Some happy finds

Sometimes I come across a batch of lucky A Rebel Hand-related discoveries on the net and it’s good to share them, so here’s a round-up.

The Convict Maid

Following on from my last one, about women convicts and the early Female Factory above the Gaol, here’s an Australian folk song, The Convict Maid, sung by Emily Pollard of Heartbeast Theatre Company.

They are putting on Mother Country from May 13-18 2012 as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival in Brisbane, Australia. Heartbeast say that it’s “a play about a time when the English ruling classes deliberately got women convicted of crimes so they could send them as convict/prostitutes to the male-dominated Australian penal colonies.”

Here are the lyrics to The Convict Maid, which is sung to a variant of a tune familiar to anyone who knows the songs of 1798; The Croppy Boy.

The rebel Byrnes

Photograph of 1798 hero, Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, Wicklow © Frances Owen 1994

Statue of Billy Byrne of Ballymanus

One of the names connected with the Irish Rebellion of 1798 in County Wicklow is Byrne. The best-known are probably Miles Byrne of Monaseed and Garret and Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, who I’ve mentioned in another post.

A new website tells the story of Clann O’Byrne and there’s a great photo of the Chieftain, Val Byrne, who I met at the re-opening of Wicklow Gaol in 1998 – a fascinating man.

At the heart of 1798

Just over the border in Wexford lies Askamore, the area of seventeen townlands which make up the Roman Catholic curacy in the parish of Kilrush. It was at the heart of the rebellion of 1798 and the Askamore community website gives a lively picture of the area now as well as a look at its history. Ballyellis, Nicholas Delaney’s townland, is in the curacy.

Askamore’s very near to Gorey, a town which played its part in 1798, and I was delighted to find that one of my favourite Australian bloggers, Cassmob of Family History Across the Seas, has connections to it, too.

The finish of Doggett's Coat and Badge, Thames watermen's race

Doggett’s Coat and Badge, Thames watermen’s race (via Wikipedia)

Away from the internet, and I’ve finally started doing what I’ve promised myself for a while. I’m reading Kate Grenville’s The Secret River. This is not just because it’s a major novel about the early years of convict Australia.

It’s also because I recently found out that James Thomas Richards, one of my non-Delaney ancestors, was a Thames waterman, just like her main character, William Thornhill. I’m planning to look into James’s life once I’ve got the Delaney side of my family properly under my belt.

It was a post on one of my Facebook must-sees, the Australian Genealogy page, which reminded me to read The Secret River. Have you read it? What do you think?

If I posted every time I found something great on the net, though, I’d be square-eyed and arthritic, so for great history and genealogy resources I’ve compiled a growing list on this blog’s sister A Rebel Hand website. It covers Irish and Australian history as well as genealogy online research and some excellent blogs. If you can think of any I could add, please get in touch!
Next time, I’ll be back with a post on convict courtship in the early days of the colony of New South Wales.



 © 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.
This entry was posted in 1798, A Rebel Hand, Australia, Convicts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Some happy finds

  1. Pingback: My ancestor was from London – where do I start? | A Rebel Hand

  2. cassmob says:

    Thanks for the kind compliment re my blog, Rebelhand. I love that you’re teasing out all this Irish history and its links to Australia. Can I recommend you get hold of the complementary book by Kate Grenville called Searching for the Secret River. I read it after the main book, but I liked it better and it would give some more insights into her research around the watermen. It’s also sobering to see the process behind writing such a book.


    • rebelhand says:

      Any compliments about your blog are well-deserved, I reckon. And thanks for the recommendation about Kate Grenville’s complementary book – I think that will be the next on my reading list and all tips on researching watermen will be gratefully hoovered up.


  3. Kylie says:

    I love reading your blog!! Your writing style is easy to read and very engaging. When I start researching my Irish ancestors I’ll definitely have to check back here for tips.


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