Talking family, talking history…

I’m the great-great- (breathe) great-grandchild of an extraordinary man.

Wicklow Gaol, Co Wicklow © Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

Wicklow Gaol, where Nicholas was imprisoned © Frances Owen & A Rebel Hand

Nicholas Delaney was a landless peasant caught up in the bloody uprising of 1798 in Ireland. Accused of murder on the word of a notorious liar, he was sentenced to death.

After years languishing in a filthy gaol he was reprieved, transported to Australia in the hold of a convict ship in 1802 and handed over to a ‘master’ to work on the land, building roads for the new colony in New South Wales.

What a survivor! After rebellion, prison, the gallows, a terrifying sea voyage… seven years’ forced labour wasn’t going to break him.

Nicholas went on to be boss of his own road gang and some of his work can still be seen in Sydney today.

Then he crossed the daunting Blue Mountains and was one of the first settlers to the west. He became a farmer and innkeeper and he and his wife Elizabeth had 12 children. But his life ended almost in as much mystery as it began.

I’m one of over a thousand descendants in three continents. That we know of!


© Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

About rebelhand

A Rebel Hand is: about Nicholas Delaney, Irish rebel of 1798, transported as a convict to New South Wales, roadbuilder, innkeeper and farmer. My great-great-great grandfather. Other ancestors transported to Australia, like Sarah Marshall, John Simpson and James Thomas Richards, pop up as well. This blog's also about the historical background to their lives, in England, Ireland, and Australia. My respectable Welsh ancestors sometimes get a look in.
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