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Mary Ellen Fairbairn (nee McNamara) 1881-1955 by Ann Rackstraw

Mary Ellen’s paternal grandparents: John McNamara and Bridget Hart;
Chart: Descendants of John McNamara (one generation)

Mary Ellen’s paternal grandparents: John McNamara and Bridget Hart

John McNamara
John McNamara c1796 - 13 Jun 1890
Photograph provided by Jo Wellins

Bridget Hart
Bridget Hart c1810 – 25 Apr 1885
Photograph provided by Jo Wellins

John McNamara

John McNamara was born circa 1796 in Ireland (Date of birth calculated from age on Death Certificate). He married Bridget Hart in Ireland. Unfortunately although thorough searches have been conducted, to date, no records have been located for either the marriage of John McNamara and Bridget Hart or the births of their children.

The McNamara family is recorded on the passenger list for the Standard as residents of Clare, Ireland. According to records of the family of Dennis McNamara, Denis was born in Galway and on the NSW birth certificate for Bridget, the youngest child of James McNamara, James stated he also was born in Galway.

There was great disruption to the fabric of life in Ireland during the famine from the mid to late 1840s, large numbers of people were forced to migrate internally, many men were employed on Outdoor Relief Works, some hundreds of destitute children were housed in temporary accommodation, some families migrated internally simply to find enough food for their children, at one stage the Mercy nuns from Villa Albano, near Moycullen, in Galway, were feeding up to 2,000 people daily. So it is possible that at least some of the children were born in Galway but the family may have moved to Clare sometime before migrating to Australia (Galway Famine Landmarks, Ireland On-Line, website).

John McNamara is recorded as purchasing Section 3339 in the Hundred of Kondoparinga between 1863-1868. (Section 3339; C;LI;245, recorded in the Hundred Book as 333-9-51.245;4985) This is adjacent to the Section referred to in the Auction Notice on page 35 for his son James McNamara (Information extracted from SA Land Records supplied by Judy Smith, email dated 2 Apr 2009).

John died of Bronchitis and senile decay, on 13 Jun 1890, aged 94, at Goolwa, South Australia. John's occupation was recorded as Gentleman, the informant was his son Thomas McNamara (SA Death Certificate from Book 186, page 355). He was buried on 16 Jun 1890 in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Mt Barker, South Australia, with his wife. The headstone was not engraved with details of his death (Church Burial Register, SA Genealogy and Heraldry Soc. Inc. and advice from Jo Wellins, email dated 11 Mar 2007).

The following death notice and obituary were published in the Southern Cross, a Catholic newspaper, 27 Jun 1890:

On June 13 at his son's residence Australasian Hotel Goolwa, Mr John McNamara, aged 94, formerly of Sandergrove and Paris Creek near Macclesfield.
Deeply regretted by a large circle of Friends
May his Soul Rest In Peace

The late John McNamara - A Macclesfield Correspondent writes:- I regret to announce the death at the ripe old age of 94 years of Mr John McNamara who died at his son's residence, the Australasian Hotel Goolwa. He arrived in this Colony some 36 years ago and started farming at Paris Creek near Macclesfield. His wife died some 4 years ago. He gave up farming some 13 years since and went to live with his son at Goolwa. Mr McNamara was a good husband, kind father and staunch supporter of our Holy Mother the Church. He was attended and received the last rites of the Church by the Rev Fr Prendergast. The body was taken from Goolwa to Mount Barker, where his remains were interned in the family vault. Mr McNamara leaves a grown up family, 3 sons, 2 daughters, and 24 grandchildren and was well known in the District of Macclesfield and highly esteemed by all acquaintances

(Copy of Death Notice and Obituary supplied by Judy Smith, email dated 6 Aug 2008).

Bridget McNamara (nee Hart)

Bridget Hart. Her married name was McNamara. She was born circa 1810 in Ireland (Date of birth calculated from age on Death Certificate). Bridget gave birth to her last child, a daughter, Catherine, on 31 Aug 1853, during the voyage from Plymouth to Adelaide (CD, Bound for South Australia: Births and Deaths on Government –Assisted Immigrant Ships 1848-1885).

Bridget died of Bronchitis on 25 Apr 1885, aged 75, at Paris Creek, South Australia, her occupation was recorded as Housekeeper, the informant was a friend, Frederick Ellis of Meadows (SA Death Certificate from Book 146, page 87). She was buried in the Main section, Roman Catholic Cemetery, Mount Barker, South Australia (Index to Memorial Inscriptions, SA Genealogy and Heraldry Soc. Inc).

Photograph of headstone in the Mt Barker Catholic Cemetery
Photograph of headstone in the Mt Barker Catholic Cemetery provided by Judy Smith.

The headstone also records the burial in the grave of Bridget's granddaughter, Catherine, the infant daughter of Thomas and Mary McNamara who died in Feb 1882 (The date of death for Catherine is recorded as 3 Mar 1882 on the SA Death Records). The headstone has been removed and stacked with others (Photograph and advice from Judy Smith, email dated 22 Feb 2007).

Chart of descendants of John McNamara


From Ireland to Australia


Denis McNamara married
Sarah Anderson; their children