Irish Connections

Boorowa and its Irish connection dates back to the 1820’s when cousins Ned Ryan and Roger Corcoran settled in the area.

The fascinating story of the pair’s arrival starts on a September night in 1815 in the village of Ballagh, in the Clonoulty parish, County Tipperary Ireland, which was at that time the centre of much unrest and disturbance for the English overlords. About one hundred Irishmen rioted through the small village, bent on destroying an infirmary where English soldiers were to be garrisoned so as to uphold law and order and enforce the Insurrection Act of 1814.

The building was destroyed. Four months later fourteen of the rioters were arrested and tried. The identified ‘leader’, Michael Keogh was tried, found guilty and executed two weeks later. The remaining 13 which included cousins Ned Ryan and Roger Corcoran were granted a conditional pardon in the form of transportation to New South Wales for fourteen years in exchange for a guilty plea.

Departing from Cobh, County Cork in July 1816 aboard the Surrey, the thirteen men arrived at Port Jackson on 26 December 1816. Roger Corcoran was assigned to Samuel Hassall and he obtained his Ticket of Leave in 1823. Soon after, he established his run, Corcoran’s Plains. Ned Ryan was assigned to James Meehan at Goulburn and by 1830 when his Certificate of Freedom was issued, he had settled at Galong New South Wales.

Ned Ryan in particular encouraged settlers from Ireland to migrate to New South Wales and the Boorowa area. In fact, in 1872 the Post Office directory mentioned 46 Ryans living in and around Boorowa. Ned Ryan’s son, John Nagle Ryan, who arrived with his mother Ellen and sister Anastasia in 1846, was appointed a magistrate and later elected unopposed to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1859.

Ned Ryan’s son, John Nagle Ryan was appointed a magistrate and later elected unopposed to the Legislative Assembly (1859).

In the village of Ballagh in the parish of Clonoulty, Tipperary, Ireland is a memorial stone unveiled in Australia’s Bicentenary Year – 1988 – to the fourteen men who … “In 1815 at this place made their defiant protest against increasing military coercion when the landlords abused the law” … “having steadfastly fulfilled their sentence, they contributed to the progress of their adopted land and forged links between it and their homeland”.

Men such as these did much to forge the character and style of the developing lands they adopted and they and their descendants have left us with a proud tradition.

More details can be found in this pdf document by Frances Corcoran, Canberra.

Clonoulty, Ireland
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