin, pre­vi­ously Ma­her, mar­ried to John Tobin. Doc­u­ments Kennedy found about her sug­gest they were liv­ing near or in St. John’s.

“In one of the news­pa­per re­ports that I read about it, it said that most of those nine cousins were of poor cir­cum­stance, so it would have been a lot of money to them,” Kennedy said of the in­her­i­tances they re­ceived from Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley’s es­tate.

Kennedy’s quest

Us­ing DNA test­ing from a de­scen­dant of one of the other nine cousins, who was from Aus­tralia, Kennedy thought she might have dis­cov­ered that To­bias Coady, Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley’s fa­ther, wound up in Prince Ed­ward Is­land. A sam­ple from an an­ces­tor of To­bias Coady liv­ing in Ot­tawa wasn’t a match, how­ever. “I was dev­as­tated,” Kennedy said. Kennedy’s quest now is to find the other eight cousins and hopes the story or names may ring a bell with some Coady or Tobin ge­neal­o­gists in this prov­ince.

“The end prod­uct for me might be to track down all of these nine be­cause if Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley was a 19th cen­tury Aus­tralian “squat­ter” with many “runs” of land.

What ex­actly does that mean? Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, as it per­tains to Aus­tralian his­tory, a squat­ter was usu­ally a man – a free set­tler or an ex-con­vict – who oc­cu­pied a large tract of Crown land for the pur­pose of graz­ing live­stock with­out le­gal ti­tle to the prop­erty.

The land was called a run.

Early on in the Euro­pean set­tle­ment of they were first cousins to Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley, then it means they were the chil­dren of his par­ents’ sib­lings,” she said. “Then I’m sort of just go­ing to try to get back to putting his fam­ily to­gether.”

Look­ing into the past is just some­thing Kennedy said she loves to do.

“I’m very in­ter­ested in ge­neal­ogy, and I’ve done my mother’s Scot­tish ge­neal­ogy, and I guess just pawing through these records is an amaz­ing pas­time for me and I en­joy it,” she said.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion to share with Kennedy, she can be reached by email at su­san.kennedy@live.com.au. Aus­tralia, the term car­ried a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion, but that would change in time.

Gov­ern­ment in New South Wales ini­tially op­posed the prac­tice, but as it be­came more com­mon in the mid-1830s, it was ac­cepted and reg­u­lated. Squat­ters be­came known as some of the rich­est men in the colony. With that, the term be­gan to de­note a per­son of high so­cial stand­ing with large live­stock graz­ing op­er­a­tions.


Pa­trick Coady Buck­ley

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