celebrates a little bit of Limerick in Australia
The arrival of a Knocklong family to New South Wales, Australia
150 years ago this month was celebrated by their ancestors.
Thomas Moloney of Bridge House, Knocklong, ran a bar in
Main Street, Hospital, before he and Ellen and four of their
five children left for Australia.
The Moloneys arrived on the ship Australia which sailed
from Plymouth in England on February 27, 1853.
Thomas eventually bought 40 acres of Land which is still
held by his ancestors, and opened an accommodation house
called the Limerick Hotel.
Jack Rafferty from New South Wales, a direct descendent
of Thomas and Ellen Moloney, and Vic Senior from Hospital
whose wife Maureen is a relative, and David Moloney from
Limerick Junction, also a relative, have produced a research
article on the familys life in Australia.
Their descendants have always kept in touch with Knocklong,
otherwise this article would never have been written. The
data for the article has come from a family history by John
E Rafferty, a direct descendant, said Mr Senior, Castlefarme,
A recent letter from Mr Rafferty states that as this
year is the Feast of Pentecost, they hope to celebrate the
Moloney ancestors arrival in Australia with great
joy, said Mr Senior.
When the family arrived in Australia, they had to wait in
Sydney until Ellen junior arrived. She had remained in Ireland
to seek treatment for an eye problem. She lost the sight
of one eye and was sent out by her uncle Daniel of Bridge
House, Knocklong, to join her waiting family.
The family spent some years searching for a place
to settle but eventually decided on the area of Bumble near
Moree, NSW, a small town on the vast north west plains,
located, 400 miles from Sydney.
To get there they had to cross the mountains of the
great dividing range, presumably on foot and wagon-train
with all their personal belongings. On arrival however,
they found some of the best sheep and cattle grazing lands
in the world and the town of Moree (todays population
10,000) was being developed, according to the co-written
In 1861, Mr Moloney paid £40 for the land on which
he built The Limerick Hotel and became the postmaster. The
mail-coach route developed considerably after 1871 and the
Limerick Hotel flourished.
In time to come, in the Moree area, the Moloneys
were destined to meet a family called the Fingletons. Thomas
Fingleton was an ex-convict, a political prisioner.
Thomas Fingleton from Laois was sentenced to transportation
for life when he was found guilty of taking part in a raid
in 1830 on an habitation, possibly a Protestant church.
After his death in 1877 when he was lost in the bush while
carrying out his duties as a shepherd, his widow, Catherine,
and their children moved to the Moree area and there they
came into contact with the Moloney family.
In 1882, three Moloneys - two sons and one daughter
- married three Fingletons, thus establishing a close inward
looking extended family which expanded greatly through the
Thomas Moloney saw just one of his children married as he
died in 1875 aged 69 and Ellen died five years later at
the same age.
The Moloney children ran the family property jointly and
by the early 1890s it extended to over 5,000 acres of grazing
The Limerick Hotel continued to prosper until 1896 when
it was shut down because the Moree Licensing Court refused
a renewal of the licence.
The railway had taken a different route and the days
of stage coach accommodation inns were over. By this time,
however, the Moloneys and the Fingletons had consolidated
themselves in huge areas in the vicinity of Moree which
to this day they have retained in the family, according
to the account.
The Fingleton name no longer appears among the holders of
properties in the neighbourhood, but many descendants remain
and the name Moloney still features among the property holders
of the area.
Courtesy of Deirdre McGrath and the Limerick