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Bellingen Shire

Hanly History   

See also the Hanly Family Tree and Hanly Life stories and obituaries 

See photos of Muriel Mulheron's 90th birthday (December, 2003).

Muriel is the youngest child of the 12 of Michael Hanly and Rosa (nee McNally) of Brierfield near Bellingen. Of the 12 only she and her brother Cecil Hanly of Urunga, now 94, survive.

MurielCake.jpg (420525 bytes)  MurielFamily.jpg (307666 bytes)  MurielGroup.jpg (455097 bytes)

For ancient Hanly History see:

See also the zipped file of Ancient Hanly Clan as authored by Pete Hanly (available on condition that it is for private research only and his copyright acknowleged and the same condition imposed on anyone you give a copy to).  If you need a program to unzip the file go to www.winzip.com and once you have winzip, click on the link.)

See also Pete's site www.ballykilcline.com about the eviction of Hanly families from Ballykilcline in Roscommon, Ireland.

See also Jennifer Lambert Tracey's Hanly webpage   which has some history of the Hanly Clan in Ireland..

See extracts of parish maps of the Brierfield area as referred to in the text:
in South Bellingen Parish: North of the South Arm of the Bellinger (Kalang) River
in Newry Parish: South of the South Arm of the Bellinger (Kalang) River

See maps of Hanly Properties in Bellingen District as referred to in the text:
Michael Hanly's farm at Brierfield (most was originally old Daniel's farm)abt 1906
Henry Daniel (Harry) Hanly's farm at lower South Arm
Daniel Hanly's properties at Repton (Daniel was a son of old Daniel who came from Ireland, brother of Michael and others)

Hanly Family of Brierfield. Settled in the area August 1878

Kindly contributed by Margaret Hayes, written by her mother Rose Hanly.

This is a history of the Hanly family of Brierfield (formerly Spicketts Creek) on the south Arm of the Bellinger River (now called the Kalang River). It was hand written by Rosie Crossingham (grand daughter of Daniel Hanly who settled Brierfield) when asked by one of her daughters Margaret Crossingham. The date of its being written is uncertain, but about 1986. Margaret was kind enough to give me a photocopy.

Editors notes are {enclosed}. Illegible omissions are shown .........

My grandfather Hanly {Daniel Hanly, b 1840 Roscommon Ireland} came from Ireland in the early 1860's (Eighteen Sixties). he came to the Hunter River and then on to the .......... He selected a hundred acres of land called "Red Bank". {This property was probably in the Port Macquarie area, possibly at Rawdon Island as Daniel Hanly and Margaret Danaher were married in port Macquarie on 11 May 1865} He cleared it all up, felled the trees, and burned off, and it was really a beautiful property. {Rosie was not born at this time} So, he put it all in with corn, just by digging it with a hoe. they had no ploughs in those days, so they put their crops in by hoe digging. They called it "hoe corn".

When land owners in those days selected, they mostly put up a bark hut to live in and had a certain time to build a house on the property. An English Officer used to go around and inspectthe property to see if that law was carried out. And when he saw my grandfather's beautiful crop and farm he said, "This property belongs to me". He said he pegged it out many years before. He took the property and all Grandfather's work, and in the end, Grandfather had to move out. So he and Grandma and their five children {then} walked all the way to the Bellinger. When they came to a river or big creek they had to find a suitable log and push it into the water, and paddle across with their few belongings, and a fifty pound bag of flour. So they would have several trips across the waters.

It took them a week to travel from the mcleay to the Bellinger, and grandfather selected the first property that had been selected on the South Arm of the Bellinger River. Grandfather was aschool teacher before he left Ireland, so he opened up the first little post office on the South Arm and he called the Post Office "Brierfield", after thier home in Ireland. At that time the district was called "Spicketts Creek", but as more setlers came and the land was all cleared the whole district became known as Brierfield, and still is today. {See the map linked from sitemap page of the website. Brierfield is South East of Bellingen, towards Urunga.}

Dad was twelve years old when his father settled at Brierfield, and when he was twenty one he selected a property adjoining his father's farm. So Dad cleared all his over three hundred acres, and put it all in hoe corn. Before the corn was fit to pull, a big flood came and washed it all away. Dad built a nice little house on the farm, and when he was twenty four he married my mother, who was Rose McNally of Bellingen.

Her father came from Armagh in Ireland when he was a young man and selected a property at North Bellingen, on the main Bellinger River. He grew corn.

And in those days a young Russian came to Bellingen. It was called Boat Harbour in those days, because the young Russian put up a mill and cut timber and built the first (or I think the only) boats that were built on the Bellinger.

A few years after he was in Bellingen he married Mary Anne McNally, my mother's sister, so he bacame my Uncle Fred Doepel. uncle built a couple of big punts to take his timber he cut to Urunga to meet the ships that took the timber to Sydney.

When my Dad's hoe corn crop was washed away the two years running, Dad got a job on uncle's punt, taking the timber to Urungato meet the ship. And the ship used to bring all the food stuffs (like tea sugar flour) and materials etc on its trip from Sydney to Urunga. And Dad would put them on the punt and deliver the goods to the farmers. Each farmer would have a wharf for his goods to be loaded on to. in those days the punts had to be poled all teh way down to Urunga with the timber, and back to Bellingen and all the ships were sailing ships carried along with sails and the wind.

In about the year Nineteen Hundred my uncle built a steam ship nd it was named the S.S. Bellinger. He built about five or six sailing ships. one was called the Violet Doepel, one the Selma Doepel and one the Alma Doepel. he called most of his ships after his daughters. The Alma Doepel was in action in World War Two as a landing barge for the troops to alnd on the islands or beaches. i heard lately that an American bought the Alma Doepel, and had it all done up like new, and that it ran aground and was broken up. {The Alma Doepel was in Darling Harbour, Sydney during the 1988 Bicentennial Celebrations and a grand daughter of Fred Doepel was married aboard.}

Dad's uncle Denny Dannaher, got the contract to put the Dorrigo cutting in so people could travel from Bellingen to Dorrigo and Armadale. so he got Dad to go to work for him, with his horse and cart. The whole cutting was done with paick and shovel, and Denny paid dad seven and six a week for himself and hishorse and cart. Dad had to buy feed for the horse out of that so he didn't have much to keep Mum, and at that time he had two children. They worked from before sunrise till dusk every day in the week. When the contract for the cutting was done, they built teh bridges. When that was all done Dad bought a team of bullocks and hauled timber from off his farm to teh Brierfield wharf, where they were picked up by the punts and taken to the mill.

My two eldest brothers always worked in the bush cutting logs for Dad till they were old enough to have a team of bullocks for themselves. And Dad bought cows and all us girls milked the cows. In those days we had to separate all the milk, and we used to send the cream to a butter factory in East Bellingen. i used to put the cows in the bails for the older girls when I was five till I was seven, then I had to help milk.

When Grandfather Hanly died, Dad bought his selection or farm as it ws then, off Grandma, and she took the younger members of her family to live in Sydney. We used to rent one farm and we all worked the other farm.

There was a school, Post Ofice and dance hall, all on our farm. We all played music. Dad and the six boys and the oldest girl all played the violin, and the women folk all played the piano. In those days the only entertainment was house parties and a couple of dances a week in the local hall. They were much more happy days because we all had to make our own fun. There were no wirelesses or TV's. When the wireless and TV came people knocked off their musical evenings and card evenings and people stayed home more, and so it ended the good times we all used to have having a sing-song around the piano. And we didn't even have as many dances. So now you know how the other half lived.

When my eldest brother Harry was old enough, he selected a property on the Lower South Arm of the Bellinger. he used to haul his logs to Martell's Wharf for the punt to pick up and take to the mill. when Harry was about twenty years old, Dad was so pleased with how well he played the violin that he sent him to the Conservatorium in Sydney to furhter his musical career. So Harry taught musicand also had a hire car in Bellingen and Inverelle. He married Rita Forbes from Inverelle.

As time went by and the Nineteen Thirty depressions was on, no one could afford to have their children taught music. Harry moved to Sydney. he is now {in 1986} ninety four years of age. And he still plays the violin and he drove his car until he was ninety one years of age, and had his sixtieth driving licence. And had never had an accident (not even a bump) in all that Sixty years!

Frank still kept on bush work till he got too sick to work, so passed away in his sixties. Mick had a banana plantation for years at John's River on one of the Three Brother Mountains, "The Middle Brother" as it was called. One week he didn't turn up in Taree with his bananas, to our sister where he always went for dinner when he was in town. She wondered why and rang her son up, who lived near Mick's plantation, to go and see if Mick was sick, so Cyril {McGovern} went to Mick's house and could see the fire hadn't been lit for some time, and so he went to the plantation and found poor old Mick's body. He had a heart attack and died with his banana knife still in his hand. Mick was also in his sixties. Mick had never married so he had no one to notice he didn't come home. So that is how the other half lives.

My Mother had a wonderful foresight. One night at about one o'clock in the morning she sat up in bed, and said to Dad poor Mrs Matherson wants help. Mum was so upset. Dad said "you just had a bad nightmare, but Mum insisted that Mrs Matherson was at the foot of her bed asking for them to help her. It was early in November and we had over a week's constant heavy rain. The Matherson family lived in a marquee on the other side of Spikkets Creek so as to be handy for water for their use and washing etc. Any way, the flood came up, and Mr Matherson's sister lived on a hill on the same property and as the waters got higher the sister and her husband went down to the creek and her husband went down to the creek just in time to see the marquee washed away and Mr and Mrs Matherson Jack Mary and Kathleen were washed away in the flood and drowned at .... exact time my Mother saw Mrs Matherson at the foot of her bed asking for help.

{Clare Smith (William Behan + Mary Foster/Supple > Elizabeth Behan + John Matheson > Annie Matheson + Charles Edmund Smith > Elizabeth Clare Smith) says that it was Angus Sharkey who went to help, the Mathesons. A son William was in hospital at the time and survived. An aboriginal fellow spent three days diving for the bodies before they were found. They were buried at Bowraville. The deaths were subject of an article in the Bellingen papers.}

One morning a few years after that Mum came out of her bed room crying and didn't want to have any breakfast. And Dad asked her if she was sick or what was wrong. Mum said her sister Alice was dead or very ill. Dad said it is only that you haven't seen her for a while as she lived on the Nambucca and we lived in the Bellinger district. Dad said have some breakfast and I will take you over to see her..but Mumsaid but I saw her coffin, it had a very big white flower on it. And before breakfast was over, the neighbours boy who kept the little post office came with a telegramme to say Aunty Alice had taken a stroke. so Mum and Dad went over to her place and she was unconcious and died in a few days without regaining conciousness. when Aunty Alice was a girl in north Bellingen she planted a big white Magnolia tree in front of their house, and every time she went over to Bellingen she used to call at the old farm, that had then been rented to a family named Breathweit, and she always told Mrs Brethweit that she grew the tree when she was a young girl. And the tree was out in flower when aunty died, and Mrs Brethweight {3 different spellings have been used} sent a big flower and it was put on the coffin, and as my Dad said years after Mum had passed away, it was exactly as Mum had told him the morning she waas so upset and we got the bad news.

Mum was the second daughter of Grandfather and Grandma McNally of North Bellingen, where she was born on the farm. In those days a midwife came to the homes and deliveredteh child at home, in time the government took a portion of Grandfather's back paddock and made a cemetery out of it. So Mum was born and buried on the one farm. She only moved to Brierfield when she married and was married fifty years. And she lived at Brierfield for that fifty years.

Dad was the oldest of a family of Thirteen children, Six boys and seven girls. My eldest sister Violet when she got married, she and her husband selected a farm out of Eumundi about a hundred miles North of Brisbaen. they put in a big banana plantation and grew paw-paws and pineapples. They had eight children, two lots of twins. and Violet worked cutting and carrying and packing friut till the timearrived for the midwife to come and deliver the baby, and would be back on the job in a week after, taking the new baby and other childrenwith them to the packing shed.

One night about midnight Violet was wakened up by a strangenoise in the baby's cot. It was a very large carpet snake. it had the baby slimed all over and its arm swallowed to the shoulder. So they killed the snake, bathed the baby, and her arm never suffered any effect from the experience.

When Mum was a young girl, her grand father and Grandma lived very close so the whole family took out a selection each joining together, and so they had hundreds of acres of land as there was a big family.

One day my Mothers Grandma didn't come home for her dinner, and she had been woking in the cornfield. So they went looking for her. They found her body with a mark around her neck, where she had been strangled. At that time there were very few settlers, and still a lot of wild blacks. They think Grandma caught the black stealing the corn to eat it, and strangled her.

But I always think, and I still do think that a whip snake twisted around her neck, and when she had died just crawled away again. The case was left as an open verdict. So we will never really know how she was strangled

Email  Paul Hanly to give or get more information regarding the Hanly family.

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