My ancestors were all Irish, and they all emigrated to South Australia between the years 1840 and 1865. They came from Counties Monaghan and Cavan in the Province of Ulster, Meath, Wicklow and Kilkenny in the Province of Leinster, Tipperary and Clare in the Province of Munster and Galway in the Province of Connaught.

Why did they take the much longer voyage to the new and unknown colony of South Australia, instead of the much shorter route across the Atlantic to North America? Of all the Australian colonies, why did they choose South Australia? South Australia began in 1836 as a model colony, free of convicts, intended to attract “the better sort” of free settlers from the southern counties of England. The Irish, especially the poor Catholic Irish, were never particularly welcome in South Australia.

I have only recently begun to research my Irish ancestry, although I have wondered about them over the years. Who were these brave people to travel so far to an unknown land? I have learnt a little about their lives after they arrived in South Australia, but I know almost nothing about their lives in Ireland before they emigrated. In 2018 I am planning to visit Ireland. Before I go I hope to learn something about their places of origin and what their lives were like at the time they emigrated.

This blog will be the story of my search for my ancestors. These are the names I will be researching: (my sixteen great great grandparents)

Paternal ancestors:

Hayes, Kennedy, O’Toole, Kelly, Hennessy, Murphy, Moore, Devine

Maternal ancestors:

Dempsey, Howard, Naughton, Holland, Clark, O’Loughlin, McCreeney, Guidera

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